NY VFXWAALA’s Ranadheer Reddy sheds light on ‘Golmaal Again’ visual effects

NY VFXWAALA VFX supervisor Ranadheer Reddy
Last year, the occasion of Diwali witnessed a deafening din in the crackers’ tinnitus with the release of Golmaal Again, the fourth in Rohit Shetty’s slapstick comedy franchise, as Ajay Devgn and gang were back with a new set of shenanigans. The movie was a commercial success at the box-office while its funsies served to sweeten the festivities. Packed with amazing visuals of hill-stations and grand sets, Mumbai-based NY VFXWAALA made sure the viewing was just as delightful an experience as it was hilarious. Around 100 artists from various departments worked in parallel to deliver 4300 shots in all, with Naveen Paul as the creative head. And one of the first things to catch a viewer’s attention was the picturesque landscape outside Devgn’s residence in the movie which VFX supervisor Ranadheer Reddy explains how it all came together. He says, “Gopal, the main character, was supposed to have his house near a railway station surrounding beautiful mountains. But in reality, it’s difficult to find such a location.” “So we came up with the idea of constructing partial house set with the railway station reference to extend it later. Then as per the concept which was approved by the director, the sets were laid out. We took the references of Ooty railway stations and bungalows, before creating everything digitally – including the train,” he added. Unlike its prequels, the latest Golmaal flick came with a sinister twist – their orphanage is apparently haunted by an impish spirit and our heroes will have to overcome their fears before unravelling some shocking secrets. Essayed by an earnest Parineeti Chopra, her character is out to avenge certain misdeeds of the past all the while throwing the lead quintet in a tizzy. Or rather, off a cliff! Yes, one of the nervous moments in the film has Devgn and co. balance precariously on a cliff inside a jeep, and Reddy elaborates on the making of the amusing shot – “The scene was very important for the movie as it was turning point in the narrative of the story. The requirement was to show a jeep falling off a cliff in the midst of a thunder storm and it was difficult to shoot at an actual location. So we came up with a concept art and suggested to build a partial set in a studio. After the shoot, the entire location was digitally created.” As the narrative wores on and Chopra’s character seeks redemption, that’s when the cream rises to the top. The theme gets darker and things murkier, for all the sins of the past catch up Niel Nitin Mukesh, the antagonist. A climax scene has him surrounded by an array of books levitating and then revolving as Khushi, the ghost, lays the final nail. “The director wanted a supernatural effect to frighten the villain and bring drama to the climax. And since the scene was in a library, he suggested to use books as an element,” he revealed. “All these floating books in the air, forming a lengthy path together was supposed to feel like a single character engulfing the villain and finally hitting him. Hence for this particular sequence, we made the entire library empty and filled with CGI books. Then to fit them in the environment, they were textured and lit accordingly.” And that’s how one of the instrumental scenes of the film was shot! “We shot pictures of the books from the actual library for the reference,” he further added. Filming across various sets in Hyderabad RFC is a challenge in itself, but the most dreaded one that Reddy feels was setting up the bungalow and orphanage side-by-side and pull off an Ooty. “For that, a huge set was constructed where we have to extend the set digitally and make it look like Ooty. That is the most challenging part of the movie for us to execute.” Regardless, the scenes depicting the beautiful town in Tamil Nadu was apparently the best part to work on as it was a universal favourite among the crew, who also got to explore a lot of technical aspects in trying to re-create such serene surroundings. Golmaal Again also features the kind of visual effects that wasn’t witnessed before in its earlier instalments, and Reddy gives a discernible assessment of it – “It was almost seven years since last Golmaal film released and since then, there have been lot of developments in VFX industry apropos of the approach, execution etc. Today, one knows no bounds with the aid of VFX as they can achieve whatever the director visualises.” “So compared to previous Golmaal movies, this was bigger in scale and better in visuals as the approach was modified because of the technical advances available today and we are sure the next part of the Golmaal franchise will setup new benchmark in the series!” he reckons. Some other important personnel to play a crucial role in VFX were compositing supervisor Intekhab Mahmood, line producer Sandeep Mane and production head Vinoth Ganesh. NY VFXWAALA would later helm Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s beleaguered production Padmaavat, that’s finally cleared to release on Thursday, 25 January whilst also having a slew more projects on the plate. “We are also working on Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, RAID, Total Dhamaal, Junglee, Bal Thackeray biopic and also started with the pre-production of Tanaji and few other commercials,” he concludes.