How Sagar Taneja’s love for Bollywood turned him into a ‘South Park’ caricaturist

Bollywood South Park founder Sagar Taneja

Far away in the Arabian gulf of Bahrain, illustrator Sagar Taneja pours out his love for Bollywood through his sketches and arts. Having grown up in a family of Bollywood buffs, the bling naturally caught up with him too and today, with his caricatures of the stars from the industry, has garnered numerous followers of Facebook and other social networking platforms.

“I remember that my father, who is a hardcore Dev Anand fan, made me and my brother watch old Bollywood films when we were young. Growing up in Dubai, we watched every Hindi film in the cinema. My mother used to read Filmfare magazines and used to update us with all the related news. It was natural that we both became Bollywood buffs,” reveals Taneja, whose passion was later complemented by stars such as Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh after sharing his work on their official social media pages.

“My brother though, took his love for Bollywood a step further – he is now a producer,” as he exclaims. He then harks back to that eureka moment which inspired Bollywood South Park – “A couple of years back, I was working for a digital marketing agency in Mumbai, and we were handling the social media presence of Don 2. We wanted to create new and innovative content for social media but more importantly; I wanted to impress my boss and my team (being a fresher).”

Shah Rukh Khan in a still, holding aloft Sagar Taneja’s work dedicated to the star

“So I thought of animating Shah Rukh Khan’s character in the movie. Since I was a big fan of South Park that time, I then thought of making a South Park avatar of Shah Rukh!”

In case you weren’t aware already, South Park is a legendary American animated show that’s been airing since the last 20 years, and Taneja recounts how mesmerised he was left by their satirising of various real-life issues grappling the people. “I think that South Park is one of the greatest pieces of pop culture ever produced. I was just blown away by how they addressed some of the most relevant issues of our society through animation and humour that the show became my instant favourite.”

Being such a huge Bollywood junkie, the one actor that he endears is Mr. Perfectionist, Aamir Khan, who he says, inspires to strive harder and also explains the reason – “The man is a legend! There is no actor in the industry that is as dedicated to his craft as he is. And this inspires me to put an extra effort whenever I work on any of his avatars. I think it’s probably the reason why all his avatars stand out.”

It’s easy to get amused by the art at the sight of it, but a lot surely goes into the making. Sagar Taneja follows a certain methodology while working on an illustration, and also ensures even the finest of the details are taken care of. He says, “It starts with finding the best possible image of the movie’s character that I am trying to make. I then use Adobe Illustrator to try to draw the outline and the body of the character just like it is in the image. For details like hairstyles and moustaches, I use my Wacom Intuos tablet. I finally add the finishing touches to the design in Adobe Photoshop.”

Despite the enormous efforts involved, Taneja also reveals the one project for which he had to walk the extra mile – “It has to be Jagga Jasoos. This was the first time I drew an animal! Making two characters itself is time-consuming, but making two characters sit on an animal, perfectly aligned, took me the longest time! It was totally worth it, though!”

In the three years and three months that Taneja started his venture, his work has gone on to feature in the BuzzFeed, CNN India, and even tabloids such as M.J Akbar’s The Sunday Guardian. Whilst that’s overwhelming, that certainly isn’t his most cherished memory. “The most cherished memory so far was when India Film Project invited me to do an exhibition of my cartoons at Nehru Center in Mumbai, earlier this year for which I couldn’t be more grateful. Looking at an entire wall of my cartoons made me feel like a true artist!”

Sagar Taneja at the India Film Project 2017

And before signing off, any word of advice to all the aspiring illustrators and animators?Make art that satisfies yourself, and don’t worry how people will perceive it. The most important thing is that you enjoy making the art; Don’t be shy to promote your art in any way. Share it on social media, tell people about it and proactively approach publications.”

From casual illustrations to designing for CryptoBitco – Journey of Parul Khandelwal’s Line Drawing Co

Ever gazed at the limitless, leisurely moving, azure coloured firmament up above and experienced an avalanche of hazy, imbelic-yet-intriguing imaginations letting rip in your head? Well, graphic designer and illustrator Parul Khandelwal’s one such moment while perambulating on the bustling streets of Bandra, Mumbai, became the turning point of her life. It marked the inception of her own graphic designing and illustration venture, The Line Drawing Co (TLDC).

“I looked up at the sky and saw a huge pent house, made of glass. I could also see a chandelier, the lights and the decor. And that’s exactly when I thought I need that in my style, my colours and my design. I want a studio so high up in the air, made of glass,” recalls Parul.

“The feeling I had cannot be described in words. However, that’s when I decided to organise all my artwork, ideas and colours at one place and call it The Line Drawing Co.”

TLDC, as she puts it, stands for learning and exploring the art in various ways, commercial as well as artistic. “And that’s why everything’s done in terms of graphics and illustrations,” she explains.

Started as recently as April this year, TLDC may still be in an embryonic stage but their short journey has been interspersed with pressure and pleasure in equal measure. To quote Parul herself – “It has been intense in terms of both the pace of the work and people. We all know how tough it is to convince people for what is best for them. The backstage of digital marketing is crazy whilst the speed and determination of people putting up things live on the social media is insane and matching up to it is a challenge. But we try our best.”

On the contrary, she also says, “It is also provocative. Social media, people and the colours are provoking enough to always keep me functioning, motivated and highly self-driven to get to my dream.”

“It’s not more about being only the best, it’s also about being smart, skilful and presentable, after all we make too many mock-ups.”

Helmed solely by Parul herself, TLDC also collaborates with freelancers for artwork, giving the complete time and space liberty. When it comes to exhibitions, she always looks forward to working with artists of different beats, creating a learning experience of both. She elaborates, “For instance our last exhibition was with a shoe designer, while the next will be with a chef, then with a photographer and so on.”

Talking of exhibitions, TLDC’s last outing was at the India Film Project last month that was in collaboration with a shoe designer and Parul feels so elated recollecting the rave reviews which they garnered. “The response for the designs (illustrations) was super good. We fortunately had more appreciation than criticism which makes me really happy and motivated. We look forward to work with people of different fields for further exhibitions.”

Its other recent project includes branding for Buzzy Baby – a kids media company in Mumbai – coming up with the logo, colours and collaterals. “They are great people to work with and very supportive in terms of any information or material if need be,” she extols.

The term crypto currency mining is unbeknownst to many, so designing a logo for them comes with its own perils. Parul talks about the challenges she faced while working on the same for CryptoBitco and the response that her designs got – “I had a great experience working for them. I showed them a few designs and the one they liked the most is their current logo.”

The CryptoBitco logo that was selected by the company

“I believe a logo should be personally associated with the person, and they found it in one of my designs before making it their official logo.”

Chrome Communication is another initiative TLDC had recently collaborated with. That dealt with the social media creatives for some of the best food and beverage brands in Mumbai including Dishkiyaaon, LMNOPQ, Old Wild West et cetera. “Chrome is a brand that has given me the opportunity to increase my pace at work and it was fun despite having a lot of work.”

In an era where an increasing number of graphic designers and illustrators are availing the luxury of graphic tablets, Parul chooses to stick to the old, simplistic way of designing with a pen on a paper. Yet, her modest method of working doesn’t speak about the big ambitions she harbours for her venture. She believes, “Five years down the line, TLDC will grow much bigger, better and higher. We will be more experienced in what we do and hope working with the very best in the field in the world.”

Amen to that!


India Film Project kicked off to a flyer with Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza and Kunal Kapoor sprinkling stardust

The India Film Project returned with its seventh edition with a two-day schedule filled with discussions, workshops and an evening to India’s first digital award specific to web videos.

Joined by several personalities of Bollywood including Kunal Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza along with content producers from various channels and background, inquisitive and aspiring filmmakers poured in to workshops for understanding the insider beans of creating content.

Film director Sagar Ballary (centre) and actor Kunal Kapoor (right) on ‘How to pitch your film’

Kunal Kapoor in a conversation on How To Pitch Your Film?, expressed that as an actor he was “stuck in a box” in terms of the roles and that’s when he decided to take time off to change physically and re-package himself. Almost instantly, he ended up with stronger characters like in Veeram and Rag Desh and so he believes that presentation is important along with capabilities to pull it off while pitching a story as a content writer.

Along with him in conversation was film director Sagar Ballary of Bheja Fry, and producer and CEO Chhitra Subramanam who felt the need for the content writing sensibilities to be put differently while presenting to producers, actors or directors whilst keeping a strong logline for generating interest.

(From left to right) Director Shashank Khaitan and actresses Dia Mirza and Neha Dhupia on the ‘Changing dynamics of Bollywood’

In a conversation with Dia Mirza, Neha Dhupia and Shashank Khaitan on Changing Dynamics Of Bollywood, Dia said that the audience today are maturing and are not necessarily attracted to stereotypical movies for escapism and are looking to get sense of reality. “Low-budget movies like Newton have done well, and such changes are due to sociology-political scenes that have been changing since past few years that are enabling such movies,” she added.

“Consumer is king,” according to Neha Dhupia, as she opines that only a few people are making such changes and there is a variety of audience catering to multiple contents and hence, numbers are only dipping overall. She said that the times have now got competitive as the audience back then could get suede away easily but today research is very important to not lapse off audience in this sea of content.

The evening witnessed India Film Project host the festival’s first digital awards for web videos with over 5500 videos competing across as many as seven categories.

Asia’s largest content creation festival ‘India Film Project’ is back with a two day jamboree!

Looking to do something on this long weekend? Then here’s your chance to spice it up!

The India Film Project brings to you Asia’s largest content creation festival at Nehru Centre in Worli, Mumbai on 30 September and 1 October 2017, from 10 am to 10 pm.

There are over 25 conversations planned along with more than 11 workshops and master classes on film making and its aspects.

It is a delightful amalgamation of the web and Bollywood coming together and discussing the ins and outs of how the entertainment industry works top to bottom.

Sounds like one of its kind festival, doesn’t it? So anyone who loves to read, act or even film, shouldn’t miss this opportunity.

India Film Project is a film-making competition being conducted since last seven years and this festival is also accompanied by the screening of the winning films of the competition where you also get to witness the upcoming talent.

IFP 2017: The star-studded line-up

In the conversations, celebrities like Ashutosh Gowariker (director of Lagaan), Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Kunal Kapoor, Irshad Kamil, Anjum Rajabali (screenwriter of GhulamPukarRajneeti and Chakravyuh), Shruti Madan, Carry Minati, Harsh Beniwal, Jose Covaco, Nidhi Bisht and 60 more stars from Bollywood and web are going to address the audience.

Along with this, the festival will also witness 11 workshops and master classes. There are workshops from actors preparing to writing for the web about pitching your story and much more.

How could you skip such a star-studded event?

Also, they have a flea and activity zone with the funkiest, coolest products and amazing activities to enjoy yourself along with your buddies.

Book your tickets now and do not miss the chance to witness the movie mania!

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