Our world of paper cutting animation
Our Paper Animation World
created with my
scissors and blade,
Dance and frolic,
Tumble and run,
Pouring out laughter and fun,
colouring the world I made.
Pieces of coloured paper
on my stage of life,
in merriment and strife,
through the moving picture puzzle.
Arup and I with childhoods joy,
Create a world of our very own,
To play here with our
In the paper garden,
that we have grown.
by Prabal Pramanik ©
my childhood I was fascinated by animation movies. Characters created through the
imagination of the artist, came to life on backgrounds that rerepresented reality.
This form of art to my mind in my childhood, introduced a new concept of liberating the
pictures from the static forms to the animated "living" world.
Movement itself is a magic and if this magic is created with an artists joy, it is a
feeling of experiencing a new world, which though may mimic this world of reality in many
ways, is never the same.
I wanted to make pictures move myself, and knew that I would have to do this within my own
limited resources. I had no training and did not care for any training either.
Paper cutting was an important aspect of my life from childhood. So, naturally I started
making experiments to create moving pictures with my paper cutouts.
I understood that it is quite possible to make animations "my style" with paper
Even in my childhood, moving picture making was a way to enjoy myself in my own way, and
still the main cause for making animation movies is the joy I get from it.
It was an age when computers were not known to common people and even today I dont
use any animation software to make my paper cutting animations. The maximum amount of
creative effort is put in the production of each show.
As a child, I made the "moving pictures" for the joy of making them and showing
them to my friends. Even now I make the animation movies for the joy of creation and for
the pleasure I get by showing these movies to other people.
The technique of my animation movies is very personalized and simple, and I have to keep
it so as I neither have the manpower nor the money to create a studio for commercial
films. Moreover I am not interested in corporate animation.
The personalized creative product is much more important for me than anything else in this
When making an animation movie, I form a concept and write the script. Often when creating
non-verbal-animations, I keep the script in my mind, and work according to my plan in my
mind, that takes shape as we work on the project.
Mr. Arup Chandra, a talented photographer does the photographic work and edits the movie
according to the concept I explain to him.
Music narration and dialogue are recorded and added to the movie in a sycronized manner.
Musicians and narrators may help to make the track, or we may make the sound track
With very few equipments and a very small budget, yet, with boundless imagination and
dedication Arup and I create these movies in a small village in Himalayan foothills at the
border of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in India. The nearest town is nearly forty
Our movies have been screened at various different places and shown to people of different
social situations. By showing our movies to people of different cultural orientations we
are able to assesses the level of appreciation from different angles.
These are experimental art animation movies and we constantly experiment with our work and
themes, trying out new methods and ways to create new effects. This is the pleasure of art
animation. As we dont work under any compulsion, we work with a freedom that the
corporate animators generally dont enjoy.
When experimenting, we feel free to make mistakes, we feel free to set our own standards
and to shape and remold the story as our fancy takes us to new worlds created with our
I often sing and dance with joy in my studio in between the "work" of making the
visuals. The studio extends from my bedroom to my living room.
I often work throughout the night when making these visuals.
Arup also may work late at night or all night when editing the movies. We know, that a lot
of pains go behind each step of the production, and pressures of our daily lives often
affect our worktime and cause further limitations.
Since it is a labour of love for our tiny team, we never rue the pains that we put into
our productions. We understand that even short animations must have a dramatic effect and
should rerepresent reality in a world of its own.
We dont want to go on a beaten track, we make our own path, constantly creating new
themes with our own way of looking at the world.
I believe that in the field of culture, there is nothing "primitive" or
"modern". In this world of changing technology, the word modern has no static
status and new techniques are being introduced in the movie world every day all over the
Yet the importance of the level of aesthetic appeal remain vital in the world of animation
pictures ever since cavemen entertained each other by creating animated shadow-graphs on
the cave walls illuminated with flickering fire.
It is necessary to remember that big machines, big money and big teams do not necessarily
create high level of aesthetic standards and in my opinion, twentyfirst century corporate
animations often lack the personal creative touches and the emotional depth that are
necessary to create high levels of aesthetic appeal.
For me, watching mechanical animation movies that lack emotional depth is boring and is a
waste of time only.
I find the earlier forms of animation movies when artists made the movies frame by frame
much more interesting.
I understand the importance of the "human factor" in any form of art and without
proper emphasis on the " human factor" much hyped productions with large budgets
and big publicity stunts are absolute failures.
Appreciation of art cannot be measured in terms of money. The psychological appeal of a
production may be at the crude level or at the subtle level and the evaluation should be
Some animation movie producers may prefer to present animation movies that appeal to the
crude level of the mind. Such movies are often easily marketable, but these movies,
through often created with huge budgets, are not of high aesthetic standard and do not
help to create healthier values either.
Futuristic animation movies all over the world predict and project the future filled with
high-tech violence and focus on new methods to cause absolutely unnecessary pain and
sorrow for other beings.
I should say that mankind has learnt nothing from the past mistakes if the
"starwars" are the future for the human race. Children who are subjected to such
presentations readily absorb such negative values and this creates deep psychological
impact on young minds, resulting in negative behaviour in everyday life.
Negative humour is the easiest way to make some one laugh. When characters crash down, are
"bashed up", are blown up or fall in booby traps the animal in the human psyche
laughs out loudly and thinks that watching sadistic activity is fun.
In real life, often animation bears the responsibility for creating sadists and bullies by
supporting the idea that it is right to laugh when other beings are in pain.
The philosophy of entertainment, especially childrens entertainment should be
healthy and negative humour should be avoided. Actually the producers of these
childrens movies want to make children find sadistic actions funny in order to make
their movies sell fast and in this way they are purposely sending wrong signals to the
We are very much conscious of the need of a heathy culture to build a better world, so we
carefully plan our productions thinking of the moral effects, even if the presentations
are short ones.
There are several types of movies. First there are movies that entertain and create an
interest only at the shallow level of the mind and there are movies that convey a
significant message appealing to the subtle sense in the deeper layers of the mind.
Generally animations are of the entertainment level and create interest at a shallow level
Ofcourse there are exceptions and some attempts have been made for the use of animation
movie making for different sort of message.
Thought provoking animations can also be artistic and spiritual philosopy can spread
through animation movies.
Stories from mythology form popular subjects, but mythology is not necessarily spiritual
So the animation movies that use mythological or historical themes, are often limited to
the level of entertainment and information that do not necessarily appeal to the subtle
The element of modern drama can be incorporated in the animation movies too, and this
aspect expands the dimension of the presentation.
Corporate animation generally follow the market trend while individualistic art animation
is often much more experimental.
Art animations that are made in new experimental ways are likely to explore different
areas of human psychology both theme wise and also in the style of presentation.
When commercial gain is not the main aspect of any form of art, a freedom to create
without the thought of market demands is enjoyed by the artist, so new ways to present the
movies in different and unconventional styles can be tried.
I often use folk forms from Bengal in India to make the animation visuals. My animation
visuals are created generally from paper cuttings that are made without any drawing,
tracing or copying.
All my paper cutouts are made in this way and this aspect gives a unique character to our
For a team of two people only making the animations, the appeal of each animation piece
depends on the new way of presentation.
The future may bring many technological developments in the world of animation movie
making, yet, the human creativity will remain much more important than any mechanical
Appreciation of creativity in art has remained the prime factor from the days when
Paleolithic men started experimenting and exploring the world of recreated reality through
The quality of the work and the level of enjoyment that it produces in minds exposed to
the piece of art is much more important in reality than the money and machines used to
produce the art pieces.
This truth has remained constant throughout the ages and will remain so in future.
Paper cutting animations produced
by Prabal Pramaniks Academy of Arts
The crow and the
show features dialogues between two friends, a crow and a scarecrow. These two friends
discuss environmental and social problems. During the show, video records of actual
problematic situations are shown.
There are shows to spread the consciousness about the harm done by forest fires, the harm
done by non-biodegradable waste such as polythene and plastic and also about the harm done
by the use tobacco products.
The paper folding visuals are filmed in open air directly against the backdrop of
Himalayan foothills and this fantastic background raises the movies to a different plane.
The recordings of actual situations are done from the affected spots and these recordings
act as evidence and strengthen the force of the message.
This series will continue and socio-environmental issues will be focused on in a regular
manner through paper folding animation featuring the crow and the scarecrow.
The language of the dialogue and the approach of the movie is specially chosen so that
children find it easy to understand and accept the message of the show.
There are great possibilities for spreading social awareness through such animations and
as our productions are showing the actual situation from reality as parts of the shows,
our shows are unique in this aspect.
Childrens poems in Bengali
folding and paper cutting animations have been made with poems for children)
We make paper folding and paper cutting animations using childrens poems, either in
Bengali or in English.
These animations designed especially to cater to the taste of children are short, yet
The striking visuals, accompanied with poetic narrations appeal not only to the children
but to adults too.
The subjects are selected with care so the presentations would not foster sadistic
attitude in children. Poems by different poets have been used for these presentations.
Paper cutting art and animation
An experimentation in creative
and personalised movie making.
I am an artist who makes paper cuttings and I wanted to
animate my paper cuttings. The animated papercutting and paper foldings are not only
interesting, but extremely creative, as personalised frame by frame movement is shot to
create the illusion of an animated strip.
The creative experimentation is innovative and individualistic in style and coreography.
There are extremely low budget movies made in a small studio in a village in Himalayan
foot hills for the sake of the joy of creation.
I am sharing this joy with you through this website.
These are products of original creative experimentation and have added a new dimension to
animation movie making. Paper cutting animations are unconventional and are designed
purposely in way that they look like paper cuttings even in the movies. The unconventional
aspect of paper cutting animation places them in different category in the field of
animation film making. Despite the limitations of this form of art immense amount of
creativity in diverse moods with direct emotional involvement of the artist is possible in
In September 1998 at Alliance Francaise, Calcutta and in November 1998 at Alliance
Francaise, Chandigarh, the rush prints of 16mm animation films made by myself and my team
was screened. In March 1999 Zee TV channel showed a small portion of such an animation
made by myself, and this records me as the first person to use paper cuttings made without
any drawing or tracing to produce an animation movie. Some of these animation movies are
examples of successful incorporation of art-work that have been created with traditional
Indian technique in the field of modern technology.
TO VIEW ANIMATION MOVIE
MADE WITH PAPER CUTTING &
PAPER FOLDING ART OF
USTAD KALAKAR PRABAL PRAMANIK
TO VIEW .... CLICK HERE
TO VIEW ANIMATION MOVIE
MADE WITH PAPER CUTTING &
PAPER FOLDING ART OF
USTAD KALAKAR PRABAL PRAMANIK
Animation films made
by Prabal Pramanik and his team
List of films and something about them
* The Magic Scissors
* The Cockroach and the Lizard
* St. George and the Dragon
* The Enchanted Palace
* The Flight
* The Animal Concert
* The Bull fight
* The Animal film company
* Mahishasuramardini Durga
* Radha Krishna Leela,
Hari prema gagane chira raka
* Prem Setu
There is a man who lives in a house in the
hills. People say that he has magic scissors. Some say, though the pair of scissors look
ordinary, they have magic in them, as paper cutting pieces made with that pair of scissors
seem to become alive. In this world of paper cutouts come alive, the man with the magic
scissors goes on playing with paper and scissors. Cranes fly up, birds chirp and hop about
mice scurry away and bunnies play about. Have a peep into this magic world created with
the magic scissor.
The Magic Scissors
Somewhere in another world lived a young
boy. He lived in a house with his mother and father and went to school but the little boy
did not feel as happy as he would have liked to be. He thought that most people around him
knew more about his life and his future than he did himself.
In the house his mother said, "you will
be a doctor when you grow up as doctors are respected and make a lot of money. On the
other side his father would say, " you have to study hard and become a lawyer, so
that you can become rich. The little boy thought all this talk-too confusing and did not
understand why he would have to be a doctor or a lawyer when he had nothing to do with
this sort of work.
The little boy went to school with a big
heavy bag of books and papers. He had to hurry on. He wanted to stop and look at the
flowers by the fence. He wanted to follow the butterflies that flew over the hedges but he
had no time, he walked on so that he will not be late for school.
At school in the class all the boys had to
listen to the teacher or at least pretend to do so. They were told to study hard so that
they would perhaps become successful in future. Ofcourse, no one knew anything about the
distant future or what really success is. The little boy sat in the last row and looked at
the birds chirping on the window. "The birds are happy" he thought.
"Are the birds successful?" he asked himself. "You boy in the last
row, what are you looking at! pay attention to your studies the teacher scolded him. The
birds flew away and the little boy was unhappy.
It was a Sunday morning. The little boy
jumped out to play.
Field, trees, sky and butterflies and a dog
all in that world. The little boy did not want success did not want to be rich. He just
wanted to be free from all those thoughts. He started flying his kite. The kite went
higher and higher. Higher than all the thoughts of money and success. Higher than all the
people who knew more his life than himself, and a sense of freedom thrilled the little
boy. He let the kite fly off free. The kite flew off but the little boy danced with joy
for he was happy at last.
Two bulls became angry with each other. Each one of
them wanted the possession of a green field. Each bull wanted the green field only for
himself and did not want any one else to have a blade of grass from the field. So the
bulls started fighting and they fought on.
The bulls fought on till they realized that there
was enough grass in the field for both of them to be satisfied with. So the both the bulls
made peace and were happy in the green field, with enough grass for each of them.
The bull fight
The animal film company
Three bears opened a film company, and hired a
couple of monkeys as spot boys. The mouse said he was good at directing and the cock was
supposed to read the script. The fox got hero's part in the cinema, and the cat wanted to
be the heroine, and then the film company started, perhaps in future you will see
films made by the animal film company.
Frogs and mice dance to the music of nature. Grass
hopper and lizard provide company.
The animal concert
An oriental palace of filigree lattice work with
fountain, peacock and mysterious people. This piece features a unique dance scene and is
of soft and romantic beauty.
The Enchanted Palace
This presentation is entirely in traditional form
with the spiritual philosophy. It is eternal moonlit night and Radha, the devotee, is
going on her celestial tryst to meet Krishna. A "Sakhi" tells her the way, and
"Samsar", as a little fawn tries in vain to deter her. She moves with her
thoughts of Krishna symbolized as a peacock. Radha meets Krishna at last and joins in the
cosmic dance of eternity.
Hari prema gagane chira raka
This feature shows the classic battle
between good and evil. In fire, St. George fights and kills the Dragon.
St. George and the dragon
This is an animation presentation of the
mythological legend of Devi Durga killing the Asura Mahishasura. The Gods headed by
Brahmha meet Shiva and Vishnu to complain about Mahishasura who had driven them away.
Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahmha join their powers to invoke the Adya Shakti Mahamaya as female
warrior form. Mahishasura's soldiers fight with Devi and her companion the lion. They are
killed by Devi and the lion. So, Mahishasura comes to fight Devi Durga in different forms,
first as a buffalo, then as a lion, then as a elephant and then again as a buffalo. When
the buffalo's head is cutoff by the Devi, and the Asura half emerges from it. Then the
Asura killed. Gods and Sages rejoice and praise Devi Durga.
This is a short drama of life and death in suspense
when the hunter and hunted manoeuvre in tactical moves. The lizard finally catches the
The cockroach and the lizard
The movie Prem setu accompanies the poetry book of
that title by poet Rakesh Nudrat. The book is on Radha Krishna Lila and presents beautiful
poems in Hindi. This unique visual form of a poetry book includes interesting animation
portions on the story of Radha and Krishna. The movie creates a romantic atmosphere with
Animation on Buddha
is an attempt to spread the basic philosophy of Buddha in a simple yet understandable
visual manner. The animation is not like cartoons or caricatures, and is a serious
presentation with Pali chantings in the backedrop. The animation has subtitles in English
and the design reflects the starkness of an acsetics spiritual discipline. This
movie is not just for the entertainment of children, but is educative for adults too.
Traditional Indian artistic style in paper cutting has been presented here to convey the
message of Shakya Muni Gautam Samyaka Sambodhi. Buddhas "Sadhana" at
Urvilla, (old name of modern Bodh Gaya) is the theme around which the events are set to
convey the message.
The message is of Eternal Truth and human beings in every age in history of man have
benefitted from it and will do so in future. This animation presentation we created with a
lot of love and devotion to Tathagata Buddha. May we receive the blessings of Buddha.
The Dance of Heera Bai
Heera Bai was a traditional performing artist of Pathankot before
the independence of Indian subcontinent from British rule.
These traditional performing artists maintained the music and dance forms of northern
India for hundreds of years inspite of certain social stigma. The kothi or the house in
the background is a place that was used by traditional performing artists in old
Pathankot. This house is being destroyed by negligence of people. Yet, I created this
animation presentation with Arup Chandra as a mark of respect for the performing artists
who were often denied their social recognition for their cultural contribution.
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