|"REACHING OUT TO CHILDREN"
"Manick Sorcar, eldest son of the famous P.C. Sorcar, creates
magic with different raw materials - laser technology and computer
wizardry. And his animation films have won some very prestigious
(A reproduction of the Profile on Manick Sorcar, written by Lalie
Mookherjee, in the 'Impressions' section of The Sunday Statesman,
Calcutta, India, on April 23, 2000, page 4)
"JUST a wave of his magic wand and Manick (Prafulla Chandra)
Sorcar will leave you enthralled. The eldest son of the famous magician
PC Sorcar, Manick Sorcar creates magic with different raw materials.
He was here, all the way from Denver (USA) , where he is based,
with an unique luggage of four award-winning animation films and
an electrifying laser display.
An electrical engineer of repute , a poet, lyricist, writer, artist,
animation film director, music conductor, cartoonist, Manick Sorcar
is virtually a one-man entertainment industry. A humanist and a
revolutionary, sensitive and passionately fond of children, he embodies
the best of Bengali culture.
A "Manick" in the family of "PC" Sorcars clearly
indicates that the great father's eldest son didn't want to capitalise
on the family name. "I always wanted to do it all on my own.
Eventually I attracted using my nick name "Manick", said
Sorcar. With the urge to excel in a career different from their
family profession, he graduated in electrical engineering from the
Banaras Hindu University and went off to the University of Washington
to do his Masters. The year 1974 came as a boon to him when the
reputed American engineering firm Howard W. Butterweck and Co offered
him a partnership and changed its name to Butterweck-Sorcar Engineering,
where he is now the president. In the same year he married Shikha,
whom his parents had chosen for him. Denver since then has been
their home. He has two daughters Piya (22) and Payal (19). Piya
is an excellent fusion dancer and Payal is a musician. So the father's
instinct tells him that "one day they'll hold the centrestage."
Manick has been keenly interested in both science and arts right
from his childhood, when he used to assist his father on stage and
behind it, by painting backdrops, playing accordion in the orchestra
pit and doing innovative electrical lighting effects for the various
Engineer Sorcar has ascended the proverbial ladder quite a way and
walked away with some prestigious contracts, like the "7.5
billion dollars state cum government project to light up the Denver
airport". His company has spread its quality design work to
several countries, including Japan, Saudi Arabia (where he did the
lighting for the two palaces of King Faizal-bin-Sultan of Riyadh),
Mexico, Canada and India. He also has to his credit three books
on engineering and architecture. His energy saving lighting systems
is used as a practical application oriented textbook at the University
Too creative, to be restrained by material boundaries, Sorcar yearned
to do something for kids within his own abilities. He has therefore
dedicated a large amount of his time to the creation of meaningful
and culturally rich entertainment works for children aware of the
rich Bengali heritage came with Piya and Payal, who were fast to
catch up with the American accent. He started out with two books
of cartoons, which gave an idea of the funny things Indians encountered
white living in the States. He composed several Bengali songs which
were made popular by his younger daughter through her first album
released by the well-known US company, CBS.
Animations brought the best out of Sorcar. Culturally and morally
rich, his animation films are shown in elementary schools and educationally
television channels on a regular basis. His programmes, East meets
West I and II, featuring his daughters singing and dancing, have
been telecast by the Doordarshan. The concept is derived from Italian
fairy tales and his family is his team. His daughters play the lead
roles, he does the the music, art work, script and production, and
his wife takes part in the narration, though occasionally qualified
professionals are hired. Indians living in Denver are all very eager
to learn and participate. In fact the animations feature his neighbors.
Schools in Denver invite him regularly for workshops on his animation
Sorcar engrosses himself with his art till the wee hours of the
morning in his 7000 square feet studio, which forms the basement
of his house. It has a bank of computers, his unique blue room studio
(a room with no corners and is painted blue so that there are no
shadows, and so that before the camera, nothing but the character
comes alive), sound studio, mixing studio and recording studio,
besides a home theatre to check things out before a premiere.
His mission is to reach out to a wider young audience and create
a fusion of the Western and Eastern ideas. Fittingly, his show was
honored as "A Special Millennium Attraction" by the Biswa
Banga Sammelen Committee. Sorcar went through tedious months of
computer programming, research, sketching and working out the technicalities
to create Calcutta Forever: A Laser Fantasy. It was premiered at
the Nandan and received with roaring applause. The eight-minute
fantasy traces Bengali culture over a span of more than three centuries
with the unique cutting-edege laser and computer technology new
to America and first of its kind in India. Calcutta here, is represented
by a caterpillar, which moves through the glories and sufferings
of the three centuries, gets into its cocoon, and then emerges as
a butterfly in Y2K. The lilting music of the laser stunner was composed
by the late Ananda Shankar.
Deepa and Rupa: A Fairy tale from India, The Sage and the Mouse,
Gandhabichar or Sniff and the Woodcutter's Daughter coves the rest
of the two hour show. Deepa and Rupa has his eldest daughter, Piya,
and his neighbour, Deepa Reddy, and mixes animations with live action.
This brought to the Sorcars the Gold Plaque for the Best Children's
Show at the Chicago International Film Festivals. This he won over
formidable rivals like the makers of Hanna Barbera and Tom and Jerry.
Gandhabichar, based on the nonsense verse of Sukumar Ray's Abol
Tabol, received the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle award in Washington
DC. The Woodcutter's Daughter is based on a popular story from Panchatantra
and features Sorcar's youngest daughter, Payal.
Manick Sorcar's productions are indeed meant to keep alive the Bengali
culture, not only for Piya and Payal, but for the entire kids community.
One year from now he will be back in Calcutta with more of his wonderful