‘Visual effects should not be noticeable’

From the sets of ‘Lokame’  


Visual effects artist Artist Bani Chand Babu has always been interested in films, particularly its technical aspects. His line of work involves creating visual effects, retouching footage and so on. That was until he was offered to direct ‘Lokame’, a music video which was launched via actor Mamta Mohandas’ production company.

Was direction part of his plan? “It just happened. I met Noel Ben, Mamta’s [business] partner, for another project, which he liked and asked me if I would like to direct the music video,” says Babu.

Bani Chand Babu

Bani Chand Babu  

The Malayalam rap video is slickly made and has been garnering attention on social media. “The concept — of Kerala’s traditional theatre form, ‘Chakiyarkoothu’, meeting The Joker (2019) — worked because of the subject of the song which is socio-political. I was given the song and lyrics, and had the visuals in mind in two weeks...Mamta and Noel liked it and here we are,” he adds.

Babu has been in the film industry for over 12 years, having worked in VFX studios in Chennai and Pune before relocating to Kochi. He set up a VFX company called Coconut Bunch in 2015 along with his friend. He has been visual effects supervisor for films such as Premam, Bhayanakam, Maari 2, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Uyare, Luca, Brother’s Day, Helen, Maniyarayile Ashokan, and Halal Love Story.

In most of these films VFX is inconspicuous, unlike what one expects. “That is how it is supposed to be. ‘Effects’ cannot stand out, that is the whole point. In Uyare, for example, the sky, extending the seats... it doesn’t show. In Helen, Anna Ben’s character is stuck in a freezer. The ‘fog’ inside is artificially created; the simulation had to be varying at different times, positions. A lot of thought goes into it, some films have 30-35 minutes of VFX by way of retouching and/or extension,” explains Babu.

Among the films that he is currently working on are Martin Prakkat’s Nayattu, and Kurup. He says that the approach towards VFX has changed in Malayalam cinema with producers willing to spend on technology. “The potential of VFX has to be understood. Technology inspires creativity, and creativity in turn challenges technology,” he says.

As film and advertisement industries attempt to recover from the pandemic, there has been talk of exploring VFX as a substitute for scenes that demand a crowd. “The idea, as good as it sounds, does not factor in the cost. CGI is expensive... we will have to keep that in mind,” says Babu.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 7:48:09 PM |

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