Toonz coming out with animated film on Lord Ayyapa

Thiruvananthapuram: Animation major Toonz has completed a full-length film on Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of the famed Sabarimala temple in Kerala, which is to hit the big screen by mid-November, when the two-month long pilgrimage season of the hill shrine begins.

Though the central character of the animated film is the divine personality worshipped by millions, it has been conceived and presented in a manner enjoyable to children and adults allover the world, said Toonz`s CEO P Jayakumar.

"The film narrates the journey of a boy who grows into a warrior battling evil and ultimately becomes a God revered by millions," Jayakumar told reporters.

According to legend, Ayyappa was born out of the union of Lord Shiva and Vishnu with the principal mission of slaying demoness Mahishi. The infant was found in thick forest on the banks of river Pampa by King Rakjaseskhara of Pandalam while hunting. He reared the boy as his adopted son naming him Manikandan.

As he grew, Manikandan became the victim of court intrigues and was sent to the forest to tame a tiger, which he did successfully to the surprise of even his tormentors.

As he matured into a young man he became the destroyer of evil forces and eventually left the palace choosing the Sabari hills as his abode, visited by millions of devotees from India and abroad every year.

According to Jayakumar it had been a challenge to narrate the story in a lucid manner digestible to viewers from diverse cultural backgrounds.

"Here is a story, the central character of which is an ideal role model for young children for his compassion, humility and determination. It tells the journey of a mythological super-hero who ultimately becomes a God revered by millions irrespective of caste, creed and religion," he said.

"In India, we have a great fund of stories, centred around powerful characters. But many of them are complicated and not quite easy to adapt in animated format," he said.

Toonz plans to show the 90-minute film through movie houses in South India by November, followed by its national release on TV and digital release worldwide after a gap.