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Decade in Analysis-XIV: Why cartoon films have not been able to make their mark?

February 23, 2010 6:32:29 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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The past decade was also a decade in which the Indian animators made their mark internationally in a big way. There is not a single studio of repute that does not deploy the services of the Indian animators to create verticals that have become brand icons in their own, and a money spinning venture. However, when it comes to creating cartoon films in Hindi that could become shining beacons there is nothing much to write home about, though quite a lot of attempts were made during the last decade to establish a new genre in the film making in the form of cartoon films. Could the new decade have a future for cartoon films?

Every year, when the annual Oscars are announced, vying in the best film category are one or two animation films. However, it has not happened so far that in the annual awards jamboree that is held every year for Hindi films a cartoon film also tries to compete in the main category. It is inspite of the fact that India as a country is a place that is replete with folklores, oral tradition and narratives galore.

Disney is coming out with a full page advertisement for its new release THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG that is going to be released on 26 February in all the theatres and UTV is the joint producer. In another related development, TOM AND JERRY the favorite cartoon show celebrated its 70th year of creation, and its fan following still continues to be on an ever expanding mode.

In the decade gone by there was a hope that Indian animation industry would evolve into its own and in anticipation of the same quite a lot of schools of animation schools proliferated all across the country. But the animation industry has not taken off. What is the reason for such a scenario?

If one compares it with the situation as it is there in Hollywood, each of the Hollywood cartoon characters also is present in the form of a cartoon book as well. So a child when he is growing up, is told the story of that character, he or she is able to link with it when its cinematic expression is unfolded on the silver screen. It also happens with the parents of the children who try to relive their childhood through these films.

But this kind of thread of association is not to be found with the Indian attempts of cartoon film making. They still suffer from the hangover of mainstream of Hindi cinema. Therefore, though, Yash Raj films made ROADSIDE ROMEO, the hangover of Hindi films was evident and the film could not succeed. It also happened when a sequel of MY FRIEND GANESHA, one of the rare successes in the Indian animation industry was made.

For the Indian animation based film industry to succeed, it has to carve out a separate niche independent of Hindi film influence. Walt Disney films are an example whose core focus is on animation. Until this is done the animation industry would not be able to make a mark, though it has rich future.

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