Animated challenges

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Poster for film 'True Love Story'

Poster for film 'True Love Story'

In May 2014, Gitanjali Rao returned to Cannes Critics Week with True Love Story . A brilliant illustrator, animator and director, she has kept at her art for the past 11 years and her repertoire includes some well known commercial as well as personal animation. Gitanjali Rao has been amply lauded for her award-winning animation films, which are short, yet profound.

Mumbai-based animation filmmaker, Gitanjali Rao revisited the Croisette at the Cannes Critics Week with her short film “True Love Story”. Her 2006 short film “Printed Rainbow” , the first Indian film to be selected at Cannes, won three awards for the Best Short Film at Cannes 2006. It also won the Kodak discovery award and young critics award for best short film at the Critics Week besides winning Rail d’Or, an audience award. Gitanjali Rao was later invited on the short film jury of the Critics Week in 2011.

Graduating and majoring in Fine Arts in 1994 from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, the self taught animator and film maker has independently produced, directed and animated other short films alongside Printed Rainbow, among which are “Orange” and “Blue”. Printed Rainbow and Orange together have won her 28 awards, 22 of which were for the former, which was painted over the course of three years frame-by-frame. Her animation style is inspired by the folk and traditional art and crafts of rural India. In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gitanjali Rao mentions that in a country dominated by mainstream cinema, how Bollywood inspires her and how she has coped with the different challenges of being an animation film maker in India. According to Gitanjali  Rao, animation is a relatively very young industry. It is a physically different environment where most of the time is spent inside a studio, but women in this domain can define what they want to say, unlike mainstream Bollywood, which is a really “macho” industry. Each of her films is a feminist utopia as she captures the diversity, fluidity and multiple possibilities that are inherent in women.

Her new short animation “True Love Story” competes with nine other films from all over the world. This film is a “journey through the seductive, treacherous streets of Bombay. In a city soaked in Bollywood dreams, it moves from the fantastical to the viscerally real. True Love Story is a painted ode to romance” (Source: Festival de Cannes, Short Film Catalogue). This animation depicts of how a bar dancer falls in love with a flower vendor in true Bollywood fantasy style. This Indo-French co-production was conceptualized as a reaction to ‘Bollywood’, which is depicted as the ‘villain‘ in the film, in an ironical sense, as it can be irresistibly enticing and perfidious at the same time.  True Love Story was premiered at Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) earlier this year where it won the Golden Conch, an award for the best animation film. This 18 minute animation set in the streets of Mumbai, explores what happens when the ultimate Bollywood fantasy is applied in reality. It gives a glimpse into the influence of Bollywood on real life in Mumbai, illustrated through puppet animation. In the words of Nadezhda Marinchevska of FIPRESCI in 2007, “Gitanjali Rao approaches themes such as solitude and death in a gentle and non dramatic way. The narration carries influences from the eastern philosophy of life and rebirth without ruining the feeling of human warmth. ” (Source: Printed Rainbow, Site of Gitanjali Rao)

True Love Story will be screened at AFBombay – Theosophy Hall Auditorium, with Vikalp Film Archive, on Fri 18th July

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...