From a nondescript village of Odisha to being a part of the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi, Anuradha Behera has come a long way. A member of the 300-strong team of digital artists, Anuradha was production coordinator of Hyderabad-based VFX company, Rhythm and Hues, that modelled and textured all the computer-generated (CG) characters in the Ang Lee film.
The film, based on Yann Martel’s Booker prize-winning novel, won Oscars in four categories— Directing, Cinematography, Music (original score) and Visual Effects. Around 75 per cent of the film comprised visual effects. Anuradha says it took almost three years of R&D to create each and every aspect of the visual effects. For example, the tiger had 10 million digital furs.
“Only 14 per cent of the clips were of the real tiger, the rest were all computer generated. So, the biggest challenge was to match the CG tiger Richard Parker with the original one. Hence, we had to follow each and every behaviour of the real tiger to that of CG and fit it into the environment, which was a task in itself. We also had a flying fish sequence where we had hundreds of fish that had an interaction with the tiger, lifeboat and Pi himself,” says the Balasore girl.
“Over 600 artists worked to create the magic of Life of Pi on screen. The kind of technology that we used was really advanced and this helped in attaining the kind of goals we had in our minds. It was not easy to get the Royal Bengal Tiger, christened as Richard Parker, into motion and make it look real. A lot of hard work went behind portraying the behaviour of CG characters. All these factors made us confident that Life of Pi will never go unrecognised. We got several other awards for best visual effects, including Bafta, VES and ANNIE awards,” she says.
Besides, Anuradha and her colleagues also worked on the shots which included the meerkats. The animation supervisor wanted them to animate each and every meerkat so that they did not collide. Four-five animators worked on each shot. The team had to work meticulously to sync real water with computer-generated water in the ocean—the shots were taken in a tank which, in the film, had been developed into an ocean. “It was a great challenge for us but the hard work has paid off,” she says.
Born to Madhusudan and Meera Behera of Mulananagar village of Balasore district, Anuradha did her schooling from Delhi Public School and graduation in English from Delhi University. After completion of PG Diploma in Radio and TV Journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New Delhi, she worked as an intern with Doordashan and CNN-IBN.
Anuradha shifted base to Hyderabad almost two years ago to work for Rhythm and Hues Studios after working for a couple of years in Asian News International (ANI) as a reporter and a producer for DD Kashmir.
Anuradha, who is a trained Western dancer in Jazz and hip-hop and loves sitcoms, is at present working on Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters and R.I.P.D (Rest In Peace Department)—all Hollywood movies. “We have not worked on any Bollywood movie, but have made visual effects for a few Indian commercials, including Alpenliebe,” she says.
A complete movie buff, she dreams of making her own movie in the future.