Indian movies are getting out of the closet and experimenting heavily with VFX. India is becoming a hub for the visual effects and animation industry
why Did Kattappa Kill Bahubali? This question had taken the social media by storm since the film’s release. Telugu director S S Rajamouli achieved international fame by his magnum opus epic Baahubali: The Beginning. Despite the fact that the story of the film was told countless time in different movies but the visual grandeur of the film Bahubali in almost every scene, be it the waterfalls, the song sequences, the castle scenes or the war field visuals made it an epic blockbuster. The movie certainly created a new yardstick for VFX in Indian cinema and was a solid answer to the likes of Hollywood blockbusters viz Avatar, 300, Lord of The Rings, etc. Movies such as Dhoom 3, Kabali and Sultan in the Indian film industry are making increased use of VFX technique.
VFX means special visual effects images that are created in post production. In essence, they are any image that appear in a film that could not be photographed during primary cinematography for whatever reason. Examples of VFX would be fantasy creatures whose physiology makes it impossible to create them, sets that are too large and expensive to build physically or stunts that are so dangerous it’s safer to produce them in post production via various means. Visual effects encompass any kind of effect that wasn’t shot directly in the camera and was created in post production.
Notwithstanding, the Hollywood movies have been using visual effects since a long time. But that time these effects were created by combining multiple elements together to create the illusion that they were shot by the same camera at the same time. These days this is entirely done with a computer but it is used to be done using a technique called optical compositing, which involves exposing multiple layers of film together.
CGI (CGI means Computer Generated Images) is also added to this VFX technology. CGI involves modelling 3D objects in a computer and rendering out images of those objects. The elements that are used in visual effects include the live action plates shot on set, separate practical elements shot with the camera, like explosions or fire, models and miniatures, or elements generated with a computer. So CGI is a part of the visual effects process. There are plenty of visual effects shots these days that are created entirely with CGI elements but we would still call it visual effect shot.
Salman Khan’s Sultan was almost like a storm at the box office. With 300 crores earning at the box office, the film is so far the highest grosser of 2016. Considering the fact that this film was based on wrestling, its scale was obviously larger than any other Bollywood film. While Salman Khan too worked hard on his body but the VFX also played an important role in bringing to you what you really saw on the screen.
When Sultan’s producer Yash Raj Films released the VFX break down of blockbuster on social media it left everyone stunned. Had it not been for VFX, the feel throughout the movie wouldn’t have been the same. Earlier too, VFX have been seen in leading big budget films (100 crores) like Bahubali, Ra.One, Krish, Dhoom 3, Ready and Goliyon ki Raasleela - Ramleela. These productions are reckoning highly on VFX and CGI technique for its success and popularity.
Director Rajamouli roped in National Award Winner V Srinivas as a visual effects supervisor for Baahubali.
The film boasts of 90% CGI work
which accounts for 2500 VFX shots. Makuta VFX based in Hyderabad was chosen as principal visual effects studio and was responsible for more than 50% of the computer-generated imagery in the film.
Although, not as popular as the global post-production industry, but with around 300 animations, 40 VFX and 85 game development studios and more than 15,000 professionals working in this space, we have certainly started gaining momentum in this space. Jeremy Lee, senior lecturer in Animation and VFX, Sheffield Hallam University says, “I believe that the animation and visual effects industry in India has a very optimistic future, not only with the film industry but also gaming companies which are always looking for a talented, young and enthusiastic workforce.”
Significantly, the VFX industry in India, at present, is being pegged at Rs 43.5 billion and is expected to grow significantly to Rs 87.1 billion by 2020. This indicates that the movie-making value chain is moving towards a transformation and the Indian media and entertainment industry is set to realise enormous possibilities opened by VFX, both for domestic films as well as for outsourced projects from the West.
TRP GRABING FUNDA FOR TV
Previously, horror and mythological serials like Mahabarat, Aahat were very popular but had very poor quality of special effects. Even good story lines were killed due to poor quality of the scenes. Taking a cue from Bollywood, which has progressed much in recent years in terms of VFX quality, the Indian TV industry too is now pumping a lot more money and energy into VFX. With genres such as supernatural and mythology being received fairly well, the industry appears to be determined to feed the audience with a superior quality of special effects.
Some of the recent shows have taken many by surprise with their VFX quality — cases in point are Siya Ke Ram, Naagin, Nagarjun, Brahmrakshas, Yeh Hai Mohabbatein and Chandranandini. According to the creative director Sandiip Sikcand, VFX is another expression of the growing power of the small screen. He is a creative director of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein. Sandiip says, “Television has become a larger medium of telling stories and as creative directors, we are always looking at ways to enhance the quality of storytelling.”
In the time when TV serials are finding difficult to get loyal viewers production houses are finding VFX a successful mantra to get popularity. Amid tight schedules and fixed deadlines, VFX is very time taking and expensive technology for daily soaps yet producers are ready to take this risk. Daily soap director Rohit Raj states, “Earlier VFX was very expensive and expertise was hard to come. But these days there are a lot of people doing it. Just the last three-four years have seen Bollywood films make major use of VFX. Films like Baahubali have made VFX in the mainstream medium. And because TV has a trend of copying the film industry, so this is a natural progression for the small screen.”
Vertexvolt, leading VFX studio, which has done VFX for leading epic serials like Mahadev, Hatim and Siya Ke Ram starts working intensively for more than 9 to 12 months before the serial goes on air. VFX designer Hardik Gajjar says, “We have teams of 130 people each, who work two shifts, so that the VFX is ready in time for telecast.” He said, “For Siya Ke Ram my team started working eight months before the show went on air.”
Adding to TV medium and after successful animated versions like Chhota Bheem and Bal Hanuman VFX has an immense potential to convert comic book cartoon characters like Chacha Choudhary and Sabu into games and animation. Witnessing the rising confidence of both Indian and international filmmakers in Indian post-production studios, the future seems brilliant for domestic VFX artists and the industry at large.
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