Who we are as a person depends on the person we look up to; be it our parents, professors, famous personalities, our employers, colleagues…These people are known as teacher’s and to thank them we have a day dedicated to our teachers and that is Teacher’s Day. Teacher’s day is celebrated on 5th September in India as it’s the birth anniversary of a great person named Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan – who was highly devoted towards education and is well known as the scholar, diplomat, President of India and most importantly a Teacher. Mentors are basically anyone who enlightens us and changes our way of thinking about ourselves. We at AnimationXpress.com got in touch with leading industry professionals to know who are their mentors and how have they helped them in their personal as well as professional lives. Reena Puri (Amar Chitra Katha, Editor) Professionally, it was Anant Pai, founder editor of Amar Chitra Katha. Anant Pai has taught me most of what I know about children and comics. He was a wonderful teacher who recognised the promise in me and worked to hone my writing and editing skills. He did this without lecturing or imposing, allowing me to form my own methods, correcting me gently only when necessary. He was extremely encouraging and allowed me to realise my potential. Anish Patel (Hopmotion Animation, Founder) Besides my father (which goes without saying) one of my greatest creative Mentors has been Shekhar Kapur. I have worked with him in the past and am always amazed at how he has a unique perspective on things. One can learn a lot from him just by observing. While working as an editor on one of his shot films, one thing I learnt from him was to be able to trust your creative instinct. We tend to over analyse and rationalise, but one has to trust the process while working on creative projects. He always encouraged me to embrace the chaos and be able to trust your instinct. This is something I have tried to inculcate in everything I do. Chetan Sharma (Animagic Special Effects, Co-Director) I think I have been fortunate that I have had many people that exercised enormous influence in my life and career, who I can call my teachers.. apart from parents of course. 🙂 I remember with fondness most of the teachers in my school (St. Sebastians in Chembur) and particularly our headmaster the late Mr. Linus Cerejo. He was quite an amazing and kind personality. They all believed and nurtured the idea that I had potential very gently without any special treatment. 🙂 In animation, I owe my life path to Shri Ajit Rao, who fanned the little flame of animation on its all consuming path. His simple honesty and integrity which were demonstrated in courageous action & conviction rather than tall rhetoric have always inspired me and make him unique in Indian animation in my opinion. Many have benefited from his mentoring , though many more should have had the opportunity! His convictions have often led him down difficult paths alone especially as mediocrity was celebrated and supported in the name of business. How much poorer Indian animation is for those missed opportunities! In my growth as an animator and artist in this medium, I can thank everybody I have had the honor of interacting and working with, For one learns best by example. So a respectful shout out at Shri Ram Mohan & his Mighty Trio Shrirang, Suhael, Sanjiv ,the first ‘key’ Animators I encountered, all the staff at RMB was a mentor to me even if they didn’t know it! 🙂 Animagic as a studio is also my mentor because everything we do here teaches me new things everyday! Sumant Rao and especially Gayatri with a generous spirit allowed the rookie kid tremendous breadth to grow and experiment for which I can never thank my stars enough! A partnership in the right spirit is also a ongoing mentoring process. Also I would point that every artist in any medium (music, dance, acting, directing illustration, comics and animation) whose work strikes a chord within me becomes my guru! A portrait of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi hangs on my wall, though I never knew him personally. I have countless such teachers I don’t have a wall big enough but they are all in my heart! Gayatri Rao (Animagic Special Effects, Co-Director) Vijay Mohan was in my time the head of the Fine arts dept, College of Art, Delhi. He was very inspiring. So even while I was floating around in the Applied art stream, learning to paint realistically, carve typo with a steady hand and coin slogans to sell products, I would submit my weekly assignments a day in advance so i could attend a day of his life drawing classes where he did not teach us at all! He only gently prodded us to question what we saw by making us think. He would ask; do you think the eye is as wide as the lips? or is this angle of the head tilt you have drawn, the same as what the model is suggesting? With utmost frugality of words, he helped me hone a vision to see: what is not working in a drawing, which has truly been a gift I treasure. Salutations to Prof A.G Rao, IDC IIT Bombay. During my masters programme in Design, the most gentle and ever smiling soul and my guide for believing in me when I had no leg to stand on literally! I had taken up the task of animating a short film as my student project with no specialized animation equipment or soft wares to back me up, but just a grand cause – ‘ to not teach structured drawing to kids in schools and to let them discover their originality’. He would pass my hostel each evening to find me sitting at my window with my then broken leg in a cast, drawing or dreaming my film away.So he was inspired to gift me the book. ‘TOTOCHAN – The little girl by the window’ which has been in so many ways the wind beneath my wings to take up flights of fantasy and embark fearlessly in the world of Animation. Thank you sir for so many silent journeys I have ventured into and survived since then. In my internship at Films Division’s cartoon film Unit I met Smt. Sheila Paralkar one of India’s first and only professional women animators at the time. Her silent perseverance and indomitable courage behind the scenes of many classic FD cartoons seeped into my consciousness and paved a path. Sincere gratitude for all these and many more who have guided and lit lamps of inspiration along the way. Karan Vir Arora (Vimanika Comics, CEO/Visionary) My Mentor in my family, the one who has guided me with her life example on earth is my mother Sudha Kapoor it was her who taught me to believe in God, but my teacher, my Gandalf so to say or my Parshurama on earth was Vikram Kapur who taught me the subtleties & harsh realities of life through his practical way of living & through his phenomenal school called “Geddai” which was situated deep in the jungles in the midst of a mountain in South India below Ooty. It was a school that supported free thought and encouraged creativity & physical fitness balancing your mind & body, very akin to Shantiniketan, in fact it was built of intellectual creativity & pure hardwork – the very principles of it built the foundation of my belief that no one is a failure or a loser in life and that every one is special no matter what, every one has some or the other talent in them; in my case it was my writing which was tapped (with all the other talents I never knew I had) The environment that Vikram had created in the school was what built my belief in me and made me believe that I was special when the world had thrown me in the jungle and discarded me, when society had rejected me – it was only Vikram who embraced and me took me under his wings and developed me into a wonderful, compassionate human being, who now believes in himself & his talent and live with a never give up attitude, no matter what the adversity or who the adversary is. As our Prime Minister , Narendra Modi said, “We have to see that our kids do not become robots. They should appreciate arts. Without arts, life is robotic”, let us spare a minute and thank our mentors to making us believe in who we are.