Celebrated animation filmmaker Gitanjali Rao, who is making her debut feature film “Bombay Rose”, which has been selected by Work In Progress Lab of 10th NFDC Film Bazaar, said that the film market goes by numbers when they invest, which is unfair at times.

“You know, though one of my films ‘Printed Rainbow’ has become a part of film schools’ curriculum activity, and always received appreciation in special screenings, getting a commercial release of animation film is such a task. Market goes by numbers. So even though I told them (distributors/financiers) that my films are well received by people they would ask me if they bought the tickets to watch the film'” said Gitanjali.

After winning 28 awards along with prestigious awards like Kodak Short Film Award and Young Critics Award for her debut animation short “Printed Rainbow” (2006) and travelling through the world with her film, Gitanjali observed how not only in the west but in India also, people are receptive to animation films.

Even then, it is a huge struggle to get a release on mainstream market here in India, she said.

“But unless you are releasing for the wider audience, how will they go to buy a ticket and watch the film'” she asked

After finishing study from Sir. J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, she made short animated films like “Orange”, “Printed Rainbow”, “Shorts”, “True Love Story” to name a few. In fact, “True Love Story” was one of 10 selected short films at Critics’ Week at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

However, scripting a feature film is very different, and she says she struggled a lot through the process.

“I was working on my film ‘Bombay Rose’ all alone for four years and was going nowhere. When my script went through the NFDC screenwriters’ lab and I got mentorship under some experts here, it is interesting how the story shaped up well and producers show their interest when I approach them afterwards,” said Gitanjali.

Asked about how different Film Bazaar screenwriters’ lab is from the regular script labs, she said that the process should be once the script is developed, it should be seen by the producer who takes it to the next level. “While in the rest of labs, that process takes lot of time, here it happens without further delay once the script is selected. That saves time and makes the creative and marketing process faster,” she said.

Gitanjali, who expects to finish ‘Bombay Rose’ within two years, says: “It is basically a love story between a migrant boy and a girl where the Kashmiri rose seller boy falls in love and gives a rose to a gajra seller girl everyday on Juhu beach. As the boy collects the rose from a graveyard, another story unveils there who keeps the rose at the graveyard for her beloved. So that is how various layers gets unveils through their love story and the city life of Mumbai and its dwellers.”

(The writer’s trip to Goa has been sponsored by NFDC Film Bazaar. Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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