Punyakoti, the first Sanskrit full length animated feature film will be streamed online through BookMyShow on 11 July 2020 across India. Owing to the pandemic and the lockdown, BookMyShow has been streaming shows and events and Punyakoti is the first animated feature film to be streamed through this booking platform. Commenting on this initiative, a BookMyShow spokesperson told AnimationXpress, “As the leading discovery engine for all things entertainment in the country across movies and live entertainment, BookMyShow caters to all demographics of audiences providing them with varied choices in terms of entertainment genres including virtual experiences that have become the need of the hour in the shadow of the COVID health crisis. With Punyakoti, we are thrilled to bring the India Internet Premiere of the film and be able to play the role of a catalyst in furthering culturally-rooted cinema to millions of users who opt for BookMyShow to choose their favourite films to watch. Punyakoti is the first ever Sanskrit animated film to be made in India and we are glad to be able to seamlessly stream this culturally significant film on our platform and enable its reach to scores of Indians.” Director Ravi Shankar had toiled hard for five years to make this film and is still paying off his loans. Punyakoti has won four awards at AnimationXpress’ ANN Awards in 2019, and received international acclaim for its creative excellence in storytelling and animation. It was a finalist at the New York Animation Awards in 2020. Shankar who is an ex-employee of Infosys shared with us, “Punyakoti is a humble attempt to take Sanskrit to the next generation. Conversational Sanskrit is simple and close to many Indian languages. We want the movie to reach every family in India. BookMyShow has given us the right platform to do that. The proceeds of the online show will go in helping animators to rebuild their careers in these difficult times. So we seek the support of the leaders of the animation community and the audience for making this show a huge success across India.” The animated film is inspired by an episode of Mahabharata and the popular Kannada folk song about a truth-speaking cow and her encounter with a tiger in a village that is facing an impending drought. Legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja has composed music for the film and noted actress Revathy has lent her voice to the lead character, Punyakoti. Roger Narayan, a leading Kannada and Hollywood actor has essayed the role of Kalinga. National award-winning editor Manoj Kannoth has handled the editing. Punyakoti is also the largest crowdfunded movie of its kind and was funded through Wishberry. Punyakoti received the CBFC certification in April 2020, but could not hit the big screens due to the COVID 19 lockdown. Currently it is streaming on Netflix since 31 March and its trailer has crossed half a million views on YouTube. This is certainly one of a kind event as the first Sanskrit animated film will be premiered online through the popular discovery engine, and is indeed a proud moment for the Indian Animation community. AnimationXpress reached out to a few industry veterans for their comments on this event. Here’s what they said – Punnaryug Artvision founder, industry veteran and FICCI AVGC chairman Ashish Kulkarni : “World’s first ever Sanskrit animated movie, Punyakoti is a unique creation. Getting a breakthrough with the help of BookMyShow for an India wide release in COVID times is an amazing and a welcome news for the industry. I am really happy that the audience will be able to see this unique creation and style of animation. I feel it’s a very important step and happening for Indian Animation. I wish the creators all the best for the release of the movie.” ABAI secretary and industry veteran B.S.Srinivas : “Sanskrit, the classical language of India which has given life to many languages and animation which has given life to beautiful characters over the years have come together to revive an age old story Punyakoti which is India’s pride. This film is now creating history by being the first animated film to be streamed through BookMyShow which is a huge boost to our industry during this COVID crisis. Hopefully this paves way for more and more innovative creative content to reach out to the content hungry audiences of our country. A huge salute to this attempt and best wishes to Ravishankar and his entire team who have made Bengaluru and Karnataka proud by taking huge strides through this wonderful film.” TASI (The Animation Society of India) treasurer Ranjit ‘Tony’ Singh : “Great to see platforms like BMS encouraging animation content. It’s a positive development going forward for all aspiring animation film makers. My very best to the film and I hope people support the effort by watching the film.” We hope Indian animation reaches another high with this film.