"I am passionate about animation" : Soundarya R Ashwin
Superstar Rajinikanth’s younger daughter Soundarya R Ashwin, who is making her directorial debut with 3D animation film Kochadaiiyaan, feels her father had full faith in her ability to handle the multi-crore project. TWF correspondent Sreya Basu in conversation with the new-age filmmaker on her latest project.
What made you make a 3D computer-animated period film and that too with Rajinikanth?
A couple of years ago this technology was not available. And this technology became very popular after the Hollywood film Avatar (2009, directed by James Cameron). It’s the same technology that we have used in Kochadaiiyaan. Since I am passionate about animation, the script came by and my father (Rajinikanth) believed in the script.
Was Rajinikanth ready to do an animation film just like that?
He believed that I know the technology enough to handle the project and so the film happened.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while making this film?
It was the process of photo-realistic performance capture. We call it photo-realistic performance because the skin texture, the costume texture and the set textures … the way they look, is very realistic. If you take the film The Adventures of Tintin (2011), the technology is motion capture but the characters look cartoonistic. And if you take Avatar, the technology again is performance capture but the characters are fantasy. Like, you have these blue creatures … it is not realistic. So in Kochadaiiyaan, the biggest challenge for me became the fact that we are creating all real life actors like my father, Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff exactly like they are. I am not making them look anything fantasy. We are not making them taller than they are or changing their body, skin colour, etc. We are creating them and to maintain that realism was the most challenging part of this technology.
Can you explain in brief how the film was shot?
The entire process is created. The entire film is created. So people act wearing body suits and head cameras. We capture their actions and apply them to a virtual 3D image of the same character and we create everything – sets, costumes and even animals. So obviously, the process is very long.
Do you remember an interesting incident while shooting the film?
There is a war sequence in the film where Jackie Sir has to ride a horse and charge towards my father. But there was no horse on the set and he had to sit on a chair wearing his costume and head camera, and act as if he is riding a horse. It was quite funny.
It must be very challenging for the actors as well?
I think the biggest challenge for the actors was that they have to imagine everything. There was nothing on the floor.
How was the experience of making this film?
It is my first film and not only it’s my first film but it is the first time that this technology is being used this way in a full-length feature film in the Indian film industry. So it was very new and challenging for all the actors. But they took up the project as they found the technology interesting. So it was a great experience working with them.
(Posted on 10-05-2014)