Proud day for Jungle Book city team

Proud day for Jungle Book city team
About 300 artists who had worked with Walt Disney studios on The Jungle Book (2016) sat nervously in front of three large screens here on Monday morning.

They erupted in joy when the Oscar for best visual effects was announced: their film had won. Some broke down and cried. Two years of hard work had brought them international acclaim.

“We spent six months travelling across the forests of India to get the rich landscape you see in the film,” said artist Amit Sharma, who headed the compositing team at Moving Pictures Company (MPC), a visual effects company with its headquarters in London. Compositing refers to the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images.

“Badami provided us with rich material for the caves you see in the movie. The scene with elephant herds came from the Periyar National Park in Kerala. The waterfalls are from the forests of Chhattisgarh. We wanted to keep it Indian,” Sharma told DH.

Biren Ghose, executive director of MPC’s India branch based in Bengaluru, said the movie stands apart because it takes the best of 2D and 3D to create something new.

“The craft in 2D and the digital finesse of 3D come together in the effects we created. Twelve teams worked on different aspects with the goal of making a movie that not only gives you a real-time experience, but also leaves a visual imprint of the rich jungles of India,” he said.
Sharma and Ghose said films like The Jungle Book gave them the opportunity to explore wonders beyond the urban landscape.

“Skyscrapers and the urban topography are nothing when compared to our forests. We wanted to make people love our jungles, which offer real excitement,” Ghose said.

Asked whether the team used the first Jungle Book movie or Rudyard Kipling’s book for reference, he said the new film carried the spirit of the two, but did not limit itself to either in its essence.

“Director Jon Favreau was very particular about creating something new. He also wanted it to be realistic. So, we did not want to stylise. We wanted to make the animals real. Except the scenes of Mowgli, pretty much everything else is the creation of artists,” he said.

Did the team believe it would romp home with an Oscar? Ghose said the objective was to tell the story with the best visuals and not to win awards.

“It was a 175-million dollar project. Though we were competing with the Star Wars movie and Dr Strange, we knew we had created something exceptional,” he said. The same team had worked on Life of Pi, which won the 2013 Oscar for visual effects.
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