So here I am in India of all places. Why? For the same reasons I take any other project: The movie is an exciting mix of storytelling and visual effects and the people making it are good people. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, and quite probably this blog will explore a few of the other things that are going on in the industry that have, for me, resulted in my decision to ply my trade in Bollywood. This is not the common event of an American film taking VFX work overseas for tax incentives or low shot costs. This is an Indian film hiring experienced American talent to help an Indian VFX company deliver visual effects of unprecedented scope and quality for the highly anticipated sequel to the 2006 film Krrish which was one of the biggest VFX pictures in Bollywood history. So rather than American filmmakers hiring Indian companies to meet budgets, it’s Indian filmmakers hiring an American to improve the quality of the work in their own cinema. Talk about swimming upstream! Nonetheless, the idea appeals to me and I am looking forward to seeing it through to a successful result. I wish that by this sort of thing I could single handedly counter balance all the work going the other way, but I don’t get paid that much!
So far, after a week in Mumbai, I find that the city itself is like nothing I have ever experienced before, with the exception of a short visit to Sao Paulo Brazil a few years back. Mumbai is different than Sao Paulo in many many respects, though it does share the problems of poverty, overcrowding, chaotic traffic and marginal public infrastructure.
On the other hand, inside the walls of a VFX facility, in this case Pixion, many things are familiar and the work is essentially the same. The people have similar interests to American VFX artists, with all the attendant additions that are uniquely Indian. I am only beginning to meet people and learn about this vast country and their culture. I am sure by the time this project is finished I will have a cultural awareness I can only guess at today.
So here we go! Another unexpected adventure in filmmaking. Please comment as you wish and we’ll all expand our global awareness.