What’s holding back the domestic film and entertainment industry from competing with the best in the word when it comes to post-production aspects like visual effects, 3D content, animation, etc? Is it the lack of talent pool or is it the lack of saleable content? Whatever be the reasons, the fact is that post-production is an area that the domestic industry needs some catching up, if it is compete with the West. And if the panelists at the session on the last day of the Ficci-Frames 2008 titled ‘Post-production going global’, are to be believed, it has got nothing to do with the talent pool that is very much available and that they are confident that it’s only a matter of time before Indian technicians would be at par with the best in the world.
The moderator Bobby Bedi, who is also the managing director of production house Kaleidoscope threw open the discussion by stating that the domestic entertainment industry is suffering from its success stories. “Our film and entertainment industry is very robust, but due to our own success stories within national borders, somehow we are limiting our talent pool. We haven’t tried to do much in the past on the post-production/technology part of filmmaking. The Indian aesthetics haven’t transcended the national borders and recognised by the West. However, our music has reached that level with people like AR Rehman expanding and having created their own market in the West.”
With the talent pool that we have, can we produce a Spiderman or a Superman and appeal to the global audience? Well, the speakers don’t think so as they feel that the country hasn’t got enough opportunity to do so. “It’d only happen once we have a bank of great animated films in our kitty,” said Prime Focus chief executive Namit Malhotra, one of the speakers along with the founding partner of Giant Killer Robots and VFX supervisor, Hollywood, Peter Oberdorfer.
Malhotra continued, “Western market would certainly ask if we could produce a Spiderman or a work that demands global acceptance. My take on this is that give us a chance with the latest technologies and we could then try our best.”
However, Bedi opined that if we are to succeed internationally, it’d be with our local content which is working well in the country. “Western market is completely different in terms of tastes, and likes and dislikes from our audience. “Don’t expect Americans to come to you for a film project given the kind of movies they make. If we are to make a mark globally, we’ll have to rely on what works best here and then present it abroad,” Bedi was categorical.
Pointing out that cultural differences would always remain, Oberdorfer, said, “Western markets differ a lot from Asia on many grounds. In Asia, movies are more visually driven, and are complex in their own way. All these have their own processes and are very different from the West.”
Oberdorfer further said the emerging markets have shorter visions when it comes to post-production and thus their expectations too are limited unlike Hollywood studios. “It’s just a matter of time that budgets in the emerging nations would increase and then they would be able to push their kind of content into other markets.
The session concluded on a common note with the panelists saying that there will be an increase in the demand for Indian work in the West, and that emerging nations like India needs to tackle outsourcing and logistical issues in better manner.