Teaching children about other cultures in hope of building a world of tolerance and respect really talks to us. When someone managed to do that via beautiful art forms paying homage to parents and traditions I am smitten with the project.
Sanjay Patel has done exactly this. Well, more than this because he talks to everyone (not just children) in his short film. Get ready because Sanjay’s Super Team Short is Heartwarming Fun. It definitively has amazing graphics and cool action!
In “Sanjay‘s Super Team,” the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first-generation Indian-American boy whose love for western pop culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. Sanjay is absorbed in the world of cartoons and comics, while his father tries to draw him into the traditions of his Hindu practice. Tedium and reluctance quickly turn into an awe-inspiring adventure as the boy embarks on a journey he never imagined, returning with a new perspective that they can both embrace.
I can’t say enough about how captivating and meaningful the story is to me.
Thanks to Disney’s amazing invitation. To Los Angeles two weeks ago for The Good Dinosaur Premiere event I had the opportunity to interview director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grinder. Here some high list of our exclusive interview:
There is a heartwarming story behind the film. Nicole Grinder fills us in by explaining that Sanjay Patel kind of turned his back on his father’s culture in his quest to fit in as an immigrant in the United States. “After about 10 years at Pixar, he got the itch to, to do something else and was introduced to Asian art– South Asian art. (Gupta) started doing books outside of Pixar and his books were a big hit. These are books like The Little um book of Hindu Deities allowed him to reconnect with the culture”.
Sanjay Patel shares he was scared to put this story out because it is all about his identity, part of his culture and something that is so precious to his parents and his community. Pixar was all for developing his story, but it was not until his father made him realize that after all his years of a relationship with Pixar, if they were asking him to do it, and he wouldn’t, it would simply be bad karma. It was his duty to at least try, and try he did.
Nicole tells us that the story bridges cultures and the generational differences. The parents want to pass on something from their lives to their children and the children are usually, not so interested. It is something that has been going on forever.
I believe here is the first takeaway for the kids: perhaps my parents have something I need to pay close attention to.
We know Pixar to tackle all sorts of difficult topics family, friendship, death and so on. There were some concerns at Pixar that people would thing the company was favoring a religion over another recounts Nicole. At the end of the day the story is about a boy and his relationship with his father, and that is at the core of why this short has come to life.
I couldn’t help myself and I had to ask about the deities represented in this beautiful short film. While this religion is very rich, we managed to simplify it to bare bones to know that in the film we are looking at:
- Vishnu: balance and preservation. A parallel to Patel’s father trying to preserve his tradition.
- Dorga: protection and power
- Henoman: demi-god that is half monkey half god
Now the real essence is not what the deity represent, but opening the door to the questions and getting people interested in knowing more. That was Patel’s goal, it is all about bringing people together for him.From its inception Sanjay’s Super Team is pure heart, family and closing the gap, be it generational, religious or geographical. I love how this short film tugs at our heart string as it honors and makes us curious about the people living around us or with us in this planet.
Sanjay’s Super Team is presented in front of The Good Dinosaur in theaters everywhere. Go watch The Good Dinosaur and enjoy this original unique artistic short film.