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After effects

Robot has proved that we’re ready for visual wizardry.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Mumbai |
October 22, 2010 2:15:56 pm

Robot has proved that we’re ready for visual wizardry.

WHEN Rajinikanth wielded numerous guns,at one go,enough to attack an entire battalion,he reinstated the faith of his fans in his “powers”. With this mind-boggling feat,he also proved that India is now ready to match international standards in visual effects.

“Though it took three years,a dedicated team of 20 people,international talent from the US,Hong Kong and Iran as well as a huge amount of money,we were finally able to set a benchmark for visual effects,” says V Srinivas M Mohan. The VFX supervisor,who was brought on board soon after scripting and casting,says that India has been ready for such visual effects for the last five years. It’s the budget constraints that have been holding filmmakers back.

However,leaving such concerns behind,Bollywood will witness a slew of films that will heavily rely on visual effects. Mallika Sherawat-starrer Hissss uses extensive VFX to show her turn from human to snake and vice-versa. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish will have Hrithik Roshan perform magic tricks with elan. Shah Rukh Khan’s superhero film Ra.1,it is said,will reportedly be made interactive with gaming. Vikram Bhatt’s horror film Haunted will attempt to take the visual effects a step further by combining them with 3D.

Merzin Tavaria,chief creative director of Prime Focus,a leading visual effects company,which is currently working on Guzaarish,says that the trend only needed to be kickstarted. “VFX has been around and is being used by filmmakers,However,after visual effects-heavy films like,say Aladin or Drona,failed on other fronts the genre was considered unsafe.”

In both Tavadia and Mohan’s opinion,India has the talent to pull off feats such as Avatar. Prime Focus,in fact,was crucial in the Oscar-winning film’s making and has many Hollywood projects under its belt. Robert Kurtzman,who is doing Hissss,says that India is making rapid advances in digital effects. “It is in terms of make-up effects and creature effects that it’s moving a bit slower in India,” he says. Brent Robinson,who is working on Bhatt’s film,adds that most of the Hollywood projects are outsourced to India. Hence,the talent isn’t lacking. “It’s the technique and equipment that the international talent is hired for,” he says,explaining why he was brought on board.

In Mohan’s opinion,the time and effort taken for an extensive VFX movie also acts as a deterrent as Indians aren’t used to that. “We first made the animation film with which we got the Hollywood technicians on board. It then helped us to break down every scene to understand where we could implement the visual effects locally and otherwise. Still it took three years to wrap up the film,” Mohan recounts. However,he doesn’t confirm that the Indian audience is ready for an all-out visual effects film that doesn’t evoke emotions. “The success of Robot is attributed to the the emotional connect; the effects only took it forward.”

Mohan is also glad that now VFX is being used across genres in India. “They always lend well to epic,sci-fi,fantasy,action and horror. But a film like Guzaarish will be a step forward. Internationally,even comedies,like Austin Powers,have made use of the techniques.

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