MUMBAI: It is never easy to make a period film and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is no exception. The films looks like a grand canvas on the big screen but there were many challenges to replicate the looks of the early 50’s and 60’s era. It is here that the visual effects came handy. Tata Elxsi share with Business Of Cinema exclusive pictures of sequences where visual effects played an important role.
The races were shot in empty stadiums in India and abroad. Digital crowds were added later. Most of the stadiums where Milkha Singh actually ran his races have either been demolished or revamped. The stadiums too were created using visual effects.
Pankaj Khandpur, Creative Director, VCL Tata Elxsi says, “We used a simple proprietary algorithm for the crowds and digital actors, which was used in ‘The Lord Of The Rings’.
It was important to keep the look and feel of the actors as authentic as possible. So a lot of research went on the clothes of the crowds, the mannerisms of the crowd. Adds, Mr. Khandpur, “A lot of the crowd at time were restrained, not as lively as today’s audiences. So we had to pay attention to that.”
Additionally visual effects have also been done on the racetracks. Today’s racetracks are mostly astro-turfs. So at the post, to match the early 50’s and 60’s (where Milkha Singh was at the peak of his career), graphics were used for astro-turfs to look like cinder.
Farhan Akhtar’s flashback sequence where he is in the middle of a race and the scene changes to partition era, was designed with huge visual effects and heavy colour palettes were used.
With developing times, technology is also developing and that was beneficial for a period film like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ as the challenge was to replicate the era as authentically as it could be possible.
Unlike ‘Lagaan’, where crowds were actually brought during the cricket matches, which overshot the film’s budget (because of the crew and food expenses), it was much easier to digitally create crowds using visual effects and much cheaper in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.
There were a lot of budget constraints for ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’. Yet the end result is fascinating. It was visual effects and the dedicated team at Tata Elxsi that weaved magic. With a team of over 50 artists, delivering 200 shots in a span of three months, the visual effects contribute to the success as much as the story itself. Real and believable!
READ THE DETAILED INTERVIEW OF Pankaj Khandpur, Creative Director, VCL Tata Elxsi HERE
WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO HERE: