Baahubali Trailer is creating records and rightly so. In any case, it deserves those records more than those mindless Salman or Shahrukh movies. For those who haven’t seen it, it is a typical Telugu movie set in medieval India, indexed higher on action.
The movie claims to have the highest number of vfx shots – some 4500 shots and 90% of the movie has CG (I am not sure if this relates to part 1 or to both parts).
Some sequences and CG shots are clearly inspired by a bunch of Hollywood movies – Mask of Zorro, Matrix, Gladiator, Troy, 300, LOTR, Avatar… But, you have to agree that they are the best you have seen in an Indian movie till date. For all the PR about the money spent on CG, some shots underwhelmed me and this prompted me to write this post.
Firstly, the good:
- The waterfall: Visualized as a three-mile-high fall, where the first quarter of the film and a song are set, it is clearly the best CG in the movie. To add to the waterfall, the song pictured with it in the backdrop has the actress’ dress fluttering (CG) through out. I am sure the director and the best technicians spent the most amount of time on these parts. There seem to be some inconsistencies in the waterfall though between shots.
The ones, with a mix of good and bad:
- The bull fight: I caught a glimpse of this in the trailer and thought the CG was rather juvenile. Parts of it are, but overall this scene is rather well executed and you can’t find fault with much of it. Probably, Tau films got some additional time to polish this scene off from the time the trailer was released to the release of the final film. [incidentally this Journey To The West – Scene @ 3:32 from Korean VFX firm Macrograph, closely resembles the bull fight ].
- The Avalanche: The avalanche itself can compete with the real ones shown on NGC or Discovery channel. The ‘snowboarding’ on it is bad.
- The Mahishmathi kingdom: The aerial shots showing the kingdom are fairly bad. This include the shots where the massive Bhallalasena statue is erected. Some internal shots in the palace too look like they are from comic book or an action game.
But, the CG is seamless and realistic when used to extend the backgrounds.
- The war: Again the scenes are a mix of good and bad work. The long shots showing the scale are comic bookish.
The crowded war scene simulations are no match of LOTR’s massive simulations. It’s an eyesore when you can make out a few individuals running hard but not covering ground. That’s money on CG down the drain!
The closeup scenes though are rather well executed. Again a case of extending background?
Now, the absolutely bad:
- The map: The movie opens with a LOTR style map showing the lay of the land. I guess it was important to show this right at the beginning as in the next 160 odd minutes, the lead actor goes thru a waterfall, forests, mountains, snow and what looks like a desert. in a span of few minutes The geography shown in the map is a complete mess. At the end of this map pan, the map is tilted and the kingdom of Mahishmiti rises behind snow clad mountains without any white or snow. Yes, you have a place higher than mountains with snow, without snow on it.
- The jumps: This is not The Matrix or a dream sequence for me to believe the disregard for laws of gravity in all the jumps!
Overall, the CG in this movie is a great improvement over that in Magadheera. A few more such movies, and some directors will definitely get most of it right. But, I hope they polish these in the second part of Baahubali itself!
By the way, I watched the movie a grand 1 time and that too in Hindi against what should ideally have been Telugu. The sudden songs and some of the dialogues didn’t make too much sense in Hindi. I have read the Telugu lyrics of the songs online and they seem to make a lot of situational sense.
I plan to buy the extended and making DVD of the movie when it is released and then see the VFX in the speed and detail I want.