New Pixar Clip Puts Indian Americans In Spotlight For The First Time

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When it premieres in November, Sanjay's Super Team will mark the first time that an Indian American has been a major character in a major animated film. This is the story behind Sanjay.

A clip was released on Friday for Sanjay's Super Team;  the newest Pixar short coming soon to theaters. 

 

 

The landmark production marks the first time an Indian American will be the main character for any creation of either Disney or Pixar.

The short will follow a young Indian-American boy named Sanjay who is torn between the modern delights of being an American child and the traditions of his Indian parents.

The story was inspired by the experiences of Sanjay Patel, the short’s director.  

 

sanjay patel

 

Patel grew up throughout the 1980's as a second generation Indian immigrant in San Bernardino, California. As a result Patel experienced the same torn feelings that the character of Sanjay experiences in the short.

Patel watched cartoons, played with Transformers, and read Superman comics; but he was also required to participate in the Hindu ceremonies of his parents.

"Our worlds were diametrically apart. I just wanted my name to be Travis, not Sanjay,” Patel has said concerning his childhood.

As he grew older Patel was able to embrace both worlds, but he still found it hard to embrace his Indian heritage in his work as a film maker.

As a child, Patel "felt deeply the absence of anyone who looked like him in films and television.”

Read more: Death By Fasting In India

Patel pitched the idea of a short starring a young Indian-American boy who is obsessed with super heroes to Pixar legend John Lasseter in 2012. Lasseter loved the idea and was especially interested in pursuing Patel’s personal story through a fantastical animated adventure.

This represents a landmark moment for both Pixar and its parent company Disney. 

Pixar has never produced a film (starring a human) that did not feature a Caucasian as the protagonist. And Disney had a similar track record until last year's Big Hero Six  introduced a Japanese-American main character for the first time. 

The movies these companies make are the movies that kids see and remember. It's a cause for celebration that more and more kids will be able to see themselves represented in the films that will come to define their childhoods. 

Sanjay’s Super Team will premiere in front of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur across the country on November 25. 

Photo Credit: USA Today

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