Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Computer Animation
Year of graduation: 2006
Breathing New Life into Old Stories
Although there wasn’t much in the way of home-grown animation in India when Kushal Ruia was growing up in the 1980s, there were lots of comic books. And like so many other children in Mumbai, Kushal was a big fan of the wildly popular Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) comics. “They gave me a great knowledge and appreciation of Indian legends,” says Kushal. “But never in a million years, when I was secretly reading my ACK comic in school between classes, did I think I would grow up to write and direct the first ACK animated musical feature ever!” he adds.
But that’s exactly what Kushal did, adapting Sons of Ram, from the legendary comic series’ best-selling story. The film premiered in November 2012 in India to glowing reviews. Sons of Ram has since screened at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International in 2013 and will gain a wider audience as it makes the rounds of several upcoming film festivals.
With a business education and no formal art training, Kushal was not confident he would be accepted into Sheridan but “I was determined to find out whether I had the talent to match my passion.” Clearly the answer was yes, because not only was Kushal accepted, he went on to earn diplomas in Classical Animation and Computer Animation and land a job at Toronto’s C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures following graduation.
In 2009, Kushal headed back to Mumbai to join ACK Animation Studios as Creative Head and begin work on Sons of Ram.
Now in Toronto for good, Kushal is happy to be grounded in one place, but quick to point out the advantages of his time in Mumbai. “Working in the Indian animation business has its own unique challenges, from the industry environment to budgets and the quality of available resources. Learning to navigate the system over the past few years has been one of the most demanding and rewarding experiences of my career.”
And one that has allowed him to use his creative skills in an unexpected way. “I feel that my creativity is applicable not only to my work but how I handle the business side of things. Every artist needs to be good at this to do justice to their talent.”
More about Sheridan’s Computer Animation program