In conversation with the mind behind Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya

by March 17, 2019 0 comments

Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya, which premiered at Toronto Film Festival in 2013, is finally released in India. Director Shilpa Ranade tells SHALINI SAKSENA animation is her choice to tell stories

How has your journey been thus far?

I picked up an area — animation — to make films which is not really big in India. it has been tough since there are not many options to the kind of work that I want to do. There isn’t much funding, not many platforms where one can showcases one’s work and not many like-minded animators. There are very few animators who are experimenting with their work or their storytelling or are invested in doing things that are local. It is still a very niche area.

Why choose animation to tell your stories?

I was always interested in visual arts. I studied Applied Arts and went to Sir JJ College of Architecture. From my early days at JJ I was part of film clubs and societies and saw some interesting work from Europe. Animation, I thought was a powerful medium. It brought image making, moving images and storytelling together. For me, this was important because I wanted to make such moving stuff. So it started way back and then went on to study animation.

Where does India stand when it comes to animation?

Technically, we are decent since a lot of back-end work is outsourced to the country. People are trained on the job and the quality is good. Where we lack is storytelling and making original content.

Is that why some of animation that is made in India is not at par with what we see abroad?

I would not say that it is not lack of imagination as much but that not many people are investing in animation. Even if there are some, where do they get the funding, if they get that, who will show that work? It is a chain. You don’t create an audience, you don’t create a culture that views these films other than animation from Disney or any other production house.

Are you a designer, illustrator, a filmmaker or an academician?

I think that design encompasses all. For me, illustration and animation comes under design. Designer is not different from an illustrator. My focus is book illustration and animation. I teach because I enjoy it.

What is Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya about?

I am an book illustrator and got this book from Scholastic which is a classic story by Upendra Kishore Roychowdhury back in 1915. It has been retold by many people. The version I got is from Gulzar. I drew for the book and while I was doing it,m I thought it was perfect material for animation — the original work. I had seen Satyajit Ray’s work on the book as well. He was Roy Chowdhury’s grandson, there was this amazing lineage. I wanted to make a film that would resonate with kids today. Animation is perfect.

Does the animation have a message to tell?

Yes. It is important that everything that I do is just for entertainment. It is important to have good content for children since we don’t do a lot of things for them. This film has a anti-war message, a peace loving film, which is relevant today.

So there lack of films for children?

Definitely. We have so many films coming out from the industry. Where do we have kids film? Except for CFSI, I don’t think anybody is making films for kids?

Where do you get your ideas for animation?

I see what is happening around me or what I read, or music I listen to. All this reflects in my subject.

Writer: Shalini Saksena

Courtesy: The Pioneer


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