''DELHI SAFARI is the most expensive animation film of India''
Krayon Pictures, a 3D animation studio in Pune that has been set up to create original stories for the global market, is ready with its first project DELHI SAFARI, a 3D stereoscopic animation film directed by Nikhil Adavni. The film which took around four years in completion and is finally up for release, did rounds of some prestigious film festivals like Annecy Film Festival 2012 in France, FICCI FRAMES 2012, etc. Recently we caught up with the Director & Co-founder of Krayon Pictures, Nishith Takia, who spoke at length about the film, the reason behind the delay, the animation market in India and much more. Here are the excerpts:
DELHI SAFARI was in the making for last four years. Why it took long to decide upon its release?
Yes, finally we are releasing the film. Actually, the studio was set-up along with this film. And the procedure is long enough. So we had two things to concentrate on - the film and the operations of studio. Since DELHI SAFARI is first of its kind 3D stereoscopic film, technically it was a tedious task. Secondly, the film has English version which took another time. We started the project around four years back but for last one year we were ready and went releasing and showcasing the film in other parts of the world and at various film festivals. It was a strategic decision to take the film beyond Indian boundaries in a way to build relations with other countries, market & screen the film to find buyers and take advantage of the film before release.
Since the film was in the making for long time, do you think it will lose its relevance?
It has a very global story, a relevant topical film. The film talks about deforestation and saving the planet which very well has got relevance to the present day, people would connect with the present world scenario.
Why DELHI SAFARI is being touted first of its kind or why it has an edge over other animation films?
There are couple of things unique about DELHI SAFARI. This is the first time we will see a 3D stereoscopic animation film. It's not a typical mythological film like we have been seeing. It has high end high quality stereo, animation made on the lines which studios like DreamWorks and Pixar are known for. At the same time the film is as per Bollywood standards with voices by top stars like Govinda, Akshaye Khanna, Boman Irani,Urmila Matondkar and Suniel Shetty.
The storytelling is very bollywoodish. We have music in the film by noted musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Not only this the English version of the film features voices by well-known names like Jason Alexander, Brad Garret, Vanessa Williams, Jane Lynch, Christopher Lloyd and Cary Elwiss. The film has been screened at the coveted festivals like Cannes, Annecy film festival (which happens to be Oscar of animation industry), American film festival, Goa film festival, etc. Around 180-200 films are sent for screening at Annecy film festival and some 8-10 films are selected. DELHI SAFARI was one among them. It was chosen for the 'official selection' section at the Annecy Film Festival 2012 in France which I think is a big feat.
"DELHI SAFARI has global appeal"
How has been the response all over?
We have exposed to it to English diaspora and got some encouraging results. It resonates with the emotion of the people, the storytelling works, the people are connecting to the emotions, characters. It has a global appeal. The film was basically showcased at various film fests to gauge the response of people, to know audiences opinion. We did various test screenings for different age group of people - from kids to mid 20-30's to parents, etc...And to our surprise people across the world have liked it and gave thumbs up to the film.
What's your take on animation films in India? Do animation films have a market in India?
Culturally, people in India are not inclined to watch animation films. They are hooked to entertainment and action films. Animation is not very matured market in India. Even if they watch it they watch it on DVD or watch some English film...Films like MADAGASCAR 3, SHREK, ICE AGE 4 are doing business in millions outside, they are huge hits but not in our country. We don't make so much money out of animation films. We get huge opening weekend for a Salman film but not for animated films. Having said that there have been successful films like CHHOTA BHEEM, HANUMAN to reckon with.
Why DELHI SAFARI has global appeal or what makes it globally appealing
The characters in DELHI SAFARI are very generic. We have tiger, monkey, parrot, lion, and elephant as main characters which are globally recognized faces. Most of these animated characters can travel anywhere, they can cross boundaries, so the connect with the audience becomes easy. Even ROADSIDE ROMEO had characters that were easily accepted by people transcending the cultures, countries. With a potential story, the film was enjoyed by all over the world. Next big thing about DELHI SAFARI is, the film is dubbed in English because of which several distributors are inching towards it. We would have multiple language releases. The acceptance has been wide.
What was the idea to have 3D stereoscopic film?
I think our animation film has the potential to exploit the new technology. Hollywood films are already making 3D stereoscopic films and audiences are quite used to watching it. So, it is important we give them a similar kind of experience.
What was the need to have known faces for mere voiceovers?
"DELHI SAFARI will increase everybody's stake and belief in animation films.."
Stars like Govinda, Akshaye Khanna, Boman Irani, Urmila or the well-known Hollywood stars are easily recognized and that gives connect to the film. It also helps in marketing of the film. They may be stars but they have to act with voice. And to act without camera is the biggest challenge. Good actors know how to emote, how and where to express, which dialogue or emotion to emphasize or give a punch. It is a very amazing job.
Can you tell us about the budgets of the film?
I would rather not disclose it. I can say it's a decent budget. I'm not allowed to but all I can say is its highly budgeted film. DELHI SAFARI is the most expensive animation film of India.
Can you tell us about the plans sketched out for promotions?
We do have some interesting plans to promote the film. We'll take the film to schools, malls conduct various programmes, sessions, create awareness about deforestation and other environmental issues since the film has an underlying message 'Do not disturb the environment'. Having said that, I would like to add DELHI SAFARI is a social, entertaining fun masala film and not a documentary.
Tell us about the challenges faced while making DELHI SAFARI?
We spent lot of time in writing the film, the punch lines and all. It was challenging to write this film. The primary target of the film may be children but we also had to make sure that adults don't get bored, so we had to come with some striking dialogues, punch lines.
Do you have specific release strategy in place for DELHI SAFARI
Yes we do have a strategy in place for DELHI SAFARI, which has a pre-Diwali release i.e. 19th October 2012. As Diwali is a period for big releases. The budgets get consumed by them; big star films eat away businesses. So we are trying to avoid clash. Additionally, it's a struggle to get more number of screens. Though it cannot be released in whopping 1600-1800 screens, DELHI SAFARI is being planned to have a bigger release like high Hollywood animation films. Much like ICEAGE 4, DELHI SAFARI will get distributed all over the country.
Do you think DELHI SAFARI will break the pre-conceived notion about animation films in India? It will improve the status of animation films?
I honestly think any film brings confidence. Nothing can guarantee whether the film will crack or not. We really don't know what the fate of the film will be. But we are optimistic and hoping it succeeds and creates noise. Director Nikhil Advani has worked hard on this film. All I can say is the faith of people in animation films will increase after this. More and more people will participate and get influenced towards animation films. DELHI SAFARI will increase everybody's stake and belief in animation films..
It was a great journey making this film. With nice songs, a good story, a completely relevant subject DELHI SAFARI has all the ingredients of an entertaining fun adventure film.
-- By Rachana Sheth, Glamsham Editorial