Let’s start our story with a video!
This show has created quite a stir in the kids’ space in the Indian animation ecosystem and even helped propel Discovery Kids’ ratings by 112 per cent some time back. While the show still continues to enthral kids quite successfully, we caught up with the creators of the series to get some more insights about the studio.
Located in a rather quiet locality in the western suburbs of Mumbai, Paperboat Design Studios, has been working relentlessly to create some amazing animation content, one of which is the aforementioned comic extravaganza, Bandbudh aur Budbak.
We spoke to the three co-founders to get some more insights about the studio and the work they do.
Between 2007 and 2010, Soumitra Ranade, Aashish Mall and Mayank Patel worked together on various projects. According to them, “We had a fantastic rapport between us, and a common dream – to have an animation studio of our own. We wanted to create a space that we ourselves, and many like us, could use to make cutting-edge animation: a space, which is throbbing with energy and new ideas. We had no investor, and we didn’t want one either. We started the studio with just a few thousands, because what is a studio after all? – It is only what we are.”
With a simple, yet alluring name to their studio, the heads say, “‘Paperboat’ alludes to many things. First and foremost, we are all from an art background. So for us, there’s almost a religiosity attached to paper. Mankind became a civilisation only when it started making paper! That’s just our view of course. A paper boat also refers to childhood memories; it reminds us of rains…of little streams. And a paper boat is a beautiful example of origami – the art of paper folding.”
Irrespective of the metaphoric approach to the name, the team at the studio has done much, much more than just folding paper! A dekko at their portfolio of projects, both concluded and concurrent, gives you the sense of the diverse nature of work they have done or taken up!
Paperboat Studios has concluded a varied set of work over the last seven years, their most recent project being the animated TV series, Bandbudh aur Budbak. The show has been a runaway success which is evident from the popularity of the IP and the ratings of the channel it aired on. The studio has also recently produced a live action feature film Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? which will be releasing soon.
Paperboat also has some very path breaking TVCs like Superbabies for Nestle to their credit.
A walk through the studio gives you a glimpse of the intensity of the projects they are currently working on. With around 60 to 65 talented individuals from diverse backgrounds working at the studio, the flow seems pretty seamless and the management is not hesitant to hire more help when workload is much more. The list of people working here range from writers, designers, illustrators, layout artists, storyboard artists to animators, compositors, VFX artists, editors and more!
With the content consumption patterns changing by the day and the market leaning more towards trend-oriented content, the studio is already geared up to match the market pace. “Our natural instinct is to lean towards cutting-edge, experimental design and animation. Our effort is to push the boundaries even in the mainstream projects that we do. It is important for us to constantly reinvent ourselves, even while keeping a close watch over the pulse of our audiences. We need to challenge our audiences just as we challenge ourselves. The idea of ownership is paramount for us. Whatever we do in our studio becomes ours. It belongs to us – we need to be proud of what we create.” assert the trio.
When asked about expansion plans, just like the thought process behind the Studio’s name, the co-founders reverted in a rather broader sense, reflecting upon the principles and ideas behind the work they do. As they said, “Our expansion plans are conceptual rather than physical. We are exploring various spaces, different medias and diverse technologies. We are also looking at associations outside of India. We are partnering with like-minded individuals and studios abroad to enlarge our creative space. Expansion for us is not a number game – that if today we are 65, tomorrow we should be 300. Like we said earlier, we are expanding so that we enrich our lives and hence our work.”
Apart from all these, the studio produced Gopi Gawaiyaa Bagha Bajaiyaa which was the first Indian animation feature film that had a world premiere at TIFF, one of the top four international film festivals.
They had much earlier also produced Karadi Tales, another animated series.
Paperboat Studios is currently working on Bombay Rose, an Indo-French co-production and feature, directed by Gitanjali Rao, which will likely be completed by end of the year. They are also in the pre-production stages of Kabuliwala, an animated feature based on the Tagore classic.