Busan: Gitanjali Rao’s ‘Bombay Rose’ Blooms With France’s Les Films d’Ici

“Bombay Rose,” the first feature by award-winning Indian animator Gitanjali Rao, will be produced by France’s Les Films d’Ici, a veteran outfit with some 275 credits since 1975. The company’s Serge Lalou (“Waltz with Bashir”) is producing alongside Clara Mahieu (“Narcossist”). Gitanjali Rao Films is the co-producer.

Rao’s animated short “Printed Rainbow” won three awards at Cannes 2006 and another short “TrueLoveStory” was nominated for the Discovery Award at Cannes 2014. In 2011, she served on the Cannes shorts jury.

“ “Bombay Rose” is a love story set in the streets of Mumbai, under the influence of Bollywood,” says Rao. For her, the film is a case of third time’s a charm when it comes to features. Her first feature “Girgit” with India’s Phat Phish Motion Pictures, reached the stage of eight minutes of animation being produced, but then, “The producer disappeared, that’s why the film never got finished. We’re still looking for him,” says Rao.

Rao then reached the production stage with Disney India on another feature “Shadows of the Mahabharata” but the company pulled out. “They didn’t have conviction in the project. I also feel that Disney in India is not going to make Indian animation films. It’s just one of those things they have to sign when they start a company in India, but they don’t really have to follow,” says Rao.

Painted, 2D frame-by-frame animation is what Rao specializes in and that is what “Bombay Rose” will be, in the Hindi language. Les Films d’Ici has raised 40% of the film’s $2.6 million budget and the rest will be match funded from India and elsewhere. Rao has also secured grants from Cinemas du Monde and the Doha Film Institute. The project is looking for pre-sales and distribution deals at the Busan Asian Project Market.

Rao has currently divided the film into a series of shorts and will begin production in January on these while the funding gets finalized.

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