Imagine growing up and hating your ethnicity, hating your name, hating your parents, and being the “only brown kid.” Then one day, your entire culture hits you so squarely in the face that it changes your life forever. That is exactly what happened to Pixar animator Sanjay Patel.
I had the pleasure of viewing his directorial debut in the short Sanjay’s Super Team opening in front of the feature The Good Dinosaur on November 25th. This short contains so much more than brilliant artwork, it contains Mr. Patels heart and soul. We were treated to behind the scenes info on just how this movie came to be and it was fascinating.
Sanjay grew up in a very traditional Indian household where his father would practice the Hinduism, much to his dismay. Sanjay relayed how much he hated having to stop what he was doing to participate in the daily rituals. He wanted to play with his action figures and watch cartoons, anything but that.
It was during one of the rituals that Sanjay creates his “Super Team” as you will see when you see the short. Sanjay’s Super Team short is one of self-exploration and the realization that our culture is a huge part of who we are, like it or not.
John Lasseter was so impressed with Sanjay’s artwork that he personally asked him to create something, 3 times, and 3 times Sanjay said no out of fear, and the fear of failing. When he told his Father about the offer, his Dad said that it would be bad karma if he didn’t do it, that karma would be hurt. This made him rethink everything and he made his first pitch.
When the short was finished, Sanjay brought his Father to a viewing, mind you, this man hadn’t seen an actual movie since The Sound of Music, so he had no idea how he would react to the short. We were fortunate to see a clip of his reaction and it made me cry, he was so very proud of his son, of his son embracing his culture. It was so touching!
Sanjay’s Super Team is a great short, one that is groundbreaking, spiritual and creative.
Sanjay’s Super Team Opens in front of The Good Dinosaur in theaters on November 25th
Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense trip to San Francisco by Walt Disney Studios to attend various events. All opinions are 100% my own.