His family name spells magic but Manick Sorcar would be less inclined to exclaim “abracadabra” than he would be tempted to say: “Let there be light.”
Magician P.C. Sorcar’s eldest son is not only the inspiration behind the country’s first laser animation course, to be launched at Jadavpur University next Friday, but also its principal patron. The US-based laser wizard, animator and artist has gifted the university equipment worth Rs 50 lakh to set up the Manick Sorcar Laser Animation Laboratory, where students will be taught to use “beams of light as a paintbrush”.
Sorcar, who used to help his father with stage lighting before charting his own career path, is in India at the invitation of Light India International, the showpiece of the lighting industry that was held a fortnight ago in Chennai.
“The exhibition opened with my laser show. A team of 24 Jadavpur University students accompanied by their teachers travelled to Chennai to watch it. They are excited about the course. So am I,” Sorcar, whose formal name is Prafulla Chandra, told Metro.
Saswati Majumdar, the director of the university’s School of Illumination Science, Engineering and Design, said Sorcar’s technique was light years ahead of anything practised in India. “Although laser science is an area of research in our university, we don’t know how to use laser as light. The way Sorcar uses light for animation is an even newer area.”
Laser animation will be taught in the second year of an MTech course that JU is starting on illumination engineering from July. “We are in the process of defining the contours of the course. By teaching such practical applications of laser, the course will encourage entrepreneurship,” vice-chancellor Pradip Narayan Ghosh said.
Sorcar chose to tie up with Jadavpur University rather than his alma mater, Banaras Hindu University, because of the hometown connection.
“This is my city and they (the students) are reading my books,” smiled the first Asian to win the ILDA Artistic Award from the International Laser Display Association.
Majumdar said Sorcar, who is framing the laser animation course for the university, would be requested to be a visiting professor. “We also wish to organise short workshops where he can teach us how to operate the machines.”
So can laser animation be a viable career option in India? “Animation firms across the world are already outsourcing work to India. There are also job opportunities abroad,” signed off Sorcar, whose firm has done lighting design for Denver International Airport, sports centres in Japan and palaces of Saudi princes.