The story of Indian animation: not just a blend of stories, but an unsung history

Animation is defined as the art of making inanimate objects move. Yes, literally move! Well, don’t you find it amusing? Maybe, not now, but a few decades back, this sounded like some sort of magic. Animation was and is more than a Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. It is a way to get to the niche of any story and bring it out with things that one can dare to imagine. The first Indian animation film was brought to life towards the end of the nineteenth century. But the idea has been cherished over a thousand years. Story telling has been a central part of Indian culture. With puppetry narrating various stories of magic, fantasy, animals and other traditions, India has been animating for a while now, just unaware of the animation technology! With creativity flowing already through the blood of Indian story tellers, the generation which raised the animation bar in India were doing this with all their heart. And, with the mighty will of creating something worthy, the animators’ brigade in India began their journey! IDC professor Phani Tetali along with D’source PI and IDC professor Ravi Poovaiah and research associate Swati Agarwal came up with a project under D’source (an initiative by IDC, IIT Bombay, DoD, IIT Guwahati and NID Bengaluru) and brought together the veterans of the industry to tell their story. How they evolved and how animation became their heart and soul? What made them the masters they are today? What kind of zeal these magicians possessed to give life to creations oh so elevated? The team was eager to bring the stories of these veterans to the common man or the imminent artists to make a pathway to create their desired dream in animation. “This resource is an attempt to look at the evolution of Indian animation since its inception in the pre-independence era till the present age of smart phones and tablets. It explores the development of the industry and its potential given the rich cultural history of India,” says Tetali and Agarwal. With legendary names like Ram Mohan, Shaila Paralkar, Nina Sabnani, Dhimant Vyas, Vaibhav Kumaresh, Gitanjali Rao, Manisha Mohan, RL Mistry, Sumant Rao, Suddhasattwa Basu, Shilpa Ranade, Sekhar Mukherjee, E. Suresh, Bhimsain Khurana, Ajit Rao, Chetan Sharma, Binita Desai, Arnab Chaudhari, Phani Tetali, Prosenjit Ganguly, Prakash Moorthy and Chetan Sashital in the league, how can these be just normal videos talking about animation? It’s not a series of videos but the history of those miraculous hands that work on it! IDC professor Rao in one of the videos quotes, “Animation as an industry will only exist if animation as a profession does well. Have faith, have patience and you will become good at animation.” Animators are a special breed creating purposeful content. The enduring magic of animation has caught the imagination of all age groups and made life a fantasy world. When an animation show plays on TV or anywhere on web, not only a child but even an 80 year old won’t budge. That’s the charisma of animation! The veterans from the industry are all set to take all on a tour and show the journey of animation!