An acclaimed designer, animator, illustrator, film maker and educator – Shilpa Ranade is an Award-Winning personality with several feathers in her cap. A faculty at the Industrial Design Centre in Mumbai, her previous films have been screened all over the world, winning accolades in some of the most prestigious film festivals.
Her latest project, the award-winning animation movie Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya had its’ world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Watch the trailer here –
We’re curious to know about your journey to being one of the most celebrated animation artists of the country. What paved the way for you to reach where you are now?
“I studied Applied Art at Sir J J Institute Of Applied Art, then studied Visual Communication at IDC School Of Design, IIT Bombay and then did an MPhil in Animation at the Royal College Of Art, London. My academic background naturally lent itself to the field of Animation since I am trained in the visual arts, design and animation. All that I  have studied has paved the way for me to become an animation filmmaker. “
What germinated the seed behind ‘Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya’?
” Apart from Animation I also do book illustration. I had got a book to illustrate from Scholastic India, this was a retelling of Goopi Gayne Bagha Bayne by Gulzar. While illustrating the book I went back to researching the original story by Upendra Kishore Raychowdhuri and its numerous retellings. I found that it had an amazing lineage and felt it could make for engaging material for an animated feature since it has all the ingredients one would want in an Animation film; fantasy, adventure, quirky characters and settings and of course an enduring narrative. I then approached CFSI (Children’s Film Society India) to make this film.”
Your work and way of story-telling revolve strongly around pressing social issues. What is your idea behind the work you do?
” I feel one has to go beyond entertainment and look at realities around us, if one is sensitive to one’s environment it will naturally find its way into the films one makes. I strongly feel that one has to address issues that one is concerned about and don’t believe in separating my work and convictions. We have so much content that does not go beyond superficial entertainment and feel it is a great responsibility to look beyond this and make meaningful artefacts that are representative of the values we want our children to imbibe. “
How do you expect the audience to respond to your film in India?
” Goopi Gayne Bagha Bayne is a much-loved classic in Bengal and also by audiences interested in cinema and literature. I’m hoping my retelling in an animated form brings a fresh take on this well-known tale and reintroduces younger audiences to this material in a context that is pertinent to today’s times. From the reactions I have got so far during festival screening s from adults and children,  the response has been completely gratifying and exciting. People have come away saying it has helped them relive their childhoods and that it has been an enriching experience. “
We heard that Satyajit Ray’s son was all praise for the film – That must be an overwhelming feeling.
” I must say that it has weighed heavily on my mind that I was making a film which has such a strong lineage and iconic people involved with it, I’m so happy and excited that it has been appreciated by none other than Ray’s own son and that I have not disappointed him but have been able to make a tribute to the legendary original story and classic film. “
What would you like to share with aspiring illustrators of today?
“I would say don’t be swept by technology, spend as much time as possible honing your skills and work in awareness and make images and stories about yourselves, your culture, your space, your times your experiences and environment. Nothing can replace the connection between the head, the heart and the hand. “
After GGBB, what comes next for you? Any ideas that you are currently working on?
” The short film format in animation has always excited me and I’m hoping to continue to make my own films. I’m currently working on several projects including books and animation films and also researching the possibilities of porting puppetry to animation. “