Those who’ve seen Ek Tha Tiger will vouch for the Hollywood-style visual effects and action in the film. And while an international stunt director (Conrad Palmisano) was roped in, a homegrown company is responsible for the effects.
The Visual Computing Labs (VCL) by Tata Exlsi worked on a number of effects — which make up at least 20 per cent of the film. “In the first scene, we had a shot of cigarette butts flying. Only a few were used in the shoot, and then we multiplied them digitally,” says S Nagarajan, COO, VCL.
Arguably, the most amount of work went into an action sequence that involved actor Salman Khan fighting an ISI agent in a moving tram, and then moving atop it. “Since we had access to some of the locations for a very short time, the tram was created digitally,” reveals Nagarajan. “We mixed it with a real shot of a tram in Dublin and even had to create a half-kilometre stretch of road and buildings to make the scene look realistic. Even the villain crashing out of the tram was our work.”
Similarly, in the climax, which featured cars driving through a massive fire, VLC worked on making the flames appear a lot more intense than they were at the shoot.
“For a few shots, we had to create an aircraft on the computer. You really can’t shoot a scene where the plane flies closely over the heads of the agents,” says Nagarajan, explaining that most effects are created to give a feeling of grandeur while blending in with the real action at the same time.What about Salman and co-star Katrina Kaif’s action sequences? “Nowadays, actors like doing their own stunts, wearing harnesses. Only the safety rigs and ropes have to be cleaned up with VFX,” explains Sherry, effects supervisor on the film. “Parkour and scaling walls have become the norm now. With visual effects, we try to make the shot look larger than life.”
In the past, VCL has worked on films like Dhoom:2 (2006), RA.One (2011) and recently, the 3D animation film, Arjun – The Warrior Prince. They have a Hollywood branch too, out of which they’ve worked on Spiderman 3 (2007), Iron Man (2008) and Terminator Salvation (2009)