Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making of Zubaan Pe Lagaam by Nupur Bhargava

Making of Zubaan Pe Lagaam by Nupur Bhargava

Nupur Bhargava has been working with MTV, India as a supervising producer and director. She did her graduation from the National Institute of Design, India in Animation film design. She has a string of popular and award winning animated works to her credit. For her, each idea and story is treated as a new opportunity to experiment with new styles and media. The biggest high for her has been that her work is truly accessible and popular. She wants to work on projects where she can push her creative limits.

Brief introduction

I was born and brought up in Delhi. At that time, Potli Baba Ki and Pingoo were very popular on television and I used to be glued to the TV whenever they were on air. And I realized soon enough that story-telling fascinated me. And the medium of animation almost seemed magical to my eyes.

It was many years later in NID that I first understood the magic behind this art. Once exposed to the medium, I knew that this was what I had always wanted to do. I graduated in Animation film design from NID.

For the past 5years I have been working on several animation based projects as a director, designer and animator including a string of popular and award winning animated commercials, campaigns and television promos. I take each idea and story as a new opportunity to experiment with new styles and mediums. As such I draw inspiration from international aesthetics as well as Indian narratives.

For me, it is extremely important that my work is not just popular but truly accessible at the same time. And hence, I want to work on interesting & challenging projects that cut across borders, religions and languages.

Zubaan Pe Lagaam

Piyush Raghani the Ex-Associate VP,MTV India with the MTV Ad sales and creative team pitched.this idea to the client around the brand’s campaign called "Zubaan pe Lagaam. We wanted to break.away from the clutter on Indian television today and create virals that were not just visually appealing but also had superior entertainment quality. Since animation is young, vibrant and an animation property. lasts forever, we thought this was the best way to go about it. In the ZBL campaign, we take topicsthat are currently in news so that the audience can easily associate with it. We first pitched a 15-sec animatic of Rakhi Sawant for the client and they loved it. Thereafter, we began the ZPL journey.

I was given the freedom to create the character style. I wanted to make caricatures that would be fun to animate and look funny at the same time.

We finalized on 2d flash as a medium in order to push the bar up in the quality of storytelling and animation. Our 2d animation was animated in a way that when the characters moved their head s ,it would give an illusion of 3d movement. The backgrounds most of the time needed to be authentic if we were spoofing a specific show like the ‘Mach Mach ka Samna.’

Each film edit was different. Like in the saas-bahu film, we kept in mind the typical soap opera style and had the swish pans, lighting effects, zoom-ins etc. Hence, even in a 15-second film, the viewer would easily associate with the characters and the style.

All the films are character driven .Most of the films were of 15sec duration out of which story duration was only 9sec. As such, the biggest challenge was to establish these 1-6characters in a short span of 9sec and still keep the entertainment quotient high. Also, all films needed to have an ascending emotional curve in the film so that the concept of "zubaan pe lagaam" works. This came in through the script as well as the sound. All things put together successfully managed to tickle the viewer in the right places.

We had initially thought of doing it in 3d but since we needed at least 2films per month and the deadlines were bound to become tighter we didn’t want to do 3d. So we went with 2d flash as we didn’t want to compromise on the quality of work.

Flash is faster to animate and since it is vector- based, it looks very clean. However we made a conscious effort to keep away from the limited animation in flash that most TV series adapt. Moreover, I think a medium should never over-power a story. The idea/story should decide the medium and not vice versa.

All scripts ideas & scripts were written by MTV. The possible ideas are first shared with client.
From the chosen ideas we write scripts that are funny but also have a strong concept behind them.
From concept to execution each film takes approx. 25days to finish. We always have 2-3films overlapping at various stages.

The possible ideas are first shared with the client. From the chosen ideas we write scripts that are funny but also have a strong concept behind them. Once the script is approved we record the VO (voice over). Finding the right VO for our characters is one of the most important factors in making the film a success. Sometimes we used amateur Voiceovers as they fit the bill perfectly.

Before we record the Voices, we gather references, videos, images to understand mannerisms for each character. Each character has a different personality hence the way they will act in our films also needs to be different. Small details like mouth-shapes, eye-blinks and body language is taken into consideration in designing and animation of the characters.

Once the VOs are done, I design the caricatures, expressions and storyboard. Small things in designing become important. For example: when we made the first Bakhi Sawanth film (2008), her make-up, hair, body languages were in a certain way. However when we made the "Bakhi ka Swayambar"(2009), she had a completely different styling and talking style which we incorporated in the new film accordingly. A storyboard in an animation film is also the edit of the film, which we need to finalize before we start with animation.

Once the storyboard and designs are approved, we start the animation. Apart from the video reference available.For any animated viral, I first act out each character so that it is used as a video reference. This helps us in character acting and lip sync while animating.

Post production:
Once the animation is done, we get the music, sound mix and sound effects done. Each film has their characteristic sound and music. After final colour correction and brand logo integration, the final film is presented to the client.

"This animation series was made possible with the creative guidance of Ashish Patil (Ex-GM ,MTV India), Dipankar Bose(head of On-air Promos) and Perfetti." To check all the 23 films kindly click on this link :

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