Friday, October 11, 2013


The Gond animation film - Manjoor Jhali, the Story of the Peacock.

There is not much to update on this film, as there has been no progress to date.  But all of that is about to change.  The Pardhan Gonds are by now almost veterans in the activity of adapting their folklore for animation; while perhaps this may be stretching the truth a bit, the previous animated Gond folktale "Best of the Best" (produced by West Highland Animation, 2006) was screened to at least 15,000 children in India and in the United Kingdom during 2007-08 and it was voted by most as the best in the series.  This brought Pardhan Gond artist Venkat Raman Singh Shyam to Scotland on behalf of his community of Gond painters who are based in Bhopal.  Venkat was invited to attend the Inverness Film Festival at the end of 2007 to collect the Trophy that the Scots (who had funded the "Tallest Story Competition" production) were offering for the most popular story.

It is that competition that has inspired the "Tales of the Tribes" animation series that is the first collection of animated tribal folktales to be produced in India in collaboration with indigenous artists, musicians and storytellers and with Indian organisations.  As the winner of the last series, the Pardhan Gond artists were interested in bringing another of their stories to life, so during a workshop organised in 2012 at the National Institute of Design they chose the story of the creation of the peacock.  Peacocks are often depicted in their art these days, and Venkat reminded the team at NID that as the peacock is also the national bird of India, he felt the story would have appeal beyond his own community.  The stunning artwork is sure to attract audiences for the film from all over, as the intricate designs developed over the past few decades by the Gond artists have now found popular appeal, giving  them an identity and a way to make a living through their creative talents.   But these paintings are now so elaborate that they take a lot of time to paint, and as each one must be unique, the artists (of which there are about 50 of them based in Bhopal) have had no time to learn animation software.  So to bring their artwork to life for the story of the Peacock, we are now looking for a few dedicated animators who would like to join us for this project.



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