Launched with a grand function at Mumbai`s J W Marriot late last evening, the NVIDIA Digital Bollywood initiative got off to a flying start with renowned film maker Govind Nihalani announcing his maiden 3D animated feature `Kamlu`
The animation for the feature will be produced at Chennai based Iris Interactive which will be the co-producer.
A very interesting and encouraging development for the Indian industry, is that NVIDIA has entered into a technology partnership with the (currently) 15 member strong Iris and will provide the studio with full support and guidance on rendering and other complex visual processing and CG production related issues.
Speaking to Animation Xpress.com Nihalani who is writing, producing and directing the 3D animated feature shared, “I have been working for quite some time on the story and characters of Kamlu and the mahurat character sketch has been done by my friend Ram Mohan. The film is set in the deserts of Rajasthan and is going to be made in Cinemascope, something like Panavision and will have a visual grandeur to it. The animation production will be done at Chennai based Iris Interactive which has already worked on the FX of my earlier films including Dev”
“I have always been fascinated by animation and graphical story telling and I am much more interested in 3D, then in 2D. For quite some time now the economics of making an animated film in India were not quite encouraging. Post Hanuman, things have changed and now it is commercially viable to make an animated film in India” he added.
The feature is planned for a summer 2008 release and will be close to 80 minutes long with an English and Hindi `Master` version. Keeping in touch with its Indian soul, the movie will have 4-5 songs, with music being composed by Karthik Raja.
Nihalani: “No compromise on 3D texture, look and visual grandeur”
On being asked about the look and style of the film, Nihalani shared, “As a film maker, I want to make sure there are no compromises in any aspect and that includes the 3D production. Sridhar from Iris shares the same views and we both are very keen on coming up with a film that is world class”
“The thing is that technology is advancing so fast that between the time that a movie is conceived and executed, there is a risk on the end product not being cutting edge. This challenge of ours was solved by the NVIDIA technology partnership that Iris entered into. NVIDIA will be helping out the studio to ensure that we stay abreast with the latest in terms of visual processing technology” he added.
“The 40 sec clip that was shown at the event was rendered in Gellato making everything from the rock, sand colors and the sky look realistic and I`m happy with the results. The NVIDIA team gave comfort, understanding and was willing to supply technology as well as support” he further added.
Iris Interactive`s Sridhar Sanathan shared, “We are working on three CG films, the first of which is the one which we are doing with Nihalani. We realize that there are quite a few gaps in our pipeline to address the same we have tied up with Denmark based A Films on the creative front and with NVIDIA on the technology and rendering front”
On being asked as to how would the studio cope with such massive projects with a team size of just 15, Sridhar shared that there were plans to scale up. “We plan to ramp up to 45 in a phased and planned manner. We don`t want to go beyond that number. Most of the artists at our studio will be multi tasking with primary and secondary skill sets. And we will be working with a mix of freshers and experienced professionals in our team. 80% will be creative and the rest would be technology and management etc”
“We are also on the look out for training partners, who would come in and help train our team” added Sridhar.
NVIDIA`s Worldwide Marketing Manager for Digital Film Laura Dohrmann shared, “We are very pleased to support and work with studios and projects such as the one that Iris is doing with Nihalani. We would be providing our technology and all support and assistance, in fact even Dr Larry Gritz from NVIDIA will be visiting the studio in Chennai and will be sharing his expertise”
“We are more than happy to support and partner with anyone who is serious about using Gelato in the pipeline and the production process; though the studio has to posses some good skill sets as well. We are partnering with several studios/ players in India, Iris being one amongst them and the others including R&H India, Anibrain, Anirights, MAAC, Crest, WWIL etc”
“We have similar partnerships with studios across the world. When it comes to India, what makes it special is the story telling heritage that you have as well as the popular culture of Bollywood. We at NVIDIA anticipate a great growth in the Indian content industry and are very glad to be partnering it closely, at an early stage when the boom is just about beginning” concluded Laura.