Himalayan backdrop & Nepali touch to toon tales

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By VIVEK CHHETRI in Darjeeling
  • Published 3.06.07

Darjeeling, June 3: Cartoon shows in the hills are ready to don the Nepali garb soon.

Students and teachers of Arena Multimedia Centre here have come up with the first animation film in Nepali, Imandar Dauray (The Honest Woodcutter), which will be telecast on the local cable channel in a few days.

“Animation is ruling the roost even in Bollywood, but we do not have any in Nepali. We think that cartoons have huge demands both in the region and in Nepal and so decided to make one,” said Roshan Kant Ghisingh, the director of the centre.

Ghisingh, who has directed the 15-minute film, is now trying to get in touch with the national channel for a 52-episode show. Set in a Himalayan backdrop, Imandar Dauray is an adaptation of the popular Panchatantra story of a woodcutter who is rewarded by a goddess for his honesty.

“To give it the complete regional touch, we have even dressed the characters in costumes of the region,” Ghisingh said. “We are going through Nepali folklores and plan to come up with a series of similar stories. We hope they will be popular and we will have enough takers.”

A team of 12 students and teachers slogged for almost 8,000 hours in three months to produce the film. “Ideally, we would need 20 professionals for such work, but we always have a severe scarcity in manpower here. We also need to upgrade the hardware,” the director said.

The team has started on a new story and this time a very imaginative one — this 3D film will be about a dinosaur visiting the hill town.

“The world is moving towards 3D and we do not want to lag behind. The new project is being developed by a team led by Sudipta Sarkar, a faculty member of the centre,” said Ghisingh. The members at the multimedia centre also have another 2D animation film, Sunkasri Rani, lined up.

With manpower and infrastructure coming for free for Imandar Dauray, the film was produced without investing much.

“We were lucky that local people helped us by providing back-up voice-overs. But ideally, a 15-minute film would take at least Rs 2 lakh,” said Ghisingh.