Technology has taken animation far : ‘Father of Indian Animation’ Ram Mohan

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NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Though technological advancements have taken the animation industry far, the one thing that is holding back the industry in India at this point of time is the lack of story-telling skills, which even most animation training schools are not laying enough emphasis on.

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These observations were made by Mr Ram Mohan (84), considered the “Father of Indian Animation” while interacting with animation students of the Chandigarh centre of Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC), one of the premier animation training schools in the country, during a brief visit to the city recently.

After attending a programme in Mohali, for which he had flown to the city from Mumbai, , he made it a point to visit the students in Sector 34, as promised, despite getting late for his flight. He freely appended his autographs to their creatives, posed for selfies and showered his blessings on them.

“What technology has done is made the medium more portable and made it easier and faster,” he said, adding “but the emphasis unfortunately has shifted completely to technology and there is neglect of hand drawn animation and hand skills, which we used to place a lot of emphasis on during our times. It should continue to remain an art form than be reduced to mere technological skills.

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“The only thing holding back the animation industry at this point is the lack of story writing skills. Animators need to generate better ideas and convert them into stories because animation is the art of story-telling through a different medium.”

Hoping that the Indian animation industry and the institutes will rise to the occasion, he said at this point the animation industry looks to be much brighter than 2 years ago, when it went into a downswing, and the mood in the industry is generally upbeat.

The veteran animator, who started his career at the Cartoon Films Unit, Films Division of India, Government of India, in 1956, says during his days animation industry was in Jurassic age. “Everything was done with hand. It was a slow and tedious process. “Even a 30 seconds commercial used to take almost a month-and-a-half to complete,” he said, fondly remembering his own days in animation.

Ram Mohan won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Animation Film twice, You Said It (1972) and Fire Games (1983). He was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 2006 Mumbai International Film Festival and was presented the the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award given by Government of India, in 2014.