Role Of Visual Effects & Digitalisation In Indian Cinema

Introduction -

Today’s success of the Indian film industry is the result of a long and tedious struggle. This journey began on July 07, 1896 when Lumiere Brothers of France organized a show of their short films and for the very first time. When the Lumiere Brothers' Cinematography showed six soundless short films in Watson Hotel of Bombay for the very first time everyone was exposed to motion pictures. The day was known as the ‘Golden Day’ in the history of the Indian Cinema for pioneering films in India. One of the pioneers of the silent feature film in India was Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (alias Dadasaheb Phalke), a Bombay printer, photographer, painter and magician. It is reported that he was converted to cinematography when he saw the film, Life of Christ, at a Christmas cinema show. The idea of a similar full length feature on the life of Lord Krishnan took hold of him, and he made it his life’s ambition. But financial stringency and the unwillingness of women, even prostitute, to act in his films, were crucial issues he would have to contend with through his long career as a film-maker. He broke ground in 1913 with India’s full length silent film Rajah Harischandra. Phalke went on to make as many as 96 full length feature films and 26 short films. Phalke is often regarded as the father of Indian Cinema who visioned the prospects of speaking to the world through film. The acting skills of Deviak Rani in Karma (1934) immortalized her in the history of Indian Cinema . The Melody of Love (1929), the first talkie to be screened in India. The credit of producing the first Indian Talkie Alam Ara, however goes to Ardeshir Irani, Devika Rani made her debut in this film. As many as 28 films in Hindi (23), Bengali (3), Tamil (1) and Telugu (1) in 1931 itself. With the introduction of sound in Indian films, the first-time rise of music in Indian cinema with musicals such as Indra Sabha and Devi Devyani was the beginners of song and dance in India’s films. JF Madan of Madan Theatres released the film Indra Sabha (1932) had as many as 70 songs including several superb Ghazals in Urdu. Studios appear across major cities e.g., Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai as film making by 1935.

Cinema in the Age of Digital Revolution focuses on the negative and positive impact of digital technology and also the democratization of film making and sensor which concluded that now cameras are in the hand of millions of amateur and professionals and this digital revolution has made the art of film making more accessible. Through DVD releasing and internet streaming now it has become the most frequent mode of exhibition for the majority of movies professionals .

A Cultural History of Visual Effects study employs a theoretical discourse which compares the parallels between visual effects and the discourse of modernity/post modernity, utilizing close textual analysis to understand the symptomatic meanings of key texts. The purpose of the study is to chart how the development of visual effects has changed popular cinema’s vision of the real, producing the powerful reality effect. The result of the study concludes that the history of visual effects seeking the reality effect, the spread of digital effects not only has brought about blurring of the line between live-action and effects-added footage, footage, but is also breaking down the boundary between effects-added live-action footage and animation .

Changing landscape in Cinema Viewing Pattern: Since according to Katz, 1959 ‘Uses and Gratification theory’, the studies which shifted their focuses from what media do to the people to what people do with the media. The uses approach assumes that audiences are active and willingly expose themselves to media . Same as now a day’s people are not limited to radio, newspaper, TV etc in order to fulfil their requirement now due speedy technological innovations in 21st century brings lots of gazettes like laptop, computer, Smart phones, iPads, Netflix, Redbox, On Demand etc with the internet connectivity in India and the launch of 3G services 4G services shifting the focus of media users to the new media i.e. digital media. When it comes to watching movie, today’s in digitally connected world and the way consumers rent, purchase, and watch films it shows that people are now more connected to digital era. Renting is the primary method of watching movie, whereas most of the consumers preferred to rent movies through low-cost mail subscription services or through digitally stream movies to their television, computer, or mobile device to watch the movie. From ‘Uses and Gratification theory’ other people report that they use the media, particularly TV and Radio, as a means to overcome loneliness . Same in today’s scenario technology make the people lonely as they are involve with their gazettes 24 hours and they are stick or rely to see the things on their own gazettes. So here they start using the simplest way to view or watch the movie on Youtube, on-demand movie apps, online streaming movie sites etc. rather than going to multiplexes and cinema halls. Some online streaming movie sites information gathered from internet which is used by people to watch the movie online. Amazon.com, PrimeWire.ag Few more are like Solar Movie, Movie4K, Watch-Movies, Project Free TV, Los Movies, Tube+ all are online streaming movie websites found on internet and is used by the people too10 .

 Some on-demand movie app information gathered from internet:

i. Netflix by Netflix, Inc.

 ii. Hulu Plus by Hulu, LLC.

 iii. HBO GO by Home Box Office, Inc. Few more are like Showtime Anytime by Showtime Networks Inc., Crunchyroll - Watch Anime and Drama Now! By Crunchyroll, Inc., Vimeo by Vimeo, LLC, Amazon Instant Video by AMZN Mobile LLC, Vevo - Watch Music Videos by VEVO, FOX NOW by FOX Broadcasting Company, WATCH ABC by ABC Digital is the entire app used by the smart phone users .

Impact of Digital Technology in Indian Contemporary Cinema : The recent trend of the industry in order to use the effects is VFX which create virtual locations and backgrounds: instead of going to real places or waiting for particular climatic phenomena to occur. It can also be created simply with the help of computers. Environment, moods, setting can be added to actors by performing in front of a green screen studio. It saves the cost of location shoot and also it is time saving. It has been another improvement in the VFX industry to increase the economies since 2008. Currently, 70 per cent of Bollywood Film industry is using VFX.

Ra-one Movie- A sci-fi movie hit the box office and it redefines the role of special effects in Indian Cinema. Software's like MAYA, HOUDINI and Macs is included in the movie to give a complete 3D effect. For composites, the team relied upon NUKE and SHAKE software’s. A team of approx 750 professionals were hired to work completely on special effects and VFX in Ra.One. Professionals from all over the globe i.e. India, Bangkok, Canada, US and France added their bit contribution to the movie. Use of 3,500 VFX shots which set a benchmark for digital innovation and use of technology in movie marketing for Bollywood. Ra.One, a step towards excellence, was released with 3000 screens (2D) in domestic market and 500 screens in 3D. As a result, the use of advanced technology and VFX in Ra.One took Indian market at hype. It won major technical awards at award ceremonies, including a National Film Award and Filmfare Award for Best Special Effects.

Growing market 

The market for VFX in India stood at approximately Rs 450 crore in 2010 against Rs 320 crore in the year 2009, an increase of 41 per cent. The overall industry comprising animation, VFX and post production grew by 17.5 per cent over 2009 to reach Rs 2,360 crore, according to a FICCI-KPMG Media and Entertainment report. The overall growth was largely led by VFX and post-production, the latter rising by 17 per cent. According to various reports, animation and VFX together are expected to grow at a compounded growth in the upcoming year with a fastest pace one could imagine.


Few years ago, actor and actresses travel one city to another for the publicity and promotion of movie also movie posters were pasted on walls at several places so that people come to know about the films and they will watch it. Now, in this digital era celebrity and production team has adopted a new technique for the publicity and promotion through this celebrities and production team need not to travel much and can promote their films just by sitting in their homes. It is so because of its reach, low cost and saves the time too. If we go back to 2016, then Bollywood movies comprise 30-40 percent of entire marketing budget production cost of which 20-30 percent is spent on digital marketing since then it has boomed a lot. Around 81 per cent of the online Indian population, according to a report by Hungama Digital Media, engages in some kind of social interactivity on the web, making it an ideal place for the film marketers to attract young crowds. Changing cinema viewing or watching forms there is a shift in movie watching pattern i.e. people are more concern in watching online rather than going to cinema halls. As through the availability of mobile apps and online movie site it shows that in today’s digitally connected world the way consumers rent, purchase, and watch films is now more connected to digital era. Not only that consumers preferred to rent movies through low-cost mail subscription services or through digitally stream movies to their television, computer, or mobile device to watch the movie. At last through applying uses and gratification communication theory tried to prove the shifting pattern of movie watching of people. Use of new and advance technology makes the filming process fast. Now more movies are made in a year on several genres and the issue because now movie making is very easy. Use of VFX, CGI, non linear online editing, advance camera etc is growing at a compounded growth and with this we can easily guess that this will reach to almost Rs. 10,000 crores by 2020

So, over all findings and the result of this report is that digitalization in film industry not only brings the opportunities for the people but also bring the Indian Cinema in a new perspective and creative way through its digital presentation. Now more people are aware about the upcoming movies through its digital promotion.