The Food Series by Vaibhav Studios
Anyone who has seen the Nick Idli party video will testify to its catchy animation and the addictive music. In fact search for Idli song on YouTube and you will be amazed to find the plethora of comments praising the animation and the concept. On a similar vein, there are 2 more food related ident videos for Nick – One was for a Garba occasion and the other is a Rap battle between Vada Pav and Samosa! It’s a well-known fact in the industry circle about the ingenuity and the skill of Vaibhav Studios, whose brilliant brains are behind the concept and execution of these delightful videos.
Circa 2010, I was on bedrest because of a road accident. During this time, I made plenty of personal animations which I would regularly upload on social media. I’ll forever be indebted to Rekha Thorat who noticed my work and recommended me to Vaibhav. This was in 2011. And I've been happily working with him ever since.
The inspiration behind that clip, Anand says, was a song named Pista from the movie Neram. It struck him to use real pistas as actors, and that’s how it evolved.
Oh yes there were a lot of challenges.
Rigging the food items was tricky. Each of them had to be rigged differently depending on their type. Some are soft, some are hard, they come in different shapes and sizes. They had to be rigged with extreme care such that they could be maneuvered easily without breaking. So our rigger used metal rods, wires, and threads depending upon the type of food and the performance. Many of the background dancers were hung on strings tied to a common stick that could be handled by one puppeteer.
Space was also another challenge. We had the characters, props, sets, lights, everything set up in one tiny space. Add to that the number of puppeteers handling the food items, making sure the dance movements are right. The puppeteers had to be careful not to bump the into each other, or appear on camera.
After the shoot is done and we’ve finalized the takes, our artists start the task of wire removal. And because most of our shots don’t have green screen, they have to painstakingly remove the wire manually in every frame. It is admittedly the most arduous of all tasks.
All in all though, the whole process is a fun learning experience. We have many happy accidents when we’re shooting where we unexpectedly come up with good performances that we hadn’t thought of initially.
The first in this series, The Idli Song, was an instant hit. It took us by surprise how far and wide it got circulated. It was even seen playing in a South Indian restaurant!
Our films have also bagged many awards. Last year, they were awarded Gold and Silver at the Promax and BDA Award, Singapore, for best online ident, best sound, best promo, best original music composition, best animation. We also won 6 silvers at Clio Awards 2019
a. Monsters Inc
b. Inside Out
c. The Illusionist
A lot of artists inspire me, Glen Keane, Pete Docter, Pascal Campion, Bill Watterson, Mario Miranda, Vaibhav Kumaresh, it’s hard to pick.
Even friends I’ve worked with, Anand Babu, Rajiv Eipe, Sumeet Surve, and a lot more, have been a constant source of inspiration to me.
Be passionate, be patient, be persistent.
Keep yourself driven by drawing inspiration from other amazing artists. Watch and learn from them, read books, study movies, explore. This also helps you refine your taste.
Be brave and take risks. Do things you haven't done before. I'm not saying bite more than you can chew, but take a leap of faith now and then. Test yourself. Even if it's a simple exercise, try doing it the best way you can, that stands out.
There'll be times when you'll be extremely frustrated because you're just not getting it right, or the way you want it to be. Know that it is okay, it's a normal part of growth. Know that you're on the right path.
You're frustrated only because you have set high standards, which I think is important.
Keep at it, and one day, just like that, it'll come to you. I call it the 'breakfree' moment, where you break free from all the confusions and learn how to channelize your thoughts.
It's extremely important to overcome this difficult hurdle, because it'll help you face more hurdles ahead.
Do not run after money. I understand I can’t generalize here, but in your early years, try to always strive for learning. Even if they pay less, work in studios that help you learn, grow and explore, that make you think.
Money is important yes, and at one point it will become indispensable, but if you invest in learning in your early years, it’ll help you grow as an artist. Your value as an artist shoots up, and that converts into good money too, making for a satisfying career. It all works out in the end. It has so far worked out for me.