About a year ago, Drishyam Films opened up its own post-production studio under the name Drishyam VFX which is being headed by Rajeev Kumar. Within one year of its inauguration, the studio has managed to deliver high quality work for some of the well renowned Bollywood filmmakers like Ashutosh Gowariker, Abhishek Kapoor, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sujoy Ghosh, Hansal Mehta, Anubhav Sinha, Nishikant Kamat. The studio recently delivered Vishal Bhardwaj’s drama movie, Rangoon which had some remarkable visual effects shots in it. Along with Rangoon, Drishyam VFX has worked on movies like Fitoor, Mohenjo Daro, Te3N, Kahaani 2, Madaari and Tum Bin 2. These projects have been delivered by a team which consists of 60 artists with some very senior consultants who serve as the backbone of the company and act as a strong foundation to cater the creative nest. In an exclusive interview with AnimationXpress, Drishyam Studios, chief operating officer, Rajeev Kumar talks about the studio’s one year journey and reveals the various challenges they had to office being a young studio. “It’s been one joyride with its fair share of conundrums and challenges. When we set it up, we were infants in the market of big sharks with their reputation of the expansive coterie of work. The primary focus was to have an adept team with a rock solid infrastructure as the crux. Roadblocks were bound to crop up since we are low line profit set up and inconsistency in rates and the amount of work, came in our way,” opens up Kumar about their experience so far. “We have been proud to generate some amount of work which has set the benchmark as the first of its kind in the Indian subcontinent. So, yes, everyday is a new beginning with a new drive to add more hues to this rollercoaster of a journey which is still on.” The studio makes use of Nuke, Photoshop, After Effects, Autodesk Maya and Houdini on Windows and Linux platform. Their hardware is updated with Dual Core Xeon workstations and optic fibers LAN networking. Along with this, they are also equipped with technically advanced storage facility that has the capacity to work on multiple visual effects film projects at the same time with high data confidentiality. The data center comprises of 4,200 cores of rendering power with an estimated 8.3 THz of computing power. As far as what kind of service the studio offer, Kumar explains, “We are doing everything. A ‘NO’ is a big question for us. So, right from prep work (roto, paint, chroma keying) to VFX compositing, cosmetic fixes, 2D to 3D conversion, 3D real estate walkthroughs and 3D CGI services (bg modelling, character modelling, texturing, animation, lighting, rigging and rendering) we are doing everything. Our specialisation indeed is special particle effects (dynamics) – such as fire, water, smoke, fog and snow, explosions, blood, dust and debris simulations.” Unlike other VFX studios that cater to outsource services for international clients or for the Tollywood industry, over the last year, Drishyam VFX has provided their services to the Bollywood and advertisement industry. “Charity begins at home and not catering to Bollywood and TVCs, that too being in Mumbai would only be a daft move. We are also delving into defense, real estate, FMCG sector and medical industries. Our aim is to witness the strength of audio-visual and technically boosting the level of work through that in almost every industry. VFX is a service-oriented work and this is no longer a channel to survive in a long run. You need to create your markets and raise the potential to make a difference.” Industry veterans are helping Drishyam VFX team when it comes to supervising projects and training the team. Govardhan Vigraham who has been a VFX professional for over 20 years handled projects like Fitoor, Mohenjo Daro and Rangoon. VFX Supervisor Sandeep Kamal who has won National Award for the VFX of Jal, handled Te3n and Kahaani 2. Madaari was handled by Mrityunjay Singh who is known for his leadership in the Hollywood films like X-Men, Avengers, Immortals,Terminator, Sin City,and Insurgent. He’s currently handling couple of International ads. Tum Bin 2 and Imperium was handled by Amit Malviya who is a young achiever with a passionate, creative mind. When it comes to selecting projects, Drishyam Films, founder, Manish Mundra is focused to do quality and different work – not following the usual run of the mill norm. Same is the case with Drishyam VFX. Along with movies, the VFX team has had brand associations with UTV, AGPPL, Benaras MediaWorks, T-series, FOX, Endemol India. “Carving out a niche with qualitative work as per the intricacies involved became our forte. Parameters of selection not just entail time, dates, budgets but also the scope of creative direction involved in the same. If you notice right from Fitoor – we created snow and snowfalls that has shown Kashmir in the most picturesque manner and applauded critic review of being the visually stunning film. With Madaari – we were able to show Delhi from the aerial height of about 200ft from the terrace straight drop down. I hardly remember any scene before in any movie of similar kind. With Mohenjo Daro – the grandeur of the water sequences in the entire film was something that we take pride on. Not just making it technically possible, but right from arranging the logistics to infrastructural difficulties, everything was a neck holding experience. Finding the right resources, investing time for research and development and then turning into production with rendering abilities was surely something, which was highly impossible to achieve in the controlled parameters. Then Tum Bin 2 – with the beautiful snow capped mountains across the streets of Glasgow signifying the beauty of Switzerland was something that was purely achieved through VFX. Lastly Rangoon – as the name suggests, was a periodic drama containing of course the war sequence, Bombay during 1943 – flora and Eros extension shots, Steam Engine on a Meter Gauge tracks, bridge sequence and yes, Julia on a running train. So everything was very specific in each of the projects that we associated with during our first year of inception.” Innovation is the only benchmark for evolution. In the recent years, Shotgun has helped in customising many of the tools integrating it with the studio-specific designed pipelines. Apart from this, the studio has something which is more to control their day-to-day operations synced with production, thereby easing the lives of the artists. Being a young studio, they had to face quite a few challenges while delivering projects. Kumar comments, “Oh well, they were galore. Not just time and money management, it often boiled down to resource management and at times the sheer less number of people on the projects, for whatever reasons they were. When deadlines are tight and deliverables are on our heads, it absolutely makes no sense to crib about a client’s disappointment with results. Irrespective of the same, I am so proud to announce today that I have had a very rock solid team of selfless humans as artist who put the work as the primary goal thereby sufficiently putting in way more extra hours and effort to rescue us from situations, when we lost hope. Every cloud indeed has a silver lining.” The studio has taken a halt to devise the strategic movement and plan absolutely well, focusing on producing something that is creative and content specific than usual VFX work. For now, the team has signed Milan Luthria’s Baadshaho and is also working on a bunch of creative commercials and short films.