Thursday, 4 October 2012

Ab Dilli Door Nahi


“So... We’ve done some really good work here, we’re getting in more clients and hopefully more projects. We’ll still stick to our philosophy and do good work only since we do not want to compromise to us. The whole idea to form this studio was to do quality work in India which was, quite frankly, missing. But... Sadly the current situation of the studio does not look great... Uhmm... Means... We’ll have to take some drastic steps... We’ll have to let some of our employees go...”

This uncomfortable and a much difficult speech by the owner of the animation studio where I worked still echoes in my head like it just happened last week. The memory is so vivid that I remember that ‘Black Friday’ down to the last detail. We’d all decided that we’d wear black that Friday when the ‘firing’ was supposed to happen. And it did, it went down pretty bad.

Prior to that we’d all been pretty chill about it since we had become quite used to delayed and reduced salaries. Some of my colleagues had to sell off their belongings to make ends meet, married people especially, but it was still easier for us young bachelors for we could still manage to live and have fun in spite of a couple of thousands worth of deduction from our pay. We all did it, we all continued to work because we felt that it was all still worth the effort we were putting in, worth all the difficulties we were facing, be it delays in home loan instalments or thinking twice before going out to drink. We were working on something big. We were working on something we could call ours. We were working on Delhi Safari.

I worked with Krayon Pictures in Pune for about 2.5 years. A memorable 2.5 years to say the least. Considering it was my first job and all, it truly was an experience of a lifetime. I never went to college, but I don’t think I missed it either. Working at an animation studio in Pune, the education hub of the country, was no less than going to Stephen’s or Xavier’s or Christ. The work culture was truly something that is not only hard but impossible to find anywhere else. The people were nothing less than amazing and I would be lying if I said I didn’t make any friends for life there. In spite of all that was going on in my personal life there was still this one thing that kept me going, the fact that I was working in arguably the biggest and the best animation film this country had ever seen.

What started off as a dream back in school, when I used to go watch animation films with my mother and wait for the end credits where we’d both point out Indian names in the list and feel happy about it, I knew I had to get my name up there someday for her to see and feel proud of. The journey to get there was quite long and had its share of ups and downs, but it looks like I’m finally there, in all probability I’ll get to see my name in that list. So what if it’s not a Pixar or a Dreamworks film, Krayon Pictures’ Delhi Safari is not less than the Madagascar of India. On the 19th of October, I shall stand proud, with my mother, at a cinema near me and watch the fruit of all the effort and the sleepless nights we all put in to create this piece of art which was initially to be named ‘Ab Dilli Door Nahi’. Hence the title.

Now do I truly understand the phrase of the term Ab Dilli Door Nahi. As I sit here at my home in Delhi, miles away from where all the magic happened, I’m getting impatient just counting the days. I might not be working in the so called ‘animation industry’ anymore but I still feel there is that animator in me somewhere, just sleeping for a while. For all practical purposes I will not get back to animation, I’m currently quite happily employed as a writer in my hometown, but in my dear Justin Bieber’s words “Never say never. Just be gay.” Okay, maybe he did not say the second bit but that’s what the subtext is of all of his songs.

So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages. Get ready to witness the magic on October 19, 2012 when Delhi Safari releases at a cinema near you. On that auspicious day, 5 years after its journey started, what will come to fruit is the years of effort of over 200 animators’ sweat and blood. On that very day I complete my 1 year in Delhi after leaving Bengaluru and with it the animation industry. But the best part of it all is that on October 19, 2012 my parents celebrate their 30th anniversary. I don’t think I could’ve given a better gift to my mother.

So here’s to Delhi Safari and everyone who worked on it and everyone who’s going to watch it and for all your good wishes. And here’s to ma, this one’s for you. Cheers!

This is where the magic started.

8 comments:

  1. One helluva blog. :)
    Much awaited :)

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  2. this brings back memories my dear friend.. i will never ever forget this place... never....
    btw cant wait to watch the movie with me friends and family and say that i was a part of it... :D

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    1. True that buddy. Just 2 weeks to go!

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  3. Quite excited about it too, in all honesty. There's just one line I didn't like very much in your post. And you know just which one it is. Sigh. :)

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    1. Haha... Do watch it... E-Square preferably!

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  4. Delhi safari was much awaited not only for the guys in Crayon but the people who left and joined other studios, there is always a talk about it while we discuss about our Industry.Its really a great news that Delhi safari is finally releasing and I would go watch the movie.Its good to see you writing,I really appreciate that you chose to do what you wanted.
    I wish you a very best of luck !!!

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    1. Thanks man. Really do hope this movie does well and the Indian animation industry gets the much awaited boost. Cheers!

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