India's emergence as a major economic player at the global level has worked to change the career aspirations of her many sons and daughters.
What were once niche industries have blossomed into behemoths, and subsequently, so too have employment opportunities.
Animation is one such industry. Once made-up of tiny boutiques that were hired on an individual project basis by marketing firms for use in advertisement, today, India's animation landscape looks decidedly different. Given the success of animated projects like Hanuman and the bevy of outsourced work from the West to India (Lord of the Rings), the demand for specialised talent in animation is at an all-time high.
But, before all this, there was Ram Mohan, the Indian animation guru regarded in some circles as the 'Godfather' of Indian animation. He's seen, first-hand, the industry's dramatic evolution over the course of a 52-year career.
Mohan, who graduated in Science from the University of Madras, gave up the opportunity to continue post-graduate studies when he joined the government of India's Cartoon Films Unit in 1956. He later received advanced training in animation techniques from Clair Weeks of Walt Disney Studios, under the US Technical Aid programme.
After that, he quickly rose through the ranks, in time coming to define the Indian animation industry, with well over 100 projects to his name. Today, he's the Chairman and Chief Creative Office for Graphiti, a concept to complete animation studio in Mumbai, and was instrumental in setting up the Graphiti School of Animation. He's known for co-directing India's first animation feature, Ramayana: the Legend of a Rama, the Indo-Japanese animation feature on Rama.
Here, in an interview with rediff.com, Mr Ram Mohan discusses his own career, the state of the Indian animation industry today and what the future holds in store.
Text: Matthew Schneeberger | Image: [Inset] The 'Godfather of Indian animation' Ram Mohan; a still from one of Graphiti School of Animation's projects
Also read: Career watch: The colourful world of animation