The Making of Baahubali’s Epic War Sequences
Interview with VFX Supervisor Sanath PC and VFX Producer Junaid Ullah at Firefly Creative Studio
It takes an army (pun intended) of highly skilled artists and technicians to create the movie magic that we experienced with S.S. Rajamouli’s massive blockbuster Baahubali: The Beginning. Thanks to its world-class visual effects, created almost entirely on home soil, the movie has captured the imagination of audiences and critics alike. From wondrous waterfalls with dancing nymphs to the spellbinding war between the Kalakeyas and Mahishmatis, there’s acres of beauty and splendor to behold. Some of that magic, including a significant portion of the war, was created by the talented team at Firefly Creative Studio in Hyderabad.
We caught up with visual effects supervisor and founder at Firefly, Sanath PC and visual effects producer Junaid Ullah to get a peek into the making of the spectacular scenes.
[TRM]: Bahubali’s VFX is unlike anything we have seen in an Indian film to date. The war scenes have been compared to the likes of300 and Game of Thrones. What were your references?
[Sanath]: Doing a war sequence is something that always creates excitement because of the kind of grandeur that you can bring in. Baahubali’s story provided a lot of scope for that. In the story, there’s that stake in the war that whoever kills the Kalakeya warlord, is going to be the next king of Mahishmati. The challenge was to build the action and scenes such that it makes you feel that the victor has indeed done something very heroic.
We saw a lot of films for reference, to understand the scale and help visualize the grandeur. Today, in India too, people have seen all these movies. And we didn’t want them to say that it all looks borrowed from western films. We were really particular about that. Thankfully, Rajamouli is very good with action –both with the choreography and with driving people to make it happen. He really has that command.
“Today, in India too, people have seen all these movies. And we didn’t want them to say that it all looks borrowed from western films.”
After a successful stint creating effects for mythological Tamil TV serials and as supervisor for ad films, Sanath’s big break came with the song ‘Roja Roja’ from ‘Kadhalar Dhinam’ (1999, Hindi – Dil Hi Dil Mein). His team worked with renowned cinematographer PC Sreeram to create the rose garden and other effects around the Taj Mahal. Following its success, he went on to start Firefly with his classmates from National Institute of Design in 2000. Firefly Creative Studio has contributed to S.S. Rajamouli’s earlier flims like ‘Chatrapati’, ‘Magadheera’ and ‘Eega’ (Makkhi) as well as Disney’s ‘Anaganaga O Dheerudu’ (Once Upon A Warrior) and Rajnikanth starrer Enthiran (Robot). Their work on the Telugu film ‘Anji’ (2004) won them the National Film Award for Best Special Effects.
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