Redefine’s Global head Rohan Desai bares it all

Poised to bridge the gap between the East and the West for creative services for films and “Over The Top” (OTT) content for streaming, DNEG’s award-winning global visual effects, animation and stereo conversion business’s new offering ReDefine has started its operations with major Bollywood projects like Brahmastra, written and directed by Ayan Mukherjee, and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

It is also working on a number of projects for the Chinese market, including Liberation for directors Xiaoyang Chang and Shaohong Li, The Mermaid 2 (3D), the sequel to director Stephen Chow’s $553 million-grossing original, and Turandot for director Xiaolong Zheng. Animation projects currently in production at ReDefine include 100% Wolf and four other feature-length productions. ReDefine is all set to operate alongside DNEG, offering creative visual effects and animation services to expanding international markets such as China and India, as well as other global independent productions. Animation Xpress spoke to ReDefine global head Rohan Desai to glean more information about the services they are going to offer and the approach they are going to take to make inroads into the Indian market.
ReDefine Global Head Rohan Desai
What brought on the idea of “ReDefine” as in its vision and objectives? With DNEG, we have enjoyed a lot of success in the Hollywood industry and we wanted to bring Hollywood-style VFX to fast-growing markets around the world. It just felt like a natural progression for us to redefine the way that VFX and Animation services are offered in these spaces. We wanted to offer a truly customised approach that fulfills the needs of directors in these regions and pays homage to the cultures that have nurtured their visions and creative ideas.  What sets ReDefine apart from other VFX services? At ReDefine, we blend the global experience of our parent company, DNEG, with a local understanding of each culture we operate in. We focus on providing a tailor-made service to each project and market. We believe that our combination of high-end technical experience and refined local understanding is something unique in the industry today.  We heard that you are targeting China and India among others. When you say non-Hollywood markets, would that also include some of the television programs that are increasingly making VFX a part of their storytelling? Absolutely, as well as movies and other big productions, we are very interested in infiltrating the OTT streaming content market. This has been on the rise in recent years and we are very excited to bring movie-style VFX to this medium. We see a lot of opportunities in giving the viewer a real big-screen experience, even on smaller screens.
Oscar X-factor of DNEG
We have long yearned for Hollywood-style VFX that we often don’t get to see in Indian cinema. Would you say ReDefine would unleash a similar level of wizardry that we see in big-ticket Hollywood movies?   ReDefine brings a wealth of proven knowledge and an award-winning pipeline that will certainly open up brilliant opportunities for storytelling in Indian cinema. We are already providing big-scale VFX services to high-profile Bollywood movies, such as Ayan Mukherjee’s ‘Brahmastra’. It is exciting to see where the future will take us and there is huge potential to unleash the creativity of directors in India and help them realise their grandest visions.
Apart from Bhramastra, what other projects are there in the pipeline? We are also working on ‘Liberation’ for directors Xiaoyang Chang and Shaohong Li. This is a very big scale project for the China market and will be released in September to mark the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Based on real-life events, it follows a group of soldiers involved in the final stages of the Battle of Pingjin in January 1949. In addition, we are doing the stereo conversion work for Zheng’s adaptation of ‘Turandot’ by Puccini. We heard ReDefine is also set to provide animation services. Any projects that you have been approached for? Animation is a big part of what we do at ReDefine and we already have a number of great projects in the pipeline. This includes ‘100% Wolf’, directed by Alexs Stadermann, which is about a young werewolf who defies expectations by turning into a poodle on his birthday. We are also working on ‘The Silk Road Rally!’, directed by Ross Venokur. Would you say that filmmakers in the current times are progressively coming around to the importance of VFX? I definitely think that filmmakers increasingly realise that VFX is another character in movies in its own right. Done well, it can be a powerful way of drawing the audience into a story and in creating imaginary worlds. As VFX becomes more impactful, it complements other cinematography techniques and helps directors tell a story in the richest, most immersive way imaginable.  Lastly, what advice would you give to the aspirants and budding VFX artists who would like to work with your studio?   We are always very keen to hear from budding VFX artists and would encourage you to check out our new careers page: to find out more about the open positions in each of our offices around the world. Our main office in the Pinnacle, Mumbai, already has over 700 team members and is growing fast. We also have offices in Hyderabad, Montréal and London. Our culture is dynamic and fun, and we strive for excellence in everything we do while celebrating each other’s successes. If you would like the opportunity to be part of something really special and to hone your skills working on an award-winning pipeline, we would absolutely love to hear from you!

Given the pace at which the VFX scenario in India is growing, we are hopeful that India will soon witness a much-needed paradigm shift in the way stories are told.