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VFX supervisor Keith Devlin: Lot of shots in Parmanu most people will not even notice

The technical supervisor discussed the seamless VFX work that went on behind the scenes of John Abraham’s Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran.

Sonal Pandya

Twenty years after the nuclear tests were conducted by India in the Rajasthan desert, director Abhishek Sharma’s Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran was released in theatres on 25 May. The film has done well amongst audiences and earned Rs44.50 crore at the box office over the past two weekends.

Starring John Abraham, Boman Irani and Diana Penty, Parmanu focuses on the scientists and engineers who helped to conduct India’s nuclear tests in 1998. The film had to recreate a few events from the past and part of it was done digitally through computer generated imagery (CGI).

The film’s VFX supervisor, Keith Devlin, revealed that the director, Abhishek Sharma, wasn’t so sure about incorporating VFX for Parmanu.

“Abhishek Sharma had been unhappy with the quality of the VFX work carried out on his previous films and was uneasy using VFX again," Devlin said. "So, I spent time explaining how the techniques and methodology would work in harmony with his live action shoot and not prove to be cumbersome and convoluted in the tough locations we would be using.”

In fact, Devlin explained that many sequences in Parmanu have been enhanced digitally and that audiences may not notice the difference between real and digital. But there is a reason why a lot of stuff had to be recreated digitally.

“A lot of the military hardware depicted in the film no longer exists or is still classified," he said. "The nuclear transport trucks are GGI on top of stand-in dump trucks. We used the stand-ins to allow for better staging on set and to get the right ground contact with the correct-sized wheelbase. This worked so well in terms of providing animation and lighting reference to the artistes as well as allowing correct staging on set that I seriously doubt anyone would ever realize that the trucks are fully CGI.”

Further, even the transport aircraft in the film and a key blast sequence were done with CGI.

“There are a lot of VFX shots in Parmanu that most people will not even notice," Devlin said. "I’m quite happy about this and firmly believe good VFX work should go unnoticed by the audience. They should just be watching the movie and the VFX should seamlessly form part of the cinematography.”