VFX and More (VAM) Summit organised by Animation Xpress India, in its second edition explored how the emerging new-age tools are raising the storytelling quotient for films and series. redchillies.vfx VFX supervisor Ronak Sanghadia presented an exciting session on what went into the making of the valorous biopic Shershaah.
The film based on the life of a true martyr and a Param Vir Chakra-awardee Captain Vikram Batra from his first posting in the army to his death in the Kargil War had some marvelous visuals that were quite a challenging production. The post-production too needed intricate details.
The Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani starrer Shershaah grabbed this year’s Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Awards for the Best Film. Sanghadia congratulated the entire team for the big win.
The visuals effects that went into enhancing the action drama took the storytelling a notch higher.
“We have undertaken this project and the VFX supervisor was Somen Das, my good colleague and a very good friend, who was guided by our creative director Harry Hingorani. We got the sequence and in the film with around 1,375 shots which amounted to around 1:06:05 to be precise. That’s what we have worked on,” said Sanghadia.
Since it was a war-based film, dust enhancements, bullets being fired, smoke addition, blasts were added in the action sequence to make it appear chaotic. These were important as it was very critical for the film to show the devastation that happened.
With article 370 being imposed in Srinagar, it was difficult to go to the mountains and shoot the mountain and snowfall sequence. So there was a change in location due to which the green, snow-capped mountain scenes had to be created with digital matte painting.
Also, the studio had to work on a couple of things which initially weren’t a part of the VFX, but became a part of it gradually as the shoot was planned.
“Mainly the shoot was going to happen in two different locations in India namely Srinagar and Kargil. Unfortunately, Article 370 was imposed while the shoot planning was happening and it was no longer possible to go Srinagar and shoot the sequence. With a lot of brainstorming along with the VFX team later it was decided that the entire film will be shot in Kargil itself. So there was a task of making a lot of locations in Kargil look like Srinagar,” he revealed.
He showed how a location in Kargil was made to look like Sopor, the station where Captain Batra was stationed. One of the under construction buildings was made to look like Sopor railway station. Further, shots hills were captured in Kargil which had no greenery. In post production they added greenery, as Srinagar is known for its lush green beauty.
Similarly, other iconic moments from the film were also onscreen wizardry done by these master artists.
Dust enhancements, bullets being fired, smoke addition, blasts were added in the action sequence to make it appear chaotic. These were important as it was very critical for the film to show the devastation that happened.
During lockdown it was difficult to go to the mountains and shoot the entire sequence of snow-capped mountains. It was decided to shoot this entire sequence in the state-of-the art studio of redchillies.vfx in Mumbai. Later the scene was created with CG elements, digital matte painting and improvised shots to make it look beautiful.
To show the base camp, drone shot was used to show the huge scale where tents of the Indian army were put up and the RCVFX team added them accordingly. It was supposed to look very huge to make it look realistic.
The night sequence, the bunkers being destroyed, the blast shot and other breath-taking moments were enhanced using CG elements.
Sanghadia concluded by sharing that production wise working on Shershaah was four months of work, but it got a little extended due to the WFH situation. More than 55 artists worked on Shershaah.