‘Kaabil’ is the story of a visually impaired voice-over artist (Hrithik Roshan as Rohan) who sets out to avenge the death of his blind wife (Yami Gautamas Supriya). Following a brutal rape and subsequent kidnapping by politically well-connected ruffians, a heartbroken Supriya can take no more and hangs herself in the family home. Finding her body on his return home from work, Rohan vows his revenge.
Kaabil is directed by Sanjay Gupta and produced by Rakesh Roshan, and Prime Focus is delighted to have provided a full suite of visual effects, color grading and equipment rental services to one of the first major hits of this year.
Prime Focus worked on Hrithik’s most recent projects – ‘Mohenjo Daro’ and ‘Bang Bang’ - but Kaabil marks the company’s first association with his home banner FilmKraft Productions. The VFX team at Prime Focus, led by VFX Supervisor Mahesh Baria,worked closely under the guidance and direction of Hrithik Roshan himself to deliver a range of exciting and eye-popping visual effects for Kaabil.
“Our primary aim was to use the VFX as a convincing storytelling device,” said Mahesh. "We worked hard to ensure that the effects supported the director's vision for a gritty yet emotional crime thriller. Sanjay and Hrithik both have amazing creative and artistic sensibilities, and our job was to ensure that the effects were in keeping with the aesthetic appeal of the film."
The 120-strong Prime Focus VFX team operated across the company’s facilities in Mumbai and Hyderabad to create hundreds of complex VFX shots for the film.The scope of work chiefly comprised chroma-key work, monitor inserts, set extensions, compositing, wire removals, extensive clean-ups, explosion enhancements and rain enhancements.
The VFX requirements for Kaabil were many and varied: for one of the key sequences, where Rohan and Supriya get separated in a crowd in a shopping mall, much of the crowd was created digitally.The locales of Marine Drive which formed the backdrop to the proposal scene were achieved through chroma key compositing. Some of the most crucial sequences in the movie take place inside an under-construction skyrise in Mumbai which was originally shot at ground-level against a green screen. The team worked extensively on set extensions while background plates of the Mumbai skyline were seamlessly integrated with live-action shots to give the illusion that they were in a multi-storey building. The team also carried out rain enhancements for many sequences in the film, including the pulsating climactic fight scene.
For a movie heavy on action, one of the most challenging sequences turned out to be the crematorium scene where the last rites of Supriya are performed. Originally shot in a studio, the VFX work needed to help create a mood of isolation and melancholy for this moment in the film. To bring about the sombreness in the mood, background plates of the sea-coast against a grim backdrop of Bandra-Worli sea link were composited behind the foreground elements, and the sequence eventually worked to great effect.
Talking about the experience of working with Hrithik, VFX Supervisor Mahesh Baria said, “We benefitted immensely from Hrithik’s involvement in the VFX process. He has an amazing eye for detail and his great knowledge of visual effects resulted in a constructive collaboration that really helped to push the quality of the visual effects. It's his vision and cinematic sensibilities that pushed us to achieve even greater heights of creativity. He is someone who is extremely passionate about his work and always strives for perfection in every area of filmmaking, and we’re glad that we could deliver on his creative vision for Kaabil.”
The DI team under the creative guidance of Hrithik and DoPs Sudeep Chatterjee and Ayananka Bose, completed grading on 'Kaabil' within a short span of 3 weeks. Prime Focus Colorist Aashirwad Hadkar set the overall look and palette of the film.
“It was essential that the grade reflect the exact mood of the sequences, and hence the look varies from being colourful, vivacious and glossy during the romantic phase of the protagonist’s life to sombre, de-saturated and gloomy post the death of his wife. Both the DoPs had captured in intricate detail the depth in each sequence which really helped the grading process,” said Ashirwad Hadkar. “The difference in mood was very well maintained in the camerawork with great use of lights, which helped maintain a synonymous color flow throughout the film. Hrithik was actively involved in the DI process; he was very particular about a number of details in the film and we worked together to arrive at the desired look.”
Prime Focus also supplied ARRI Alexa and Red Weapon 6K cameras, and various wide lenses for the project, through its Camera Equipment Rental division.
Produced by Rakesh Roshan under his banner of Filmkraft Productions Pvt. Ltd, Kaabil opened to positive response on 25th January 2017 and has so far grossed ₹150 crores worldwide.
Project – Kaabil
Production House – Filmkraft Productions Pvt. Ltd
Director – Sanjay Gupta
Producer – Rakesh Roshan
Starring – Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy
VFX Supervisor – Mahesh Baria
VP, VFX Production – Shome Dasgupta
VFX Producer – Shadab Mujawar
Line Producer – Nasir Khan
Compositing Lead – Bharat Patil, Swapnil Ambre
CG Supervisor – Yogendra Tonke
VFX Department Manager – Amol Dani (RPM), Wasim Sheikh (CG)
Digital Intermediate :
Head of Production, DI – Nirmal Gala
Colorist – Ashirwad Hadkar
Producer, Digital Intermediate – Mehruz Singaporia