×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Pixar’s ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’ Hits Many Firsts

A superhero project is coming from Pixar later this year and no, it’s not an “Incredibles” sequel. “Sanjay’s Super Team” is a short attached to “The Good Dinosaur,” checking off a couple of firsts: the first Pixar film to center around Hindu deities, who are like the Avengers, and the first Pixar toon by a director of Indian descent.

A directorial debut from Sanjay Patel, the short centers around a little Hindu boy who prefers Saturday morning cartoons of superheroes while his father wants him to join in morning prayers, until he sees Vishnu, Hanuman and Durga as the Avengers who save him. Patel, who grew up in San Bernardino, Calif., where his parents ran the Lido Motel, says the short is partly biographical.

The day the CalArts grad was to make his pitch for the short to John Lasseter, his son, Arjun, was born and the meeting had to be postponed a couple of weeks. “In hindsight, my family said it was my son’s karma,” said Patel.

The helmer, who has been with Pixar since 1996, has worked as an animator on such films as “Monsters Inc.,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars,” “Monsters University,” “Toy Story 2” and “The Incredibles,” also doing duty as storyboarder on the latter two films.

Patel started out working on picture books and graphic novels before seguing to the screen, drawing on the Hindu mythology for inspiration.

Although Hindu mythology has been the subject of comic books from Amar Chitra Katha (Immortal Picture Tales), Patel says he didn’t really draw on them. “My cousins had a few of those, when I first saw it didn’t grab me straight away. Those things were made in early ’70s in mid-’80s, there were cooler comic books.”

Producer Nicole Grindle says Patel “didn’t want film to match any deity style. Sanjay wanted to interpret it to our 3D Pixar world.”

Grindle says she consulted with authorities on Hinduism. “Sanjay has a great deal of knowledge. It saved us in making the film.”

The story is as much about Sanjay’s relationship with his father as it is about the super heroes, with music composed by Mychael Danna. Patel says he was a “late bloomer in my parents’ culture.” After working for 10 years at Pixar he discovered Indian art and mythology. “It helped me understand my parents, why they said, ‘Sita Ram,’ when I sneezed.”

Grindle says the short is “good for the larger culture. People who are not Hindu or Indian will” ask more questions about the culture.

More Film

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

  • Noe Debre On His Directorial Debut,

    Top French Screenwriter Noe Debre Makes Directorial Debut, ‘The Seventh Continent’

    This last half-decade, few French screenwriters have run up such an illustrious list of co-write credits as Noé Debré. Thomas Bedigain’s writing partner on Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Deephan,” Debra co-penned Bedigain’s own debut, “The Cowboys,” “Racer and the Jailbird,” by Michael Roskam, and “Le Brio,” directed by Yvan Attal. He has now [...]

  • Julien Trauman Talks Survival-Thriller Short ‘At

    Julien Trauman on Survival-Thriller Short ‘At Dawn’

    France’s Julien Trauman has never been afraid to play with genre, and in his latest short, the MyFrenchFilmFestival participant “At Dawn,” he employs aspects of psychological thriller, survival, coming-of-age and fantasy filmmaking. “At Dawn” kicks off the night before when a group of teens, one about to leave town, are imbibing heavily around a beach-side [...]

  • ‘Flowers’ Director Baptiste Petit-Gats Interview

    Baptiste Petit-Gats: ‘Editing Taught Me How to Write for Film’

    France’s Baptiste Petit-Gats is an hyphenate that keeps himself plenty busy editing, photographing, writing and directing. The bulk of his editing gigs up until now have been in documentary film work, evident in the way he shot and edited his own short film, participating in the MyFrenchFilmFestival, “Flowers.” In the film, Petit-Gats tells the heartbreaking [...]

  • Fanny Litard, Jérémy Trouilh on ‘Blue

    France’s Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh Discuss MyFFF Suburban Fable ‘Blue Dog’

    French filmmakers Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh met at university while studying political science before diverging towards separate careers. Trouilh trained in documentary filmmaking; Liatard worked on urban artistic projects in Lebanon and France. They eventually joined back up to film three shorts: “Gagarine,” a Sundance Channel Shorts Competition Jury Prize winner in 2016; “The [...]

  • MFFF: 'The Collection' Director Blanchard Readies

    'The Collection' Director Emmanuel Blanchard Readies First Feature

    Paris-born Emmanuel Blanchard studied and then taught history before becoming a documentary filmmaker responsible for films such as “Bombing War,” “Le diable de la République” and “Après la guerre.” He’s currently directing “Notre-Dame de Paris”, a 90-minute animated part-doc, part-fiction film on the building of the world-famous Paris cathedral. Competing at MyFFF, “The Collection” is [...]

  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly

    Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’

    Late in “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” the 20th Japanese anime feature in a 35-year-old franchise that also has spawned scads of TV series, trading cards, video games, mangas, and limited-edition collectibles, a supporting character complains, “I don’t understand a single thing you’ve said the whole time.” If you’re among the heretofore uninitiated drawn to this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content