DreamWorks to Capture Monkeys of Bollywood

America’s leading animation film maker DreamWorks Animation SKG reveals that it is fast-tracking the development of Monkeys of Bollywood (working title), a Bollywood-style animated musical adventure set in modern-day Mumbai.

By Rakesh Raman

Bollywood is a loose term used for India’s Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai (a.k.a. Bombay). Bollywood is known for producing low-budget, low-quality movies for local cinemagoers who prefer to see meaningless song and dance sequences on the silver screen.

It’s estimated that the average production cost of a Bollywood movie is less than $5 million and it normally takes just 3 months to complete a movie.

[ Also Read: Peepli Live: Unusual Story for Hindi Cinema ]

For a comparison, Hollywood blockbuster James Cameron’s AVATAR, released in 2009, took almost 4 years to make it and consumed over $300 million as its production cost.

Most Bollywood movies disappear from theaters as fast as they come. The main reason for Bollywood’s poor performance is believed to be dynastic barriers. As a handful of old families in the film industry are controlling the entire industry affairs with their sons, daughters, and other close relatives, Bollywood has, in fact, become a family-run fiefdom full of “their fathers’ sons and their mothers’ daughters.”

It’s strongly believed that the real art and creativity can’t survive in Bollywood.

But you must not stop DreamWorks from chasing its own dreams in the dilapidated Indian tinseltown.

Executive producer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Prince of Egypt, Enchanted), executive producer and composer A.R. Rahman (127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, Bombay Dreams), and writers Gurinder Chadha & Paul Berges (Bride & Prejudice, Bend It Like Beckham) are together this week at DreamWorks Animation’s headquarters in Glendale, California to continue their collaboration on the feature project. It was announced Wednesday, Jan 12.

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“To reunite with Stephen Schwartz and work with such a celebrated team of artists on DreamWorks Animation’s first-ever CG animated feature musical project is incredibly exciting,” said DreamWorks Animation’s chief creative officer, Bill Damaschke.

“Together we will create a movie that is full of magic, fantasy, adventure, comedy and emotion in which inspiring songs and dances will delight audiences everywhere.”

Inspired by the Indian epic tale of The Ramayana – but retold through the point of view of its monkeys – Monkeys of Bollywood revolves around two common monkeys who become unlikely heroes in a last ditch effort to stop an ancient, thought-to-be-mythical demon from conquering the world.

The project is being overseen at DreamWorks Animation by Bill Damaschke and development executive Chris Kuser.

All of DreamWorks Animation’s feature films are now being produced in 3D. The company has theatrically released a total of 21 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of Raman Media Network.

In the picture above (L to R): Paul Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Stephen Schwartz, A.R. Rahman

Photo courtesy: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.

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