Thursday, December 1, 2016

Will Punyakoti join the 100-cr club?

Punyakoti is the first Sanskrit Animated Movie. As its director, people ask me this question. Here is my 6 reasons why/how it can. When you do something new, the potential of it is between zero and infinity. So placing it anywhere in between is just limited by what we believe in. Imagine what Patanjali or Zoho or Uber did.

1. People told me that you cannot raise more than 20 lakhs in crowdfunding. We put out a campaign for 40 lakhs and raised 41lakhs and even got a mention in Social Media Empowerment awards this year. Our context was, if we succeed, we will inspire others. Someone needs to start somewhere.

2. By virtue of being a Sanskrit movie, it is a PAN-Indian movie. Or for that matter a PAN-world movie. Considering even Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and Hollywood movies reaching 100 cr clubs, Punyakoti can be watched by... 20% of those markets put together and it will reach the 100 cr club mark.

3. Cows and Tigers speaking is not an Indian phenomenon. When a Lion or Panda speaks, the world listens. That is the truth. And people in any part of the world can understand a Cow or Tiger speaking. And Sanskrit is not Indian. Mel Gibson's characters spoke throughout his movie Apolcalypto in Yucatec Mayan language. Mel explained - ""I think hearing a different language allows the audience to completely suspend their own reality and get drawn into the world of the film."

4. It is not an alternative or niche or a kids movie. It is a movie. It is a movie with a story. It is a family movie. These kind of limits our mind and then our possibility. It is like how Bajaj lost out to Tata ACE, when they kept saying, "We are leaders in the three-wheeler market." It took them some shake up to let go of their limiting definitions.

5. We have only 12000 theatres and over a billion people in our country. And another 6 billion outside. We have an estimated 15 million LED TVs sold every year. So 100-cr market sounds like a small market. There must be another way of doing it.

6. 315 million children go to schools in India. There are 12,85,576 schools in India. And all of them are taught about values of being honest and living in harmony with nature. If we give a tax free ticket to every student and their parents/guardians we are talking 900 million tickets! If you know someone in the B-schools, give it as a project to them. Let them figure out ten ways of making this happen. And we will give them a share of the 100 cr we make!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Proud moment

Punyakoti is among the 18 projects shortlisted for the co-production market in Filmbazaar India organised by NFDC this year at Goa. This is the result of relentless perseverence by all the Sanskrit lovers across the world to make Punyakoti a success. Thanks all.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dubbing for the main character is completed....

We completed the dubbing of the main voice of Punyakoti. We are so grateful to actress Revathy for her cooperation, commitment and dedication. In the picture taken at the studio is Revathy and Ranga, our Sanskrit coach, who is also an Infosys employee. Ranga coaches Infoscions who appear for the various Sanskrit exams out of pure passion. He is my go-to-person for all queries regarding Sanskrit. This is apart from architecting some of the complex financial products. Hats off Ranga and thanks a ton, Revathy madam. We are blessed.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Process - Why does it take so long to make an animated movie?

One of the biggest challenges in making an animated movie is putting together a production pipeline. The biggest of the studios struggle to get this piece right and which has been a point of failure for many projects in India in the past. As much of each of this depends on the skill of the people who are leading each of these departments. While in the West, the level of specialisation and skill are more mature, Indian animation industry is getting there. While we are not sure if we have cracked it yet, here is the process that we have put in place. Sharing the process we follow at Punyatkoti for a limited 2D animation (flash based) so that it is useful for the rest of you who are contemplating doing something similar.

  1. Script
  2. Screenplay
  3. Shot breakdown
  4. Thumbnail
  5. Storyboard
  6. Animatics - Line up
  7. Moving and timed animatics
  8. BG Layout
  9. Character Layout
  10. Painting
  11. Sketching
  12. Tracing
  13. Cleanup
  14. Rigging
  15. Pre-staging
  16. Staging
  17. Animation - Action
  18. Animation - Expression
  19. Animation - Walk and Run Cycles
  20. Animation - Lip
  21. Quality check and fixes
  22. Line-up
  23. Editing
  24. Compositing
  25. Colouring
  26. Effects - Ambience
  27. Visual Effects
  28. Dubbing
  29. Scratch music
  30. Sound - Ambience
  31. Sound - Mixing
  32. Rendering

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Helping Miracles happen...

In 2014, A bunch of us decided to make the first Sanskrit Animated Movie, but did not know how to go about it. In 2015, Punyakoti became the largest crowd funded project of its type. In 2016, we won a special mention at the Social Media Empowerment Award 2016 for setting an example in crowd-funding. 

How did this happen? Because a lot of friends, relatives, colleagues and their friends, relatives and their collegues kept sharing about the project onFaceBook and Twitter. Soon animators, Sanskrit lovers, animation lovers, India lovers, music lovers, film buffs, students, film makers, plainclothes-philanthropists, the-silent-little-change-makers and folks of all shades and hues trickled in.

Someone knew someone who could help and we raised 41 lakhs that has helped us complete 30% of the production. All, at a fraction of the cost that it usually takes to make an animated movie.

And now you can help us reach that one co-producer or institution who can take our production to completion. In case you know a producer or institution, let us know. Else, all you have to do is to invite all your friends to 'like' thePunyakoti page. You never know, whom one of your friends may know. Your next click could make magic happen!

Help us out. Please....

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How do I get what I want in life?

So many people ask me why I am making a movie. I have a decent job and good salary. Why would I undertake the risk of making an animated movie in Sanskrit when it is not even clear if anyone will watch it and on top of that, why do I want to crowd fund it. And how did I find the time and money to do what I want to do in life. And am I successful. Many also admit that they also want to do many things in life, but never find the time or money to do what they want. Yet, others say that they don't even know what they want to do in life. Here is a tip that I wanted to share, in case it helps someone. And if there are others that I don't know, share them with me.
One question that I asked myself (thanks to some coaching) was - if I had everything in life, what will I do? - To me, it was a list of things like learning Sanskrit, learning alternate medicine, learning about mural art, write books for children, making an animated movie, learning yoga. learning and composing music, painting etc. My coach asked me to start doing all of this without waiting until I got everything in life. He said life will eventually adjust around all these activities and then I will start to feel as if I have everything in life. After I started doing all of this, it dawned on that I will not be successful in many of the things that I am doing. Yet, they were things that I wanted to do. So I found fulfilment in what I was doing and not waiting for the results (success). I had earlier only read the message from the Gita about working without expectations of results and knew it only as a message. But today, I am not only practising it but also experiencing a certain 'completeness' of life.
I have tried to talk to people about my experiments and what I get. But few take the plunge. And over time I realised why others were struggling. And here is a mega secret tip. I realise the reason many never get to where they want to get is because they are using their own brains to figure things out. Our brains are good enough to survive. For getting beyond ourselves, we need good mentors and coaches. That is why the best of players have them and not the mediocre ones. So you want to get beyond what you know, follow someone else blindly who wishes well for you. Your smartness can only keep you safe and out of trouble - it is designed that way, don't use it to elevate yourself. It is like making your Chief Risk Officer as the CEO of your company.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Why 2D?

People ask me, "Why 2D?" - I know 3D is cooler. I know 2D is out of fashion. But to us in the team, 2D is more artistic than 3D and requires more skill. The skill to do 2D is rarer nowadays. Rather than traditional 2D, we have opted for a via media where we do computer aided 2D animation. But a lot of work is still hand drawn and it is visible in the output. It is a showcase of the artist. Much like the difference between a handloom vs. synthetic material, this is more fulling.

Zero Budget Movie Making - Well Almost

Heard from a Tamil movie maker (Arun Bose) about how to make zero budget (well, almost zero budget) at The Goa Project. Arun made a one minute clip to start his movie making journey. Emboldened he made a 30 minute movie (frugally) during his student days and now he has embarked on a full length feature.

He starts with a framework (a powerful one). The crew takes a bus to the location and modifies the script based on what is available in the location. Once they know what is to be shot, the actors arrive the next day. And everyone organically evolve the movie. The movie is 'Alaiyin Thisai' - check it out.

I see that there will be many more adventure seekers like us in the future.

Man Proposed, Machine Disposes

The Macintosh that was rendering the trailer decided to give up on us last week. Immediate first aid did not help. We took her for some professional care and looks like she needs rest for 5 days - The bill is heavy and our pockets are not deep. One of the many challenges that frugal movie makers face all the time. Scampering to pull out some of our personal saving to get the Mac moving again.

February Progress Sheet

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Coming Soon, Stay Tuned - The Art of Punyakoti

Punyakoti has inspired a whole lot of people. I am working with some artists to create a series of online artefacts on the themes that are present in the story of Punyakoti. Stay Tuned. Of course, our first priority will be to complete the movie. We are working on a teaser that is coming out very soon as well.

Nice Shot #1

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


The first looks have come from the studio and it is looking impressive.