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No monkey business this

`Kittu', a film based on a monkey, will be the first full-length animation in Telugu


It took 75 years for the Telugu film industry to come up with a full-length animation film since Walt Disney made his first animation feature Steam Boat Ville in the early 1930s. The path-breaking effort is the result of two young men who were driven by an urge to move off the beaten track.

Producer Bhargava Kodavanti and filmmaker B. Sathya made Kittu, which they claim is the first animation film with a social theme in the country. But sure enough, it is the first animation feature film in any category in Telugu. "Mention animation films and you find only folklores or mythologicals. To be different, we decided to go for a social theme. It took two-and-a-half years to complete the project," informs Bhargava. With children forming the core audience of animation films, it wasn't surprising that director Sathya hit upon the idea after watching his brother's children. "I wondered what makes them sit quietly and enjoy cartoon channels. That inspired me to make one such film. Moreover, we need not make compromises in such ventures like we do in commercial cinema," observes Sathya. He reveals that his friend Bhargava, who is in the business of making animation short films and graphics for television serials, encouraged him to go ahead and write the script.

"Monkeys are part of our social milieu. The protagonist Kittu is a monkey who is intelligent but mischievous. His deeds are frowned upon and the jungle law banishes him from the forest. He goes to a nearby city. The city life shocks Kittu and makes him think. The simple concept leaves a moral. The entire narrative is light-hearted and set in comic book style," says the director, a post-graduate in theatre arts from the Central University, Hyderabad.


"We went for the best talents in the field," says Bhargava, an engineering graduate from JNTU, Kakinada. "To make good animation films one needs human resources, good script and finance. We have roped in around 1000 animators from our associate companies in various cities. Our aim is to take Indian culture and tradition through animation feature and short films to the world. And my dream is to make Bharagava Pictures a brand entity like Walt Disney."

Bhargav is all excited when he talks about his next project based on the evergreen classic Maya Bazaar (1957), which will celebrate its golden jubilee year of release next year. "As a tribute to the all-time hit, we are working on its animation version with the same actors in cartoon film format. It will be released in 2007." As for his pet project Kittu, it is all set to hit the screens on February.

Editor's log

"The film was made in 2D flash animation format. It is my first full length animation film too," says the six time national award winning editor - A. Sreekar Prasad. "Unlike in a regular feature film, in an animation film, the expressions are predetermined. The walk and the action of the characters will be the same throughout. My job is to see that the actions are not repeated and the narrative flows smoothly in a racy and fast manner. Again in a regular film we will be provided with enough material to play with at the editing table. While in this animation film, I was given two and half hours of footage. So I have to create space (for editing) within the available material to bring a certain value and pace.


It is this part of editing that is somewhat difficult. Basically cartoon films are liked by children. We have to keep that also in mind and see whether they'll relate to it," says Sreekar Prasad.


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