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Space is the limit

entertainment Updated: Feb 12, 2009 19:34 IST
Naomi Canton
Naomi Canton
Hindustan Times
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India’s first ever 3D animation film based in outer space using virtual human characters is expected to be released globally in November by a Mumbai production house.

The film Rega Rezza, made by Andheri-based Fire Films and Media Pvt Ltd, has cost Rs 25 crore, double the usual amount spent on Indian animation movies, and is 60 per cent completed.

The film is about a group of astronauts, Indian and European, who are based at an imaginary NASA equivalent in Mumbai called Orbit in 2030. They get sent into space and discover life on another planet called Rega.

Sanjay Saagar, 42, founder of the company says, “The Mumbai that we show has no slums, just skyscrapers, high tech buildings and flyovers. We have animated the entire of South Mumbai for it including the Marine Drive, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Palace. There are also two new towers behind the Taj and also more towers in the sea near Marine Drive.”

Protected characters
The producers have also copyrighted all the characters, which includes a new alien character.

The reason: there are only a handful of films in the world that use computer-generated characters that look and behave almost exactly like humans. They include Hollywood’s Beowolf (2007) and The Final Fantasy (2001).

Most animation flicks made in India are done using the key frame process in 2D, and not motion capture where dozens of cameras are set up on a real human. This captures data that is then transferred on to the character to make it photo-realistic. In key frame, on the other hand, a virtual character is created on the computer and then manipulated to move in certain way.

In order to keep the film as real as possible the studio roped in the President of the Indian Planetary Society Dr JJ
Rawal as a special advisor.

“The animation market in India is not really ready for a film like this so we are looking for a Hollywood distributor,” Sagaar says. “We are targeting America and European audiences. The great thing about using this type of animation is there is no end in showing the world or animation. You can create the entire world and you don’t have to pay star fees.”

Uncharted territories
Saagar planned to release the flick in Hindi and in English in November and was increasing the 140 staff at his

Borivli studio to 400 to finish the film.He says that he and his partners are newcomers to Bollywood, but not to the media.

Saagar is currently a partner of 7 Star Satellite Network, a cable service provider, while his co-producer Sanjay Trivedi is a former journalist. The flick was written and directed by Aashu Patel , a former editor.

One of India’s first animators Ram Mohan, the chairman of Graphiti Multimedia Ltd, in Mahim, said: “Very few Indian films have been made in this way and so this is very new for India. I prefer the key frame process as you can introduce non realistic magical moments whereas with motion capture you are restricted to what an actor can do.”