In House Film
Tokri is an award-winning heartwarming story about a father and a daughter. This is a 15 minute short film made using clay animation, created completely in-house.
DATE | DURATION
The idea for the story of Tokri came to Suresh from an incident that happened in his life. A little girl walked up to him one day at a signal trying to sell him some baskets. In Mumbai, one often finds beggars at traffic signals, and most of them are usually children. Suresh did not think much of it and shooed her away. As he drove off, he was hit with guilt, wondering what circumstance made the little girl sell baskets, and what if his brashness had done little but drag her situation for longer. He was perhaps her umpteenth attempt at selling it. There began his inspiration for the story.
Suresh wished to revive the popularity of clay animation through this film. Although clay animation is known to be a painstaking process that is both time consuming and tedious, it is an art that gives life to inanimate objects, bringing with it an energy on screen that shines through, one frame at a time. The project thus began with an enthusiastic group of young artists who had never worked on stop-motion of this scale before, and had never anticipated that it would eventually take 8 years to complete.
65th National Film Awards – Best Animation Film 2018
25th Krok Film Festival – Official Selection – 2018
Borroego Springs Film Festival – Best Animation Film – 2018
19th Crossroads Film Festival – Best Animation Film – 2018
Moscow Shorts April 2018 – Best Animation Short Film – 2018
Tokyo Anime Awards (TAFF) 2018 – Official Selection
Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) – Best Animation Film (National competition category)
Animation Studio Festival – Best Stop Motion Award
PSIAF Palm Springs International Animation Festival -2018 – Best Stop Motion Animation
Short to The Point – Best Animation Short Film – 2017
19th Digicon6 Asia Awards – 2017
Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) – Best Animation – 2017
Acharya Tulsi Short Film Festival – Winner Best Animation – 2017
Mexico International Film Festival – Best Animation Film – 2017
12th Athens Animfest -2017 – 3rd Vrissilia Award at The Athens Animfest
Ficci Baf (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) 2017 – Official Selection
8th StopTrik IFF (International Stop Motion Competition) Official Selection – 2018
42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival – Official Selection – 2018
Ojai Film Festival – Official Selection – 2018
International Short Film Festival Kolkata – Official Selection – 2018
Supertoon Animation Film Festival 2017 – Official Selection – Best Short Animation for Children
16 Jaipur International Film Festivals – In Jaipur 2017 – Winner Best Animation
Marking 2010 as the deadline when we started, the film was finally finished in 2017. A lot of our team rotated through the years. However, the film managed to maintain its identity and style consistently through all the rotations. Our DoP, G. Srinivas Reddy, stuck on throughout the duration of the years of production, thereby maintaining its visual appeal true to type.
Between juggling different projects, making time for this home project seemed taxing, and most of the time, quite impossible. All our financial and growth consultants deemed it completely unnecessary and an added financial burden that would not pay back ever.
All the interior scenes were shot inside our studio and only the outdoor scenes leading up to the climax remained. By then there were so many intricate details in the animation and the setting, that it was challenging for an animator to get on board at this point. We needed both a space to shoot the exterior shots and an animator who could help us with the final 5 minutes.
Enter Adam Wyrwas, the lead animator on Peter & The Wolf (2006) which won the Annecy Cristal ward in 2007, as well as the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2008. Adam not only brought in a whole new energy to the project, but managed to complete the last 5 minutes in just 3 months!
In admiration of Adam’s work ethic, we re-examined the way we approached and prioritised projects and vowed to be more systematic with our daily schedules. You gotta do what you gotta do!
A pre-visualisation was done in 3D and multiple storyboards were explored. We had the team pose as the characters and shot a rough version of the film.
The ball and socket mechanism along with the armature used usually in making claymation characters was not available anywhere in the country,
and would get very expensive for the 100 models that this film required.
Suresh was quite lost on how to preserve all the models through the years in mint condition. It was a trying process to shoot every session, as each time the whole set up would have to be unpacked and re-packed again – no matter how short or long the shoot duration was.
For the details of the ambience, we photographed various little shops on the streets for references, as well as interiors of slum houses. We tried to get every detail right, from the props inside the house to the model and make of the automobiles on the road. The exterior scenes you will see in the below video were shot at Famous Studios – Suresh’s former workplace – which was incidentally the same place he was travelling to when inspiration struck.
The last 5 minutes of the film were the outdoor sequences that were animated by Adam. He not only brought back the dwindling enthusiasm in the studio, but was also a super fast animator. Whereas the normal output for stop motion is usually 2 seconds per day, he would sometimes finish close to 30 seconds of animation per day!
Composed by Rajat Dholakia, the music of Tokri definitely strikes a chord (pun intended). Primarily consisting of a banjo (by Rashid Khan) and violin (by Manas Kumar), its brooding yet playful energy will pull on the the strings of your heart. The entire music session for Tokri was pulled off in just 7 hours. The signature tune of the film on the banjo, in fact, was recorded in just one single take.
All the sounds in the movie were recorded at live locations. We enjoyed documenting the various sights and sounds Mumbai city had to offer us. Our sound recordist Jayesh Dhakkan, who worked on the sound design for 2 months, did a fantastic job of adding fine intricate details in this silent film.
Tokri is a culmination of a the hard work of a lot of people – some who contributed in the little time that they could, and some who stuck around till the end. We are grateful to each and every one of them. We simply cannot imagine the film turning out the way it did without any of those invaluable contributions.
Upon its release in 2017, the film was received well globally. It won the National Award for Best Animation Film of 2017 and has won a total of 23 awards and 56 official selections.