Walt Disney's The Jungle Book is a nostalgic story for many of us, especially for those who consider themselves as 'The 90s Kids.' We grew up watching The Jungle Book animation series that was screened on our-own Doordarshan channel. We loved characters like Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, and Akela, while Sherekhan and Tabaqui were our enemies. A couple of years ago, The Jungle Book reappeared on the silver screen with spectacular visual effects and instantly connected with the Indian audience, collecting over Rs. 243 crores in India. While the film went on to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 2016, not many know that much of the exhaustively detailed animation for this live-action film was accomplished by the lesser-known heroes of the Moving Pictures Company's Bangalore office.
Similarly, the spotless animation developed by Indian animators won Life of Pi an Oscar for the Best Visual Effects in 2013. Although not Oscar-winning movies, Shrek and How to Train your Dragon are a couple of other animated movies that have outsourced a colossal amount of work to Indian animation and SFX studios and the list is growing exceptionally. Unfortunately, it seems like the glorified 'Make in India' campaign has not addressed the animation industry effectively, as there has been no award-worthy original SFX or animation cinema from Indian production houses. The closest was Baahubali, which reportedly took 33 animation studios working on VFX post-production, with graphics and animation that took almost a year and a half to create and perfect.
The animation in India has come a long way. Now, we do have easy availability of professional education offered by animation and multimedia institutes in the form of specially designed animation courses. However, investors in the sector need look beyond the mythological concepts such as Krishna or Hanuman for a storyline to make the VFX industry bigger and better. Following the tried and tested formula will not encourage creative minds. If our educators can fine-tune our creative talents to think out-of-the-box and our investors are ready to put their money to make interesting animated characters, we can definitely rewrite the history with another homegrown Jungle Book.
In this issue, we have identified 'Top 10 Promising Animation and Design Institutes in India' that are unlocking the passion of young talents in the country. We hope our efforts will help the students with a creative bent.