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Recreating Mumbai with 2D animation

Allah Ke Banday director talks about using 2D technology to make his film look stylish and the 2D sequence blends in visually with the rest of the film.

bollywood Updated: Oct 06, 2010 15:02 IST
Aalap Deboor
Aalap Deboor
Hindustan Times
Allah Ke Banday

With Allah Ke Banday, director Faruk Kabir has sought to keep things as realistic as possible by portraying actual parts of the city and not recreating them on a set. However, that doesn’t mean he is willing to compromise on style.

To increase the “style quotient”, Kabir has shot the title song Maula employing 2D graphic novel-type animation techniques. He believes this will “render the film more stylish even at the risk of seeming in stark contrast to the rest of the trailer.” He says, “It’s appropriate so long as the sequence blends in visually with the rest of the film.”

2D animation
The two-dimensional animation has been shot using matte paintings in the background. This decision came soon after Kabir began to research the different ways in which he could enhance the visual setting. “In New York, I’d done an appreciation course in 2D matte paintings, and I thought I could use that here. So we roped in an artist to draw graphical paintings, and then reworked them using Photoshop,” Kabir says.

The video has been shot against the backdrop of a huge chroma curtain, and took around four months of pre-production and 4-5 months of post-production. Once the scenes were set, Kabir recruited a team from Prime Focus and gave them references to put it together. “We storyboarded every single frame of the video and designed the sketches on a smoke machine. The video was shot over three days, and when it all came together, the city looked like a combination of the ones in 300 and Sin City,” Kabir adds.

Rustic and edgy
The paintings were first drawn on canvas, and then went through a series of editions before being finalised on the smoke machine. The director says he could never have achieved the same video quality by shooting the song on sets. “I have no experience in animation, but I knew we wanted something rustic, aggressive and edgy. And this technology helped us achieve that mood,” Kabir says.

Pushing the envelope
However, Kabir believes a film won’t ever run purely on the kind of technology its scenes use. He still considers himself “a huge” student of cinema, and if the 2D technique is appreciated by the audience, he does not mind exploring more such techniques for his future films. “The kind of machines you use matters, but only so long as the bigger picture fits into context. We have a lot of talent in Bollywood and producers are opening up to technology. If we utilise it well, we can definitely push the envelope to produce better movies,” he adds.