Studio Durga picks up the reigns in the entertainment industry and leads it towards a self-reliant path by providing the first Indian anime for the audience. And thus, this bold move marks a historic moment in the industry.

The Journey

The charm of anime has captivated the world. Especially India where this gave birth to an Indian Anime Community. In early 2000s, the channels of Animax and Cartoon Network were unaware of the uproar it would create through a butterfly effect. And finally, years down the line not only was the community able to bring a Makoto Shinkai movie to the theatres but Studio Durga broke the ceiling and announced the release of India’s first anime. The year of 2019 is momentous.

INDIA’S FIRST ANIME FILM – KARMACHAKRA

SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we63Hgd7PD4

Anime refers to the hand drawn and computer animation whose origins are from Japan. The word anime is a Japanese term for animation, ergo, all forms of animated media. Yet outside of Japan, the term denotes something different. Other countries perceive anime as the specific type of animation style that Japan disseminates. One can identify this animation through its colourful graphics, vibrant colours and fantastic themes. Linguistically, anime can be categorised ambiguously. Yet outside, people view anime strictly as a Japanese product. Anime exposes the culture of Japan and its distinct form of animation to the world. Therefore, its appeal cannot be denied.

Thus, the news of India’s first anime movie Karmachakra is groundbreaking. This breaks convention through multiple facets :

  • Self-Reliance: Any previous anime created in India were all collaborations with Japan. Studio Durga provides the first Indian Anime that stands its ground. It boasts of an entire production house that sits on Indian soil.
  • Terminology: People label anime as a Japanese product. But an Indian Anime brings to industry a state-of-the-art form of entertainment. An Indian Anime denotes Indians creating a Japanese-origin animation style content.
  • Setting and Cast: It’s the first anime ever that is set in India. The release will be in Bengali, Hindi and English dub thus exposing the audience to rich Indian culture while bringing the strength of Indian Voice Actors to power. The anime reflects the Bengali culture yet just like anime, it possesses universal themes that other Indian and non-Indians will connect to.

STUDIO DURGA – A BACKRGOUND

In frame: Studio Durga’s office.

With the growing demand for anime in India and the mobilisation of the Indian Anime Community, the concept of Karmachakra took birth in 2016. Meanwhile, through the year this ambitious idea began shape itself and lead to the formation of Studio Durga in 2017. Studio Durga is set to release its 80 minute film called KarmaChakra presumably by mid-2020. While they have also launched its trailer and the first 20 minutes of the film as a mini-series titled Karmachakra : Episode Zero on Youtube. The team that brings you this trailblazing work consists of Studio Durga Founder and CEO Rajorshi Basu along with Samadrita Ghosh, Ananya Garg, Shilpa Susan Koshy, Monideep Chakraborty, Alen Shibu and Ankit Shrivastav.

Over 2 years while Rajorshi doled out savings for the project, the team fiddled with experiments to set ground for the pilot series available now. The pilot series took approximately five months with a team smaller than now.

We were able to catch up with the CEO and Founder of Studio Durga Rajorshi Basu and assistant director Ananya Garg with regard to Studio Durga and its ambitious project Karmachakra.

In frame: (left to right) Rajorshi Basu and Ananya Garg.

What is the synopsis of Karmachakra?

Karmachakra is basically a story of an orphan girl who is trying to find her roots. This is what we have written everywhere. But the story deepens further. There isn’t just one protagonist. There are multiple characters who each have their own history and motivation – and through this lens, the story is told.

Where and when will the movie release?

Like we’ve mentioned in our FAQ, we’re trying to tackle its production by 2020. And most probably, we will. Basically, the thing is that we’re working on a 80 minute film. So while in production one or twice a month, we’ll be able to show you the first 20 minutes or so of the film and release it as clips or a mini-series which we will. A lot of clips are to come. That includes different types of content about Karmachakra and its story.

Is it possible for a manga release after the film releases?

If it comes, then that’ll be great. *laughs* Well, we were thinking that an art book is not a bad idea. We were thinking of an art book for the future. But let’s see once we get a platform for release – which is what we’re currently struggling with.

We’d like to know about the core team of Studio Durga. Tell us a bit about your team.

The first two in team were Samadrita and I. Samadrita worked on character design but not animation. We were trying out something. Monideep joined and we three animated the first trailer. Ananya worked as an intern and worked on the screenplay – basically, he planned the shots and storyboard for how the script will play out. Ankit worked on illustrations. Recently, Alan joined as an animator. Most of the people who worked with us were comfortable doing illustrations – no one wanted to do animation. But soon, as more people joined – there was more work flow. I hadn’t started it as a full-time thing – I studied literature, music, and digital marketing. I was a music producer who graduated from Berklee College of Music. Monideep was doing game design.

Samadrita and Monideep have been drawing since kids. Samadrita is inspired by Naruto. We talked to many studios in India but we had no money to collaborate. Collaborating with Japanese studios would have been a highly ambitious task as compared to doing it ourselves. We kept doing experiments and then suddenly, we were building something. We saw this whole identity of an Indian startup as its main selling point. For over two years, we worked on my savings. The common factor we bonded over was that whatever we do, we have a deep need for doing it. Directly from the heart.

What did you mean by ‘India’s First Anime’ and ‘Not Collaboration’ in the trailer?

Because basically we’re not collaborating with anyone. We had a lot of options. The countries that Japanese people outsource work to such as Phillippines, Malaysia, China and Korea which is not that much now. Korea has already established itself in that sphere so it’s set. Even China. We had the option to outsource the work but we wanted to do a full-on Indian production. Because all the productions created previously – just one or two – the ones that can be termed as anime were all collaborations. For example, Legend of Prince Ram.

While talking about all this, most people think that we’re boasting about doing it without any collaborations. But that’s not the case, a good show is a good show. Regardless of the fact that it is Japan-only or India-only. Basically, you need to enjoy watching it. That’s why I want to say that all those shows are great. Let’s take the example of Batu Gaiden – if it’s kid’s show, so what’s the problem? It’s still a good show. Arguably, if we watch it, it won’t be appealing to us because it’s a kids show. But then again, I don’t think we should hate on it.

So what all languages will Karmachakra release in?

I’d like it if it releases in all languages. Every language for all regions because I wanted to reach as many people as possible. The more people who can enjoy it – the better. Just like all of us and the fans of Karmachakra, we’d like the movie to be dubbed in Hindi. Just like the original cast’s level, if you look at their names – they have over a 100 movies in Imdb. They’re big superstars of Bengali cinema and they’ve done Bollywood also. And these are a group of actors who are also good voice actors. One thing that people tell us often is Oh you’re talking to Bollywood people, you’re going to get us good names. But the thing is the voice actors need to be good. And we’re not crazy that we’ll just take people for name value.

Name Value is taken because it’s good for marketing. Coverage needs to be done. Because if we don’t this, then we won’t be able to release it for you. It’s name will be abroad at festivals and in India, there will be nothing. So we want to bring it to you guys and we’re talking to some very well known people who are actor actors – not just superstars. They’re known for their acting. Some actors are good dubbers. So we’re focusing on people like that. So that we won’t have to compromise. It’s a process – it’ll take a bit of time but hopefully, everything will go as planned. And we want to bring you the best.

Actually, even among big actors, not every actor is a good voice actor. So, there have been people who have helped us with the casting in the past and it was our collective decision on the cast – at least for the Bengali one. And it’s effective because some of them have been to radios for the past 25 years. So their voice acting is on another level. Which is why, even with Hindi, we want to talk to people who’re good at this. In fact, brilliant. Because it’s the first time we’re doing a completely Indian production of this in anime style. So we want no complaints to be made in any sphere. Everyone should get into it and enjoy it. We’ll give you the best but it’ll take some time.

What superpower does the main character of Karmachakra possess?

These are spoilers. But what superpower doesn’t she have is the question. Anyway, I’ll just leave it at that.

What are your thoughts on the future of anime in India?

Hm. Deep Question. By future, you’re referring to Indian produced anime like we’re doing? – Yes, and if more movies or anime come along, how would it be? – You mean Indian made? In that, there are a lot of challenges. To find people who will be able to animate. They’re a rare commodity. Rather, in the past many people have worked with us and learnt the work too. But then they hadn’t honed those skills from childhood, meaning they didn’t work professionally in that arena before our studio. So, it was tough for them. But then they learnt and eventually they were not able to work on this for a longer period. But they had learnt a lot in the process – I wish them well.

Whereas, our core production team – we’re a very small team – what we realised is that it takes a lot of time to execute this. Initially we were three people and now we’re double or more now – which is still small. And everyone who’s worked on this project whether on contract, permanently or just for a few months also – there are times for months you’d have to work for 12 to 14 hours a day. It’s intense work – nonstop. If you don’t do that, then the episode won’t be made. Also, I think to develop this skill – people have to try extra hard for that.

First thing is skill which is hard to find. We’re still struggling because we’re always open for anyone passionate. And secondly, the challenge we’re facing is marketing and everything. This is the subject of a platform. This is a proper professionally made movie but if you’re asking about the future of the film professionally – a platform is necessary. So I can’t say even with regard to our project. So it’s tough to talk about the future of India made anime projects. But I hope it happens. Because we’re not just doing it for ourselves – not only Studio Durga should make this but many others should and are making this.

The First Indian Anime is again a controversial topic. We have talked about no collaborations so that factor we can rule out. And again, I’m not saying that the first Indian anime is the best Indian anime. Although many people think that. Apart from that, there are people that are doing things in anime style and all the best to them. Because animation takes work. A lot of work. To a level that will make you crazy. So some people are struggling on their own. I know people in the industry who are experimenting with these projects. Like us, they do proper hand drawn, frame-by-frame animation. No rigging or usage of Vector software. We do it properly just like the Japanese do.

But there are many people who are attempting to do this by using methods that they know like rigging or others. And all the best to them. But if you’re talking about anime specifically, the methods or the Japanese production style we use don’t make use of the methods used in the Indian industry extensively. People have tried using 3D and CGI. But if you’re a proper fan of anime, then you’re watching it because it’s hand-drawn. Because the expressions depicted and the medium through which it is depicted is probably not possible through computer rig. It’s a personal opinion.

How much did you have to struggle for this anime? And give us a background of its journey.

A lot. A loooot. *laughs* We’re still struggling. First of all, my thought process was that this is impossible. This won’t happen in India. But then, the thing is my background is – I was in the music business for 10 years. And I studied at film school as well. I did literature for my graduation. So, all these skills I had – I wanted them to be utilised somewhere. And my assistant director who we’re sitting with right now – he is a graduate in animation with a film background. All of us are basically anime geeks. And all of us started out like any anime geek would – reading manga (legally or illegally). So, the more you consume and get exposure – the better. So from that point, the passion blossoms.

I think after that, the idea to create anime – I have had this roughly for half my life. Like from class 6-7 onwards. At that point, I had no idea that this is what I’ll be doing. But now that I’m doing it – I’m doing it. There’s no escaping it, you know. But then, while I was doing all these things like making my career in music, I was also just keen about anime production. Like how one makes anime – I was curious regarding all this. So after doing a lot of research online, while in film school, these After Effects and Premiere Pro were all there but it was more about how to do these things in After Effects.

I think, both me and Ananya, in college – we were very curious to know what are these processes. So, once you have the production down, or once you understand it, it’s about trial. In our case, we were already people of production so for 2-3 years if you try for hit and trial – you get to know what works and what doesn’t. So that takes a lot of time and finding the staff takes a lot of time. The thing is, it’s going to sound crazy, but till now I haven’t earned a single penny from it and I’m paying my whole staff. So it’s completely a labour of love. For me and for my team. Although I’m paying them – I don’t think too many people in the animation industry have to do such intense work. One that takes you to the next level.

So, every day you’re doing that. And it’s the same for me. I say this, at least in our work environment, no one competes with each other. More like, compete with yourself. That is our culture – at least in our small team. Where some things aren’t as impersonal as those in corporate setups. But as an independent studio, you can see even after all this hard work, we’re struggling to find a platform and a lot of other things. So, we’re used to it now. It’s a routine. *laughs*

How much time did you take to make this project? And what was your budget?

Budget we’ll talk straight to the platform people. That’ll be confidential. But time – it took us a lot. The first thing we made that we released – the trailer – then we were new to animation, me and two more people. We were working on and off – it was like a side thing where I thought I’d try and see how it feels. That six minute clip took us roughly 4-5 months. Because we were new to the animation thing. And now, in that same amount of time, we’ve managed to create a 20 minute pilot episode. And that happened a while back. If you read our FAQ, we have given it to the OTTs and they have also seen it – all the OTTs.

The other thing I want to clear out is, this is important, we did not talk directly to the OTTs. These are Indian agents, mainly Mumbai-based, known as aggregators or agents, who take these content and sell it to for example, Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon. They’re basically the sellers. They scout the content and sell it to all platforms. So, what we’ve written in the FAQ and the people about whom Youtube videos are being made, who’re Indian, that’s their opinion. It is also possible that if enough people want it then we can approach Netflix and Amazon again. Not through them. But you are the fans, you know what power you have. You know, so, we have to work this out together.

The trailer for your movie came out two years ago. Why did it take you so much time?

Finding the right people. That would be number one of our struggles. Even if we’re talking about dubbers or staff. Because we’ve tried out many many people and all the best to them – but doing anime is a very very tough thing. So me and Ananya, we do the post production part of it. The line drawings is what the animators give us. To colour, add audio, edit, composite, effects – everything apart from the line animation is what me and Ananya do. I’m glad to have Ananya now because earlier, I had to do all those things. And you go crazy doing all those things. Because there are very few people to edit and composite the anime. You know, to give it that look. Anyway, this is the look we chose – it took some time. And finding people, even right now, our team is pretty small.

How many members are on your team? – We’re 7 people including myself. We’re the core team but there are people who work with us from time to time. There are freelancers and there are other people who join in and help out. But I would say permanently, we’re 7. Right now we’re at the point where we’re comfortable. Like if someone tells us they want an anime, we can give it to them. We know the ins and outs of production. So for an animation movie to be made, it takes not less than 2 years. In fact, rarely you’ll find movies made in 2 years. Especially hand drawn anime. So I don’t think we’re wasting any time.

After the trailer we put out, we talked and negotiated with OTTs, they have been exposed to our product, we dubbed the anime and made a new trailer. The movie’s script, screenplay, animatics, storyboard – all of that stuff. All of the pre-production from character design. It takes time.

And then figuring out how to make the work flow with the limited people we have. And finally, consolidating a team. It took a lot of time to make the team because we had to try out many people. Somewhere or the other, we faced roadblock. And then again, we were also creating the pilot – which we’ve already made. We’ll be enhancing it and releasing it so you won’t think that those 3 minutes are boring. Because the flow of an episode is different from that of the flow of 3 minutes. We’re enhancing it so it’s enjoyable.

What is your favourite anime?

Okay, I have too many favourites. We all have too many favourites I think. So I’ll tell you mine. But there’s many. If you ask me one year from now, they’ll change. Although some won’t. One thing which will never change is Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop is my all time favourite. Again, I’m a 90s kid and I’m into 90s anime. Most of us are. But other than that, some shows that I like are Wolf’s Rain, Death Note of course, Black Lagoon, Durarara – we take a lot of inspiration in terms of storytelling. The story is told in a non-linear way.

Then, Steins;Gate. Steins;Gate is a classic. Zankyou no Terror – done by the same director as Cowboy Bebop. And the music producer is also the same. And I have huge respect for both of these guys because they both have inspired me the most. Or any show by Shinichiro Watanabe. In slice of life, Barakamon is good. Mushishi is good. In Comedy, Hataraku Mao-Sama is good. Another show I like is Michiko to Hatchin. It’s quite underrated. And then the works of Satoshi Kon – like Paprika, Millennium Actress so on and so forth.

That and what else? Okay, anything that character designer Yoshitoshi Abe is a part of. Like Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze, Haibane Renmei. There’s another one called Despera that’s cancelled right now – they’re working on it. Then NieA Under 7, it’s a lesser known but good comedy show. But, yeah, I’m just in love with his projects. Ah, very niche. Serial Experiments Lain is not that niche, people know about it.

Then the stuff by Shinobu Kaitani like Liar game – I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. So I like the fact that Death Note’s director that he adds masala to things (dramatises it) – it sells. Attack on Titan. But mind game wise, there’s a lot of things above it that I’d love to recommend. Shinobu Kaitani’s manga out of which one was made an anime which is One Outs. It’s a sports show but there’s no sports in it. It’s about baseball but it’s mainly about the hustle of baseball. Very sharp. Like they’d beat Kira – those kind of characters.

And seriously, I’ve watched Death Note like 5-6 times, mainly because I had to show people *laughs* but alone, I might have watched it 1-2 times. As a gateway show, it’s perfect. For the people who don’t know anime, see this. And then their fandom starts. So it’s a good gateway show.

Apart from that Liar Game is the one on which a J-drama was made. But its manga is just brilliant. So his manga I really like. I’m going to talk manga now. You can check out Keichi Koike. There’s something Calle Ultra Heaven. The kind of panelling I saw I’ve never seen before in a manga. It’s amazing. The artwork is quite trippy. But amazing. Just amazing.

And couple of other mentions because manga is more vast than anime. Anime is something you can count – nowadays there are databases. To know this year, this season has come out. But Manga, you can forget about. *laughs*

So currently what anime are you watching?

Currently, I don’t have time to watch anime. But which was the last one I watched? I have to check out. I watch multiple series at the same time. Too many. I was checking out Haibane Renmei. Okay, another cool show – Hoozuki no Reitetsu/ Coolheaded Hoozuki. A lot of dry humour but the art style is quite unique. Like in the old Japanese woodcut paintings style.

What type of genre do you like?

I like all genres. But the show should be good. It’s just like music for me. I listen to everything but the song should be good – whether it’s Punjabi rap or jazz, it doesn’t matter to me but it should be enjoyable. The same thing applies to anime. I’ll watch romance, comedy, but I think mystery is one of my personal favourites. But you don’t find many great shows in that. Very rarely good mystery shows come out, so that’s the thing. Okay, I checked out Mob Psycho – I just saw the first episode and I liked it. I’m going to continue watching it. I was brushing up on Natsume Yuujinchou. For those who like Mushishi, it’s a more mellow version of it. It’s more fluffy. These days there are these extremes – either a show is full on edgy or full on fluffy.

So what do you think about Indian Cartoons?

Which Indian Cartoon? – every Indian cartoon – Every Indian Cartoon? That’s a very general thing to think about.

Ananya Garg : So there’s actually a lot of them. There’s Roll Number 21, then there’s Krishna which came later. There are also the old collaborations – Ramayana and Batu Gaiden. Then Chota Bheem. Are there more? I don’t think so. What I think of them is that they all are for the purpose they’re made for – they’re all really good. Like Chota Bheem is made for kids from 5-7 year olds, right? It works for them. If I was a 7 year old, I would probably like Chota Bheem. I don’t, because it’s not made for me.

Roll Number 21 was one of those shows that I watched when I was a teenager, and I kinda liked it. Because even though it’s rigged – it was the content and the dialogues. Just basically a high school kid pulling on his principal. And the whole sound of it all was amazing. I just like the story of it.

Have you watched Little Krishna?

Ananya Garg : Little Krishna I’ve watched long back and again, the same thing the look and feel of them I would have most probably liked when I was 7 years old. Because when I was 7 years old, there were cartoons that used to come – anime basically – amazing stuff and then there was this shitty stuff as well like Speedracer. The new Gen. So Speedracer : New Gen was made by an American Studio – most probably, it was American. It was in English, it wasn’t in Japanese. But it was based on a Japanese show called Mach GoGoGo. It was rigging with 3D cars and it looks bad. If you see it now, it looks really bad but I loved it when I was a kid.

So that’s the thing – your opinion changes. I loved Pokemon as a kid but now I’m not following it. I really really really loved Dragon Ball as a kid. I’m not following it as much anymore. Of course, I still love it but I don’t follow it anymore. So when you grow up, the content you like and the content you want changes. You don’t like everything and you don’t find everything bad. So, about Indian Cartoons, the position they’re in – that’s good but for anyone who’s above 7 years old there’s nothing in the market.

Rajorshi : I think, by nature, cartoons are cartoons. Meaning, realism or adult/young adult content is not needed. Cartoons are a separate medium I feel. Anime, when you bring up the debate about if it’s Japanese – because it’s either outsourced or Japanese produced. Generally, what I’ve seen is earlier anime is inspired by Disney. After that, they got into their own thing. I think what we like about anime is also a sense of realism. Or magic realism – if you watch urban fantasies that is, which is what we’re trying to do also. It’s a little more relatable. If you’re talking about Japan made stuff then you can also talk about their cartoons – for example, Hagemaru, Chibi Maruko chan, Shinchan – but that’s not for kids *laughs*. So that’s the thing, if something is made for a target group in a certain way and it’s called a certain thing like cartoons.

I grew up watching the best of Hannah Barbara like Dexter’s Laoratory and Tom and Jerry which was fantastic. To reach that level of hand drawn work. Now, we draw digitally so we’re talking about celluloid sheets back in the day – even Dragon Ball. It was made in the 80s so the computer compositing was not available then. So everyone would work on celluloid sheets. It was quite painstaking. From that to now have the shiny works of Ufotable.

Do you have any advise for the budding animators in India?

What you want to do – concentrate on your skills according to that. If you feel that (which is true), there is no cope for hand-drawing as it is there in very less studios and most of them are small-time unlike the huge corporate studios. If you want to do hand-drawn, because hand drawn comes first – anime is a stylisation of realistic proportions and things. Especially if you’re doing anime like we’re doing which is only slightly stylised. So follow your thing because it’s not necessary that you need to sit in India like we’re doing. But then if you feel like you want to develop this skill for this, so you develop that skill itself. Don’t settle for less. Don’t compromise – like okay if they teach me rigging or anything I’ll do it, it’s okay.

If you want to hand draw and put in that work and move forward to a higher level – go for it. And that’s what I would say. Get used to working for no motivation. Get used to that because that’s how the industry runs.

At the end of the trailer, you’ve referenced a manga. Which manga is it? Tell us about it.

Okay, this is super exclusive. It’s no manga. It was a joke. It’s sad that people will stop searching for it after I say this. But yeah, that dialogue is very central to the idea of Karmachakra. Because it’s the cycle of action. We’re talking about the debt. The debt you have to face – be it karmic debt, money debt, whatever it is, these are very central to the way the story flows in Karmachakra. It’s a mega calculator. The world of Karmachakra is a mega calculator. So what are the possibilities that can happen in it? It generates itself. This is the first movie we’re doing but we have many more things planned for Karmachakra. Let’s see how to goes.

If this goes well, will you be releasing a new anime or a Part 2 of Karmachakra?

We can do either of them. If we feel that around then it’s the right time to release the part 2 of Karmachakra, then we’ll release it. By and By – Part 2 and Part 3 – all 80 minute movies we can think of. We have some other ideas as well. But then idea to reality is a really long process.

Ananya Garg : Just experimenting with shots and changing our styles, you know. Once the movie releases, if the response is good, we’ll get a spectrum of wide variety of fields where we know what we can do. We can make a small film, half a film, episodic, shots for people to see on Youtube or for organisations – government or private. We have a lot to do. Depends on what opportunity arises first. If we feel that the demand is there, for a sequel to Karmachakra, then we will work on that. But if we get other opportunities, like they want another anime or if someone approaches us as a client to do something (as an Indian client or even outside), we’ll do that. It’s a studio, right. So it will have to focus on the demands.

Rajorshi : When we were talking to the OTTs, they emphasised on a series. So, we were interested in that. They said this will work better as a series. We do have the content for a series. But at least a taste of the world of Karmachakra, we wanted to try it out with a movie. I’m fine with series also. But if you think about it, it takes so much time to make one episode.

And so many people are waiting for it and then we say no, we’re working on a 12 episode thing – which we’re ready for right now if we want to – then, you’ll have to wait a lot more. And we don’t want to make you wait. The schedule that we have to fit every work flow in, we can just go ahead with it. I mean, we can give you something fast. And we can release these as 2 or 3 or 4 – as many movies as you want. We can also release this as a series. So we’re open to both possibilities.

Do you have any message for the Indian Anime Community?

The thing is we’re all in this together. We’re also a part of the Indian Anime Community. The thing is I’m talking to people like us – like you guys, you know. I mean it’s a separate thing who has taken enough initiative and taken something somewhere. It’s a secondary thing. But at the end, we guys are doing this because we’re huge fans. And we want a scene for this in India as well. So, we all know how it is – how the community is and the kind of people in it.

We know the different kinds of things so I’d say that be more positive about things. Just be more positive because when it comes to our project or any project, for that matter, from India or even outside. Every project cannot be liked by everyone. This is basic.

But there are many people who haven’t worked professionally in the anime industry and start questioning it. They have a lot of time on their hands – to sit and nitpick. I mean, fine but then it’s not helping anyone – it’s not even helping them. They’re wasting their time hating on something. And it’s not just our project you know, any projects – Indian projects – who’re doing something new. Apart from that, just be positive about what we’re doing. What you guys are doing, what we guys are doing. The community as a whole. Because if there is no unity, then you can’t do anything. We couldn’t have done this if there was no unity on our team.

So just be positive because it’s gonna be tough – I mean it was super tough for you guys to make these things happen like Tenki no Ko and Broly, right? So I can only imagine. At the end of the day, the consumer will go and watch it. But at such a nascent stage, so many topics of anime are being covered and there is so much empowerment in the anime fans. I think it’s important for every person to feel responsible. That every share counts. Every like counts.

Not just our project – I’m talking about all of us guys in the community. There needs to be a feedback mechanism. It needs to be a ecosystem on its own. Something that is unbreakable. We have to get there. We’re already halfway there. But now, the difficult part starts.

How do you feel about the immense support you’ve received from the fans?

I honestly underestimated you guys. – we’re over 9,000 – hahaha, definitely you’re over 9,000. Seriously, it is overwhelming. When you see in two weeks, you’ve gotten 200k views. Like whaaat? *laughs* I mean, in such a short time, so many people have genuinely enjoyed it. It wasn’t apathy. There were comments – be it love comments or hate comments. Even comments that start out as a diss and by the end they say ‘by the way we support you’ – these kind were there too. All of them came from heart. Seeing that was great. It is a topic close to home, yeah.

In frame: (from left to right) Ananya Garg, Team KnowSenpai, Youtuber AsliSaiyan and Rajorshi Basu.

It was a pleasure meeting fellow otakus who’ve moulded their skills and gathered their strengths to bring more empowerment to the Indian animation industry, the anime community and themselves. We wish Studio Durga our warmest regards and the best of luck in breaking conventional norms and paving their way to success.

KnowSenpai aims to provide the ultimate otaku experience. If you found our interview with Studio Durga informative, you may also check out our reviews on anime for a more specialized experience.

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