Mahendra Kumar

Arts Education

Grant Period: Over one year

Mahendra Kumar is a veteran cinematographer and animator, who would like to offer public education workshops modelled on the silhouette animation method of the famous German animator, Lotte Reiniger.

Mahendra's interest in this project stems from his 45 years of experience of working in the film industry with stalwarts like Ritwik Ghatak. Mahendra is motivated to pass on animation skills that he has acquired over the years through painstaking experimentation and self-learning. The recent success of his methodology for teaching animation at Max Muller Bhawan and the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata, gives Mahendra the confidence to share the techniques with interested people. His aim is to trigger an animation movement in the country.
For Mahendra, the motivation to tell a story is an essential pre-requisite for any student of animation. Teaching them the skills to then break down the stories into shots and frames and using a camera to film the process, comes later. Mahendra will work with students in two batches, each batch undergoing a six month course. In the first year, split into two six-month periods, he can address approximately 50 students. Every participant will attend 20 classes of three hours each over six months.
In terms of the content of the workshops, Mahendra emphasises the importance of showing animation films to acquaint the participants with the art form. He will attempt to focus on the laws which govern movement and the exaggeration of these laws in animation: action, reaction, gravity, acceleration, deceleration, friction, squash and stretch. He hopes that the 25 trainees in the final six months will work in teams to produce five short animation films by the end of the course.
To ensure that the project continues in the future, Mahendra has worked out a fee structure for the course. The money raised through charging the course fees will be deposited to serve as a buffer for the following year.