Young Designers 2011

Animation Film Design | PGDPD
Sekhar Mukherjee
Self Sponsered
My original idea was to make a slapstick comedy. The hunt for new concepts, at my guide Sekhar Mukerjee’s insistence, led to me to Theyyam. I found the stories and legends extremely vibrant and energetic. Muchilottu Bhagavathy and Pottan Theyyam inspired me to write about my film’s protagonist, Ponnu.

Ponnu, a little girl, is fascinated by the stories of Theyyam, especially the Pottan Theyyam and their path toward becoming gods. She is overwhelmed by the nuances of his (the Pottan’s) character and thinks he is a paragon of virtue who has fought and given his life for the equality of human race. She also believes that she too, like Pottan, can do just anything.

While her mother gives her dreams their wings, over a period of time Ponnu finds herself in the midst of a conflict of culture. She realizes that the society she lives in treats girls as the inferior sex and denies them any kind of freedom. She does not know whether she should live by the stories and ideals her mother has taught her or the norms of society. She seeks reassurance in Pottan, but her innocent choice is seen as overstepping the boundaries of propriety. Keli, which means the mark of a beginning, symbolizes her fight.

My three-year course at NID has taught me how to use animation not only as a technique, but also as a language of expression. The animation in this film was done traditionally, using pencil, brush pen, light box and dozens of papers. Though it was time-consuming, I wanted to make my first film the classical way. I particularly enjoyed animating Pottan’s character. Capturing his energy in few hundred pages was a challenge, but I loved every moment of it.
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