Pixar presents ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’
Teeming with vibrant colors, action, and emotion, Sanjay’s Super Team fits right in with the Pixar Animation canon. But the film (loosely based on Patel’s own boyhood love of Super Friends) also breaks new thematic ground, centering on an Indian-American boy and his immigrant father.
The seven-minute short is based on director Sanjay Patel’s own childhood — specifically the culture clash he experienced with his devout father growing up in San Bernadino, California. Most of the short unfolds in Sanjay’s active imagination. While the boy would prefer to watch his cartoons than worship with his dad, in his mind, his father’s deities come to life in a heroic adventure. Instead of embedding typical Pixar references — like hidden Mickey Mouses and other familiar characters — Sanjay’s Super Team is full of Hindu symbols.
When Patel presented his initial idea to Disney Animation and Pixar chief John Lasseter, he was instructed to tell the truth of the experience. Patel is also telling the truth about how Indians were either stereotyped or nonexistent in pop culture when he was growing up in the 1980s.