From the very effort that has gone into Baahubali in the span of three years which had a year and a half dedicated to its pre-production and post production formalities, it confirms the maker SS Rajamouli’s aspirations to be the norm breaker. Giving lionhearted assistance to accomplish his intentions is the Hyderabad-based team, Firefly Creative Studio, whose association with the storyteller began much ahead of the making process. Through this, they promise to usher in a new era of pre-visualisation and production design for the future, a term alien to the industry until Kodi Ramakrishna’s Anji took shape.
“The lack of studios in the city for basic CGI and VFX touching, gave us an unparalleled access to the film industry. Given the fruitful association we had with Shyam Prasad Reddy prior to which we worked for Indra and Tagore , avenues opened up soon enough. We didn’t look back any further as our work landed us offers to contribute to Arundhathi , Rajamouli’s earlier films like Chatrapati, Magadheera, Eega and the 2014 Tamil release Kayal ,” opens up P.C Sanath, VFX Supervisor ( Baahubali ), who currently heads Firefly.
The work given to them for most films did not extend beyond the story. With Baahubali though, their desire during the consistent discussions with the story development team and the director was to delve deep into character histrionics as well, envisaging it as if they were set in a real space. “Building the right atmosphere is the key,” he says citing an example about the palace, the extensions they had to take care of including the dimensions, varying hues of the pillars in an effort to match up to the ideas, they had visualised earlier.
As part of the six studios who worked for the film, their role in terms of visual development eased the makers’ cause in the shooting stages saving considerable time and effort. “It’s like giving them a blueprint of the sequence. They can drop in at the sets right away, and the action director, art-director as well as the cinematographer can coordinate the shot to perfection together,” he delineates. A one of a kind facet of Baahubali happens to be the registration of the characters as intellectual property, which generally is limited only to the film in an Indian scenario.
It’s easier to play the blame game, when the technical splendour doesn’t add up to the content with much seamlessness and things look out of place. The problem, he clarifies is with the emotional flow and that the after-works can’t make up for a poor story.
This issue didn’t arise for their latest offering, considering they have been in constant contact with the story since long. “With such well-established female characters like Sivagami, played by Ramyakrishna or even the one played by Tamanna, they can carry a film altogether,” he states.
Provided the scale at which they were working for this film, how challenging was it to make ends meet? “There’s no end to the level of detailing you can go forward in the context of lighting, textures and camera moves. We had to strike a balance between the homework we had to do and the digital side of it,” Sanath says. Amidst this pressure, they also need to work under release deadlines, constrained budgets and there have been situations, where they had the footage and were given only a week to give it a finish.
Moreover, with the exposure to world cinema on the digital front, they realise the comparisons that may arise about the quality, an aspect that took toll on Kocchhadaiyyan as well. “That’s what makes our work exciting in contrast to anything close to the range of Transformers , where everything they need is offered on a platter. Here, we cut ourselves from the uncertainties, disproportions and bring in cost-effective techniques into play before the movie goes on floors,” he clarifies. Their job is fulfilled when they blur the lines between their work and reality. The essence of their task is not about generation but recreation.