The first Sanskrit animated movie, Punyakoti got its first screening, exclusively for the crowd-funders on 13 October. Initially slated to release in April, Punyakoti got pushed for a couple of months.
Based on an episode from The Mahabharata, which is also prevalent as a folk-song in South India, Punyakoti is about a truth-speaking cow. The plot is an imaginary take on the circumstances that led to the encounter between the cow and a tiger in a village that is facing an impending drought.
AnimationXpress had a brief and candid chat with director Ravi Shankar on the first response and expectations. Read on:
How was the response for Punyakoti at the first exclusive screening?
This was a private preview only for the people who have funded the movie. More than 450 people contributed money and helped us make this film. One of our promises to those who funded, was that they can see the movie before it goes public while it is still in production. So you can call it the producer’s cut. The response was very good and people from across the world have been writing that it has exceeded their expectations.
When are you planning to release the film across the country?
There are a few platforms outside India who are interested, who are very systematic. They have done customised feasibility study shows that it can generate a decent profit to the investors with a targeted marketing approach. So we may release the movie in a non-traditional way. Traditional distributors are not very confident about the movie as it has no precedent that they compare it with.
Post winning ANN awards, have things changed for the better?
The awards we won, were an endorsement of our vision that we should do a good quality product and not compromise because we did not have money or because it was not meant for a large market. There is now acceptance all over the industry that it is a good movie. Many animation studios have shown interest in partnering with us for the next movie.
What are your expectations from the Indian audience about receiving the film?
The movie is meant for non-Sanskrit speakers. Today people watch Japanese and Korean movies with sub-titles. But even without sub-titles many people said, that they got the narrative. This is a big testimony to our vision. Most of the viewers said that the movie appealed to children and elders alike. So the base of people who can watch Punyakoti is very wide.
Punyakoti follows a five act structure and is modeled along the lines of any international quality production in terms of creative and structural finesse. The 80 to 90 minutes film has a unique animation style that’s inspired by Indian folk-art with a mix of traditional and digital animation techniques with more emphasis on the storytelling than on the technical prowess.
Hoping the story that hails truth, gets its due credit soon!