Series Development | Disney | 2017
Directed & Written by
At Disney India, I had the privilege of conceptualizing and directing a pilot "Khatarnaak," an original animated series featuring a captivating trio: Kartik, Aaloo, and Machis. In this imaginative world nestled within the cavernous nostril of a giant Easter Island head, viewers are transported into the whimsical adventures of a farm boy, a sentient Potato, and a personified Matchbox. Together, they embark on a myriad of daily escapades, using their unique abilities and camaraderie to navigate and preserve the eccentric world they call home. With each episode, audiences are drawn into a delightful blend of humor, imagination, and heartwarming storytelling, making "Khatarnaak" a cherished addition to Disney's animated lineup.
When I ventured into filmmaking, it wasn't solely for my passion for storytelling but also to reclaim my narrative from harmful stereotypes of Indian culture. Crafting 'Khatarnaak' for Disney India, I aimed to defy clichés and offer a uniquely Indian perspective in animation, striving to remain authentic and original in my creative endeavours. I drew a lot of inspiration from my baby brother's antics, even going so far as to name the title character after him!
In 2016, through placement week at uni, I got my dream job: an apprenticeship at Disney India, developing my own TV series under Vijay Subramaniam, then VP of Content & Communication. In the Animation Development department, I conceptualized 'Khatarnaak', from scripting (with Hindi dialogues, a first!), storyboarding, character and set designing, animatic, and the animation style itself. At the end of my tenure, I presented the pilot episode animatic (with a section of finalised animation), showcasing my creative vision for the show.
Behind the scenes
Production: National Film & Television School
Directed & Animated: Neeraja Raj
Producer: Diana Põdra
Screenwriters: Vanessa Rose, Neeraja Raj
Cinematographer: Nathalie Pitters
Production Designer: Ann Kutzer
Editor: Ed Coltman
Composer: Cora Miron
Sound Designer: Harry J.N. Parsons
Online Editor & Colourist: Michael Pearce
Production Manager: Lára Theódóra Kettler
Production Coordinator: Pia Kaiser