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Updated: September 5, 2011 17:24 IST

Fishing in animated waters!

Subha J. Rao
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Image Venture's international co-production
The Hindu Image Venture's international co-production "The Wish Fish". Photo: Special Arrangement

Indian animation, Indian music, and an India-inspired character — there are a lot of desi touches in Image Venture's international co-production “The Wish Fish”, writes Subha J. Rao

It's going to be a year since Bommi and her friends — Libro the magical book, Remba the giraffe, Yip the dog, Taco the monkey, Maya the crow and Boris the elephant — began lighting up the lives of children in more than 50 countries across Australia, Asia and Africa, courtesy KidsCo, the international kids' TV channel. Bommi is now all set to invade Europe, and hopefully, India, the land of her origin.

Chennai-based Image Ventures, the animation studio that produced the show, couldn't be happier. “We've got great feedback and are waiting to see how Indian audiences react to it,” says K.R. Senthil Kumar, executive director, Image Venture.

A classic retold

Now, the studio is in the middle of a clutch of projects, including “The Wish Fish”, a full-length Computer Graphics (CG) film with many Indian touches co-produced with Baleuko of Spain, and a CG avatar of the mammoth MGR hit “Aayirathil Oruvan”.

“The Wish Fish” (55 per cent of the Intellectual Property rights rest with Baleuko and 45 with Image Venture), is slated to be wrapped up by the year-end. The primary characters are Opil, Blobfish, Captain Mackerel, Marina, and Lady Rapperfish. Lady Rapperfish, incidentally, has an Indian look, a touch by Image Venture.

And, possibly in a first of sorts, the music for the movie is composed by an Indian — Chennai-based rocker Timothy Madhukar. Says Timothy: “It's been a whole new experience, a creative departure from what I normally do. I've used Indian sounds for the sequences featuring Lady Rapperfish, but the rest will stay Western. And, the score will have a larger-than-life feel, because the story is like an epic.”

Fishy tale

The 3.5 million Euro-film revolves around a boy, Opil, who hates eating fish and loves junk food. In a bid to make him eat healthy, his mother serves him a wish fish. A flippant Opil prays that aliens abduct all the fish in the world. His wish comes true and the world is thrown in turmoil. Now, he must eat another wish fish and pray for redemption. He teams up with a band of characters to restore order in the marine world.

The film, Senthil says, is a comment on life abroad too, where children have moved away from health-giving food and gravitated towards junk food.

Work started in April after the team from Baleuko completed the pre-production work, and we have a dedicated team of around 80 artists for the project, says Senthil.

As for “Aayrithal Oruvan”, which will be the first regional movie to be translated into CG, it comes with an estimated budget of $15 to $20 million, and will take a couple of years to release. Senthil believes the sheer scale of the film and its story will see it work beautifully in CG. “We were enthused by the success of ‘Beowulf'. Though Indian, ‘Aayirathil Oruvan's story has an international appeal — there's a princess, a swashbuckling slave and pirates.”

Image Ventures already has the rights to the movie, and is now looking to forge partnerships. There are also plans for “Bommi saves Diwali”, a spin off from the original series, and the second season of “Bommi and Friends”.

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