"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 awards"
(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 magic acts.
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 of Colorado.
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 technology.
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 works."

 

 

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