If you thought director Shankar had visualised the Chiti character in Enthiran wearing shades to either make the robot Rajinikanth really cool or differentiate him from scientist Vasi played by the ‘Superstar’ again, you are wrong.
In fact, it was one of the three restrictions that VFX supervisor Srinivas Mohan imposed to make the film retain quality and stick to the budget. “It’s very tricky to animate the eyes, which means it’s time-consuming and would cost more. That’s why we made the robot Rajinikanth appear wearing coolers all the time. The other two restrictions were that his hair and attire should be static (the short hairstyle and thick leather coat of the the negative role played byRajini) and not have much movements,” he said at the workshop titled ‘Visual Effects Demonstration: Making of Enthiran’, as part of the FICCI-MEBC 2012.
Srinivas said executing the project within the budget was the biggest challenge. “The visual effects for Enthiran was planned to have been done at Rs 70 crore when it was supposed to be produced by Ayangaran International. Later, when Sun Pictures decided to produce the film, the budget was restricted to Rs 20 crore. So we had to skip some sequences and alter some, without losing out on quality,” he said.
Srinivas said he used different techniques in scanning, camera movement and motion control in the film and involved technologies like animatronics and motion capturing. “Director Shankar understood our demands, requirements and restrictions. Other directors should also realise how much is possible within the budget and what technology should be suitable to meet the requirements,” he said.
Srinivasan created a dynamic story board with rough movies figures to make everyone understand how the final output should be. Screening some of them at the workshop, he said, “It really helped us to be precise about what to do and we didn’t create any additional frame that was not used in the film,” he said.
Srinivas advised visual effects artists to be well prepared for challenges on location and said every minute details should be taken care of, in spite of other restrictions.
According to him, the Indian visual effects industry largely worked only for larger productions from Hollywood and he expressed his desire to get more projects from our filmmakers. “Chota Bheem and Hanuman are some our good products and the time should come soon when even a single frame of CG work should be of quality work,” he said.