Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why It Won't All Be Going to the Sub-Continent

Box office results tell the tale, as Indian press admits:

Recently, there have been attempts like Roadside Romeo in Hindi and Inimey Naanga Dhaan in Tamil. The recognition that they got was perhaps not good enough to encourage further such attempts.

But, there is also a good reason for the tepid welcome to these films. The Indian urban audiences have been fed for more than a decade on world class animation movies like Shrek, Ice Age, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Wall E etc that one cannot blame them for finding the products of the fledgling Indian animation industry as a bit amateurish. Hollywood has taken upon animation in such a big way that it would not be wrong to say that it may even overtake the ‘real cinema’ in the future. ...

Beyond lower-end sub-contracting, there are not many animated features being created in India. Mumbai filmmakers know how to capture the locals' imagination with the hundreds of live-action films produced each year, but animation? Not remotely in the same ballpark. Indian movie-goers have flocked to the American animated blockbusters, and turned their backs on the locally-made product. Being less expensive isn't enough, as evidenced by the handful of features that have slid down the production chute not making much money.

To date, Indian animation is caught in a low-budget paradox. It can crank out dvd product, but its wages remain low, and so higher-achieving studio talent soon goes off to Glendale, Emeryville or Vancouver to secure the kinds of paychecks that can't be found in India. As long as this is so, the sub-continent's c.g.i. theatrical features will continue to languish.


Anonymous said...

Actually that's a common fallacy.
US animation films have not done very well at all either. At best they gather 150-500K at the box office compared to bollywood hits which do 10-20 Million, or live action FX hits like Avatar and Narnia & 2012, which do respectable numbers in the 2 Million mark.
The fact is, animation as a mainstream theatrical medium is totally not adopted by Indian audiences, especially adults, regardless of theme or quality. It seems to be still relegated to "kidstuff" as evidenced by the popularity of TV animation channels.

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