The Indian animation industry is finally coming of age but there is still a long way to go.
The animation industry is India’s best kept secret. The audience is not aware that a lot of international projects have been outsourced and Indian animators have produced stellar work without due recognition or their stamp on it. But times have changed. Slowly yet steadily, the underrated entertainment industry of India — Indian animation — has made strides and is now commanding respect and recognition.
Make in India
Indian animation and visual effects studios embody the ‘India Shining’ phenomenon like no other business does. Be it DreamWorks setting shop in India or an indigenous Prime Focus acquiring the mammoth Double Negative, or the overall improvement in skill sets at an artist level for delivering high-end feature film quality output — the examples are both ubiquitous and abundant. It is leading to more international investments into India.
The maturity of the industry leading up to much more original Indian productions and domestic successes has aligned the industry with the macro level phenomenon of ‘Make in India’. Homegrown brands like Motu Patlu and Chhota Bheem have laid the rock solid foundation for what one would term as the IP revolution. However, there are still many creative avenues and styles of animation, visual appeal and musicals that are yet to get ticked off in the creative bucket list for Indian animation. A revolution in the licensing and merchandising business should be the next step in order to have holistic growth for a studio.
A VoD OTT like YouTube brings in a sense of egalitarianism for all. YouTube offers a kind of freedom where every platform is the same because it is not dependent on the programming slot or the airtime it gets.
There is enough and more room for pay TV in India as well as terrestrial and digital television to grow. We foresee that for a diverse market like India, both businesses will continue to thrive in the near future. This is great news for content providers for they can now cater to everyone’s content requirements across the spectrum.
In our country, children remain the primary consumers for animation. In order to cater to this segment, it is highly imperative that the industry has a deeper understanding of what kids are consuming. Here, homegrown content has started playing a huge role. There is a huge demand for content catering to Indian sensibilities.
Although the demand for homegrown content is rising, we are in a beautiful era of plurality where everyone has her own niche. The key to this is international collaboration for animation producers wherein there is a merger of storytelling, ideas and technology to achieve and create new standards for Indian animation on a global level.
Ours is a business that follows the trend. The industry that thrived only on low- to mid-range 2D animation is now a 3D-dominated industry. Some of the most successful studios have now forayed into 3D production, post the success of 3D shows like Motu Patlu and Shiva. Similarly the coexistence of pay TV and SVoD is a new trend that is there to stay. All it takes is one successful show and the model is formed — a trend is set and then we move towards creating a new trend. This is one of the most glorious phases of this business.
Anish Mehta is CEO, Cosmos-Maya