Munjal Shroff, an accomplished expert with more than 20 years of experience in live action, animation, gaming, and VFX has developed and produced India’s first kid’s live action television show, and promoted Indian folk art and folk series across India and the globe. In conversation with Creative First, he shared from his own personal experiences and expertise in the industry, specifically as it pertains to animation.
The conversation started with Munjal highlighting that storytelling themes in Indian animation are very traditional and region focused on their nature, which is why they don’t necessarily do well in American markets, but they do very well in the subcontinent.
His current hit show, Deepa & Anoop on Netflix, however, is very different from other cartoons visually, culturally, and musically. That explains why it has been successful in many global markets.
Following that, a conversation about the subject of the animation business was brought up. He laid out the fact that Canada and France are two countries that really support children’s content with grants and great tax rebates which makes it easier to finish the content, and therefore get it to a broadcaster. He explained that India doesn’t have a grant program for children’s content, and therefore the country hasn’t been the most attractive international co-producer for other countries.
However, he highlighted that the current ministry understands the drawbacks and are rapidly making changes to help the Indian animation industry. He pointed to one major positive: drafting the National Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) policy. With this, Munjal said, India becomes a better global co-producer.
To foster the growth of the animation business in India, he foresaw that animators could anticipate more broadcaster support.
Lohita then brought the technology to the forefront of the discussion. Munjal stated that animation is a field that is always experiencing technology development. For example, there are no longer many 2D animations. Further, today, technology can make it possible for a production house to shoot scenes in multiple countries on the very same day.
The requirement to upskill the workforce was subsequently addressed. In addition to recruiting and training new animators, every animator needs to continue to learn the latest technologies in order to provide world class services.
In Munjal’s opinion India needs consistent branding to garner international work, be it in animation, location shoots, or post production. He said that Indian film services could get a lot more international clientele, but that the country focuses too much on Hollywood. He thinks that Indian film services should also focus on getting business from Europe.
Munjal at the end also shared a bit about his recent projects, including Krish, Trish, and Baltiboy, an animation that led him to spend more than four years researching visual styles, spoken words, and cultural elements of diverse India. He turned to the rich tapestry of folklore and folk art in India to create this project which is expanding to a 52 episode series featuring lesser known freedom fighters and rich Indian history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Munjal is a producer and director with over two decades of experience across live-action, animation, gaming and VFX. Over the last two decades he has produced over 500 Brand communication films and TV Commercials. He has developed and produced India’s first kids live action 3D animation TV show “J bole toh Jadoo” with Nickelodeon. He has promoted Indian folk art and folk series to children in India and across the world through his hit children’s movie series Krish, Trish and Baltiboy which is on Cartoon Network and Gubbare. He is also the creator of the animated series, YOM for Disney Channel. Both YOM and Krish, Trish and Baltiboy have been released by Netflix in 150 countries in multiple languages. His latest creation is the Netflix Original, Deepa and Anoop which has been produced by Mattel TV. The show won 4 Kidscreen Awards this year for Best New Show, Best Inclusivity, Best Music and Best Voice Talent. He is also the Creative Producer of the official YouTube Channel Yoga with Prime Minister Modi. He has been honored as Toon Titan of Asia by Animation Magazine, USA. Munjal serves as the Co-Chairman of the FICCI AVGC Forum in addition to being a member of FICCI’s Media and Entertainment committee. He is also an Advisory Board member of the Media and Entertainment Skill Council. He recently served on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s Task force on National Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comic and XR Policy.
India Government Adopts New Tool to Tackle Film Piracy and Modernizes Content Classification