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    Suresh Eriyat’s animated film on a fisherwoman gathers accolades at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival, plus a National Film AwardIMG_9204

    FURRY cats, bouncing bunnies and wide-eyed hamsters — these cute little things have been done to death in animation. So when Thripunithura-based animator, Suresh Eriyat, wanted to make an animated film, he chose an unusual protagonist and a unique storyline. His plot revolves around a heavy-set fisherwoman from Mumbai on a quest to own an auto rickshaw. The film, Fisherwoman and Tuk Tuk, emerged as the winner at last week’s renowned Tokyo Anime Award Festival in the short animation film category (surpassing 33 other global nominees). Five days into the win, his 15-minute film has also grabbed this year’s National Film Award, as the best animation film.
    A fishy tale
    An alumnus of NID Ahmedabad, the 42-year-old says that the idea came to him in 2009, after encountering a group oTuk Tuk - 2f boisterous fisherwomen in Mumbai, who were haggling with an auto rickshaw driver. “Originality, the culture connect and the vivid Bollywood poster-styled visualisation are what impressed the jury at Tokyo. Like most Indians, my struggling fisherwoman is all bright and cheerful, in spite of the worries within her, which includes her inability to own an auto-rickshaw,” begins Eriyat, the founder of Mumbai-based Studio Eeksaurus. Eriyat and Eeksaurus has helped craft some of the most popular characters in Indian advertising, like the hare and tortoise for Amaron batteries and Chintamani for ICICI (credited for pushing clay animation into mainstream advertising).
    Life, animated
    Last year, Eeksaurus also won the Annecy Cristal Award for their animated film on child labour, which was India’s first ever Annecy (considered the Oscars of animation). “Besides a severe lack of funding, there were a lot of challenges. Since our animation team had to find time amid stressful ad film production, to work on the film, we had to change the team to complete the film,” he shares, adding that his next project has been a work-in-progress for seven years. “Tokri, a clay animated film, will try to sensitise people to the underprivileged sections of Mumbai’s society. Viewers will get to experience this by the end of 2016,” signs off Eriyat.
    Details: studioeeksaurus.com
    —P Peter

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