While I was in San Francisco I had the special treat to sit down in the main Pixar viewing theater and meet with Animator Sanjay Patel to talk about his new short film Sanjay’s Super Team. Patel has worked at Pixar since 1996 but as I discovered, he’s never directed a film before now.
In this all new short film that will accompany The Good Dinosaur (coming out 1 WEEK FROM NOW – November 25th!!), we see a boy and his dad with conflicting interests. Patel almost didn’t even make this short but after John Lasseter asked many times and his own father telling him it was his “sacred duty to at least try.” he went for it.
Disclosure: Disney, Pixar, and Disney Junior have sponsored my travel, accommodations, most meals, and activities during this event. All opinions (and fun) in this article here are mine unless noted otherwise.
Patel is the son of immigrants from Gujarat, India. He didn’t always embrace the practices he was born into and that’s the story of his cultural identity that he brings to this short film.
The film follows the main character Sanjay as he gains a deeper understanding of and appreciation for his parents’ Hindu traditions through daydreaming up a Hindu version of “The Avengers” during family meditation.
“My parents’ whole world revolved around their gods, the Hindu deities. Our worlds were diametrically apart. I just wanted my name to be Travis, not Sanjay.”
The seven-minute short begins with young Sanjay watching cartoons and eating cereal as his father jingles a bell to signal him to join in meditation. Reluctant and bored by the ceremony, Sanjay begins daydreaming a kind of ancient, Hindu version of “The Avengers,” with the gods appearing like superheroes. As the daydream progresses, the color, light and animation of the film grows increasingly dazzling and cosmic, and Sanjay grows closer to understanding his father’s inner world.
The ideas such as immigration and religion are both breaking new ground for Pixar. But it definitely doesn’t cross the fine and Pixar knows how to bring in the funny while still telling a story.
The film is shot in a way you won’t expect from Pixar, almost anime-style. The lighting, the sound, the character themselves. All new and fresh and makes you sit at the edge of your seat. I’m super emotional so yes, I did cry but I think that’s also because I knew the history. I saw a video of Patel showing his dad the short for the very first time and seeing the two men bond was incredible. This is a man that has never seen any Pixar/Disney film ever. Not even the films that Sanjay has contributed to.
Check out this special “How it was made” clip featuring Sanjay himself!
All the feels, right? See SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM before The Good Dinosaur – out November 25, 2015!