Sony SAB’s new mythology show, ‘Dharm Yoddha Garud’  touted as most expensive VFX driven show

Hindi GEC Sony SAB has announced a Hindu mythology based fiction show titled, Dharm Yoddha Garud scheduled to air every Monday to Saturday at 7 pm from 14 March. The makers stressed that for the first time in Indian television the show is created using state-of-the-art technology and VFX by Illusion Reality Studioz VFX wing from the house of Contiloe Pictures.

The proliferation of VFX technology could also be noticed at the press conference which was held on 7 March and was attended by Sony Pictures Networks India MD and CEO NP Singh, Sony SAB business head Neeraj Vyas, head of marketing for Sony SAB, PAL and Sony Max movie cluster head Vaishali Sharma, Sony SAB head of programming Prashant Bhatt and producer Contiloe Pictures CEO Abhimanyu Singh. There was a holographic presentation of
Dharm Yoddha Garud which showed a glimpse of the storyline. The show tells the story from the Hindu mythology Garud and stars Faisal Khan as the lead along with Toral Rasputra, Parul Chauhan, and Ankit Raaj. Dharm Yoddha Garud tells the story of a mother-son duo. The son Garud will be seen trying everything to free his captive mother Vinata, from the clutches of her own sister, Kadru, who is also the mother of 1,000 snakes.

Abhimanyu Singh

Singh shared that there were multiple technologies that have been used from real-time virtual production technique – Ultimatte, to MetaHuman and XSens to more.

“We have to think beyond the physical world and virtual production is something that  we have used extensively in Garud. Hopefully that will give us the path to innovation in production in coming years.”

He further shared that 24 mins of the daily show is entirely VFX driven and further mentioned how VFX has enabled them in storytelling.

He added, “Neeraj Vyas told me ‘this is a story which is untold and technology is enabling us to do the story. So let us get the technology right.’ It has taken us nearly eight months of using various technologies that are being used for the first time in India, and we are proud to have done so, because technology is enabling us – the storytellers – to be able to tell fantastic stories like Garud. I think this is the step in the direction where many more makers like myself will take that initiative to tell us a lot of brilliant stories that we have.”

Neeraj Vyas

According to Singh, with respect to virtual production, they are moving step by step at the same pace as the world is on virtual production and they are all together in the same space with the west. So they figured out the challenge and the solution on their own as the solutions are also not available in the west. Later as they figured out the solutions, they kept feeding it into the system which are becoming solutions for other people who are also doing virtual production.

“We have used the technology called Ncam which is the technology where you see a virtual world behind you. You usually see chroma cloth, but by using Ncam and cloud, the virtual camera syncs with the physical camera so whatever physical camera does, the virtual camera does exactly the same on the virtual location which is fantastic. It is similar to what you see in cricket’s extra innings and that is what we have used for
Garud,” Singh shared.

Later AnimationXpress had an exclusive chance to speak with Sony SAB business head Neeraj Vyas. On the Indian content market front, he shared, “It is a blessing that India is divided into diverse age groups of people, also divided into rural and urban India. Television is the most crowded and most easily accessible medium of entertainment. Although OTT is there, not everybody can afford them because of paying for multiple apps. Also content on OTT is edgy at times which may not be viewable with family, so from a mass entertainment point of view TV is possibly the only medium, and because of that we cater to a very large group of people. TV makes you create mythology to fantasy to comedy content.”

Television content will be watched by audience if not live during the telecast then later on during their preferred device and time. “As per the content is concerned because of OTT, the characterisation, narratives, everything needs to be on point and aligned properly and that’s not it. One needs to upgrade themselves from a narrative point of view, technology point of view which is good. As OTT is taking a lot of television creators, the quality is now also better which you cannot get away with. That is why shows like Garud took 12 months to make,” Vyas shared

Without disclosing the exact budget spent for VFX, Vyas shared that this was their most expensive and time consuming affair as per the budget is concerned. “We had changed our launch date twice in a year. We started in January 2021 and are launching it now in March 2022. We took 14 months to build this together as we also had to understand virtual production, Unreal Engine, rendering and so on. Today technology could let us do and achieve a lot more compared to earlier,” he added.

The show cost is quite expensive. Without revealing the actual cost rise he hinted that it is two to three times more expensive than their usual shows.