The Indian animation industry is entering a transitory phase, as animation studios are moving away from being merely outsourcing hubs to producing original content. The last five months have seen several animation studios getting into co-production or announcing films on their own. The biggest deal to hit headlines has been the Disney tie-up with Yash Raj Films.
Maya Entertainment is coming out with two animation films. One of them is reportedly ‘The Ramayana’. A source associated with the project they are looking to tie up with film stars to lend voices to the characters.
The Indian animation industry is pegged at over $550 million by a Nasscom study. It is expected to grow at 30% annually. But only 20% of the content generated is original
Skill sets in India are very good. Indian studios are good or better than Western studios when it comes to creating something on their own. The corporate culture is slowly coming along.
Though original content is chugging along, animation in India is still largely dominated by sweatshops. The conceptualization, visualization and art direction all is prepared in swanky LA offices and it is only the execution part that is sent down to India. While execution itself is no easy task, one can’t help but wonder when this mechanical routine is going to stop.
The issue of what films to create is a touchy point among animators. While some feel we should look at global content, others want to develop something individualistic. The only way to move is forward. Indian studios problem is that they cannot be content with making films only for the Indian market. A film like Hanuman was good. You can’t recover money if you only want to cater to the domestic market
India has to create own style of animation something like the Japanese Animation. A serious style of animation has to be created in Indian style to put on the world map.
A film that will have production values similar to that of Finding Nemo, will cost Rs. 40-50 crore to make in India. But if a company takes the plunge and makes a good movie, it stands to recover at least 10 times its investment.
India don’t have an animation culture. It is still viewed as children’s entertainment. Indian producers don’t look at this market. It will happen only when people in the market with clout get into the game.
And things are looking good for the animation sector. According to market players, the tie-up between Yash Raj and Disney is the best thing to happen to Indian animation. Visual Computing Labs is doing the first film for them.