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3 questions with Gitanjali Rao

The filmmaker talks about her reward-winning animated short,Printed Rainbow

At the recently concluded Mumbai Film Festival, Gitanjali Rao's Printed Rainbow was one of the shorts that was considered a must-watch. The film premiered in Cannes in 2006 and won Rao the first set of laurels with three awards for the Best Short Film in Critic's Week, Cannes 2006. The charming film with stunning visuals went on to win 22 international awards and has been screened in over a hundred international festivals.

What is Printed Rainbow about? What prompted you to make a grandmother your protagonist?
Printed Rainbow is a film about an old lady who lives alone in a city with her cat. She collects matchboxes. The colourful matchbox covers are a trigger for her flights of imagination and carry her away to exotic places.
I used to observe my own mother with her cat and always wanted to make a film about them and their unspoken relationship so it was natural to have an old grandmother as protagonist.


Stills from Printed Rainbow

You've been quoted as saying that Indian animators are better at 2D animation and storytelling and those are the two aspects that shine in Printed Rainbow. Is that what prompted you to paint each frame of the film yourself?
I have said that Indian animators are better at 2D animation but in case of storytelling, not really. We need a lot more teaching, experience and practice to be good at animation story telling. I like to improve on my story telling skills with each film. So yes, Printed Rainbow was one such attempt. I was working without any funding for the film so had to work alone, and painting frame-by-frame is what I do best. So it happened that way more than me having planned it intentionally.

At Celebrate Bandra, the film will be screened on Children's Day and is being recomm-ended for those aged 12 to 15 years old. The grandma in the film also has a childlike wonder and imagination. What do you want the kid to take away from the film?
I only hope they will enjoy it. Be sensitised to the loneliness of the elderly and remember to not lose childlike qualities even when you grow up.

On: Today, 6.30 pm
At: Maharashtra Mitra Mandal Library, Princess Building, Bandra (W).

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