In today’s Hollywood, Pixar is considered the model creative company, and animated films are often given as much artistic respect as live action dramas. But other countries are at an earlier stage of animation technology–like India, which on May 9 will release its first 3-D motion-capture CGI feature, Kochadaiiyaan.
A trailer for the film demonstrates that it’s, well, not exactly Avatar. By standards that most Americans are used to, the proportions are strange, the movements robotic, and the visuals scan more like a hastily developed video game. But Radiator Springs wasn’t built in a day, and there can’t really be a downside to more cultures and filmmaking traditions experimenting with new forms of animation.
Furthermore, the film was completed in just a year and a half for $20.5 million. Toy Story‘s budget was $30 million 19 years ago, and it took closer to five years. And, Kochadaiiyaan was directed by a woman, Soundarya Ashwin, daughter of Indian film star Raginikanth, who plays three roles in the film, including the lead.
Some commenters on the trailer’s YouTube page note that India has no lack of talented CGI animators, and the quality of Kochadaiiyaan might have been better if those (probably more expensive) people were hired or were not being pulled out of the country to work in Hollywood. But maybe if Kochadaiiyaan attracts enough interest from audiences, the CGI sector of Bollywood will start to take off.