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Animated version of comic strip 'Uncle Haathi' creates waves at international film festival
When Lucknow-based publishing house known for its bi-monthly comic strip 'Uncle Haathi' changed its profile to Big Fat Uncle Animations, little did they know that their mascot would travel all the way to the United States.
"Uncle Haathi was popular as a comic character but remained confined to the city due to limited copies published. But, the animated version, a movie called 'Uncle Haathi and his Friends—Creepy the Mischief Maker', was screened at the Dawn Breakers International Film Festival at Phoenix, Arizona, USA, recently," says Hamed Mohajer, director of the movie.
A part of a series of animation films, the movie was the only entry from India, which saw the screening of an array of documentaries from across the globe. Says Mohajer, "Stories were related to challenges faced by children and youth and had lessons on dealing with alcohol and smoking problems. While the socially relevant subject gave strength to the plot, characters like Creepy (a snake) and Uncle Haathi playing the villain and hero, respectively, made the film interesting," says Mohajer reminiscing accolades the film received during the festival.
"When you have competitors from Australia, US, UK, Spain Canada you don't expect laurels coming to India's lap," he chirps listing Wayfarer, Corde, Donkey in Lahore as the other notable entrants screened. The movie is directed by Shyam Lal, a well known animationist, the idea is conceived and written by Dr Elham Mohajer, a children's story writer.
"Shyam Lal was working with U TV in Mumbai and his experience had come handy for us," says Sumit Singh, manager. "It is he who draws the cartoon characters and animates them along with the 10 other full-time staff," adds Sumit. The company now plans to conduct a course in animation film-making.