Series on design masters in India:
Ram Mohan, the legend and doyen of Indian animation, recently completed fifty years of involvement with the animation industry. He has played a significant role in the evolution of animation in India. With over a hundred films to his credit, his contributions span a wide spectrum of work across the areas of 2D classical animation, 3D computer graphics animation to cinema and live action.
He is also credited for teaching and training a whole generation of modern animators in India.
Deciding to become an animator:
Starting the career in Animation with Clair Weeks:
Experiences at Films Division:
Working with Norman Mc Laren:
Starting on his own:
Ramayana and the collaboration with the Japanese:
Unfolding of ‘Meena’ Series and evolution of ‘Sara’:
CG, Classical and Experimental works:
Training of Animators in India:
Future of animation in India:
Links to Animation Design in India:
Graduated in Science from the University of Madras and later gave up post-graduate studies to join the Cartoon Films Unit, Films Division, government of India in 1956.He received training in animation techniques from Clair H. Weeks of Walt Disney Studios, under the US Technical Aid program.
Scripted, designed and animated many of Cartoon Film unit's productions from 1960 to1967, including 'Homo Saps' which won the National Award for Best Experimental Film, 1967, and 'Chaos' which won an Award at the Leipzig Festival of short Films in1968. He participated in the 1967 world retrospective of Animation Cinema in Montreal. In 1968 he left Films Division and joined Prasad Productions as chief of their animation division. In 1972 established his own production company, Ram Mohan Biographics.
1956- Training from Clair Weeks under US Technical Aid Programme and then worked at Cartoon Film Unit at Films Division.
1967- Participated in 'World Expo of Animation Cinema', Montreal, Canada and got to work with Norman Mc Laren at International films Division for 6 weeks
1968- Joined Prasad Studios as head of their Animation Department
1972- Started his own studio called 'Ram Mohan Biographics'
1990- Collaborated with Yogo Sako from Japan for co-production of cartoon series 'Ramayana'
1995- 'Meena' and 'Sara cartoon series with UNICEF
1997- Joined hands with UTVand stated RM-USL later re-christened as UTV toons
2001- Chairman of Grafiti studio - doing 2D, 3D and CGI
1969- National Award for the Best Film on family planning, “Baap Re Baap”.
1972- National Award for the Best Animation Film; “You Said it”.
1974- He was commissioned to script, design and direct a series of educational films on population and environment, “Down to Earth” for the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Family Planning Association of India.
1996- Communication Arts Guild Hall of Frame award for Life Time achievement. Series director:“Meena” for UNICEF, a series of 13 episodes dealing with issues concerning the girl child in south Asia.
2001- Advertising Club Award 'ABBY' for Life Time Achievement.
2002- Chairman, Graphiti Multimedia, Pvt. Ltd
2003- I.D.P.A. “Ezra Mir” award for Life-Time Achievement. Broadcast India
1968- script, design, direction- “Baap re Baap” produced by Prasad Productions, Madras- 11 min, 35 mm, colour - National Award for the best short film on Family Planning, 1969.
1971- script, design, direction: “You Said It” Produced by Prasad Productions for Film Division -10 min, 35mm, colour, National Award for the best film in 1972
1972- script, design, direction: Down to Earth- Part 1: “The Friendly Planet” produced by Prasad Productions for the Family Planning Association of India - 12 min, 35mm, colour.
Down to Earth- Part 2:“The Ravaged Elements”- 12 min, 35mm, colour.
1973- Down to Earth- Part 3: “The Island of Graph” produced by Prasad Productions, for EPAI, - 12 min, 35mm, colour
1974- Down to Earth- Part 4: “The Fourth Revolution” - produced by Ram Mohan Biographics For EPAI, 12 min, 35mm, colour.
1983- design and direction:“Fire Games”- Produced by Shilpa Bharati Publicity -10 min, 35mm, colour.
1984- National Award for the Best Animation Film- “Fire Games”
1989- design and direction: “Taru” Produced for Children's Film Society of India-18 min, 35mm, colour.
1992- Co-direction (along with Koichi Sasaki of Japan) “Ramayana” The Legend of Prince Rama' Tokyo -135mins, 35mm, colour.
1992- Inducted into the IAAFA Hall of Fame by the Indian Academy of Advertising Film Art.
1994- Produced in Co-operation with ACCU, Tokyo “The White Elephant” based on an Indian- Fable.
1995- Project "Meena" with UNICEF - 13 episodes with 20-25 artists - collaborated with FII Cartoons, Manila
Project "Sara" with UNICEF
Question: When did you first decide to become an animator? Can you tell me more about your background?
Answer: Actually Cartooning was my hobby. I used to love to draw cartoons. Actually I had never thought of taking up a career in Animation at that time. There was no career available in Animation at that time. There were just a few handful of people who were doing animation on their own by trail and error, by reading books, But there was no animation studio in Bombay. In Madras Gemini Studio had started some animation, similarly Prabhat Studios had started at that time animation project like Jamboos Kaka etc. It was quite interesting when Films Division announced. Under the U.S technical aids program they received an animation camera and they were also going to get a Disney animator Clair H Weeks to train some people and set up a proper animation studio. So I had some interest in Cartooning since I always loved animation. I thought I will just go and meet this gentleman who was coming all the way from Disney. And off course no hopes of getting in because I was not qualified as an animator. But when I went and showed my Cartoons to Clair Weeks he liked them and he said why you don't join the training program. And suddenly I found myself in the Films Division in the training program. With Films Division it was like a chance for me to enter into animation as a career. Around the same time I was offered by Prasad Productions Madras for heading their animation department in Bombay. I thought it was a good time for getting into the private sector. In 1972 I set up my own group called Ram Mohan Biographics. We were continuing to use equipment from Prasad. With Clair Weeks at Films Division I first got the chance to get into animation. I had never hoped or even dreamt of chance of getting into Animation that time. Cartooning was my hobby, but even that was not serious. I was a science graduate. When I came to Bombay the idea was to continue with my Science studies. In fact I had even signed down for an M.Sc program. But then this happened and it suddenly changed my career line. Otherwise I would probably be in some Lab or something.
Meena and her world
(sourced from www.40to40.com)
Meena- Character Sketches
Scenes from Ramayana
Ramayana - Character Sketches
Interviewed by Mohini Kotasthane at Graphiti Studio, Mumbai