Sanskrit may be an ancient language, but thanks to the perseverance of a young IT professional it may now make a comeback with the next generation. Under the guidance of music legend Ilaiyaraaja, a group of film enthusiasts are making the first full-length Sanskrit animation film "Punyakoti".
When Ravishankar Venkateswaran, an HR professional with a leading IT organisation in Bangalore first heard the story of the popular South Indian folk song "Punyakoti", which narrates the encounter between a docile cow and a feral tiger, he wondered why a cow would stray from its usual grazing grounds and why the tiger came out of its natural habitat.
These questions led to the release of a brilliant picture book about a bridge across the river Kaveri and an impending drought that would ravage, Karunadu, the milieu for "Punyakoti". Venkateswaran related the novel story to his spiritual guru and musical maestro Ilaiyaraja, who assured of the immense potential of the story.
Thus, the ambitious idea to make the story into the first-ever animated Sanskrit movie was born. Not only did Ilaiyaraaja give his blessings and inspire the young IT professional, he also agreed to provide music score for the film.
It takes more than good will and creativity to turn the dream of making the first animated Sanskrit film into a reality; it requires investors who believe in the project. Finding producers for such an experimental project is nearly impossible and thus Venkateswaran turned to a different source of funding, following the model set by Pawan Kumar, who made his Kannada psychological thriller film "Lucia" entirely on crowd funding.
"It takes 1.41 million to make a cruise missile that will destroy the lives of thousands. I am sure there will be a few hundreds who can spare a million to help me make a great Indian movie," he said in a statement released on the "Punyakoti" website. "If I succeed, it will encourage a lot of talented Indian animators to come out and experiment."
Venkateswaran is certain about the specifications of the film: "We have 5 Acts, 36 scenes, 1890 shots, 15 musical sequences, 17 locations, 104 minutes". He also plans to publish the Ilaiyaraja musical scores, as he believes his diehard fans would want to "read his music and play his music".
"This will be first time that they will 'see' his music, before they 'hear' it," he said before promising that he would also create the means for Ilaiyaraaja fans to connect with the music legend directly through social media.
While there are still many unresolved questions, his perseverance has resulted in six reputed studios across India- Singleknight.com in Thiruvananthapuram, Flamingonation.com in Bengaluru, Apnatech Pvt. Ltd. in Chennai, Biztoons in Bengaluru, Increation Media in Thiruvananthapuram, and Niks & Mits Studio in Mumbai- to be a part of the uniquely experimental film.
"Find purpose, the means will follow," Venkateswaran orients his thoughts along the words of Gandhiji.
The website claims that if a 100 people can contribute any amount from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 then the "world's first crowd-funded animated experiment in Indian cinema" can be launched. Any contributions for making of the first full-length Sanskrit animated film can be made in their website.