|HOME | MOVIES | BILLBOARD|
January 29, 2002
Starring Hrithik, Preity and a flying saucer
M D Riti in Bangalore
Did you know Koi Mil Gaya stars Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta and a flying saucer?
An exotic spaceship lands on earth. It has a warm, magical glow which indicates that its passengers are friendly, lovable creatures. If you want to see who or what emerges, you have to watch Rakesh Roshan's film.
Ever since business has slowed down in the US, post September 11 World Trade Center attack, Vision Arts Studio (now Digital Art Media or DAM), a unit of Santa Monica Studio acquired by the Bangalore-based software company Compudyne Winfosys, has set its sights on selling FX to the Indian film industry.
"We will concentrate on the Indian film industry now," affirms Craig Mumma, vice president of the FX company. He relocated from Los Angeles to Bangalore; he now shuttles between Bangalore and Mumbai.
Apart from Koi Mil Gaya, they have also signed up for Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai.
Exactly what special effects will this studio do for these two films? "In Koi Mil Gaya, we will be doing spaceships, glow effects and some special scenes in dance sequences," says DAM president Marc Kolbe. "For Devdas, we have planned invisible effects like unlit candles suddenly springing to light and showing flying bees."
The team has been contracted to work on some special sci-fi sequences for Koi Mil Gaya and have been part of the shooting right from the mahurat on November 12, 2001. The film has already completed some shooting schedules, including a long stint at a specially constructed set at Filmcity, Mumbai.
The film also stars Rekha, Prem Chopra, Johny Lever and Rajeev Verma. The story and screenplay are by Rakesh Roshan with music by Rajesh Roshan. Just like blockbuster Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai.
For Mumma and his LA associates, working with the Hindi film industry has been very interesting. "The methodology used here is so different," he says. "The group of people working on a film is smaller -- the effort is so concentrated. So there is a lot more creative synergy. In Hollywood, you have many more people involved in projects of this scale."
"Hrithik is a great guy," he says, warmly. "Working with him is just wonderful. He is so polite and pleasant. As for his father Rakesh, he is well informed on the process of filmmaking in the US. He strikes me as a hi-tech director who knows exactly what he wants." He hasn't yet worked with Shah Rukh Khan and is looking forward to the experience.
He does not find much difference between working for Indian and American cinema. "The only big difference I notice is that Hollywood films aim for global appeal. Indian films cater to to the national market here," he says. "I think it's time Indian films crossed over and established a global appeal."
Kolbe says, "Almost 700 films are released in India every year but most of them still do not look good visually," he says. "This might be due to budget constraints. Besides, special effects are usually introduced on the editing table. In Hollywood, special effects are planned right from the scripting stage and end up looking totally like a part of the film."
DAM has signed up three more films: A war film, a family drama and a South Indian musical.
At the time of the US attacks, DAM was negotiating for two major Hollywood projects. The projects are now on hold. Dahiya refuses to disclose their content and their banners. However, they are now bidding for another ten films in the US. Their ongoing Hollywood projects are Rollerball, Point Of Origin, VIP and To End All Wars.
DAM has been working in Hollywood for a decade now and has provided VFX support to big film companies like Universal, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, New Line Cinema, Tri-Star, Sony Pictures, Mirammax and Buena Vista.
They have worked on the Academy Award-winning Independence Day as well as Spy Kids, Godzilla, Men In Black, Dungeons and Dragons, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, House on Haunted Hill, Deep Blue Sea, Dr Dolittle, Dr Dolittle 2, Swordfish and Cliffhanger.
It also received Best Visual Effects (Emmy) for Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and provided support on Star Trek: The Next Generation, VIP, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Northern Exposure.
"After Jurassic Park, viewers simply did not want to see monster films," says Kolbe, "until we made Godzilla. What was interesting about Godzilla was that it was completely created by computer graphics (CG), with very little animatronix. We made the monster look more realistic by having a handicam going all around him."
They have also begun working with the Kannada film industry in a small way. DAM worked on a sequence for the soon-to-be-released Kirti Reddy-Upendra starrer Superstar, in which they make Reddy appear suddenly on screen from nowhere. They have also made the title shot for Ravichandran's much-hyped blockbuster Ekangi, also about to be released.
With DAM making a grand entry into the Indian special effects scenario and offering its services at a fifth of the cost in the US, we can hope to see more digitally enhanced films in future.
ASTROLOGY | CONTESTS | E-CARDS | NEWSLINKS | ROMANCE | WOMEN
SHOPPING | BOOKS | MUSIC | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL| MESSENGER | FEEDBACK