Artist, director and industry veteran Arnab Chaudhuri passed away yesterday morning in Kolkata. He was noted in the animation industry for his feature film with UTV in 2012 titled Arjun: The Warrior Prince. As soon as the news came, the industry started mourning the death of a colleague.
Says Punnaryug Artvision founder Ashish Kulkarni, “Arnab Choudhury was such a gentleman. The Indian animation industry has lost a true legend. What an animation direction in “Arjun: The Warrior Prince” animated movie. We were just together at Kochi Design Week 10 days ago. We were on a panel discussion which I had an opportunity to moderate. Just difficult to even imagine that 10 to 12 days ago he was perfectly fine and was moving around with a camera taking pictures. We had lunch and breakfast together and discussed a lot of great initiatives for the AVGC sector. He even jokingly asked me what is the full form of AVGC. Such a humble, highly respected and creative person, who brought pride to India in many ways by creating world-class animation. I am finding it extremely difficult to even believe that Arnab is not with us anymore. May his soul rest in peace. He will always be remembered for his creativity, attitude and pleasant personality.”
With more than two decades of experience in the fields of television, animation and creative design, Chaudhuri had worked with major organisations like Turner, Walt Disney and Channel V.
“This is really shocking, I still can’t believe it. I knew Arnab so well – such a decent, gracious person, so hardworking and so passionate about animation. This truly is a great loss. He had many more wonderful films yet to make – most unfortunate that we will never see those. I will miss him.” said Paperboat Animation co-founder and chairman Soumitra Ranade.
Toonz Media CEO P. Jayakumar also reminisced on how he met Chaudhuri just a week back at Kochi Design Summit, where he was the keynote speaker, and how he was one of the well-wishers of the studio and the industry. He also said that the Arjun director had collaborated with them on various projects and even gave numerous masterclasses to their artists. “This is a severe loss to the industry. It is very shocking” concludes Jayakumar.
Expressing his heartfelt grief over the loss, Technicolor India head Biren Ghose mournfully shared: “I was extremely sorry to hear about the loss of the very talented Director Arnab Chaudhuri. He was a valued and amazingly talented member of the animation and film fraternity in India. Only the good die young. He took great pains to change the “local animation” paradigm having laboured over a full-length animated feature at a time when there were hardly any local projects of that size and scale. The film is “Arjun”. This brilliant passion project set a new bar in our country. How he went about preparing and pre-visualizing every aspect of the “look and feel” and “art direction” in this genre was pioneering.”
Speaking about how he felt at the screening of Chaudhari’s movie in Annecy, he added, “It was a very proud moment for me to attend the screening of this movie in Annecy – “the mecca for animation competitions” and I recall that the global audience truly appreciated and applauded his work. I will never forget the pride we all felt as Indian compatriots at the standing applause the film received. I hope he will rest in peace and I know that he will set about working on his next story and delight all those even in the world beyond….one day we will all get to see that as well. In sorrow for his loss, in happiness that we knew him and in appreciation for his legacy in storytelling. A heartfelt salute.”
Even noted independent artists from the industry shared their thoughts, “I met him for the first time two weeks ago after hearing about him for decades …and we spent hours talking about art, stories and philosophy, and we spoke about our future projects and life goals with such excitement. Such a gem of an experience. He will be greatly missed.” said Vaanarsena Studios senapati Vivek Ram.
The loss of a veteran from the country’s animation industry will surely be felt throughout.