Pixar has cornered the market when it comes to tear-jerkers and heart-warming films. And Sanjay's Super Team, a short about a little boy's culture clash with his father, is yet another beautiful example.
The short film, which was released alongside Pixar's feature-length animation The Good Dinosaur in March this year, tells the story of Sanjay, a young Indian-American boy who just wants to watch his superhero cartoons. Within earshot of the television is his father, offering his morning prayer at their Hindu altar.
Disturbed by the noise from the television, Sanjay's dad asks Sanjay to join him in his morning prayers. Bergrudingly, Sanjay obliges. But through a beautiful turn of events, Sanjay discovers the deities his father worships are just as super as his favourite cartoon superheros.
One noteworthy moment in the film is how the villain's defeat is portrayed. The demon is not killed, per say, but is realigned to his centre and calmed down before willingly surrendering to defeat. This portrayal of good versus evil alludes to the beliefs within Hindu mythology, and proves to both Sanjay and children who watch the film that no villain or person is wholly evil or good; we all have a little of both in us.
The story also pulls on the characteristics of three well-known Hindu deities: Kali, in red, the goddess of destruction of evil, accompanied by her lion; Hanuman, the monkey-god who embodies bravery and courage; and Vishnu, in blue, the god of creation. The multi-headed demon is Raavana, the antagonist from the Hindu epic tale, The Ramayana.
The short animation was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015. It was created by Indian-American animator Sanjay Patel, and was inspired by Patel's own relationship with his father as a boy.