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May 16-2012
VFX Case Study: Ajintha

The CG and VFX for the Nitin Desai’s Ajintha is designed by RIGHT CLICK STUDIOS (RCS).
RCS is a fully owned subsidiary of Art And Artistes’ (I) Pvt. Ltd., a company founded by DURGA JASRAJ which is primarily a 13 year old production house and has now diversified into other business verticals like Animation and VFX with the birth of Right Click Studios. RCS specializes in VFX for feature films, Ad films, Music videos and Live events etc.

AMOL THAKUR who did VFX Supervision for the Film “Ajintha” (Directed & Produced by Nitin Desai) is also Co-Founder of Right Click Studios. He has more than 10 years of experience in the Indian Entertainment Industry and has worked in most of the Indian & international projects. He has worked in many prestigious projects in the past as VFX Director / supervisor / consultant / Tech Head / Creative Director. Some of his credit list is mentioned below:

Feature Films :- 3idiots, Boothnath (Feature Film) won Star Screen Award for Best Visual Effects, Johnny Gaddar, Lage Raho Munnabhai ,Yakeen ,Naina, Ho Sakta Ha, Krishna cottage, Pachadlela, HighLander, etc.

TVCs:- Himani Sona Chandi , Cadbury Éclair , Halls Voice Mobile Navratna Tel,Yogi Raj,
Parle LMN (TVC,chosen as one of top 20 ads in last 20 years from Asia Pacific).

This was the 1st time in the marathi film industry that extensive well planned VFX was done.AnimationXpress.com’s Khushali Jobalia had a conversation with Amol Thakur, on all that went behind the VFX of Ajintha, the film that in Thakur’s words, has “opened realm of possibilities for VFX in the Marathi film industry.”

What was the vision of Director Nitin Desai for the film and how he would involve VFX in it?
Nitin Desai was very clear about his vision for the film & had done extensive research on the subject. He had made a very planned Story board. It was very challenging & exciting opportunity for me & my studio to work with such a personality who is having 25 years of experience in the industry. He has a very good eye for detailing.

Tell us about the team that worked on the VFX … 
A Film By Nitin Desai, Ajintha is a period film of the 18th century which revolves around exploring the truth of Ajanta and love story of British officer who fell in love with the Indian villager. The film reveals the truth of who really explored the Ajanta caves and the striking paintings. Challenging the pages of history the film will give a complete new aspect for people to think.

We did a total of about 145 VFX shots which were done by a small team of around 30 of Right Click Studios under the creative guidance of VFX supervisor Amol Thakur and Creative Director Sonal Thakur and the VFX team was headed by Nilesh Raut and Sutanu Mondal. The entire post production that needed a lot of back and forth approval from the director took 4 months to complete the project.

Well that’s a lot of shots in such a short period with a small team?
One of the main reasons to complete it within a short duration was we concentrated specifically on pre-production and project pipeline, which helped us greatly in achieving our target on time. And also post production were carried in parallel to the shoot of the movie, Our team is like chota pack with bada dhamaka and they did an awesome work.

What kind of shots did you work on?
This project was a real feast for us . It involved all aspects of Visual Effects art, right from matte painting to time-lapse and many more. We did Fire extension, CG waterfall, morphing, Camera/object Tracking, Compositing, we even created CG animals / Birds i.e.Eagel, Bats, Python, Snake, Honey Bees, Butterfly ..Etc.

As per the current norm, Animal rights rules don’t allow film makers to use animals in their films. This was a super dooper opportunity and also a challenging task for us to create all animals like cobra, python, and birds like eagle, bats, Honey bees, butterfly in CG. It’s also very difficult to get the exact action from animals, but in CG we can achieve the exact reaction and angle of animals the way the director wants.

What about managing the 18th century look for Ajintha in the CG & FX?
We at RCS started well in advance at Pre-Production level backed by lot of research. Ajintha is a period film so it was a task and challenge to recreate 18th century environment and look, which as of now Ajintha is more concrete. So 1st I thought of recreating it completely in CG but came up with a beautiful way of merging Matte Painting & Live footage with hardly CG forest creation at few places, which brought down our production time tremendously. Nilesh Dhanawde and his team did awesome matte paintings.

What was most challenging task in the movie and how did you tackle it?
As the visual effects supervisor most challenging part is to guide everyone on & off shoot that how & what things will happen at VFX / Post production level to achieve the director’s vision.

Couple of the few challenging shots were; The sequence where “Robert is getting Killled’ and the Snake compositing. In the snake shot, where I had to guide Paro (Sonali Kulkarni) on how and when the CG snake will roll over her, she understood and gave proper expressions visualizing the snake even though it was not there and in 1st take itself she gave a classic shot. Our tracking team perfectly tracked the shot in 3d, and then our CG team came in action, which worked really hard putting life into the snake. And then it was equally challenging for the compositing team to merge our CG snake with the live footage.

Another challenging shot was the sequence where the villagers are killing Robert Gill – the film’s hero. The action director came up with a great idea for the shot on the spot while shooting which was not planned earlier. I had to take a quick decision about that shot which included a CG wound, blood burst, tracking… a bundle of challenges to get through the task. But the final result was satisfactory. It was an amazing experience. It was superbly composited by Nilesh Raut and the team.

What’s your favorite VFX sequence in the entire movie?
For me all the shots are favorite because we had given enough detailing for all the shots
but still Paro reflection MILO shot & Snake, are at the top of the list as they were very challenging since script level.

Why was MILO required and where was it used?
This is probably the 1st time that MILO was used in the Marathi Film Industry. There were in all 3 Scenes where we used MILO. The Director Nitin Desai, wanted to show that the girl is talking to her inner soul, to achieve that we had lot of brain storming sessions at Script & pre production level before we came to conclusion that we’ll need MILO for shooting this.

But that was not the end… I personally wanted to make it more interactive always wanted to bring that WOW factor in VFX & I knew this was the shot. To add more interaction between real Paro and the reflection we decided that the real Paro hands over the flower to the reflection and again takes it back. It was beautifully composited by Sutanu.
The other two MILO sequences were, a dream sequence of Robert Gill where he visualizes Paro in 5 different attires at the same time, and the other is where one paro is inside painting and the other Paro outside interacting with each other. These shots were composited by Sutanu Modal, Nilesh Raut and team.

How were the 7 Kund Water fall & Baradhari water fall shots achieved?
We shot the film in Ajintha Caves during Jan- Feb and that’s the time when there is no water.. But Ajintha looks amazing during rainy days; we had lots of references during recce. RCS’s major task was to recreate those amazing visuals with real waterfall. We achieved it by merging live action & simulated Water / Mist & finally composted all shots which were lead by Nilesh Raut.

Could you give us the list of key people involved in the VFX of this movie?
Vfx Supervisor : Amol Thakur, Creative Director : Sonal Thakur, Compositing Lead: Nilesh Raut, Sutanu Mondal, Compositing Team: Abhilash Vishwanath, Vikram Bhorawat, Swapnil Dalvi, Jit Mukherji, Yogesh Raut, , Santosh Vasal, CG Team: Abhilash Vishwanath, Frankie Rodrigues, Anish Kamble, Nilesh Jadhav,Krishnakant Dalvi, Anish Petkar, Sandeep Choudhary, Dilwinder Singh Pre – Production: Nilesh Dhanawade, Rasika Suryawanshi, Deepika Vibhandik, Production:Karan Neharkar, Tanuja Naik, IT/Admin: Nitin Upadhyay, Vijay Yadav, Ramcharitra, Shankar Mukhiya.

Amol Thakur
Right Click Studios CO-Founder & Vfx Supervisor

Right Click Studios team

Was there any other studio working on the VFX of this film besides you? If yes, which studio?

No, RCS was the sole vendor for doing VFX for the film

Would you like to add anything? 
This film was like a breakthrough in Marathi film industry as lot of new things were experimented by Director Nitin Desai by using RED , MILO and extensive VFX and CG

Director Nitin Desai, Associate Director Prashant Khedekar, DOP Raju Jain, 1st AD Purnendu and the whole ICPPL team gave us excellent support and opportunity to prove our capabilities without which achieving wouldn’t have been possible. We gave our best in this Film, learned lots of things in last 4 months, and are ready to put this experience with new experiments for the coming projects. Thanks Ajintha and thanx ICPPL.

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