You just have to wait. The dots really join. That is what director Rohit Vaid believes. And that is how things worked for them. From the release of the fist teaser trailer in 2008 to the official release in September 2016 to the movie hitting screens on 4 November, 2016 and eventually winning the National Film Awards in 2017, Mahayoddha Rama is one film in the Indian cinema that has come a long way since its inception.
The animated feature based on the Indian epic released nearly seven years after its expected time, due to several reasons. In a totally unexpected turn of events, it bagged the National Award for Best Animated Film and managed to numb, shock and elate (in that order) its entire team of artists, animator (Deepak SV), producer (Abhimanyu Singh) and director (Rohit Vaid).
Putting it simply, how is the feeling? “It feels euphoric. After so much hard work, it feels like there is light ahead of the tunnel,” says Contiloe Pictures, CEO, Abhimanyu Singh. The film had its trials and tribulations, but the journey continued. As Vaid likes to put it, “There is some divinity in action, something in the universe.” Deepak SV is still sharing the news with everyone who has been associated with the film since its beginning and the reaction has been of surprise and ecstasy. The team, which has put in years of dedication into the project “accepted the award with gratitude and humility,” Singh says. The team will come together to celebrate the win on 3 May, when they receive the trophy.
The biggest challenge was to narrate the Ramayana story within 100 minutes, and make it entertaining enough. Making it in high-quality animation also was a huge investment of time. “Then there were some unforeseen issues but we kept going on,” Singh shares. Deepak SV, who has been with the project from the start has seen it go through ups and downs. There were times of uncertainty and there was a time when it was almost shut down. “But if you have a creative vision and work passionately towards it, no matter what, you will achieve your goal,” he states.
“Mahayoddha Rama is a modern retelling in a realistic way,” explains Vaid. According to him, the movie resonates because the creators have put a lot of heart and soul into it. Expressing how the film is so close to his heart, Vaid says, “It’s like a baby that has taken that long to finally breathe.” He refused to believe that they have won the National Award. “I started getting calls congratulating me and that’s when it sunk in that we have actually won the award,” he laughs. He wishes that the film gets a re-release and becomes tax-free so that people go and watch it.
Deepak SV is currently busy with a lot of projects in his pipeline – one of them being his dream project of launching a media franchise, starting with the release of a graphic novel at the San Diego Comic Con later this year. Apart from that, he is also directing a live-action VFX-heavy feature. Vaid is directing the biopic Dhyan Chand and Singh’s Contiloe Pictures is developing an animated series which is expected to launch after a couple of months.
While they all are caught up with something or the other, they are also living the moment of recognition and elation that the National Award has brought in! Kudos to the team!