March 04, 2010 Y. Sunita Chowdhary
Grannies crib that the kids have no time for bedtime stories but they also vouch that animated movies on different mythological characters is the best way to grab their attention. The unprecedented success of Hanuman and Ganesha have prompted many producers to come up with variety of characters and one amongst them is Lava Kusa, the exploits of whom has inspired producer Shashank to bring it alive on screen in a 2D format.
Director Davala Satyam who has 22 Telugu films, a Kannada and a Tamil film to his credit has painstakingly created a spectacular affair that promises non stop fun and education. Lava Kusa are treated as two characters and the entire Ramayan is narrated in between. Right from Ram's birth to him ordering his brother Lakshman to leave his pregnant wife Sita in the forest, the children's birth and finally the coronation ceremony after which Ram leaves to the heaven is beautifully encapsuled in two hours.
Writer Balabadrapatruni Ramani however says there is nothing to learn from the lives of the twin children. They are cute and it's a highly commendable aspect that instead of being raised in the luxury of a kingdom they spend their childhood amongst sages, amidst nature and become experts in archery. Unaware of how their father looks they challenge him and provoke him to stage a war, they ask him what wrong their mother has done that he had to abandon her in the forest and are aghast, crestfallen when their mother who is thoroughly vexed and hurt seeks solace in the place of her origin. But beyond that what can one derive from the emotional drama exclaims the writer and says there is little info about Lava and Kusa after they leave to Ayodhya, about their marriage and how long they ruled, etc.
Senior journalist Lakshman Rao says that there is plenty of info on the lives of Lava and Kusa in a book written by Malladi Chandrasekhar. The purpose of narrating the story of Lava and Kusa is almost akin to narrating Ramayan albeit in a different route. The children through their songs let out info about the father and the treatment meted out to their mother Sita. The Aswamedha Yagna and the coming of the horse to the hermitage is a prelude to the climax.
Director Satyam says Ramayan is a known story so they have not made any experiments on the content but focused on the children and showed them as exemplary warriors. Every country takes pride and narrating it's epics, it's history, culture and heritage, RTV's animation college Race and their studio RVML diligently put in four and a half long years, spent 25 crores to bring out a 2D qualitative picture that is on par with international standards that aims to show the life and valour of Lava Kusa.
He adds, "Lion King took five years to be completed and Avatar had gone to the sets as soon as Titanic released and we saw it only recently. It does take time to get perfection. We worked on the script for one a half year and around 400 people worked for over three years to bring it into shape."
The exploits of Hindu Gods have been popular subjects in animation films and music plays a major role in recreating the mood and giving it a real feel. L. Vaidyanathan who won the national award 22 times and worked on Pushpaka Vimanam and Malgudi Days composed the tunes. There are five songs in this film out of which three of them will narrate Ramayan. The wars are fought between the twins and Shatrughan, Lakshman and Rama respectively and the battle is supposed to be very attractive with arrows striking and outwitting each other in the open sky in vibrant colours and fast moving frames and great sound effects.
The lip synching work was the most difficult part of the project as great care had to be taken to see that there is no awkwardness when the character speaks the respective language. Lava Kusa is being released in summer in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English and promises great wit and wisdom and a great viewing experience for all age groups.