Indian market not ready for animation films: Filmmakers


Mumbai, March 25 (IANS) Filmmakers feel that there is no viable market for animation films in India and it is difficult to market them abroad as most of them are based on mythological stories.

They also say experience has taught them that it's difficult to recover money from such films as they are taken as children movies.

"We made a film called 'Toonpur Ka Superhero'. I think that was the first film where we had animation with live action. It had starts like Ajay Devgn and Kajol. Despite all that, the film didn't do well," Ram Mirchandani, chief creative officer of Eros International Media Private Limited (India) said at a discussion at FICCI-Frames, a three-day event March 23-25 covering the entire spectrum of the media and entertainment industry.

"We tried to recover the investment because the cost of animation, stars and production were pretty high. So, I think that the environment is not permitting studios to invest in animation films," he added.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, chief executive officer of UTV motion pictures, said it is very difficult to take an Indian animation film to the global audience because they are mostly based on mythologies.

"Unfortunately, this could be really a chicken and egg situation. Probably we don't have the right animation movie so it didn't work yet. It is a very, very tough job to release an animation film in India because of the fact that the cost of animations is higher. To make a great animation film, you should be able to invest that amount of money and time. Secondly, you should be able to market it because you don't have stars to market it," said Kapur.

"When Hollywood studios do it, when big stars do it, they look at the global audience. The sort of movies we are making in India are of Indian sensibilities and it's difficult, even if you dub them, to take it to global audiences. So we have to look up to only the Indian audience," he added.

Despite the road blocks, studios aren't giving up on animation movies.

iRock Media is set to make an animation movie on director Rajkumar Santoshi's 1994 comedy "Andaz Apna Apna" that featured Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Raveena Tandon.

"We are in pre-production stage. As it's an animation film, we will have characters from the earlier film," Sidhartha Jain, producer and chief executive officer of iRock Media Private Ltd, told IANS.

When asked whether stars of the original film will lend their voice to the animated version, Jain said: "We haven't taken a call on who will give voiceover. Hopefully, we will have all the popular characters back."