Powering Bollywood's Sci-Fi Sensation
Endhiran (The Robot), a sci-fi extravaganza released at the beginning of this month, has been breaking all box office records in India, grabbing around $75 million to date. Directed by S. Shankar, Endhiran features superstar Rajinkanth in dual roles as science professor and super android robot. After nearly a decade of pre-production, the film was shot two years ago for a record $35 million, with a vfx budget of $12.5 million for 2,500 shots, also records. Meanwhile, the Sun Pictures release has been released simultaneously in three languages --Tamil, Hindi and Telugu -- another first. Mamta Narang recently interviewed V. Srinivas Murali Mohan, visual effects supervisor & CEO of Chennai-based Indian Artists Computer Graphics Pvt. Ltd.
Mamta Narang: Congratulations! How are you feeling now, after the release of Endhiran?
V. Srinivas Murali Mohan: Extremely happy. Everything has worked well. Everybody has worked hard: Rajnikanth (the highest paid actor in India), Aishwarya Rai Bachchan(former Miss World), S.Shankar, the director, Rathnavelu, the director of photography, Sabu Cyril, the art director, Alan Scott of Legacy Effects and the editor, Anthony Gonsalves.
MN: What was it like when you were first approached by S. Shankar for this opportunity of a lifetime?
SM: December 2007, he called me. I had already worked on three projects with him. I knew him. He described the project. He narrated the project to me for 4-5 hours and I didn't imagine any vfx work, I forgot vfx. I was imagining the movie only and enjoying that imagination. But, today, we have done it. We took one-one step every time.
MN: Do you have a comfortable association with S. Shankar?
SM: Yes, there is a deep understanding between us. I had done three projects with the [him] before doing Endhiran; namely, Boys, Anniyan and Sivaji in which we did digital skin frafting. Sivaji won the 2007 Indian National Award for Best Special Effects.
SM: Earlier technology was tough. We used to type commands on DOS prompt and lots of parameters were needed to fill in. Now-a-days it's very easy for an artist to operate user friendly software and click the mouse button and an innovative and intelligent algorithm works in the background. There are many algorithms available. In India we have lots of talent. Sixty percent of the work done in the vfx field is done in India.
MN: What are the new technologies used on Endhiran?