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Interview: Animation filmmaker Varun Mehta says animation is all about passion
Internationally acclaimed animation filmmaker Varun Mehta recently got to set up his very own first animation workshop in Aligarh city. The workshop was organized by Phatta Talkies also featuring Hollywood trained actor Aayushya Krishnatey in a joint workshop of acting with animation. The event was held on 22nd of November. We decided to have a small chit chat with Varun over the occasion.
Q. First of all congratulations on your first workshop. Briefly describe the experience.

VM : Thank you so much. First of all I would like to thank the entire team of 'Phatta Talkies (Mr Kumar Chandrahas and Mrs Kalplata Chandrahas) for serving me this honour. My workshop was jointly conducted with that of an important acting workshop led by the very talented aspiring actor Aayushya Sharma.

The experience was unbelievably awesome to say the least. I was actually a bit tentative about the outcome of the event because I don't see much of a heat for animation in the city. Several Institutes have been closed and people barely understand what it's about. So I planned an interactive session with the young people instead to draw their attention towards the need and Importance of animation.

I am glad it came out very well. I had an instant connect with most of the youngsters in the crowd and felt their enthusiasm over the lunch breaks when we got to interact personally. It was definitely refreshing to see a bunch of young people driven with a different set of talents and ambitions.

Q. What is the importance of such workshops and how can they make a difference in the long run.

VM : Of course, they are very important. First of all, they are important for informative purpose alone. People need to know what animation really is, what's the scope, what are the possibilities, what can be really explored out of it. Animation is certainly not about the obsession for 3D and CGI. It has a lot of depth and many varieties we are yet to explore.

Q. What exactly you performed in the workshop and how it was perceived?

VM: I realized that I must begin with an interactive session and speak to the audience about my experiences because I was not hoping for much excitement. I had initially planned a frame to frame animation process tutorial to guide the students but I was uncertain about the result and thought It might bore them. Hence I explained my journey and told them how to pursue your passion further. After that a video presentation was followed where my award winning work was showcased.

Q. Despite animation being involved in most of the sectors, it does not get its due in this country. What do you think?

VM : I think it has to do with the 'technique' part. When people talk about animation they only think about the working process involved, most of them. Animation is something which should be made compulsory in all schools and colleges for education purposes because it's almost involved everywhere. In schools, teachers use animation on computers to highlight diagrams. In corporate offices, animation is used for presentations. Animation is used in the entire entertainment industry. After all this, there is a scarcity of jobs, the industry facing losses, independent studios and institutes gets closed. It always has to do with the general interest in audience. Animation is definitely growing each and every passing day. But the potential is still untapped. It has a lot to do with acceptance. We can only hope to experience a difference in few coming years.

Q. You have achieved recognition in a short span of time at an early age. What difference do you feel when you look back.

VM: Honestly I am still yet to believe this. It's a dream that I am living. But I have also worked very hard. My journey hasn't been that simple but yes, luck and blessings of loved ones have definitely worked big time for me. When I look back, I don't think I would have ever dreamt to enter a different zone altogether. It's almost on a daily basis when young unknown people interact with me on social media and tell they feel inspired by me. It obviously feels very nice. It's only when you realize how things have changed for you. But then again, at the end you should know your limitations and your weaknesses and never stop your journey of learning. It's something that should continue till the end for everyone in process.

Q. We heard you were working on a big budget animation film. Can you please elaborate on that.

VM : There were talks initially but the project didn't excite me that much so I had to let it go. I haven't heard about it since. That's all.

Q. What are your upcoming projects.

VM : I am working on two animated shorts that will be released next year. It's been a long time that I have worked on independent animated stuff that demands exposure. So I am definitely excited.

Q. What's your message to the budding animators out there?

VM : Live your passion, the most important thing. Animation is not about working with big people and looking for jobs. It's about living a complete new world of imagination and creativity. Once you live it, everything shall fall into place. All the best.

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