Exclusive | Challenging the boundaries: Maya Digital's Ketan Mehta

Pioneers of the art and technology of computer animation & digital visual effects in India, Maya Digital Studios (MDS) was founded in 1996. The company is the brainchild of internationally acclaimed film maker, Ketan Mehta and his equally talented wife & actress, Deepa Sahi. On board is also an American computer animation & visual effects veteran, Frank Foster who is the president of the company and oversees the studio’s daily operations.

MDS has specialized in stereoscopic 3D and offers services for S3D visual effects, S3D CG renders animation, left & right camera live action cinematography & very high quality, cost effective 2D to 3D conversion. Maya was the first dedicated CG animation and visual effects studio in India. Since its inception, it has provided its creative expertise & skills to top global clientele including BBC, Disney, Google, Sony, Electronic Arts, Ragdoll Inc UK, Rainbow, Mike Young Productions, Activision, Brown Bag Films, VGI Entertainment. The company has time and again delivered prestigious projects in television, film and gaming. Maya’s work has won several international honours & awards including the IFTA, BAFTA, Pulcinella, FICCI and GDC.

Adgully caught up with Ketan Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director, MDS to talk about its journey and the movie, ‘Motu Patlu in Wonderland.’ Ketan Mehta needs no introduction. He is one of India's most internationally acclaimed filmmakers and recipient of many national & international awards. An Economics graduate from the prestigious St. Stephens College, Delhi and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. Mehta has over 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry. His expertise has been well demonstrated in films, television, commercials and documentaries. His well known works include: Mangal Pandey - The Rising, Maya Memsaab, Sardar, Mirch Masala, Holi and Bhavni Bhavai.

Speaking about the Motu Patlu the series, he said, “Yes, while launching the series in a movie format as we felt that original Indian content was desperately needed in the market. We wanted to go deep inside the Indian audiences with such content; hence we created the ‘Motu Patlu series that actually did wonders.”

Going back to the history and origin of MDS, Mehta said they entered the animation market at a time when the industry was non existent in India. So right from training people to create content and then outsourcing it was a major thrust area. He says, “With outsourcing and creation, training people was also a major task. I would say that the industry has evolved quite literally over the years and has matured, alongside MDS too has evolved and grown.”

MDS in association with Nick TV recently premiered the first film of the awesome two some titled, ‘Motu Patlu in Wonderland’. Speaking about the idea, content and challenge, he said, “To make the movie watching experience memorable, we have used world class digital technology in animation. After seeing the massive success of Motu Patlu series,
we decided to treat the audiences with a complete entertainment animated movie, producing which was a challenge in itself.”

He says, “The focus area has shifted too. So initially we used to focus on outsourcing more but now content creation and getting the right content is the whole concern.”

Speaking about their association with Viacom18’s Nick TV, Mehta said, “The association has worked very well. The network has the expertise in terms of understanding the pulse of Indian audiences and we have the expertise in terms of technology hence the duo worked very well.”

We see the animation industry growing and evolving day by day. With so many kids’ channels, animated movies and content, the industry has gained momentum. Giving his view on this Mehta said, “the industry is all set take a new lead with 4D and 5D. Indian audiences now are in need of original content and they love that more.”

As for MDS’ best works, Mehta said, “We have worked on projects for BBC, Ragdoll, Rainbow, Mike Young Productions, Electronic Arts, Sony, Activision and Google, Big Screen Entertainment, VGI Entertainment and Brown Bag Films. Our first theatrical 3D CGI feature –Ramayana The Epic released in 2010, which was well acclaimed too. We are also partnering on co-productions to develop IPs for the global TV market.”

As for the roadmap ahead, he said, “We want to challenge the boundaries and create a market of our own. We want to expand our footprints more in animation. With the media industry also coming of age, I would say the animation industry is going to rise hence creating more content and being up to the mark would be our focus.”

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