20/06/2017 4:45 PM IST | Updated 26/06/2017 9:21 AM IST

Does India's Animation Industry Owe Its Success To Baahubali?

Animation and VFX has become a ₹59.5 billion industry.


With more and more film-goers hooked to flying humans and stomping monsters, the Indian animation and Visual Effects (VFX) industry has grown considerably.

A recent report, jointly prepared by KPMG and FICCI, titled 'Indian Media and Entertainment Report, 2017' notes that the animation and VFX industry grew by 16.4% in 2016 as compared to the previous year. The animation business is has become a ₹59.5 billion industry.

The report notes that 85% of this growth is because of outsourced projects from the television and film sectors.

Government officials working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' project, which was launched to encourage manufacturing in India, tweeted out the report, calling it the 'Baahubali effect'.

While 'Make in India' wants to project the VFX boom as India's success, the report notes that international projects continue to account for a whopping 70% of the VFX industry revenues, with Hollywood studios leveraging the skill and cost advantages of Indian talent.

Directed by SS Rajamouli, the second film in the Baahubali franchise has raked in over ₹1,000 crore in box-office revenues. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is the third Indian movie to have been released in IMAX and it is also compatible with the 4K HDR colour format.

But Baahubali wasn't the beginning of animation film projects in India. Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group at AMD, told HuffPost India, "Opening up Makuta VFX studio was one of the first steps to bring great graphical content in Indian movies at an affordable rate. The aim was to deliver high quality graphics in limited budget."

READ: These Advanced Technologies Helped Make 'Baahubali 2: The Conclusion' A Blockbuster

Makuta was founded in 2010 and it has won national awards for Magadheera (2009) and Eega (2012). The AMD group is responsible for the phenomenal visual effects in the two Baahubali films. Last year, AMD released a 360 video of an on-set experience, which could be viewed with a simple Google Cardboard viewer.

India's animation industry has been growing for sometime. With Hollywood studios tapping a large pool of low-cost, English-speaking animators who are familiar with Western culture, it has come a long way already. Indian animators are the ones who have created the crowd scenes and props for the TV series Game of Thrones and other Hollywood hits.

"We are one of those best kept secrets. We do all this amazing work and no one knows about it," Biren Ghose, who runs the Indian subsidiary of U.S. firm, Technicolor, which worked on Angelina Jolie's film Maleficent told Reuters in an interview.

The KPMG report notes that investment and collaboration opportunities between animation studios and broadcasters in India have picked up, with the latter paying as much as ₹1.5 to 4 million per 30-minutes of animation content.

You can read the report here.

With inputs from Ivan Mehta