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Prime Video session at IFFI highlighted VFX in modern filmmaking with examples from ‘Mumbai Dairies’

L to R – Moderator Rohini Ramnathan, Madhu Bhojwani, Monisha Advani, Nikhil Madhok, Vishwas Savanur, Malay Prakash

Prime Video conducted a session on how VFX technology is an emerging and rapidly evolving avenue of artistic expression at Film Bazaar at the ongoing 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. Using the Prime Original series Mumbai Diaries Season 2 as an example, the session elucidated how VFX helps in moving the narratives forward by creating worlds and storylines that defy traditional boundaries.

The session commenced with an address by Prime Video Hindi Originals head Nikhil Madhok. This was followed by an interesting talk on Mumbai Dairies Season 2 and the role of VFX in it by Emmay Entertainment producers Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani. Next on the agenda was an engaging presentation by director of photography Malay Prakash and VFX producer Vishwas Savanur on the VFX technology and its potential to be a game changer in film making. The session concluded with an incisive panel discussion among these presenters on the contribution of VFX technology in moving the story narratives forward. To give the attendees an experience of the VFX behind the series, Prime Video has set up a zone at the Tech Pavilion at Film Bazaar that was visited by Union Minister of information and broadcasting and youth affairs & sports Anurag Singh Thakur.

“If storytellers are the ones who inspire us and open our minds by taking us into new worlds, then it is VFX that acts as the wind beneath their wings,” said Madhok, highlighting that VFX is helping creativity transcend the boundaries of imagination and changing the game in the global entertainment landscape. He further explained that VFX goes beyond just creating visually stunning spectacles, and gives storytellers the power to envision worlds and narratives without being bound by practical constraints. He added, “Earlier, storytellers faced constraints at the very inception of a project, often holding back ambitious visions at the script stage due to uncertainties about execution. If someone wanted to narrate a story that involved significant world building, they often first had to question their own belief and answer questions on execution even before they had finished writing their story. However, today, thanks to the advancements in VFX technology, storytellers can dare to dream big. They now place the narrative at the forefront of their creative process and are able to focus on creating immersive worlds on paper, fully knowing that VFX will help them bring their vision to life.”

By bringing in elements of realism, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and safety, VFX is helping creativity transcend the boundaries of imagination and changing the game in the global entertainment landscape. However, Madhok also cautioned the industry to avoid looking at VFX as just a way to reduce costs. “While the cost advantages are great and we must make the most of it, but focusing on the cost would be like missing the wood for the trees. We must think of VFX as this powerful tool that helps unleash the imagination of our storytellers,” he explained.

“VFX has transformed filmmaking across genres, elevating production quality and opening new avenues for employment. The flood sequence in Mumbai Diaries Season 2, brought to life by VFX, showcases the technology’s prowess in tackling scenes once deemed too complex or risky to film – offering creators a newfound freedom to explore narratives and visual elements that elevate the overall cinematic experience for audiences,” said Madhok.

Prime Video has used the technology in a number of their Originals, as well as co-productions. From recreating Afghanistan in Film City to creating an immersive underwater marvel in the co-production Ram Setu, effects in the supernatural Original Adhura, the period Original Jubilee’s recreation of a bygone era with incredible detailing, creating a world beyond the realm of reality in the first Tamil Original horror series The Village that just premiered at IFFI, to recreating one of the worst disasters the city of Mumbai had to face in Mumbai Diaries Season 2 – Prime Video has used VFX to redefine storytelling, and create cinematic experiences through immersive world-building.

Advani and Bhojwani spoke about how VFX technology gives creators an opportunity to realise their vision on screen and tell stories that immerse audiences into magical and fantastical worlds. Prakash and Savanur spoke about the need for film makers to be aware of what can be achieved with VFX technology and how it can make a scene more believable by keeping the shots relevant, moving and organic.

Prime Video’s participation at IFFI is a testament of the pivotal role video streaming sector is playing in enabling the growth of India’s creative economy, and acting as a robust platform to showcase Indian stories, talent, and creators in the global arena.