The Seed You Saw in Your Child
He is an alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID) and his previous work includes the title animation sequence for the highly acclaimed Hindi feature film ‘Taare Zameen Par‘, which was directed by Indian Film Industry superstar Aamir Khan. During an earlier stint at Aardaman Animation Ltd. Dhimant has worked as an animator on the Creature Comforts USA TV series.
He has worked with brands like BBC, UNICEF, FCB ULKA, Zee TV, MTV, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, to name just a few. His work for Taare Zameen Par, Happy Planet, Cute Bunny, Y-snore, MTV promos and his photography has won him several national and international awards.
CG. Your work is often related to the flora and fauna. Can you tell us how your childhood inspired the theme of your various work?
Dhimant. I grew up in a small town called ‘Dhrangadhra’ near Kutch, Gujarat. I spent a lot of time amidst nature, as my town is surrounded by rivers, lakes and farms. Most of my childhood involved playing with animals, bird watching, gardening, swimming in the river, and playing with the fish I used to collect clay from the riverbed to make toys and pluck grass to create handicrafts.
We had no televisions or mobiles then. Even the race to get better marks in exams did not exist for us as children; this lead to spending most of our time in the lap of nature. And all my observations of nature now reflect in my work in some way.
CG. Please throw some light on the different animation techniques. Which of these is your favourite, and why?
Dhimant. There are a wide variety of techniques like 2D classical animation, 3D Computer generated animation, Stop motion, Cut out, Pixilation, and so many more.
I have used almost all styles of animation, but the way clay animation have evolved, somehow reflects in most of my projects. I don’t restrict myself to clay animation though. I especially love the 2D classical animation style.
The style and technique always depends on the requirement of the story. For Amir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ I used clay animation. The animation needed to seem like handmade toys created by children. There is an organic feel to the medium which cannot be achieved through computer generated animation. Clay is something everyone relates to as it connects us all to our childhood.
In film making, storytelling decides the technique. The story needs to be executed in a manner where the audience completely engages with the story, instead of focusing on the technicality of the film. The style should seamlessly integrate with the story.
CG. The audience connects very strongly with your work, especially because it’s got heart and warmth. How do you bring in that feeling and emotional connection to your work?
Dhimant. Hard to tell. Perhaps because I put in my heart into my work or my childhood observations of nature reflect in my work. When one enjoys their work, the audience picks up on that, and they enjoy it too. While working, I don’t focus on the final product, instead I put all my energy in the process of creation and learning.
CG. What role do you think animation can play in education? And how important is it?
Dhimant. Animation can play a significant role in education. I have worked on creating educational content, and have seen the impact myself.
A picture is worth a thousand words; now imagine the impact of thousands of moving images in animation! It is a limitless medium. Anything can be created through animation and this is what makes it a powerful educational tool.
CG. Which one of your projects is especially dear to you, and why?
Dhimant. My favorite projects are Rag Malhar (Promo for Music Asia Channel), Creature Comfort of Aardman, title animation of Aamir Khan’s film ‘Taare Zameen Par’, Purple & Brown, and Shaun the Sheep created with multiple Oscar winner Aardman animation studio, U.K.
CG. What are your words of wisdom for a budding animator?
Dhimant. Enjoy the process of making films, as your passion shows in the end. It’s important to do quality work and strive to create the best, because this will bring in the money later. Always be observant and ready to learn and explore and share your knowledge. With all this it is equally important to show integrity and honour your deadlines.