You may have heard filmmakers talk about VFX all the time but do you know what it is? VFX (or Visual FX) is basically the short name used for Visual effects. And visual effects are almost a necessity in movies nowadays. Why? Because its easier, convenient, cheaper and even safer to create environments which look realistic, rather than shoot at real locations at times.
In some cases actors also take the help of VFX to play around with their looks, usually to remove the not-so-good-looking things. However, in some cases, for instance Juhi Chawla’s character in the movie ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’, the filmmakers decided to use VFX to make her look a bit older (she plays Om Puri’s wife and mother of the protagonist in the film).
The First VFX in Bollywood was Done By Me in Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Says Ajay Devgn…
Ajay Devgn says he has always been inclined towards VFX, says the first VFX in Bollywood was done by him for Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha. It was for the song in Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha. “If you come to my office, you’ll see the Limca Book of Records trophy. When machines came in, people did not know how to use them. That song was shot by me and executed on CG (Computer Graphics). That was the first VFX ever done, against a green screen,” says Ajay Devgn.
Here are some popular Bollywood scenes that have used VFX technology to create realistic, spectacular and impossible scenes.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara
Years back when Aamir Khan did the train stunt in Ghulam, though many praised him for being a perfectionist, there were many who thought it was an extremely risky stunt and perhaps foolhardy too.
Here’s another train stunt that looks extremely dangerous but fortunately this time Imran Khan’s entry scene in ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara’ has been edited by the Reliance VFX designers. The picture explains it all.
The VFX Team at Reliance MediaWorks were responsible for delivering the Visual Effects shots.
Another train scene, but this time its Shahrukh Khan in Ra One. It was the first Bollywood movie that made extensive use of VFX and technology; around 3,500 VFX shots were used in the movie.
Mostly done at Red Chillies, VFX, software like Maya, Houdini and Macs, Nuke and Shake(for composites) were heavily used in this movie.
Its usually for such scenes that VFX comes in really useful, though this scene could have been done better. It looks as if the picture of Salman has been pasted on the background scenery; though its supposed to be done like that, it should integrate seamlessly in the scene.
Other sequences such as the “Apple sequence”, “Dangling sequence” and the “Car scene” in the movie ‘Ready’ were created by the VFX designers of FutureWorks.
Chandni Chowk to China
Another scene where you know that its computer generated; even though Akshay Kumar may have been game for the real one. Again, you can make out that its computer generated, which means the scene could have been done better.
Most of the movie scenes were edited by VFX studio Prime Focus.
Bhaag Milka Bhaag
Here’s another scene which would have been practically impossible to create without the help of technology — stadium jam packed with audience and that too in the past. Farhan Akhtar in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag!
Most of the VFX shots were created/edited by Mumbai based Pixion studios.
There are many more Indian movies where VFX effects has been used, but most of them are still not up to International standards (though it will surely change going ahead).
Few years back, before the Film ‘Jai Ho’ was released, there were a few pictures of Salman Khan doing the rounds on the Internet, showing him with six pack abs. Those pictures required technical help (VFX) to get those perfect abs.
Juhi Chawla, was obviously miffed with the decision of ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ producers, and unhappy due to VFX being used in the film to present her character. Juhi was aware that she was playing a role slightly elder to her age, but she was clueless about the fact that special effects were used for the film to alter her looks.
This is her debut Hollywood film and she really didn’t like the way her character turned out in the movie (besides, its almost a cameo…very short). Obviously, Juhi Chawla, has been away from the promotional activities of the film, while her co-star and Bollywood veteran Om Puri has been promoting the film extensively (he’s got a very meaty role). Despite her bad experience with her debut Hollywood film, Juhi is keen to act in Hollywood films and would love to have a full-fledged role, like that of Om Puri in ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’. Now, who wouldn’t want such a role, but then Om Puri is a veteran actor who has been consciously doing more foreign films over Bollywood films in the last couple of decades, and has a good portfolio of films to showcase to foreign filmmakers. So Om Puri will definitely get more such roles in the future, but for Juhi, she definitely has to start small.
Indian Movies With Great VFX
Some of the Indian movies that employed significant works of VFX include RA.One, Krrish 3 & Robot (Enthiran). In the case of the first two movies, most of the VFX work was done locally in India (by Shahrukh Khan’s Red Chillies VFX studio).
Doing more such work locally is the only way to have better skilled artists within the country, and would lead to better VFX studios in India. For that, its important that filmmakers also take some risks, should be willing to experiment more, and take the less traveled path, if Indian cinema is to become better.
VFX is hard work, and requires time. It can easily take over a year to do something of the scale of RA.One.