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An animation film on Lava-Kusa

Last updated on: May 17, 2010 16:51 IST

An animation film on Lava-Kusa

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Shobha Warrier in Chennai

Lava Kusa -- The Warrior Twins is a full length 2D animated feature film directed by Dhavala Satyam and produced by Kanipakam Creations.

A winner of state sovernment awards, Satyam started his film career with Jaathara in 1979 and has so far made 17 films in Telugu and Kannada.

He has also directed TV series in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. As far as animation films go, he started with short documentaries on 'small savings' and 'Right to Information' for Andhra Pradesh Government.

Lava Kusa -- The Warrior Twins made at a cost Rs 18 crores is slated to hit screens this summer.

Satyam tells Shobha Warrier more about the movie which is made in four languages -- English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Excerpts:


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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'Today's generation has a lot to learn from these two boys'

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Why did you decide to make an animation film on Lava and Kusa?

The education system of today is different from the Gurukula system that was in place in the old days. A child's life was centred around the guru, who gave him not only knowledge but taught him how to behave in society, how to build his career and how to grow up without fear.

This is true of the two boys -- Lava and Kusa. Today's generation has a lot to learn from these two boys.

Another reason why I took up the story of Lava and Kusa was to showcase their fearlessness. They chose to fight Rama, the emperor because they felt injustice was meted out to Sita.

Even though the story is about Lava and Kusa, we are showing the entire story of Ramayana up to Pattabhishekam through songs. Because they are sung by Lava and Kusa, children of today also can learn about the Ramayana from them and identify with them.


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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'It was challenging to show the anguish that Rama goes through'

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The children wage war against Rama for the injustice he meted out to their mother. How have you depicted Rama in the film? Is he not the ideal man portrayed by many till now?

It is not that Rama didn't love Sita when he sent her away to the jungle. Sita also loved him dearly. The children ask Rama, how can you be a good Raja if you cannot respect a woman?

They tell him, because we live in a jungle, we don't consider you our Raja. You cannot command us and we will not obey your commands.

It was very interesting to write those lines.

Was it tough showing the emotions of Rama when the children question him?

In an animation film, it was challenging to show the anguish that Rama goes through at such times. I think we are successful to a large extent.


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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'The boys are lovable characters'

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What is the emotion that dominates the faces of the boys? Is it anger or aggression?

Neither anger nor aggression. They are lovable characters and symbolise fearlessness, love and respect for their mother. They become aggressive only to protect their mother.

Is the animation film made from the point of view of two sons?

Yes. It is the story of two sons who are trying to get justice for their mother.

You have the late L Vaidyanathan as the music director of the film. Please tell us something about the music.

He was a very good of friend of mine. Before we started the film, we had very long discussions about the story. He used contemporary Indian music in it. After he passed away, his son L V Ganesan completed the background score including the sound effects but all the songs were done by his father, the late L Vaidyanathan.


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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'I could have made eight Telugu films in the time I took to make this film'

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Why did you decide to make it 2D animation and not 3D?

2D animation is a much more artistic job than 3D. Artistic expression of the animator is more visible in a 2D film.

How did you make the twins look different?

We have given one the colour of Krishna and the other, the looks of Rama. Lava is an emotional boy while Kusa is quite sober.

How long did it take you to finish the film?

It took one and a half years for us to create the images and write the script. Over 450 artists worked on this film at the RVML Animation studios, in India and in Philippines besides the support staff. Altogether 125 animators, 225 assistant animators worked on storyboard, audio track reading, exposure sheet timing, layouts, background painting, digital ink and paint.

I could have made eight Telugu films in the time I took to make this film! So, you can imagine how hard it is.

Still, I wanted to make this film. I have made 22 feature films and won the Andhra Pradesh state award twice but the pleasure one derives from making an animation film is immense. It is a totally different way of expressing emotions.


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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'We plan to release the film globally'

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In which language will the film be released?

The film will be released in English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. Remember, we are not dubbing in the four languages. We are making it in four different languages, so drawings are different for each language wherever the dialogue is spoken.

So, the number of drawings is almost 6 lakh, which includes FX layers, tones and shadows. Our plan is to release the film globally.


Image: A scene from Lava-Kusa

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