Studio Eeksaurus reveals its X factor

Animation is a form of storytelling; it is through the design process that they give birth to animation of various kinds to tell different stories in a unique fashion. And, these different forms of animated stories if created distinctly live forever in our minds and we resonate with these characters for eternity. Being pioneers in the craft of advertising film making, campaigns like Amaron battery ads, ICICI Chintamani, USHA Sewing machines, in the past, experimental projects like Google Tanjore and the present popular Rajasthan Tourism Sand art animation are cemented as remunerations for their design process and longer innings. You just take the name of any of these projects and we can imagine what it is very vividly. The creator of this legendary work that has baffled audience across the globe is a Mumbai based ‘design centric studio’ named Studio Eeksaurus. Film making, design, animation and E Suresh… “I never thought I will be able to manage so many people and have a studio of my own one day,” admits Studio Eeksaurus, founder, Suresh Eriyat. Emerging from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, the young Suresh Eriyat had a key inclination towards animation, film making and design but was clueless about the market for animation. Well in 1997, there was neither much direction nor scope for animation in India.
Suresh Eriyat
Starting his career at Western Outdoor Interactive in Mumbai, Suresh worked as a graphic designer as part of his first multimedia job in the city. He recollects, “I never wanted to take up animation specifically as it was quite an unpopular specialisation at NID. But my jury felt that I should take up animation since I was an introvert and it would help me to ‘quietly’ make my own films on my light box without any interaction with the others and the outside world! That’s how I was forced into animation but later I started enjoying and loving it. I was sure that I never wanted to join any company and do just one particular part of a job without having the knowledge of the big picture. I had learned animation film design and I wanted to explore it.” Later he moved to Famous Cine Labs & Studios (today known as Famous Studios) and expanded his skill to a great extent by creating ICICI Chintamani commercial, Simpu series, MTV Poga series, Bindu re Bindu music video (first animated music video from India) and attempted to translate the Amar Chitra Katha based stories into animated episodes. He explains, “Animation in 1997 was used more like a decoration in an ad film. There was not much space for animated content.” Though he learnt a lot from failures then, Suresh had the entrepreneur within him alive and wanted to create something of his own; he wanted to tell stories using animation and make films! The birth of Eeksaurus… 1 October, 2009 served as the 1st birthday of the Studio Eeksaurus. The studio named after the fictitious dinosaur derived from Suresh’s nickname from NID days ‘Eeks’ was started in order to explore and experiment with film making beyond animation; Suresh Eriyat didn’t want to stick to a particular style or a medium of animation but wanted to experiment, explore and use various techniques. He recollects, “When I started Eeksaurus, though the team at Famous backed me by following me to Eeksaurus, we still had to seek for help from a lot of entities like a typical startup venture. Fortunately, projects started coming to Studio Eeksaurus and the team began delivering brilliant creative work thus, getting better with each project.” A startup turned into a family of artists… From a team of just 4-5 people during Famous House of Animation days, Studio Eeksaurus today has turned into a family of around 25 -30 artists who are capable to try and experiment with various forms and mediums of film making. He adds, “Animation pipeline generally is quite compartmentalised, and a particular person does a particular job only. But at Eeksaurus, every artist has the freedom and opportunity to try out various kinds of work beyond his specialised field to incorporate cross pollination.” Studio Eeksaurus1 Everything begins with a story… Storytelling is the source and summit. Be it commercial, feature film or even short stories; story is the root. Suresh says, “Everything around us has a story, every being that we encounter in our daily life is a character. It depends on how we see it and connect the dots.” Animated film making has numerous possibilities; the techniques here are unlimited making imagination as the limiting factor. Studio Eeksaurus has tapped this ideology and explored various forms of animation like hand drawn animation, 2D and 3D digital (CGI), stop motion, Claymation, sand animation, mixed media and also animation using live action. And the quest is still on for learning, experimenting and discovering. It is a never-ending process. The journey of Eeksaurus so far… Cluster of over 350 films, with each one being different from the other, constitutes the portfolio of Suresh. Every project has been challenging and every attempt has been innovative. But the most challenging project was the Usha Sewing Machine commercial which was also the first commercial at Eeksaurus. Suresh explains, “We had a number of sewing machines lined up in our studio. And our artists tried their hands on the sewing machine first to see how capable the machines were before defining the animated moments that one sees in the film. Besides, stop motion animation at that scale, was the first for the studio and perhaps for the country as well!” Studio Eeksaurus 2 Google Tanjore commercial was another project that demanded a considerable amount of effort and creativity from the members of Studio Eeksaurus because there were 100s of people performing in it while the core team was planning, choreographing, animating and even shooting. Eeksaurus also bagged the highly coveted Annecy Crystal award, the first for India, for their animated short Fateline for Rotary which focuses on the bondage of Child Labour broken by the strength of collaboration. Currently, their own animated short film Fisherwoman and Tuk Tuk is travelling around the world at various film festivals displaying the capability of Indian animation across the globe. ‘Using design process, cracking unique forms of film making techniques to breathe life into different stories’ is the ideology that Studio Eeksaurus follows. “Design is the key ingredient that we use in our kitchen, in fact it acts as the fuel sometimes and flavour during the rest,” E Suresh concludes.