Movie-going, as a community-centric activity, has unfortunately been stalled along with several other activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. With evolving technologies, film producers have actively sought out OTT platforms over the past few weeks to entertain us. One such animated film has been making the right noise for breaking quite a few barriers. Punyakoti is India’s first crowd-funded animation film, made completely in Sanskrit. Cherry on top? It has music maestro Ilaiyaraaja scoring the soundtrack and veteran actress Revathi lending her voice to the lead character – Punyakoti.
Speaking about the Sanskrit film to Yo! Vizag, director Ravishankar, an ex-Infosys employee said, “I knew very little about Sanskrit growing up. That changed when I attended a ten-day Sanskrit Workshop organised by my employers. If Sanskrit took birth in any other country, they would have honoured it as their pride. Unfortunately in India, the significance of Sanskrit is lost on us. Punyakoti was a story I wrote for my daughter as part of the workshop. That story, based on Kannada folklore music about a truth-speaking cow, was the basis for my film.”
Though the idea was noble, there were no takers willing to back Punyakoti financially. “Because I couldn’t find a confident producer, I took the crowd-funding route on the advice of my colleague and am glad I did so. Punyakoti holds the honour of being the largest crowd-funded animated movie in India. We ran two campaigns in 2015 and 2018 that raised 77 lakhs for the movie,” shares the director of Punyakoti.
Punyakoti has won accolades at international film festivals for its rich storytelling. While the film is currently available on Netflix, the filmmakers aim to reach a wider audience and have partnered with BookMyShow for an online screening of their movie. Much like an online live streaming event, the viewers would receive a unique link once tickets are purchased. Punyakoti is up for online shows starting from 11 July 2020. “The onus lies on us, Indian cine-lovers to promote Punyakoti. Sanskrit is India’s rich culture and heritage that we must be incredibly proud of, and preserve through endeavours like these,” says filmmaker Ravishankar signing off.