Speaking to AnimationXpress.com DMP Animation founder Somesh Paliwal says: “We have been working on this project for nearly a year now and things are finally coming together.”
The thought of working around the character of a donkey had crossed Somesh’s mind when he saw the ‘Green Donkey’ campaign carried out by NGO Akshat. “Just the thought of using a character, which everyone believes to be dumb, to propagate remedial measures for bringing a change in the society struck a chord with me,” he expounds.
“Dhenchu, our Donkey is not busy with burgers and Pizzas, facebook and twitter, scams and theft, Our Donkey is neither rich nor poor ,neither the member of parliament nor Hindu or Muslim , he neither belongs to India nor Pakistan , He is neither ‘bhai’ nor any government servant so he is totally “khaali” in putting his efforts towards various untouched issues. Only he demands for little brain from intelligent human race,” he further adds.
The idea of choosing a donkey as the main protagonist was to take the character across the globe and not just focus on the Indian audience. The first feature film titled ‘Donkey in the city’ aka ‘Gadha Shehar Mein’ will be nearly 100 minutes long and is set to release in December 2015.
Somesh reveals: “Our target audience is between the age group of 8-12 years, but it’s a complete family entertainer and the franchise will grow with the audience.”
With a budget of nearly Rs 6 crore on just the production, it certainly seems to be a costly affair. The studio is currently in talks with a couple of distributers to help with the adequate number of screens for the film. “We have already spoken to folks in Northern America and Western Europe markets and are really happy with the response we got at the Cannes Film Festival this year,” exults Somesh.
The studio is targeting nearly 500 screens in India and looking at over 2,500 digital prints of the movie. But, the number is expected to go up as it is also approaching people from the south-east Asian market and the land down under.
The film is made in 3D CGI and has over 50 artists working in bringing the characters to life. The first feature is almost 70-80 per cent through in terms of production, but the studio is yet to rope in the voice cast for the film.
“We are in talks with a few guys from Bollywood, and I will be flying down to US to meet a few actors there as well, but currently we are only focused on completing the production of the feature as of now,” adds Somesh.
He is confident of the trilogy being successful and also becoming a popular character among the Indian and global audience alike. The ‘Donkey in the City’ will be in English as well as Hindi as of now, but the makers are also open to the idea of dubbing it in other languages if the opportunity arises.
Somesh reveals: “We have Fantastic Films International on board as our agents and they are really helping us in taking the film to various markets. We also intend to travel with the movie to Mipcom and MipJunior to see how the international market responds to it.”
And the action doesn’t stop there; DMP Animation is also looking to tie up with a gaming studio in Hyderabad and is currently in talks with a few, to take the engagement with the character to second screens as well. And one can’t rule out licensing and merchandising as well going forward.
Guess other studios can take a leaf out of DMP Animation’s book on how to think out of the box and come up with more unique stories apart from going the mythological way. But, at the same time the makers need to be careful with the striking similarity that ‘Dhenchu’ shares with DreamWorks’ character ‘Donkey’ from the ‘Shrek’ franchise.