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Rajeev Kumar, Danny Wilson highlight role of VFX in Indian films at Jagran Cinema Summit


The duo, representing the Drishyam VFX company, spoke at the summit, part of the festival’s ninth edition, on Friday, 21 September.

Photo: Twitter/DhrishyamVFX

Sonal Pandya

The second Jagran Cinema Summit, held at a hotel in Santacruz, Mumbai, had presentations and discussions on the future of cinema. Celebrities like filmmaker Rohit Shetty, actor Abhishek Bachchan and producer Ekta Kapoor also attended the summit.

Drishyam VFX’s COO Rajeev Kumar and VFX supervisor Danny Wilson were part of the second session at the summit discussing how effects make cinema special. The pair spoke to the audience, made of members of the press, students and interested film fans, about the role of visual effects in Indian films and how the industry has been shaped.

The session introduced a bit of the history of visual effects in Hollywood and proceeded to show that while “filmmaking is an art, visual effects is the technical arm of filmmaking”. Kumar spoke first and talked about the growing Indian VFX industry from the past two decades. Films like Magadheera (2009), Enthiran (2010), Ra.One (2011), Dhoom 3 (2013), Vishwaroopam (2013), Fan (2016) and of course, the Baahubali films have all bolstered the box office and been popular with audiences.

How far has Indian VFX come with Baahubali?

Each film has had different technical work to make it believable for audiences. For instance, in the Baahubali films, much of the world of the Mahishmati kingdom was created on computers, while in films like Fan (2016), actor Shah Rukh Khan’s facial features had to be altered and de-aged to show him in a double role as a deranged fan.

Ra.One (2011)

Kumar cited Red Chillies VFX as bringing about a big change in the industry with films like Ra.One (2011) and the upcoming Zero (2018). He also mentioned Prime Focus, another company from which many VFX artists are trained and go on to other jobs.

He went on to say that while filmmakers might believe that problems on shoot can be fixed in post-production, it was important to involve the VFX department right from the beginning.

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"VFX only needs talent and creative minds who need to be peaceful and disciplined. Our industry invites talent who haven't even seen a computer but have the imagination to create something for the world. Companies all across have invested in such talents who have the passion to do something out of the box," Kumar said, speaking about the Indian VFX industry.

Stay back to watch the credits of any Hollywood film and a long list of Indian names can be viewed on Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Deadpool 2 (2018), Mission: Impossible — Fallout (2018).

"The advantage of the Indian economy is that we are [growing] economy and the cost plays an important role in evaluation of the project. Many a times, the challenge for the producer becomes to understand the cost of visual effects. That's where the creative synchronization involved with making of the film and executing it becomes essential," he explained.

He also highlighted how VFX was changing the television landscape on fantasy and mythological shows like Aarambh, Naagin, Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev, Porus and Prithvi Vallabh. These old stories were brought alive for new audiences thanks to the lavish visual effects.

VFX supervisor Danny Wilson said it was essential for someone in his position to understand what the director wants. “It is important to get connected to the director during the script phase,” he said. “We can work on how to execute certain scenes. It makes it easier and we can call out any issues that we might see based on budget, timing and access to location.”

Movies are made in pre-production with storyboarding, concept designing, research and development and planning of shots for filming. However, visual effects requires a lot of patience, time and money.

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Wilson stressed that visual effects doesn’t always means monsters and robots. “VFX can also help with set design and extension. We give the director what [he/she] wants without sacrificing on quality,” Wilson pointed out.

Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)

Besides creative visual effects, there is a lot of standard work done in most films like cleaning up certain shots afterwards and later extends to colour correction, scratch removal, image stabilizing, frame by frame painting and image re-timing.

Drishyam VFX has worked on films like Fitoor (2016), Madaari (2016), Mohenjo Daro (2016), Kahaani 2 (2016) and Rangoon (2017).

The 9th edition of the Jagran film festival will be held from 27 to 30 September.

Related topics

Jagran Film Festival