CG Today : The toughest challenge is not making, it is selling. Please tell us about the distribution strategy of ‘Toonpur Ka Superhero’.

Kireet : Eros International, the producers of the film are THE biggest producers in India with the widest distribution network. Toonpur, therefore is going to be a worldwide release across Europe and North America simultaneously on 24th Dec. this year. I am not concerned about the selling because Eros’ network is so huge that they know how to monetize any film they get into. We are hoping that Toonpur succeeds in the box-office too so that the Producers make profit and in turn more TOONPURs can be made in this country.

‘Toonpur Ka Superhero’ Kireet Khurana!

CG Today : As you have noted on your blog site, 3D films will not be successful if the only thing about the films that is exciting is that they are 3D. What, in your esteemed opinion, makes a film, animated or live action, a success?

Kireet : Story, story and story. Focus on the story and the storytelling. Build great characters, make them true to their souls and the story will unfold itself. And yes, a good story is one that doesn’t wear out even when told a 100 times over.

 

 

CG Today : You have said, “Technology can never replace talent”. Could you embellish on that thought for us?

Kireet : Frequently, I am asked the same question by students – Sir, which software did you use? The fact is animation is not about software, but about art. There is so little focus on art in the field of animation in India including the irresponsible way the so-called animation institutes are operating that there is no art curriculum that the students pick up. Misinformation that technology will make animation for you is rampant. What is the use of learning Photoshop commands when you don’t know how to paint? How long does it take to learn Photoshop? 2 weeks. How long does it take for you to learn painting? A lifetime!

Technology can never be the end. It is the means to the end. And with technology coming into it, it has empowered us with tools that can extend our imagination. This places greater responsibility on the art and creative side of the individual rather than relinquishing it.

CG Today : You won your first President’s National award in 1997 for a short film entitled Mahagiri. Tell us about the making of this film.

Kireet : This animated short film is based on a folk-tale from Kerela about a gentle elephant called Mahagiri. This short film has a curious anecdote to it. In 1973, when I was six, Dad (Bhimsain) started working on this short film for which he needed drawings from a kid. I was roped into the film for the drawings of the elephant and the characters which were subsequently used in the film. However the film never got completed due to inexplicable reasons.

In 1994, when I came back from Sheridan College after my film-making course, I stumbled upon the incomplete film in the attic. I took on the task of finishing the residual sequences, deleting some sequences and adding a couple of them. The music and voice over of Tabassum was added and the film looked endearing. As part of my reward to complete the film, I usurped the title of the director of the film from dad (actually he gave it gladly while keeping the Producer title for himself). The film went on to win the President’s National Award in 1995 and the certificate of Merit at the Mumbai International Film Festival, besides being part of the prestigious Indian animation retrospective package, which travelled worldwide.

But I still consider my best work to be my diploma film “O”.

CG Today : You are Director and Creative Head of Climb Media. Climb Media is one of the most awarded and long-standing studios in India, can you tell us a bit about its history?

Kireet : My dad Mr. Bhimsain had won the prestigious Silver Hugo award at the Chicago Film Festival in 1970 for his short film titled, “The Climb”. He founded Climb Media India Pvt. Ltd., known initially as Climb Films, a year later in 1971. No prizes for guessing the inspiration for the name of the company. Over the years, Climb Media has relentlessly worked on the mission to deliver meaningful, insightful and impactful cinema, blending the appeal of mainstream movies with the art of parallel cinema making. Climb Media has been toiling ever since to give the audience something worthwhile to watch while entertaining them at the same time, through family drama played out by characters. These characters could have been any of the members in the audience itself, thus creating a sense of familiarity. The efforts of the studio have been applauded through various awards and accolades, including an unprecedented 21 President’s National Awards which has motivated us further to deliver quality work. The studio has also won 10 international awards and more than 50 other assorted awards, through feature films, TV series, Documentaries, short films and commercials like Gharaonda, Dooriyan, Tum Laut Aao, Chhoti Badi Baatein, Magic make-up box, Adventures of Chhota Birbal, “O”, Sand-castle, Mahagiri, to mention a few.

CG Today : 2NZ, pronounced Toonz, is the animation arm of Climb Media. Part of its mission statement says that 2NZ would like, “To create and build endearing indigenous animation characters and content, which entertain and empower children and adults alike“. Does this preclude 2NZ from being an outsourcing resource for other countries?

Kireet : We avoid doing outsourcing work, although we have survived and grown our infrastructure on servicing projects. But that has been mainly in the domain of advertising where we have executed more than 400 ad films. The thing about ad films is that it keeps us sharp and pays the bills. Each ad is a creative challenge and that’s what I like about it.

While doing ads, we have leveraged our infrastructure to incubate projects to serve our mission statement and raison d’être. This has worked well and has balanced financial needs and personal goals very well.

CG Today : 2NZ is one of the key members of TASI, the Animation Society of India. Its mission is to provide a platform for promoting exchange of creative and technical information in the Indian art and animation industry with a view to strengthening existing talent and also encouraging growth by educating and guiding prospective artists in India. Is TASI making a difference in India?

Kireet : TASI was formed in 2001. Since its inception, TASI has had over 150 events including India’s largest animation festival - ANIFEST, a 3 day event held each year. (www.tasionline.org for more details). Today TASI is the largest body of animators in India with over 5000 members, being run by Industry leaders and experts, making a huge difference to the animation community at large. TASI empowers students and enthusiasts with the right information about animation and the focus is on art and creativity more than the technological aspect of it.

CG Today : Toon Club, another division of Climb Media, is dedicated to teaching the art of animation to school children in India. This must be a venture that is close to your heart.

Kireet : Yes, it was started as an organization dedicated to teaching the art of animation to children. Soon, Toon Club grew and became the pioneer in teaching animation at schools in India, with a primary goal to institute animation as a fun activity and art form, and even as a career path.

Toon Club, today an award-winning organization, supports multi-disciplinary education and uses animation as a learning tool in helping children learn other subjects of Science and Arts, including topics like optical devices, persistence of Vision, principles of animation and physics among others. Students of Toon Club work with various media which includes 2D (Cel/classical hand-drawn), 3D(Clay animation), Stop-motion/ Pixilation, Paper Cut-out, Beads etc.

Toon Club has taken a giant leap and has joint hands with leading animation training organization “Maya Academy of Advance Cinematics (MAAC)” to establish a joint venture – MAAC JUNIOR TOON CLUB. MJTC promises to take our acclaimed courses and methodology across India and abroad.

This venture has been started by my wife – Tehzeeb and I am very proud of it.

Toon Club's official website - http://toonclub.net

CG Today : Kireet, your father, Mr. Bhimsain, was considered one of India’s pioneer animators. Was this what motivated you to become an animator, since you made your first animated film at the age of six?

Kireet : Yes. Mahagiri was the short film we collaborated in for the first time when I was 6. He is the President of Climb Media and a much respected figure with over 16 President’s National awards (www.facebook.com/bhimsain for his profile).

At a time when animation was an unknown art form in India, dad’s animation short film “Ek Anek Ekta” was the rage of its time. I am blessed to have been born in the family and get the support, encouragement and knowledge to become an animation film-maker. There is no other way I think one can take up to animation at such an early age if you don’t have the means.

CG Today : You have personally won more than three President’s National Awards, two Seagate Technical Excellence awards, and many other notable awards. Is this kind of recognition a blessing or a curse?

Kireet : I have 5 National awards, 3 Seagate awards and many other awards. This is an impetus for me to move forward and pay back to the animation industry which has nurtured me, supported me and now looks forward for me to deliver through Toonpur. I have done my best, and I wish and pray I don’t let them down.

CG Today : Thank you Mr. Kireet for your time and your inputs. We will be looking forward to hearing the accolades you receive for Toonpur Ka Superhero.

Kireet : Thank you for the support.

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Kireet Khurana - Conceptualiser & Director: Toonpur Ka Superhero

Animation Editor at Studio Systems
Director at Climb Media (I) Pvt. Ltd.
Creative Head at 2nz Animation Co.

Mumbai, India.

Website :
Toonpur Ka Superhero | Climb Media | Kireet Khurana

e-mail :
kireet [at] yahoo [dot] com

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