Did you know that the animation industry is one of the most demanding industries in India? From award-winning projects to making it to the biggest film festivals, these notable animators are driving the scene, one frame at a time.
Charuvi P. Agrawal
Charuvi is an avant-garde multimedia artist who has been in the industry for almost 15 years now. Her first animation gig was with NFB (National Film Board of Canada) along with an experimental music video that required some VFX. Agrawal’s biggest achievement is the 2013 3D animation film Shri Hanuman Chalisa, which bagged many awards. She is also the co-creator and character designer of The Legend of Hanuman, an animated series that was released exclusively on Disney+ Hotstar VIP in January this year in 7 languages – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam, and Kannada.
Rajorshi Basu, the founder of New Delhi-based Studio Durga, is the director of India’s first anime-inspired film named Karmachakra — an 80-minute Bengali-language film, and the first in a series of three films. Basu launched Studio Durga back in 2016, with an aim to give India its first anime-inspired film. The project was made with a tiny core team of only four people, and that’s why it took a period of four years to finish it. Basu has had his eyes on animation for roughly half his life, but he decided to wait until he had the means and capacity to do it well before venturing into it.
Rajiv Chilka worked as a software engineer in Kansas City for three years, but in 2000, he switched courses to study animation at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He went on to set up Green Gold Animation Pvt Ltd in Hyderabad in 2001, a company which is, according to The Hindu, “perhaps the largest animation production company in India that caters primarily to children.” It’s the same studio that’s responsible for creating the Chota Bheem, and Krishna series. Chilka’s first feature film, Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan, was released in 2012, followed by the next film named Chhota Bheem Himalayan Adventure, in January 2016.
Khurana is the son of Indian animation pioneer Bhimsain Khurana, who nurtured his son’s creative leanings. After graduating from Sheridan College in Canada, Kireet Khurana founded the production house Climb Media, and later its animation wing, 2nz Animation Co., where he now serves as the creative head. He directed Toonpur Ka Super Hero, India’s first film combining live-action and 3D animation, starring Ajay Devgn and Kajol. His other noticeable projects include Detective Naani, and Adventures of Chhota Birbal. In 2014, he produced Komal, a film on child sexual abuse that won the FICCI Best Animated Frames (BAF) Award. In 2013, Sisters, a film on child marriage that he produced, won the Best Public Service and Social Film awards at the INFOCOM-ASSOCHAM EME Awards.
Shilpa Ranade has directed animated short films for Channel 4, UK, and her films have been screened all over the world, winning accolades in some of the most prestigious film festivals. In 2013, she directed her first feature-length animation film, Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya for the Children’s Film Society of India. The film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, and it has also been screened at Busan Korea, MAMI India, DIFF Dubai, and NYICFF New York, among others. Her other films include Naja Goes to School, and Mani’s Dying.