Produced by Aura Cinematics and Directed by Sukankan Roy, animated film 'SOUND OF JOY' won three awards at the 62nd National Film Awards. The film which is based on Swami Vivekananda’s childhood stories bagged the national award in the following three categories - best animation film, best animator and best direction.
Fictitious super heroes and gadgets have always fascinated children. But eventually they grow up to know that they cannot continue idolizing these fictitious super heroes.
'Sound of Joy' is an endeavour to provide children with a super human to idolize who really walked this earth and did wonders without magical gadgets.
This film wins the award for its engaging animation style in telling the stories from Swami Vivekananda’s childhood and its emphasis on developing the power of concentration.
Congratulations to the team of Aura Cinematics and you for wining 62nd National Award in best animated film category, how are you feeling right now?
Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. It is always a happy feeling to be appreciated but the feeling of being complete, at least with the film, will come when the film reaches every kid in this country.
This film beautifully convey message of inner strength and concentration, what is your personal message of the film?
Well that is something I have made very evident during the climax. My message to the children is to have self belief and in time of adversities, that is the only thing which can elevate them to create magic. They must know, with practice, they can be a super hero themselves and they do not need to be a mutant or possess any super gadget for the same.
Can you talk little bit about impressive animation standard?
That credit goes to the Director of Animation, Rishi Sahany and his team of supervisors. They did not compromise on any level of animation and has put in an insane effort to draw and correct each of the 1500 shots which came from studios from almost across the country apart from the ones done in house. Again I must mention the Art department led by the Art Director, Sudhir Mirage creating a wonderful colour palette which has enhanced the visual pleasure by a long way.
This film is perfect blend of history, philosophy and child psychology, how you managed to Work on different aspects and bring all under a roof?
I was fortunate to have some immensely knowledgeable monks as my mentors from the Ramakrishna Mission who were patient enough to hold my hand like a kid during this journey and graduated me during my brief 4 years of research on Swami Vivekananda. This has been a life changing journey for me as a person and also a film maker. Next I was blessed to have a tremendously talented team of story development where Asit Das was the wild kind, Rishi was the moderator and Avishek Sarkar was a child himself. As far as the child psychology goes, that’s my favourite hobby area. The main challenge was to dilute the heavy philosophies and I would give the credit to Sri Ramakrishna himself to help us attain that. Reading him, gives you a very simple perspective to a complex world called life. As children content makers, we need to give much effort to attain this mix of aspects and I am glad we could achieve a humble part of the goal.
'Sound of Joy' is very much motivating film for children and even for adults, where did the inspiration come from?
I take that as your expert comment and honestly if it is really motivating for the adults, it is itself an aspect of inspiration for us. As I told earlier, it was few years we studied Swami Vivekananda and who can escape his strong influence. He had been our greatest inspiration and it does not require a super analytical brain to judge that his childhood can very well influence the kids. The only effort we took was to introduce him to the kids as a friend than a guide. We wanted the kids to love the character than respecting him to start with.
As a director, what was your vision for the film?
To convey the children that they are super heroes themselves.
Music and story both are marvellous, is this impact of Bengal (Kolkata) culture and how this happened?
Yes, Sudeep Nandy did a marvellous job with the music. But coming from the Vivekananda philosophy of universal harmony, I cannot afford to say that the impact was Bengal itself, rather this film is a lovely outcome of dedicated inputs from across the country from the north to the south and west to the east, making it completely Indian and taking it to the level of human.
What was your favourite aspect of this project?
‘Magic’. The film happened like magic. We faced all possible hurdles during the production of this film and some went to the most extreme levels possible, but magic continued to be a part of the production. As I look back to those days I feel that may be the only thing we did right was that we practiced what we communicated in the film.
'Sound of Joy' is a 2d animation film, in era of 3d what would you consider to be the main differences between working in 2D and 3D animation? Do you prefer either?
A film is a film. I completely believe that the audience looks for a story and not the medium. I am an old school animation film maker and I love 2D but I am fascinated by the potential of 3D animation. The era of 2D will never die out just by the virtue of its basic nature but 3D has immense possibilities. For the animation students who chanced to read this article, I feel responsible to convey that they must engage more on the art of animation that the medium. There is not easy way and 3D should not be taken as an escape route. The fundamental of animation remains the same, be it 2D or 3D. Personally I have no specific choice. My previous and next films are both done in 3D animation medium.
Can you share something about the technique of the film?
The animation in the film was done in flash software but I must say that the software was used as a tool only. The technique remained the same as of a so called traditional 2D animation. Likewise the Back grounds were painted in Photoshop but the technique remained the same as painting. We have entirely taken a paperless approach but remained true to the basics of the art animation.
Producing an animation film takes lots of effort, how Aura Cinematics managed to work and how much time this film took from script to screen?
We managed to pull up the whole production by 6 months flat and that was possible due to the detailed pre production we did. Here in I would like to spread the word that proper respect needs to be given to pre production which unfortunately is missing in few other productions I have seen in this country. I can vouch for the fact that eventually it will control the overall cost of a product for any producer reading this. As I told before the entire production process was like magic and may be now we know why.
Team Aura Cinematics
How was managing finances and getting support from Ministry of Culture? Do you think if more projects get funded by government then it will be a steady growth in Animation Industry?
Finance is always a problem area in film making and in case of animation films it even more challenging. We were fortunate to have the support from Ramakrishna Mission and Ministry of Culture for allocating the funds for the project, but we invested in it keeping in mind the future. I absolutely think that Government support would enrich the industry and there are many countries around the world who would validate this. Saying this I also must admit that in a country with over a billion populations, how so ever big the government spend is, it will look meagre. I will also point out that there are government funds available in India for films if people look up in the internet though I agree that will not suffice the whole cost. But then it can definitely put some support. At this moment I think more that funds, government should support the industry in terms of infrastructure, business development and financial & fiscal policies.
Are you planning to take this film to international film festivals?
It has won few awards in few international film festivals, but the biggest focus is now to propagate the film within the children of this country.
What’s your next project?
We are doing 2 Feature films and both are European co productions for 2016 release. One is named and based on the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz and the other is on the line of Hippie Trails but we cannot disclose the name at this moment. We are also in production of comic books based on 'Sound of Joy' and that is slated be launched tentatively by September 2015.
Thank you very much for sharing about 'SOUND OF JOY' and your thoughts with us, best of luck in all of your future endeavours.