I was really impressed to have the opportunity to listen and experience the short that is attached to The Good Dinosaur, Sanjay’s Super Team in a whole new way.
Sanjay Patel is the creator of this film and he has been at Pixar for 20 years. Over his time at Pixar he found that he loved what he was doing, but he also found himself starting to be drawn into his own heritage.
Outside of work on many films over the years he started a number of projects that allowed him to connect to his culture and the history and religious icons that he grew up with over the years. This was not an easy journey but from what Sanjay Patel said, it was necessary as he always felt disconnected to his own father and the culture and religion that he practiced on a daily basis.
As Sanjay Patel created the books it helped him tell the stories that he knew to others as well as allowed him to see his parents’ culture in his own way.
Sanjay Patel threw himself into learning more about this culture and stories like the Ramayana. He mentioned that he spent sometimes four hours a night over ten years learning about the myths.
Sanjay Patel was asked three times to bring his myths and stories to Pixar and three times he said no. Then he talked to his dad and his dad said “The studio supported you for 20 years. To not do what they are asking would be bad karma.” He said that is was Sanjay’s “sacred duty” to share the myths and stories with Pixar.
Thus, Sanjay Patel did, and had a first pitch with Jon Lasseter. During his pitch to Jon, he was told that it was important to “tell your truth”. The short that you will see in the theater went through quite a few renditions. One of the examples of this was explained to us when Sanjay brought forth a version of the super team cartoon that young Sanjay is watching in the short. Initially it was pitched to Jon Lasseter as a 2D cartoon similar to the old Superfriends. Jon Lasseter re-visioned this so that it would be more relevant to kids today and that made the scene that much better.
Sanjay Patel explained that each of the mythological characters that are depicted in the short were created in certain ways to help depict certain feelings within the film. Sanjay Patel also wanted to make sure to connect in the most well-known and noticeable Gods and Goddesses from Indian tradition to allow for people who were not familiar with Indian traditions a better taste of the culture.
Sanjay Patel put his heart and soul into the making of this short and in the end when you see it you will tell that it truly is a labor of love.
We were fortunate to see a short clip of a video that was taken at the end of the film when Pixar had Sanjay Patel’s father come to Pixar to see the finished project. Now you all should know that his father had never seen a Pixar movie in the past, nor had he seen a movie in America. The last movie that his father had seen was the Sound of Music 40 years ago. At the end of this moving clip you could tell that Sanjay Patel’s father was very proud of his son and about the film. Sanjay Patel himself mentioned that for “30 years he was ashamed to be their son and hated what they were doing” and it took until he found Asian Art that he was able to find his connection to his family. Every story and word that he read throughout his time preparing for this film helped him unlock his mom and dad and what they were doing while he was growing up.
One final thing I will mention is that at the very end of the short you will hear the father say something to his son in Hindi. I was very interested to know what this was so I approached Sanjay Patel after his talk and asked him. While it really did not matter what he said, as it did not take away from the short, Sanjay Patel said that what the father said to the son was something to the extent of “What’s this?” This made a lot more sense and it solidified the relationship between father and son in the end of the short for me, and once you see it, it will do the same for you, I’m sure of it.
This short really shows the passion and commitment that Pixar has to making films with heart. Once you see this, you will know what I mean.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the short after you see it for the first time. What was your experience? Did you like it? What did you like most?
About Sanjay’s Super Team
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.
Clip from the Short!
Find out more about The Good Dinosaur
THE GOOD DINOSAUR – Trailer
THE GOOD DINOSAUR opens in theatres everywhere on November 25th!
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