FICCI Frames Focuses on Original Indian Toons

This week’s well-attended FICCI-Frames confab in Mumbai (March 25-27) offered several animation and vfx-related panels exploring the growth of the industry in the region. Some of the top Indian studio players offered their take on how to make their new content reach a broader audience worldwide.

In one panel moderated by Graphiti’s director and COO Munjal Shroff, the father of Indian animation Roam Mohan talked about how mythological characters such as Krishna, Ganesh and Hanuman from the country have inspired numerous features and TV series in the past. ‘When we have flying, strong superheroes within our mythology, why do we need to create one?’ he asked. He pointed out that the previous attempts at bringing these cultural icons to animated life was due to the poor execution of the film by incompetent directors.

Animation Magazine founder and president Jean Thoren also offered her take on why certain animated projects have been able to make it globally in the past 20 years.. While creating unique content, Thoren said, it was important to keep in mind the correct target audience of your series/movie. ‘You have to ask yourself what makes this character stand apart from other similar fare offered to the same audience. Does it appeal to a single culture/country or is it prepared for global audiences.’ Thoren, then, pointed out to various Japanese and Korean series such as Pokemon, One Piece, Pucca, Bleach, Dragon Ball Z and various others that made an impact internationally and looked ahead at TV Tokyo’s Blue Dragon series which will premiere on Cartoon Network in the next few weeks.

Honest Entertainment president Joanna Ferrone, the creator of Fido Dido (which is the international rep for 7Up overseas) was also on hand to provide her unique take on global content creation. She emphasized the importance of connecting with the animated character. She talked about how she created Fico on a cocktail napkin in 1985. ‘Only then would you take a part of you into the character and it would be original,’ said Ferrone. She also discussed the value of creating socially responsible material for children.

Virgin Comics CEO Sharahd Devragan discussed how his company has introduced a unique list of Indian characters for audiences in the past few years. While noting the growing role played by comic-book characters in feature movies, he added, ‘We need to push creativity with better writing and visual work,’ he said. Nandish Domlur, CEO of Paprikaas, also brought his unique p.o.v. to the panel, offering attendees pointers about creating global animated content. ‘While creating this global content it is critical to deliver quality,’ he noted.’ To create great content one needs a great team, investment in research and development and greater partnerships of educational institutes with the industry of animation.’

To learn more about this growing Indian confab, visit www.ficci-frames.com.