The $1-billion Indian animation industry is surging ahead with a projected growth rate of 30 per cent per year, observed Andy Bird, President, Walt Disney International at the recently concluded FICCI Frames 2004 in Mumbai.
Indeed an interesting statement from the global animation leviathan.
Despite Indian animation industry growing in leaps and bounds, a dark cloud looms close to the Indian soil. On one hand, Indian animations like Tenali Rama, The Pandavas, Bhagmati, Panchatantra and Hanuman are winning recognitions internationally, while on the other, perpetual invasion of foreign cartoon channels is veering the future India from the glorious heritage we boast of.
"We feel the unabated invasion of television homes in our country by international cartoon and animation channels, full of foreign characters, is an attack on the culture of India and will have an adverse impact on the next generation Indians," observes Animation Producers Association of India - an organisation of animation film producers, companies and studios.
Expressing its concern over the threat to the age-old Indian heritage and culture, the association appeals to the Government, seeking an immediate step towards stopping this overwhelming influence of western culture to keep intact the heritage and cultures of Indian civilisation for the next generations. "This should not be allowed in the best interest of the future generations and emerging India. Our ancient culture and traditions cannot be treated as just another commodity. We not only have to preserve it but also to create a balance between our culture and the programming being beamed in India," the association states in an open letter to Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
Reinforcing its views, the association has put up instances that reflect how different nations have been involved in protection of culture by enacting laws favouring their own producers. "A similar regulation is the need-of-the-hour in India, otherwise very soon our children will forget the 5,000-year-old culture of India and be addicted to alien cultures," warns the letter, carrying signature of 55 animation companies from across the country.
"This is not a matter which affects the Indian animation industry; it is one that is impacting the entire country," recounts the letter. Alongside Government intervention into the matter, the association has also sought support from Prasar Bharti, National Film Development Corporation, Films Division and Children's Film Society to come forward and help the Indian animation industry preserve the culture for the years to come in the forms of animated films and television programmes.