Garnering millions of views since its trailer launch, there is a brouhaha amongst the viewers regarding the visual effects of the film Brahmāstra. To get an insight from the VFX perspective, Animation Xpress talked to DNEG’s VFX supervisor Jaykar Arudra. DNEG India and London, along with ReDefine studio, worked on the VFX of this fantasy adventure feature film which has its own cinematic universe called Astraverse.
To one’s wonder, the 2:51 minute trailer has around 140 VFX shots which were initially 200, the selection came down to 140, and the film is overall made of a whopping 3,000 plus VFX shots. And the 4k version of the trailer brings forth the prowess of VFX studio.
Talking about the magical elements that can be seen in the trailer, Jaykar said that the director Ayan Mukerji was keen on adding cosmic elements and colours in the movie through the VFX. He said that fire is a crucial element in the film as it is the protagonist Shiva’s (Ranbir Kapoor) weapon. Shiva along with the audience will unravel his powers of manifesting the fire. As can be seen in the trailer, there are variants in the colours of fire. Jaykar enlightened us with the idea behind it. He said that Shiva’s fire being the magical one, has nebula-inspired colours, and that of Junoon’s (Mouni Roy) character has red fire indicating demonic dark powers.
There’s a mix of techniques used, like green screen, set design, virtual production and others in the overall filming and post-production process. The entire film was initially made into animated previs to help Mukerji chalk out the filming process. Virtual production was in-camera one and was predominantly used for the climax sequences to make the director and actors visualise how the scene would turn out.
Jaykar said, “Research was a continuous process and we have been constantly working on astras, magical powers, fires, cosmic elements as Ayan Mukerji wanted the cosmic look and feel.” He illuminated about one scene from the trailer in particular where the Brahmāstra stone is introduced. To create that scene, they took inspiration from the existing phenomenon of the powerful solar flare that comes out from the sun. They wanted to incorporate that power in the film, but only a small fraction of the visuals are there in the trailer of the stone. Jaykar assured that there is more to it which can be seen in the movie. He said that the movie consists of 90 per cent complex shots, which include fire simulation, water splashes and waves, magical elements, clouds, and astra energies.
He added, “The studio has made sure that the physics, dynamics and logic behind the fire are intact and the way fire throws light on the environment is proper.”
Apart from Jaykar, George Murphy and Alexander Seaman were the other two VFX supervisors. Murphy was present in the initial stages of research related to weapons and cosmic elements and was there on the shoot for some time. Overall VFX supervision was divided between the three supervisors.
Jaykar informed that the 3D trailer of Brahmāstra is soon coming out and the film is 99.9 per cent ready to release, currently in the polishing process. He also said that the story of the second part of the trilogy is ready, but they are yet to begin with the production process.
Jaykar is also working on Shazam! Fury of the Gods which is set to release on 21 December 2022 whereas Brahmāstra will hit the theaters on 9 September 2022.
Hear the vision behind the film from Ayan Mukerji: