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With animated ambition

When kids his age are glued to TV screens playing video games, Anand makes them. He dreams of joining the Disneyland team one day.


TOM & JERRY and Popeye shows have regained their place in the daily schedule of children as the tension-filled examination days are finally over. Even as children of his age are involved in animated debates over cartoons shows and comic books, Anand, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, is focusing on something more serious. He is into real animation; making his own Toms and Jerrys. A computer is all that this 15-year-old needs.

He conceives the idea, draws the cartoon characters and animates them, using a computer without a helping hand from anyone. Moreover, this talent will keep Anand busy all summer, as he is now a guest animator with Pharaoh Solutions Pvt Ltd, an IT-enabled services company, based at Muttom, near Aluva.

Anand is now part of the animation team the company has put together for creating short duration animation movies on road safety, a project funded by the World Bank. Irshi N. Thampi, Human Resource Director of the company, says that Anand will be part of the team until his classes reopen. "The nature of the work is such that he need not be here everyday. He could pass on his ideas and work from home. He is a good prospect and his services will be used for future projects as well, if he is available," states Irshi. A.K. Saiber, the chief animator, vouches for the fact that Anand is as good as professional animators working for the company.

Incidentally, Siaber was the one who first recognised Anand's talent. Last year when Anand joined a short-term vacation course on flash animation Saiber was his instructor. He says that Anand didn't need much training. "Anand has a very good sense of timing and this is vital in animation. He draws well and that means he could be good at both Cel and Flash animation," quips Saiber.


Anand's ability to draw comes in handy in Cel animation, as it requires every moment of the character to be pencil-drawn and then scanned. He has expertise in Flash animation also, where characters and their movements can be created directly in computer.

An ardent fan of Tom & Jerry and Spiderman, Anand has a peculiar habit while watching cartoon videos. "Whenever I see an interesting character I would pause the video and then portray the character on the paper by studying the still picture," he explains. This habit drew him closer to animation, he further adds.

Short-term courses in Cel and Flash animation is the only noteworthy training Anand has in this field. For someone who has created animations more out of enthusiasm than of formal training, Anand has much to show for his achievements. He already has a few short duration animation cartoons, comic books and flipbooks to his credit. He also did an animation CD for children, based on Panchathanthram stories and poems, brought out by a prominent Malayalam daily.

Even as his friends wait outside game parlours for their turn Anand stays at home playing games he designed. If anyone thought that the martial arts based game, which he had named `Grifit' is simple, ask his fellow animators at Pharaoh Solutions who have never got past the first stage of the game.


Anand is so fascinated by animation that he is even ready to give up his studies for the sake of being a full time animator. His parents, who encourage his dream of becoming a master animator, are opposed to the idea of skipping studies. "He is now in Std. X and has to give more attention to studies. He can continue with his animation but not at the cost of education," points out Sudheer Babu, an employee in the State Government's Taxes department, who often accompanies his son to Kochi for his "official assignments". Mother Mini also concurs with this view of her husband's.

Born and brought up in Abu Dhabi, Anand moved to Sarvodaya Vidyalaya, Thiruvananthapuram, when the family shifted back home two years ago. Anand has won several prizes in drawing and painting competitions held in Kerala and abroad. Having decided to take animation seriously Anand is now eyeing 3D animation, the elite category in animation. The bespectacled Anand is shy but ask him about his dream and his eyes light up. Even before one could complete the question out pops the answer: "I want to be part of Disney World team. Even if that doesn't happen I am sure that my profession will be something related to drawing," Anand declares confidently.

Going by the way Anand is treating his `future profession', Disneyland doesn't seems a distant dream.

M. P. PRAVEEN

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