“Arjun The Warrior Prince” finally hits the screen on Friday. Director Arnab Chaudhuri talks about the years of hard work the action animation flick involved
Arnab Chaudhuri is a happy man. The Content and Creative Director of Walt Disney Television International India will see his directorial venture, animated mythological action film “Arjun The Warrior Prince,” release tomorrow (May 25) after three odd years of hard work and two years of waiting for the right summer! “We wanted to give it a good release and this summer seemed the best. I am very happy with the way the film has shaped up,” says Arnab of the movie that was ready since early 2010.
Being described as an action animation film, “Arjun The Warrior Prince” embarks on the heroic transformation of a young prince into a warrior, thanks to his training ground in Hastinapur. It explores his life with his brothers, his education and his ultimate discovery of the warrior within himself. It has been executed by Tata Elxsi - VisualComputing Labs(VCL), one of India's leading animation and VFX company, and has been jointly produced by UTV Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures.
“When UTV pitched the idea of ‘Arjun' to me, I was thrilled. I had trained in animation at National Institute of Design years back. My writer Rajesh Devraj and I started developing the story and pooled in talent from NID for everything from character design to costume design. We eventually had a team of 300 professionals including those from Tata Elxsi,” says Arnab.
The director says there are many reasons why “Arjun The Warrior Prince” stands out among the slew of animation flicks hitting the box office, especially during the summers. “First, Tata Elxsi is a class apart. They have artists who have sound technological knowledge and ability. That's a big plus point when most companies in the industry have only technical guys working on animation. Also, Arjun is not comedy for kids; in a country where 100 per cent of animation generated is targeted at that group, that's a big distinguishing factor. It is an epic martial arts tale that will appeal to people of all age groups,” he elaborates.
The film that releases in Telugu and Tamil besides Hindi has a 90-minute run time and is deliberately not being dubbed into English as Arnab believes it is very difficult to digest that mythological characters spoke in English back then. “It just sounds weird when you try to translate some heavy duty Hindi into English. We will have an English subtitled version for home DVDs.”
He has also made some “logical speculations”, he says. “One particular scene where Arjun hits the eye of the fish to win Draupadi's swayamwar was a challenge to depict because it seemed odd that a person of Arjun's stature would hit a fish on the ceiling!” So Arnab and his writer Rajesh thought of something grander yet logical by depicting the event outside the courtroom in a step well (found mainly in Rajasthan and Gujarat). Arjun dives backwards into the water and hits the fish. Ask him how “Arjun The Warrior Prince” compares with animation films from Disney, a co-producer on this one, and he says, “We are right up there with them. Not just the concept and the treatment of the story, but also the animation levels are solid.”