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Aardman Teaming Up With Gurinder Chadha On Animated Bollywood Musical


If we asked which major animation studio would be the first to do a Bollywood style movie, we don't think that Aardman would be the first to jump to mind. But then the British animation studio has always been full of surprises. Who else would make a prison-break movie with chickens or a stone-age sports movie?

The studio is teaming up with film director Gurinder Chadha- best known for the widely-loved Bend It Like Beckham- for a new animated feature. Chadha will make her animation debut on the film, making her the latest live-action director to work in animation. It's also the first Aardman film to be helmed by someone from outside the studio, so she will bring a fresh perspective to their work. Chadha is also co-writing the script, with Paul Mayeda Berges, under the banner of their production company Bend It Networks. Often, a director who comes from outside animation will be paired with someone with more experience, so we won't be surprised if that is later revealed to be the case.

The film will star Bodhi, a young Indian Elephant from the jungles of Kerala who dreams of becoming a Bollywood dancer. It's being described as an "exuberant warm-hearted musical", aimed at a global family audience. This will also be the first time Aardman have tackled a musical.

"Aardman is a Great British national treasure," said Chadha. " I am honoured and excited to bring my unique British Asian vision to their acclaimed animation studio. Their work has so much heart, humour and affection, and we share a love of authentic and joyful underdog stories about memorable characters – so it really is a perfect match.”

"We are so excited to be collaborating with Gurinder, a truly great director whose beautiful, funny, and warm storytelling we have long admired, " added Peter Lord, Aardman co-founder and Creative Director. "Her talent, when combined with the team here at Aardman, promises something new and extraordinary in the world of animation."

Aardman and Bend It will be collaborating with Indian voice-talent, designers and musicians on the project, so it promises to be made with care and authenticity.

The announcement makes no mention of what style of animation would be used. The studio is best known for their stop-motion, but it could be that producing dance numbers in that medium would be too difficult. They haven't made a CG movie since Arthur Christmas, but we wouldn't be shocked if this goes in that direction.

The film does not currently have a title or a release date, but is described as being in advanced development. Next up from Aardman is this Christmas's Netflix special Robin Robin, with the long-awaited Chicken Run sequel due to hatch in 2023... so it looks like this is going to be quite some way off.