Our country is experiencing two completely different scenarios today. Everyone is so hastily concluding one of them to be the end of honeymoon period for the IT industry with the number of layoffs happened over the past month across various MNC companies. But not many are thinking of it as a wakeup call to the youth of this nation. I often wondered why such a large country like India is so obsessed with producing Engineers. The problem lies in our education system and the villains are our schools. The fault lies in their design.
Our schools were designed 400 years ago. Back then the empire mainly wants 3 types of people. The clerks to manage their territories, military to protect their territories and factory workers because Industrial revolution has just started back then. So, what are the kinds of skill sets these factory workers require? 1. Lack of creative thinking 2. Listen to instructions. These were the required skill sets. So, it’s not surprising that our schools were designed exactly how a factory should be. So, if I have to give you an analogy, right from the tin tin tin of the bell to say that it’s time for lunch or interval to the grouping of the kids based on their age and not by their ability to learn and understand. So, if we don’t fix our schools all the kids chose to become engineers first and then start thinking about what to do next with their lives? At least now, we should try to mitigate our over dependence on the IT sector and think beyond engineering.
The second scenario which our country is witnessing in itself offers a solution to tackle the problem, of everyone opting for engineering and its none other than the “Baahubalian Effect” that caught the entire world by surprise.
SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali 2: The Conclusion has grossed over 1500 crore to reach 1047 crore worldwide in first 10 days & still going very strong at box office. The Hindi version of Baahubali went past 500 Crore mark. Baahubali 2 had a grand release in around 9000 screens worldwide which helped it amass the numbers. It’s the first movie in recent years to earn the tag of a ‘national film’. So, what is the solution that SS Rajamouli through his grandeur of a film has to offer to the current generation of youth in India!!
SS Rajamouli’s mantra seems straightforward “Passion, Design, Success!”. Firstly, one should have the passion towards his line of work which seems to be clearly lacking with the current generation because no matter whichever stream, electrical, mechanical or chemical, they opt in their engineering every one ends up wanting an IT job. The reasons might be many such as lack of employment opportunities or low salaries in other careers when compared to IT sector but it all boils down to lack of passion. Secondly, one should have the required design skills and vision to deliver a beautiful product which grabs the world’s attention. Finally, one should have the patience and commitment towards what you believe in to attain success. This has proven many a times that patience and commitment alone can make someone good to being great.
I am not against someone opting for engineering as a career option and I do respect all great engineers that India has produced and is producing. But one has to accept that IT sector alone can’t accommodate the whole of Indian youth and for this reason one should start thinking beyond IT; one should start thinking beyond coding. One of the many alternate careers which is catching up with IT across the world is the field of Multimedia. In simpler terms, it’s just about presenting your ideas and imaginations through various mediums. When the entire IT sector is working towards increasing the comfort levels of the human race on the flip side the entire Multimedia sector is striving towards increasing the happiness quotient of the human race. It is believed that only art has the power to put a smile on our faces. SS Rajamouli through his movies, has directly or indirectly dealt with a number of multimedia specialisations such as VFX, Animation, Gaming, Web & Mobile Technologies, Film-making, Art & Design, Fashion Designing and Interior Designing. So, let us understand these specialisations a bit more in detail as prospective career options.
VFX is an ingredient used to create visual magic to enhance the story. It is a masala that needs to go with every film like music/sound. Unlike animation, here just the effects are imposed onto the live characters and scenes to make them look real. No one knows about it better than SS Rajamouli himself, be it the scenic waterfalls and the bull fight in Baahubali part 1, the War Scenes in Baahubali 2 or the very scene of Sivagami saving the infant Baahubali from drowning, every frame is pure magical.
Animation is a medium of storytelling while VFX is an ingredient used to create visual magic to enhance the story. It is the manipulation of electronic images by means of a computer in order to create moving images. Using animation, a story is entirely created from imagination with no real-life characters. The best example is Rajamouli’s Eega or the elephants in Baahubali 2. Animation is no longer confined to just feature films nowadays. With media streaming services, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Netflix, web series is catching up its steam and Baahubali Animated Series is the first of its kind from India.
When the control to the animated character is given to the end user it becomes a game. Gaming has always been a powerful medium to reach the younger audience but only after smartphones becoming a mainstream device, gaming was able to break all the age and gender barriers. People nowadays are more into casual games such as Candy Crush, Angry Birds and Pokémon Go which could be played right on their mobile phones. And that is the reason why Baahubali mobile game was also released to reach the younger audience.
What use are mobile phones without apps and businesses without websites nowadays. Developers play a central role in how we interact with the online world and employment for creative technical developers is always secure. Web and Mobile development refers to designing, building, creating, and maintaining web and mobile applications. It includes aspects such as design, programming, database management and publishing. Much before the movie release, dedicated movie based mobile apps and websites are getting released to keep the fans engaged and it’s soon becoming a norm for any industry or product.
With the growing interest among youngsters to become Filmmakers, many filmmaking courses have emerged in all the big multimedia houses. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and reproduction, cinematography, direction, editing and screening the finished product before an audience, that may result in a film release. This is the golden age for any honest filmmaker with global content to reach the wider audience as the world has witnessed the power of Indian Cinema through Baahubali.
Like many creatives do, it’s an often-debatable question that whether design can be art. But design is not art. Art and design are two different languages. However, designers can speak ‘art language’, and artists can speak ‘design language’. Art is a form which can be visualised but design is an experience. The terms User Interface(UI) and User Experience(UX) are getting heard in every industry since the last couple of years. The looks are important for any product and the ease with which we interact with it is also equally important. Just a beautiful UI can make a product good but combining it with a good UX can make the same product great and successful.
In the fashion world, every new style begins with an idea. Fashion design is a form of art & aesthetics dedicated to the creation of new clothing and lifestyle accessories. Fashion designing involves a set of skills that range from market research and creativity to sketching and fabric selection. Fashion designers guide the process from inception to production. Since the start of the new millennium, everyone in their day to day lives and workplaces have started to adapt fashion sense inspired from movies. I am eager to see the influence on Indian women after watching the dressing of Devasena in Baahubali 2.
Interior design is all about how we experience spaces. It’s a powerful, essential part of our daily lives and affects how we live, work, play, and even heal. Comfortable homes, functional workplaces, beautiful public spaces—that’s interior design at work. The best interior designers make it look easy, crafting spaces that anticipate our needs and appeal to our emotions, but in reality, a broad set of skills and technical knowledge is required. Today, interior designers work with contractors, architects, engineers, craftsmen, furniture dealers, and business and home owners. It has become a norm to offer 3d walkthrough of any interior design before the actual execution of the project. The grandeur of the Mahishmathi kingdom on screen is a beautiful showcase of the amount of detailing and effort that went into creation of those realistic 3d models.
The most talked about things nowadays by any MNC are Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality (AR, VR and MR). For the time being let’s say that all these technologies are trying to offer immersive multimedia experience to us through computer-simulated reality, replicating an environment and allowing us to interact in that world. They are about to go mainstream by the end of this year with iPhone 8 releasing with AR camera that can take 3d photos with real sense of depth. Microsoft is also releasing HoloLens which uses Mixed Reality through which we can interact with 3d projections in the real world instead of just confining to computers and mobiles. SS Rajamouli being the most aggressive adopter of modern day technology has teamed up with AMD to provide 50 VR experience booths at cinema theatres, malls and IT parks in the country, where viewers can get an interactive experience of 3D animated scenes from ‘Baahubali-2’.
The field of design, art and creativity is not something which can be learnt through conventional methods of education and cannot be taught in a short term and the same opinion was also expressed by SS Rajamouli in one of his keynote speeches. There might be many institutions which have flocked the market offering short-term programs but very few academies with a vision and belief have stuck with full-time university degrees and are the only ones who are able to show bright career opportunities to the students.
The pioneers in media and entertainment industry, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Ramoji Rao and Dr. Daggubati Ramanaidu, through their production and media houses, Annapurna Studios, Ramoji Film City and Ramanaidu Studios, and with affiliation from JNAFAU university are offering full time graduation programs in their schools, AISFM, RAFT and RFS, in filmmaking and multimedia fields. The odd one out among such academies is IACG which was supposedly the first institute in India to offer full-time graduation program in affiliation with JNTUH.
Starting 2017 the emphasis shifted to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. When machines control all the world’s finances and run factory floors, what will humans be left to do? We’ll make art, says Kai-Fu Lee, a former Google and Microsoft executive. Art and beauty is very hard to replicate with AI. Given AI is more objective, analytical, data driven, maybe it’s time for some of us to switch to the design, liberal arts, and beauty. When the rest of the world is busy learning, just the programming languages and adding themselves to the already crowded human resource pool, one should start thinking of acquiring design, art and creative skills alongside programming skills by opting for creative multimedia programs.
By now everyone got to know that the entire visual effects and animations for the movies Baahubali and Eega are done using local talent by a Hyderabad based company, Makuta. But not many would be knowing that the visual effects and animations in various blockbuster Hollywood films such as The Jungle Book, Life of Pi, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guardians of the Galaxy, Kong: Skull Island, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars etc. were executed from India using our very own local talent. Even a part of the game art for the billion-dollar game, Grand Theft Auto is executed by a Bangalore based company.
Till recently the job placements for the multimedia students were confined to such VFX, animation and gaming studios. But with the Make in India campaign and Start-up ecosystem gaining momentum every company, big or small, Google or Stumagz needs creative people for their marketing and branding activities alongside the regular IT activities and they prefer recruiting people with a creative edge alongside programming abilities. With the entry of Virtual Reality even industries like Housing, Hospitality, Health, Defence and Auto-mobile have opened up for multimedia students.
On a closing note, it is the responsibility of the educational institutions, parents at home and the individual himself to make the impossible possible and create wonders. But for that, the educational institutions should encourage the students to think out of the box and dream big, so they can become the future leaders; parents at home should nourish their children with clarity towards their goals and mould them to stand out of the crowd and to not be afraid of trying out new things by inculcating self-belief; individuals should learn to be passionate about anything they love and have perseverance to fulfil their dreams. If all the above three do their part only then India can become a country of creators rather than mere coders. As the power star, says in a movie, one should strive towards being not just a trend follower but a trendsetter. Educational institutions should strive towards delivering Baahubali of Engineering and Baahubali of Multimedia and a student should strive towards becoming Rajamouli of his class. Jai Mahishmathi!!