Keitan and Haresh : The dazzling duo of Red Chillies VFX speak about their ‘Fan’tastic IIFA win and much more!

The VFX wizards Keitan Yadav and Haresh Hingorani from Red Chillies VFX are on cloud nine! They recently bagged the award for the best visual effects category at IIFA 2017 in Los Angeles for Shah Rukh Khan starrer Fan. Undoubtedly the dazzling duo had made tremendous efforts for SRK’s double portrayal as the superstar and also the obsessed fan. Hence, it garnered a lot of plaudits from all quarters.The makers have always been vocal about the difficulty they faced in making SRK look 20 years younger. Shah Rukh Khan look was made younger, leaner and smaller in built besides changing his facial features like the size of his nose. The VFX team also did some pretty extensive visual effects on some of the chase and action sequences in the film.But now, all efforts have finally come to fruition. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan was absent from the scene when the award was being distributed but was not late to congratulate his team as he delivered his best wishes through his Twitter handle. AnimationXpress spoke to Red Chillies Chief Operation Officer and VFX producer Keitan Yadav and Chief Creative Officer and VFX supervisor Haresh Hingorani as they share their jubilation, dreams, future projects of Red Chillies VFX and the state of our VFX industry. How do you feel after seeing your efforts being rewarded, especially on a platform like IIFA? Haresh: We feel very happy and elated about winning this award. We are also very proud and happy that IIFA recognised our efforts and our hard work has paid off. Keitan: A lot of people are not aware that the efforts put in Fan is very unique as you won’t find another VFX project of this nature, not only in India but internationally too. So, we were extremely happy that IIFA recognised our efforts. Any fond memories while working for the movie? Keitan: For me personally, it was more during the research and development phase. We were given a 11 months deadline to achieve the targets, else the production house was ready to put the project on hold. We invented a combination of techniques and technology; show the audience something which could get them excited. How confident you were about winning this? How did you celebrate? Keitan: To be honest, this year’s VFX award has been shared between us and another production studio, so we were keeping our fingers crossed. Haresh: Celebrate? We have just come back from the trip and we are busy with the delivery of Jab Harry Met Sejal. Once the movie is released, then we shall definitely celebrate this win. SRK congratulated you on Twitter. How was his reaction? Haresh and Keitan: Shah Rukh Khan has always supported us and believed in our capability which encourages us to work that extra mile and deliver the impossible. He was of course ecstatic with the win and wants us to achieve the impossible with the next project. Any valuable VFX lesson learnt while working on Fan? Keitan: We learn something new in every project, but the core issue is, if you put your mind and dedication to something, you can achieve it. How big were the budgets and the team? Do you think the VFX budgets will increase in the coming days with the success of VFX heavy films like Fan, Baahubali? Keitan: FAN in fact was the second big budgeted film after Ra.One though I’m not really at liberty to discuss numbers. Answering the latter half of your question, the regular budgets, I feel will be decreasing as the efficiency and time taken will be less compared to the earlier work done with the help of new techniques and technologies. As for niche Bollywood projects, the budgets will surely be increasing. How do you see the VFX industry in India now and in the next 10 years? Keitan: I think if I compare the last 10 years of film making, we have progressed very significantly, in terms of genre, complexity, turnover, usage and awareness of VFX in the industry. It has boomed! The next 10 years, I feel it will progress at a rapid rate with the advent of films like Baahubali (major success) and experimental films like Fan and our upcoming film directed by Anand L. Rai where Shah Rukh Khan is playing a “dwarf”. Haresh: Also, there is a big lineup of VFX films like Robot 2 which will open the road for a lot of production houses, directors and producers. I think we have a bright future. It will be an era of biopics, mythological, historical films and with the likes of Netflix and Amazon the scale and requirement of VFX is going up. It will be the golden years of the VFX industry. Just like Red Chillies did the VFX for Phillauri, do we see it doing for more of films from different production houses rather than just in-house? Keitan: I think it is a big misconception the industry has that we do only in-house movies. If you do look at our history of the 50 odd films we have done, 70 per cent are from outside production houses. Any plans of Red Chillies to do outsourced VFX work from Hollywood? Keitan: After shifting to our new office, we did announce we have opened our international division besides the local division along with Red Chillies Color, which is our color grading department. We have just finished an international film The Good Shepherd by an independent director and are also currently working on other international projects. As a supervisor, how do you handle your team, with love and care or with strictness and discipline? Haresh: I believe in my team and as you can see the output, they are brilliant at their job. Yes, sometimes I am strict, but in the end, it’s a team effort which reflects in the movie. What advise or message would you give to VFX artists, studios? Keitan: My message to studios is our infrastructure and hardware which is at your disposal is at par with international studios across the world. The only thing we might lack is experience and opportunity but with the current trend, we have so many opportunities to portray our talent and show the world that we can deliver the same quality as international studios. Haresh: My advice for artists in our field is there are developments taking place every day. We learn every day from the different projects we work on and the people we work with. I feel artists should keep updated with new developments, new techniques and advancement in the software that they use. Basically, know every trick in the trade to be able to deliver higher quality. Whom do you consider your idol? Any recent VFX work of Hollywood films which you really admired? Haresh: I am a big fan of Robert Legato’s work. Right from Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13 to his recent works like Titanic, Avatar in which photorealistic computer-generated characters, created using new motion capture animation was used for the first time and the more recent work of his film, The Jungle Book. In India, V. Srinivas Mohan is someone whose work I admire. Baahubali wouldn’t have been possible without his vision and guidance.As for any Hollywood movie I enjoyed the VFX of, would be The Jungle Book and Doctor Who. They were fantastic! We wish the unstoppable and dazzling duo of Keitan and Haresh from Red Chillies VFX all the best for their future endeavours!