news Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 05:30
  Fourteen-year-old Sneha R cannot stop gushing about the fact that she is going to dub for a movie, and that she will become “famous” among her friends. Sneha has been picked to dub for a role in India’s first animated Sanskrit movie “Punyakoti”. Ravi Shankar V, the film’s director, is also her father. Speaking about Putta, the character she will lend her voice to, Sneha says “Putta is the cowherd’s son who is naughty, playful and curious. He and Punyakoti’s calf are best friends in the movie. Punyakoti is a popular story about a cow, after whom the story is titled, whom a tiger waylays for his meal. However, Punyakoti convinces the tiger to let her feed her calf, and promises to return. After much reluctance, he lets her go, and when she returns, is overcome with respect and sets her free. She first heard the story when she was around 10. “My dad and I were travelling in a bus about three-four years ago and I was extremely bored. I asked my dad to tell me a story. He narrated the story of Punyakoti that he is very fond of and immediately I too liked the story.” Punyakoti/ Twitter Next day at school, during the Kannada class, the teacher asked them to read a poem from the textbook which she discovered was about Punyakoti. “It was such a strange coincidence!” she says in her chirpy voice. Since Sneha could speak Sanskrit with ease, her father offered her to dub for the character of Putta. “My first reaction was “What, me and dubbing? I’m so small!” I was nervous, but eventually my dad convinced me to take up the role,” she says. She began to learn Sanskrit from Class 6 simply because she wanted to learn a new language. A year later, she recorded the entire Sanskrit textbook of Class 7 and uploaded it on YouTube with the help of her father. “I had missed a few classes and could not understand the shlokas. I asked my dad if he could look it up on the internet for its meaning. Since my pronunciation was fluent, my dad suggested I record the entire textbook and upload it online to help those who missed the class,” she says, adding that even sub-titles were provided below to help understand the shlokas. Sneha with her father and Director of 'Punyakoti' Ravi Shankar V Sanskrit however, is not her only forte. Sneha can speak five other languages fluently – English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil. She is in the process of learning Telugu and Bengali. “My dream is to learn all Indian languages,” she says, but that might be slightly difficult given that the People’s Linguistic Survey of India pegs the total number of spoken languages in India at over 780. “I feel excited and nervous at the same time. I’m very happy that I will become famous. In fact, I’m telling all my friends about the role and asking them compulsorily watch the movie the movie and wait until the credits roll at the end as my name would be mentioned there,” she says. Movie progress The going for “Punyakoti” has rather been slow on the crowd sourcing front as they have collected a little over 12 lakhs since the initiation of the campaign on June 2. The makers of the movie started crowd sourcing funds on Wishberry with a target of Rs 40 lakh mainly for the animatics and music composition of the movie. Ravi admits is a challenging task and thus failure is expected. With just 11 days left for the campaign to end, Ravi is undeterred by the progress made so far and is already chalking out alternative ways they could crowd fund the movie. “The going has been slow right now mainly because of the lack of awareness that such a movie is being made. And crowdsourcing is quite unpredictable as it can shoot up in just a week’s time,” he says. He adds that recognition and appreciation for the movie has started pouring in only now. “Even 50 per cent of Sanskrit lovers are not aware that such a movie is being made,” he says. The progress of the movie so far has been up to the mark, with pre-production such as script and story board being complete. They have even had a couple of rounds of dummy dubbing of the translated script and they are raring to go into production stage, but are being held back due to shortage of funds. With big names like former Infosys board member Mohandas Pai and Swaminathan Dandapani, Chairman, Manipal Health Enterprises committing to the funding the project, Ravi is hopeful that the target would be achieved. To contribute to the project, click here - Punyakoti - A crowd sourced animated movie    

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