We were invited to watch the shooting of a Sci-fi film that sounded interesting. It was being made with the latest studio wizardry available – and would be on par with a Hollywood movie of this genre, we were told.
The astonishing part, this movie was being shot not in a studio in Mumbai, or Chennai, or Hyderabad – where maximum studios exist and Indian films are generally shot. This movie was being shot in a studio in Wardha! Yes – our Wardha in Vidarbha, which so far has been known as the place which has Sewagram, Gandhiji’s ashram.
The second aspect that was of interest was that the leading man was a guy from Nagpur – Mehul Advani.
We hot footed to Wardha to see for ourselves and find out more.
We were asked to look out for ‘Prasad studios’ which took us into a by-lane of Wardha, running parallel to the Wardha-Nagpur highway.
In front of a bank, we saw this decrepit looking 3 storeyed building which just had ‘Prasad’ written on it. We climbed the steps to the first floor, and there it was! A film set like no other we had ever seen.
There were no props, no furniture, nothing at all except a vast expanse of the colour green. The floor was green, the walls were green the backdrop was green!
There was just one character shooting – a young woman dressed in a brief top and briefer ‘skirt’ gyrating to the instructions of a choreographer. There was no one else on this ‘set’.
“What kind of film is this?” I wondered. I had expected to see someone dressed almost as a ‘robot’ in an astronaut’s suit, other people weird looking and similarly unusually dressed – a set with a background of the ‘galaxy’ Space…with all that you expect.
We then were introduced to Bhushan Prasad, the owner of this studio.
He was amused at my questions and my doubts.
“The final film called ‘Lira – my soulmate’ will have all that and much more” he said ” that is where my expertise will come in”.
Prasad studio offers the making of 100% VFX films which are completely digital. The main actors are shot on a green background saying their dialogues, singing duets, dancing, fighting etc. and then the studio ( in this case, Bhushan) fills in the background with scene-scenery as per the script’s demand. Also crowd scenes: you want a mountain and snow? You can get the Alps of Switzerland! You want the ocean – get background scenes like the Titanic. You want Space, stars, galalaxies – you shall get that too! He has a troupe of 40 background dancers, from Wardha and Nagpur with whom he will be shooting some scenes too.
This technology also offers content creation, state of the art visual imagery for full length and animated films, high quality visual effects for live action and hybrid films too.
VFX, which has the obvious benefit of saving huge costs in scouting for and shooting at outdoor locations, moving your crew there, travel expenses, boarding costs etc. etc., was first developed in USA ( Hollywood) over a decade ago.
Before any Mumbai or Chennai studio could import this technology, Bhushan Prasad ( Bhushan Kawaley is his actual name) built this studio in Wardha. He had a normal studio where one goes for taking passport or marriage photos but he loves innovations and does lots of research, always scouting for new things. New Cameras, new digitization techniques and keeps studying about who is doing what world wide.
Now big players like Reliance are in the field and studios are coming up in Mumbai, Pune etc. But Creative people who have worked with Bhushan Prasad swear by his expertise in editing and creating background content as per their requirement, without a glitch.
When word of his skill and the facilities he offered trickled to Mumbai he began getting ad films, videos… then gradually Marathi films and now he is working on full fledged commercial Hindi film ‘Lira, my soulmate’.
Apart from offering his technical skill, Bhushan offers his studio premises totally to the Production house. Thus we saw this films Producer Director Sumnash Sri Kalji and Creative Director Afshaq Sheikh using a corner of Prasad’s ‘Computer room’ as make up room, a part of his studio as their dining and ‘resting room’ – even cooking is done in the back area of his studio.
Why hasn’t Prasad moved to Mumbai or another big city to build a studio?
“I want to bring Wardha, my native place into the limelight and get business here” he says simply. He does not want to disturb his family by uprooting them from the convenience of their familiar settings and take them to a big city. He knows that with his talent, he can get film makers to come to him, wherever he is!
Prasad not only has a state of the art computer and other ancillaries he is an ace at designing and fabricating other essentials like lighting systems and has customized even his computer ‘mouse’ as a joy stick that he can use and manuouvre as he wants.
It makes you marvel and feel proud of what this humble and simple looking man has achieved – if you google VFX studios you will find maximum located in LA, USA, a few in Mumbai.
Bhushan Prasad has brought Wardha on this international map.