• Directed by Koichi Sasaki, Ram Mohan, Yugo Sako
  • 1993 | 135mins | Japan, India | (12A)

Please Note : We are presenting the English Dubbed version of the film.

“The Ramayana” – TEM / Nippon Ramayana Films 1992

The Japanese producer Yugo Sako envisioned his 1992 animated adaptation of the Indian / S.E Asian myth of “The Ramayana” to be a bridge between cultures and as such it is an unusual fusion of Japanese animation expertise and aesthetics and Indian artistic sensibilities to tell a story that is both a centuries old religious text and an archetypal epic adventure story with many twists and turns all rolled into one often freewheeling adaptation.

In development  since the mid 1970’s and riding the wave generated by films like “Star Wars” and in parallel with the work of Studio Ghibli, the pieces began to fall into place by the mid 1980’s for what in essence was an independent venture with assistance and creative direction from India – a key factor in bringing the story to the screen in order to ensure a faithful adaptation – via the renowned Indian animation director Ram Mohan.

The journey from conception to screen is often a long and hard one and in regard to “The Ramayana” this is especially true since its 1992 launch coincided with religious and political upheavals in India and this, coupled with the film’s provenance as being not 100% Indian resulted in a complex distribution history and issues over rights that plagued its fortunes until the mid-2000’s by which time the key players, Yugo Sako, Ram Mohan and U.S co-producer Krishna Shah, had passed on, leaving what remained of the films original 2.5 hour running time, following many edits and re-versioning, to be pieced together for a new 4K remaster of the original film after the rights reverted to Japan in 2018 under a new management team called TEM, comprising one of the films original backers, Matsuo-san, Masaya Kaneko, a young entrepreneur and Riyotaro Mihara, an Anime historian.

“The Ramayana” combines the talents of many Japanese animators, some drawn from the ranks of Studio Ghibli and in common with many feature-length “Anime” the project was divided up between satellite studios with specialities such as action sequences or visual effects, with Ram Mohan’s Indian team providing creative direction at the front end – a first in terms of India’s then very nascent animation industry and effectively helping to shape it into the global animation powerhouse that it is now, though interestingly there have been hardly any solely Indian animated feature films emerging from the country since the release of “The Ramayana”.

In the 3 decades since its release it has inspired several potential “Ramayana” animated adaptation from studios both in India and beyond and as diverse as Dreamworks and Disney, none of which ultimately came to fruition and in the process affording Yugo Sako’s film a kind of legendary status, primarily because no one is quite sure if they have seen the full-length pre-censor version and which is presented here for the first time in a remastered 4K digital format.