Many years ago when I was a youngster, my foremost pastime was to watch cartoon films. I was overwhelmed by the movements of pictures. I used to imagine that there must be somewhere a world where people with distorted limbs, long noses, broad ears, enlarged palms and feet would live, where even animals talked. There might be millions of children who might have shared my views?
The modern animation industry came to India rather late. It was in nineties, with the liberalisation of government policies started bearing the fruits. The progress industry made further easy animation to grow in leaps and bound. I remember my son, Nikhel who owned Amiga computer once came jumping and shouted 'Chacha Chaudhary has started walking !'. Once soared higher and higher on the vast canvas of the blue sky. Numerous foreign companies including Disney, Paramount, Hallmark, Marvel etc looked towards India for animation etc. Simply because our work was at par to that of west with cheaper costs. They had recognised that Indians had creative abilities, skilled professionals.
India is known a leader in entertainment. It produces more films than Hollywood in a year. A number of films use animation along with live actors to make the scene more plausible. Many animation films like Hanuman, Panchtantra episodes etc have grossed more revenue at box office than customary films. There are number of TV channels which run cartoon films 24 hours, most of they are produced indigenously. Many training institutes have spread all over the country to impart technical skills in 2D, 3D animation and Sfx. It has become a promising profession . It is the demand of hour to make readily available the skilled professionals for the bright future. Let us hammer the iron while it is hot!
There no dearth of cartoon characters. Chacha Chaudhary the comics is being adapted for animation TV Serial and Feature Film. India is favoured country for outsourcing animation. It holds 5 to 8 percent of the total about $ 40 billion global market in a year and the share is increasing rapidly. Animation share is expected to grow around $ 2.5 billion by 2010 end. Animation tiptoed in my country when in 1915 Dada Saheb Phalke, the doyen of India Cinema ventured to make short films in Marathi language - Agkadyanchi Mouj ( Fun of Matchsticks ) and Lakshamicha Galicha ( Carpet of Money ). That heralded the advent of animation in the country. But Phalke's films were silent. However, after some twenty years animation film with soundtrack was produced by RC Barol. The pace was slow, because in those days all frames used to consist of hand drawn drawings and placed together were shot by rudiment camera. The first animation film which was released in theatres was Pea Brothers by New Theatres in 1934.
During fifties Clair Weeks, the talented animator of Disney Studio joined the Film Division run by Government of India to head the animation wing. Many aspirants including Ram Mohan, Ezra Mir, Pramod Pati and Bhimsen joined the Department to be trained as future animators. Other noted animator to name was S R Rao, who managed Ranko Laboratories. Prasad Studio was the other place where competent animation was being done. To promote films for children, The Government of India setup Children Films Society of India, which produced number of quality animation films like Bansod's Karuna Ki Vijay ( Triumph of Kindness ) Kantilal Rathod's Adventures of Sugar Doll and As You Like It directed by Sukumar Pillay, which won awards.
As animation is a lucrative field, many Asian countries China, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia have developed their own animation industry. They have their own local heroes of animation films. China's Smiling Monkey has scored the new heights at the box office.