Monster Hunt, a live action movie with computer-generated cuddly monsters that is one of the highest grossing films in Chinese box office history, has an Indian connection.
The English dubbed version of Monster Hunt opens on January 1. Director Raman Hui, who co-directed Shrek the Third, came to India to hone his craft before making the movie at the Beijing Dreamworks studio. He says that his Indian sounding name Raman (short for Raymond), as intended by his father, helped him blend into the crowd. As he told Forbes in an interview, he initially “didn’t know the culture well but I got to understand the people and at the end I didn’t want to leave India”. I got to understand the people and at the end I didn’t want to leave India."
The movie is set in a mythical ancient world, where monsters and humans co-exist peacefully until a baby monster, Wuba, is born to a human father and monster queen. Whether or not the box office numbers in China were inflated, the movie has cast a spell on Chinese audiences because of the way it mixes mythology, martial arts, monsters and action.
Hui’s passion for animation started with his love for drawing. In 1989, he started working at Pacific Data Images, which was later acquired by DreamWorks Animation. Hui worked on commercials as well as directed shorts, including Sleepy Guy (1995) and Fat Cat on a Diet (2000). His characters have simple and clean lines, making them more cartoonish than realistic. Here's a look at Fat Cat on a Diet.
Scared Shrekless, a short film spin-off from the Shrek franchise that has also been co-directed by Hui, is among the many Hollywood projects animated at the DreamWorks India unit. India has become an outsourcing hot spot for animation and visual effects because of lower labour costs and a large pool of skilled English-speaking animators. Major scenes of Puss in Boots (2011) were done in India, as were significant portions of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) and the television series The Penguins of Madagascar.