In Frame: Charuvi Agrawal
In Frame: Charuvi Agrawal

Exclusive: Animation film director Charuvi Agrawal on the 'Legend of Hanuman Season 4'

Charuvi Agrawal, the co-creator of the show, takes us through the journey of creating the show and the craft in general.

The Legend of Hanuman made a triumphant comeback with a new season last month, after an overwhelming response of its third season. With Daman Baggan lending the voice to Hanuman and Sharad Kelkar to Ravan, the audiences are quite excited to see how the new season turns out to be. As the sixth episode of the much-loved Legend of Hanuman released on Thursday, July 4 on Disney + Hotstar, animation film director and immersive artist Charuvi Agrawal, the co-creator of the show, takes us through the journey of creating the show and the craft in general. Excerpts:

Q

What goes into animating the Legends of Hanuman?

A

Our journey commenced with the art of storyboarding, laying the foundational blueprint of our narrative. This was succeeded by the intricate craft of character design, a process dedicated to capturing the very essence of each persona. Following this, we transitioned to the creation of animatics, transforming the static storyboard into a dynamic, preliminary animation sequence. Each phase demands an unwavering attention to detail, ensuring the legend is brought to life with its spiritual and cultural integrity preserved.

Q

What drew you to animation?

A

My passion for storytelling and visual arts naturally led me to animation. Growing up, I was fascinated by how animated films could create entire worlds and convey complex emotions through visual storytelling. This medium allows me to blend traditional Indian art forms with modern technology, offering a unique way to share stories that are both culturally rich and universally appealing.

Q

What's the process of creating an animated film?

A

The process begins with conceptualisation and scriptwriting, followed by storyboarding to visualise the sequences. Character design and environment creation are crucial steps where we define the look and feel of the film. Once we have the storyboard, we create animatics to set the timing and pacing. The animation phase involves creating keyframes and in-betweens, followed by rendering and compositing. Finally, we add sound effects, music and dialogues in the post-production phase, culminating in a polished animated film.

Q

What are you currently working on?

A

At my studio, Charuvi Design Labs, I am currently engaged in several projects. These include in-house intellectual properties, television shows, short films for museums and interactive installations.

Q

India still lacks behind in creating animated films compared to the western world. Even if it is made, it mainly revolves around mythical characters. Why is that?

A

One reason for our focus is the cultural significance of mythology in India, which naturally influences the content we create. Mythological stories are deeply ingrained in our society, offering rich narratives that are both educational and entertaining. However, the industry is evolving, and we are witnessing the addition of diverse genres. This shift, though gradual, is inevitable as entire generations of Millennials, Gen Z, and now Gen Alpha grow up with animation as a primary form of entertainment.

With a burgeoning urban middle class across hundreds of cities in India, the demand for content and storytelling is constantly increasing and evolving. It is only a matter of time before Indian animation achieves a scale and prowess comparable to that of the United States and Europe.

Q

Do you think kids these days still get attracted to animated films?

A

In the past decade, between 20 and 30 percent of the highest-grossing films globally have been animated, while another 30 percent have utilised CGI extensively. Among the most watched YouTube channels, excluding music, animated content constitutes between 10 and 20 percent. The appeal of animation lies in its ability to transcend reality, making it an ideal medium for sparking imagination and curiosity in young minds. With advancements in technology, today's animated films are more immersive and visually stunning, effectively capturing the attention and engagement of children.

Q

Animation in India...where does it stand exactly?

A

Animation in India is at a transformative stage. While we have a rich heritage of storytelling, the industry is still developing in terms of technical expertise and production quality. There is a growing community of talented animators and studios pushing the boundaries. With increased investment, better training facilities, and international collaborations, Indian animation is poised to make a significant mark on the global stage.

Q

Upcoming projects/exhibitions?

A

We have several exciting projects in the pipeline, including a new animated short film. Additionally, we are developing further short films, television shows, content for museums, art installations and even immersive experience designs.

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