The recently concluded Nasscom summit has pegged Indian animation industry to grow from its current size of $285 million to $950 million, and all this within by 2009. The Indian animation industry has done itself proud by making films like ‘Hanuman’ and has attracted international attention and praise. But does it have the required skilled manpower to take on the challenge?
Naren Multani, Creative Director, Films, McCann Erickson, pointed out, “The infrastructure is there, but we are way behind in the quality of films that we are churning out. Look at Malaysia, Bangkok, and I am not even comparing to the US market. It is not as if we are not doing work, in fact, we are doing lots of work, but we need to really step up the quality of work and that too on a consistent basis.”
Making a case for what the right kind of manpower and talent can do for this industry, Rajesh Turakhia, CEO of MEL, asserted, “Just like the IT industry where manpower drove the growth, such is the case with animation. We have the creativity, but we need more people. If we have to equal the experience of the international experts who have been in the industry for the last 20-30 years, we need to set up quality training institutes.”
The industry should invest in training and no compromise should be made on quality and delivery. The existing artists should upgrade their skills to the next level.
According to Zubin Pastakia, Partner, Infinity Studios, “We have the talent, but it is not tapped in the right direction. The manpower we have is not trained and for this we need proper educational institutes. Majority of the existing institutes are not doing enough to help the industry.”
“It is not as if we do not have training institutes, but the need of the hour is that institutes need to be set up which take in good people and churn out better people. Technique and technology is not a problem in India as any technology, software, hardware launching in the international market can be made available in India too, the problem area is manpower. There is no formal education,” commented Mohan Krishnan, Head of Corporate Communication, Prasad Group.
Another important aspect, according to MEL’s Turakhia, was that India had a lot of potential and as the merchandise market matured, growth would be derived from there. International movies like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Pokemon’ have become bigger properties because of their merchandising ability. They have garnered more business because the scope of marketing the merchandise items was a lot more. ‘Hanuman’ is just the beginning and that just goes to show that if an animation film is marketed right, it can prove to be very lucrative.
E Suresh of the Famous House of Animation said, “India and China as a market has a large scope. There still is a large audience base that is untapped, and we will do wonders if we can tap and convert the kids from smaller towns to get hooked to cartoons. Thus, the potential lies in creating a market and we need to explore and push the boundaries. Give our viewers the variety one can get from the international markets.”
There is still a lot to be done before advertisers start putting their money in animation. Though we have examples like Fido-Dido-7UP, Kellogg’s, Amaron, and the Aditya Birla Group, the count is still very less.
To put things in perspective, it is safe to state that the boom one expects in the Indian animation industry is really in the creative capabilities and purview of the Indian professional themselves. It is we who can decide at what rate and how the industry can grow as the potential is definitely huge. For this, the industry needs to develop and nurture artists with the right orientation and remove the stumbling blocks.