MUMBAI: Tata Elxsi’s VCL division worked on the pre-visualizing and VFX production for Gandhi, My Father. The film, based in pre-independence India, demanded high amount of visual effects to be incorporated.
The film starring Akshaye Khanna, Darshan Jariwala, Bhumika Chawla and Shefali Shah, is about the father-son relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his eldest son, Harilal.
Tata Elxsi creative director Pankaj Khandpur said, “This is one of the most interesting VFX projects done by VCL in 2007. What made it different from many of the VFX projects primarily was the interaction with the internationally acclaimed DOP David Macdonald, an extremely talented artist himself and a passionate cinematographer, who helped us push the curve on this one to bring it to a point where we became a seamless blend into the narrative – a presence through the film, that was intangible. As most VFX artists would agree, to step into and out of 180 mins of visual drama and not make your presence felt at all is the mark of a job well done. We thought we pretty much achieved that on this one.”
VCL was part of this project from the commencement stage. A lot of the work here was period restoration stretching across India and South Africa. Some of great shots were where the present day Mohammed Ali Road had been recreated the way it looked in the 1900s. Along archives, books and lithos were referred to and sketches and designed blueprints for the purpose. Also with matte paintings, some CGI models and a many plates shot separately and composited on the Flame, were put together for an early 20th century Mohamed Ali Road.
Similarly, VCL had to execute restoration at parts of Cape Town, South Africa as well as the Durban port. Using CGI models and matte paintings Durban port was created to facilitate shots of Harilal’s voyage to and from Durban to India. Additionally an entire CGI environment was created with a 3D model of a ship, sky and water for the longshots of the steamer’s voyage on the ocean.
“VCL also treated live action footage to give it the old newsreel look and feel – this included adding dust and scratches and varying playing speeds to fit in seamlessly with the existing archive footage,” added Khandpur.