<Interview by: Swati Sharan>
Hi Shilpa, can you tell us something about your background?
I have done Bachelors in Applied Art from Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai after which I did a Masters in Design from the Industrial Design Center, IIT Bombay. I did an MPhil in Animation from the Royal College of Art, London. I have worked at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and was engaged in making films on social issues. I’ve also made several short animation films of which one was commissioned by channel 4 and another by S4C Wales.
How did you get interested in adapting Goopi and Bagha (read our film review of World of Goopi and Bagha here) into a cartoon?
My work as a book illustrator brought me a version of this classic to illustrate. As exciting as the prospect of doing this was, it seemed equally daunting. It was almost impossible to come close to the absolute magic of the imagery that came with the story. Yet along the way the intimidating prospect of visualising and retelling a classic turned into an exciting engagement with what my own interpretation of the story was.
While illustrating the book the thought crossed my mind that the story was given to the moving image and could be transformed into a wonderful animated film; it was an ideal story with its delightful everyday characters mixed with high fantasy, traversing a path full of exhilarating adventure. I adapted my drawings for animation and approached CFSI for support to make the film.
When will World of Goopi And Bagha release in India?
Release plans for India are still underway, we will first be showing the film at the festivals and then chalk out a dissemination plan, we want a wide audience for the film and believe it has value for children and adults alike.
Are there other countries that have shown an interest in World of Goopi and Bagha at the festival?
We have had a great deal of interest in our film; we will be having an Asian premiere at Busan, Korea and then a Middle East premiere at Dubai and then show the film at the New York International Film Festival for Children. At the TIFF premiere we got an amazing response from local children and it was very heartening to see that they felt such a connect to it.
What is your advice for aspiring animation artists from India?
I would suggest that anyone wanting to be in animation, first get a taste of what it means to be an animator; it is a hugely labour intensive area and one must have a temperament and an aptitude for it, a love for storytelling and a strong visual sense. There are a lot of hands on work and the results take a long while to show.
Once one is aware of these realities it is ideal to train to be an animator, take a good course and discover ones potential as an animation maker. Being a student allows you to explore and push the medium. If one has a good portfolio it is not too difficult getting work, of course to do personal work is more challenging since funds are not easy to come by, but this is true of any field. In any case animation is a very rewarding medium, I have found it particularly satisfying creatively, since it brings my interests in illustration and film together.
Watch the trailer of World of Goopi and Bagha: