Pixar has The Good Dinosaur coming out later this year, which means they also have a new short film. Specifically, they’ll be releasing Sanjay’s Super Team, which is based on the childhood of its director Sanjay Patel. The short follows young Sanjay who’s trying to watch a superhero TV show while his father tries to practice his Hindu faith in the same room. When his dad shuts off the TV and makes Sanjay join in the worship ceremony, Sanjay has a moment of clarity and has both a spiritual connection with Hinduism and an emotional connection with his father.
I went to Pixar a couple weeks ago for a press visit (click here for my thoughts on The Good Dinosaur footage they screened), and Patel walked us through the short’s long history, which started back in 1995. He never set out to make a short film, but instead was inspired by the self-published sketchbooks his peers at Pixar were making. In 2005, he Patel released Little India, a self-published comic book, and in 2006, he released The Little Book of Hindu Dieties. For Patel, he’s constantly trying to find a way to bridge the ancient and the modern, specifically as it relates to his Hindu heritage.
When Pixar courted him to make a short, Patel went to his father for advice. His father replied that it was Patel’s “sacred duty” to do his best, and direct the short film. From there, Patel followed Pixar head John Lasseter’s advice: “Just tell your story.”
They showed us the short film in its entirety, so I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that this is a major rebound for the studio in the shorts department. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and looks unlike anything they’ve done before, but it’s grounded in an emotional father-son story. It’s a shame that the short doesn’t come with the video showing the reaction of Patel’s father had after he saw the short for the first time.
Check out a clip from Sanjay’s Super Team below along with eight images of the concept art. The short will play in front of The Good Dinosaur, which opens November 25th.