Hollywood studio Warner Bros Pictures has picked up the distribution rights of animated feature film Ramayana-The Epic. The development is important, as this is the first big deal in the animated film space after many films got shelved or postponed during the economic downturn of 2008-09.
Ramayana-The Epic is slated for release during Dussehra on October 15, in three versions — Hindi, Tamil and Telugu — simultaneously across India. A Maya Digital Media production, the film is one of the most ambitious and expensive full-length animation feature films to be made in India.
Directed by debutant Chetan Desai the film stars Manoj Bajpayee, Juhi Chawla, and Ashutosh Rana who lend their voices to the lead characters of Ram, Sita and Ravan, respectively. “Desai’s version of the epic has taken animation films in India to the next level,” said Denzil Dias, Deputy Managing Director (Theatrical), Warner Bros Pictures India.
“We want to take the most popular Indian story to a global audience. Warner Bros, with its reach and expertise, provides the ideal platform to launch this new avatar of Ramayana, where the past meets the future and mythology meets technology. It’s the story of the original Indian superhero,” says Ketan Mehta, chairman and managing director.
“Ramayana-The Epic is the end result of nearly five years of hard work. The concept consumed me for nearly three years, after which we worked on our computer screens day and night for over two years to come up with the final result. The film promises to be a spectacular audio visual experience, far beyond anything ever attempted in India with skills and designs matching international standards of computer animation and digital visual effects,” said Desai.
“It should be noted that this film is made in 3D animation technology but does not need the viewer to wear the cumbersome 3D glasses,” Desai added.
Year 2009 was supposed to see a flurry of activity with the release of over 15 animation films which were started in 2005-06 after the success of Hanuman. But the industry felt tremors as Yash Raj Films’ Roadside Romeo bombed at the Box Office in October 2008, following which not a single film made it to theatre screens in 2009.
However, with the release of Hollywood films like ICE Age 3, Monsters Versus Aliens and Avatar, getting good response from Indian audiences, Hollywood studios are now looking at Indian content in a new light. A number of Indian animated films — Sultan, Toonpur ka Superhero, Kuchi Kuchi Hota Hai, Delhi Safari, Arjun, Alpha and Omega and EKEH 2.0 — are slated to release this year.