By Sugandha Rawal
San Francisco–Finding a story which can cross cultural barriers with a universal theme will help Indian animation industry get noticed and empower it to compete globally, says Amit Baadkar, who has lent his creative inputs to projects like “Finding Dory” and the forthcoming “Cars 3”.
Baadkar, who hails from Karwar city of Karnataka, has been working as Effects Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios since 2010.
“I am not in touch with the Indian animation industry but I have seen movies like ‘Baahubali’. It is not animation, but visual effects in general… I feel that there needs to be a work culture (where) people help others get better,” Baadkar told IANS in an interview at the Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, here.
According to Baadkar, a strong story will give wings to the industry to fly higher.
“I think one of the biggest things in animation is the story. If you have a story that resonates with different cultures and people… Even if the quality of animation is not that good, with a great story you can appeal to a lot of people.
“I think the biggest challenge is to come up with a great story that appeals to an international audience. Once you have a great storyline, that will really help (Indian animation industry) compete globally.”
According to a FICCI-KPMG report, India’s animation industry generated revenues to the tune of Rs 51.1 billion in 2015, marking a growth rate of 13.8 percent. The 2016 revenues were Rs 59.5 billion with growth of 16.04 per cent. It also stated that the domestic animated films “struggle at the box office due to under penetration of screens and direct competition with high quality Hollywood animated content”.
Be it Indian-American Pixar artist Sanjay Patel, Shweta Viswanathan, technical director in the Disney Animation team, Avneet Kaur, a simulation technical director at Walt Disney Animation Studios, or Baadkar himself — several animation artistes of Indian origin prefer to work in the West instead of in India.
Asked about the reason behind it, Baadkar says it is global exposure.
“It is not the concept of the country — more like where can I find the best opportunity. For me, when I work on a movie, I know that this movie is going to be seen globally and that excites me as an artiste,” he said, and added: “You want to get your work out to the most number of people and that excites a lot of people here. They come and work here because they know that their work of art will be appreciated globally.”
From Karwar to Mumbai to the Middle East to Pixar studio in San Francisco, Baadkar, who visits his parents in India once a year, says his animation adventure started with watching the “Jungle Book” cartoon, and then Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” opened the gates of this virtual world for him.
“‘Jurassic Park’ blew my mind. I saw the making of the film and got to know that they did that inside a computer. From that point onwards, I got attracted to the world of animation.”
Looking back at his journey, he said: “When my dad got me a computer, all I did was learn animation on my own. I came to the US in 2007 to study visual effects and animation, and applied to a lot of companies after graduation. Pixar was the first one to reply to me and offered me a residency, which is a one-year internship, as an effects artiste. After a year, they offered me a full time position.”
Ever since, he has worked on 13 short and feature films starting from “Cars 2”. He has also worked on “Brave”, “Monsters University”, “Inside Out”, “The Good Dinosaur” and “Cars 3”, which is slated to release in India on June 16.
Baadkar also said it “wasn’t very challenging” to adjust in a foreign country as he was used to meeting new people and living in a different country. (IANS)