In awe of ‘Aarambh’: Director Goldie Behl talks about the VFX behind his magnum opus TV series

Director Goldie Behl with actor Rajniesh Duggall on the sets of Aarambh
The Indian television has been graced with a myriad of shows over the years. But for the first time in its history, we have a weekend series revolving around the mythology of the clash of two races titled ‘Aarambh’. Based on the battle of Aryans and Dravidians fought at the advent of human civilization, the show is being directed by well-known film maker Goldie Behl. Rose Audio Visuals headed by Behl and his sister Srishti Arya have done its VFX. With movies like Bus Itna Sa Khwaab Hai and Drona under his belt, Behl made his directorial debut in TV with Reporters in 2015. But now comes his most ambitious and challenging project with Aarambh, which went on air last weekend on Star Plus. In an exclusive interview with us, he talks about the show and much more. How did your association with Mr. K.V. Vijayendra Prasad happen? How was the idea born? A common friend introduced us and when we met in Hyderabad, we went on narrating stories from nine in the morning till six in the evening. The kind of enthusiasm and energy he exhibited really inspired me. And through our producer Srishti, we were introduced to Star TV who entertained our idea. The rest as they say, is history. A lot of historical and mythology-based shows these day are being aided by VFX. How will the VFX in Aarambh be different from that of other shows? That is up to the audience to decide how different it is, whether it will be better or worse. I have just been schooled in a certain way of working, which is an international way of working because of the crews I have worked with. Then I tried to implement those pipelines and disciplines into Aarambh which happens to be a TV series. Had it been a film, I would have carried or functioned in the same way. How has VFX enhanced the story visually? And has it helped you in narrating the story in a better way? Absolutely, true! It’s not possible to go on the edge of the cliff on one side and have a storm happening.  I used VFX  in order to make the visuals come alive. Also, it is not possible for an actor to swim in a glacier and withstand zero degree celsius. So, the visual effects have been used to make those unbelievable effects come alive. We also have a good staff who looked into the minute details and that is the biggest achievement of Aarambh. When you have a VFX shot, how is it designed usually? Do you talk to the VFX supervisor and have a joint decision? Well, the initial intuition comes from the written word and the script. Then I think, how do I visualise it. I visualise a theme and then attach it with how the story goes. Once you have the concept art on paper, then it is about sharing it with all the departments and then everyone contributes. How was your collaboration with the VFX supervisor of Aarambh? We work in a system where the production house has their own supervisor. We distribute the work to various studios and various outfits according to the script and according to the skill. This is actually an international way of working  which the production house controls over who does what work and at the same time, monitors what work is happening.
Actor Rajniesh Duggall in Aarambh
Do you have a love for mythological projects? You did Drona and now you are doing Aarambh. So do you have a fascination towards such projects? Well that’s what people are saying and I would say, may be it is true. But my fascination is more for mythological or period drama due to the costumes, the largeness and the cinematic feel to it. Any particular scene from Aarambh that was challenging but also gave you a creative satisfaction? In the climax scene of the fifth episode which I am currently shooting involves VFX-heavy shots which were very challenging. Also shooting for episode one gave me a lot of creative satisfaction given the way it was executed. It has a snake-lizard scene which involved studying how the snake moves, when does it react, how does it react, the movements of the lizard etc. So we went into that kind of detailing and basically we did everything that we could. Did you face any challenges while shooting those scenes? Every scene has been very very challenging. I had to shoot very extensively and it took as much as 20 minutes for the snake scene. After the success of Baahubali, the makers of TV shows are giving more importance to visual effects and more of the budget is directed towards it. Do you think even Aarambh will start a new trend in the television industry? Only if it works. My fingers are crossed, I really hope it works. I am quite confident but we have to respect what the audience has to say as I am not going to jump the gun. Why Devasena’s character from Baahubali has been retained? Any particular reason for having strong female protagonists played by Tanuja and Karthika. That is something what Mr. Prasad had an infatuation for. He wanted to keep that character’s name this way.  Regarding having strong female protagonists, it is something that even I strongly believe in. All my female characters have always been strong whereas my mother has always been a strong lady as well as she looked after all of us after my father’s premature demise.
Devsena and Hahuma in Aarambh
Who is your favourite character out of the whole serial? At the moment, Devasena is my favourite character. What can the audience look forward to in Aarambh? What can they expect? What the audience can look forward to is some really new kind of story-telling and as it progresses, one can expect lots of new surprises. They are in for an adventurous ride  with lots of surprises and entertainment and are definitely going to enjoy every aspect of it. Aarambh has done a spectacular opening with its big canvas storytelling and stellar use of VFX and other technologies. Our team wishes Goldie Behl, his cast and crew and the whole team of  Rose Audio Visuals a great success for Aarambh. Stay in touch with us for more news about Aarambh.