An animated year awaits cine goers

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Jan 3 | Updated: Jan 4 2008, 06:02am hrs
This promises to be the year of animation films. With nearly 60 in pre-production and production stages, studios are betting big on box-office receipts and new revenue streams like character licensing and gaming. Roadside Romeo, produced by Yash Raj Films, and Jumbo, produced by Percept Picture Company, are among those due for release in the summer.

UTV Motion Pictures Alibaba and Arjun will be released next year and Dream Blanket in 2010. Says Alpana Mishra, the companys head of productions, Their budgets are at par with mainline commercial films.

Navin Shah, CEO, P9 Integrated, which marketed Hanuman Returns, adds, The budget for an animated film is Rs 15-50 crore, depending on the characters. Also, character licensing is a strong revenue puller. An FMCG company can use a character by paying a one-time fee of Rs 25 lakh.

Meanwhile, Dharma Productions from the Yash Raj banner is working on the animated version of Shahrukh Khan starrer Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Its budget could surpass the original, with over 300 prints countrywide.

Producer Apurva Shah adds that consistent effort is being made to bring the quality of Indian animated films at par with Walt Disney Productions. Her Koffee Break Productions has Green Chick and Ganesha Rocks New York due for release this year.

Similarly, director Firoz Nadiadwala is working on the animated version of the Akshay Kumar-Suniel Shetty starrer Hera Pheri. Its budget is estimated at over Rs 20 crore and is due for release in 2009. SultanThe Warrior, with a budget of Rs 50 crore and starring thespian Rajinikant, is touted as the most expensive 3D film produced by Adlabs and is scheduled for December 2008 release.