Interview By: Drishti Pandey
Filmmaker Ketan Mehta, known for making films like ‘Mangal Pandey’, ‘Manjhi: The Mountain Man’ but he also has the knack to narrate great stories using animated virtual characters like he did with series of ‘Motu Patlu’. He believes that children’s film is very much neglected in India and now it’s high time to tap on the children audience. We had a brief chat with him about the idea of portraying ‘Motu Patlu : Kings of Kings’ on big screen. Read on..
“Many late nights went on making this film and now that the film has released we can actually laugh at it”
‘Motu Patlu’ has had an interesting journey, starting with television then moving into digital, so what was your thought process to get it on big screens?
Maya digital studio stared about nearly 30 years ago. 2010 we decided to start creating our own content rather than doing out source for international clients. The market was also going on rapidly so we started our first IP of ‘Motu Patlu’ on television with Viacom 18 pictures and Nickelodeon and that became very popular with kids and was the number 1 programmer for the last three years. It has very high rating and very popular among children. We have done almost 10 television series on ‘Motu Patlu’ which has also got very high TRP so our next natural step; we decided to turn it into a full length feature film on a large screen and to add spice to that we decided to make it in 3D. And working with Viacom 18 motion pictures has been very positive and a successful relationship. They showcase many programmers and now they are channel driver, so overall it has been a very fruitful relationship.
As you said to add on spice you decided to have the film in 3D and also we see the movie having really kid friendly songs so how was your collaboration with Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar?
It was a wonderful collaboration with them. Gulzar sahab is one iconic figure in the film industry. He has done some wonderful songs for children before, he also had written the title song for us when we started the television, so for the feature film like this we had to work with Gulzar Sahab and Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar Sahab have collaborated very well over a period of time and they have made some exceptional work together; so it was an ideal combination for us to work with them for our film and we have a long relationship going on, so it was easy to approach Gulzar Sahab and he is kind enough to accept and do this, so it was a wonderful collaboration.
As a producer how much do you think the industry accepts animated movies?
I think our industry is coming of age now and as compared to Hollywood we are little less than them in this field in terms of making animated movies. We have started 10 years ago still animated sector has grown very rapidly in these 10 years, we are the leading studio from last 10 years and now we think we need to take a big lead forward; the audience is ready because the whole generation of children are liking the animation television and movies.
Taking children under consideration do you think children as a target audience are much more beneficial than the adult audiences to the industry?
According to me specially the children segment in India has been quite a neglected segment as compared to other audiences but now I think the profile has changed and children are growing up watching animation movies so now there’s a large segment of audience which is ready to be tapped and we hope these audiences will appreciate our work.
Was it challenging at any point of time while making the film?
It was very challenging because in India we have to work in almost one tenth of the budget of a Hollywood film and still to achieve high quality adding to it in a very short time was a very big challenge. But Maya Digital studio use to work round the clock to make this happen and I’m really happy that they have done it successfully. Many late nights went on making this film and now that the film has released we can actually laugh at it. It was really hard working in making this film.
How close is this film to you?
The film is really close to me as a producer and it was a challenge but I would say it was a fulfilling challenge because somewhere we believed that this film will work and getting into trend and will break records and there will be a rise for the animation sector as a whole.