India’s 3D animation venture Gokulathil Kannan will be released worldwide on August 3

The release of Gokulathil Kannan (Krishna aur Kans in Hindi, Chinni Krishna in Telugu and Hey Krishna in English) on August 3 will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Indian animation.

For, if one is to go by the claims of the film’s producer and Reliance Animation CEO S. Ashish Kulkarni, the film will not only be India’s first stereoscopic animated feature, it will also have the distinction of being released with the highest number of prints worldwide. Gokulathil KannanThe film’s 2D version too will hit the screens the same day.

The animation film will focus on the adventures of Krishna, and in particular, his battle with Kamsa. A number of top actors including Om Puri, Juhi Chawla, Manoj Bajpai and Anupam Kher have lent their voices for the Hindi version of the film.

Says Ashish Kulkarni: “The film is linear. It begins prior to Krishna’s birth and ends with the slaying of Kamsa. We wanted to see how we could be a part of the digital content creation era. In the absence of Indian content, our people were getting bombarded with content from other parts of the world.”

The numbers associated with the project are astounding. Over 1,200 people have worked on the production of this project, which has taken almost nine-and-a-half years to make, including four years on research.

“Our research in 2005 showed that Krishna was the most well-known character, even abroad. Anything you do in animation has to have international appeal because animation is a costly affair. Before we started work on Gokulathil Krishna, we created the series Little Krishna in which Krishna was aged seven. We used 13 stories in Little Krishna. As many as 12 locations mentioned in our stories exist even today. In Gokulathil Krishna, we have showed the birth of Radha. Not many know that Radha was in Barsana and Krishna was in Vrindavan and they were together only until the age of 10.”

Music for the film, directed by Vikram Veturi, has been scored by Shantanu Moitra, who composed for Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots and Parineeta. “The film is two hours long and Birju Maharaj’s team has choreographed certain songs. The album has 11 songs, and seven will be featured in the film. The challenge in an animation film is that after a script is ready, the voices are recorded. We animate on those voices. It is a pretty complex process and therefore we prefer theatre artistes to lend their voices.”

The film has already received responses from several States on tax exemption. “I have got tax exemption from Kerala and Rajasthan. In States such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the process is on. In Tamil Nadu, we have submitted the papers already. We are also doing a school programme through which we intend to take our movie to school children.”