BY SUGANDHA RAWAL
New Delhi– Did the trailers of “Panipat” and “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” remind you of “Game Of Thrones”? Or the action of “War” and “Saaho” bring memories of “Mission Impossible”? Well, that’s because the canvas of Bollywood is getting glossier, with the creative geniuses of Hollywood increasingly working on Bollywood projects.
From action gurus, stunt directors, VFX experts, cinematographers, musicians, make-up experts, technicians to physical trainers, talent from the West is being roped in to deliver world-standard content in Hindi films.
The trend of roping in experts from Hollywood is not new, but something which is growing popular with filmmakers acquiring global sensibilities, and the Indian audience getting receptive towards foreign content.
With larger-than-life Hollywood movies, backed up with advanced make-up and technology techniques, high on breathtaking action sequences and on point cinematography, winning hearts in India, Indian filmmakers are updating the look of the project to match up with their foreign counterpart.
Star-driven vehicles such as Salman Khan’s “Tiger Zinda Hai”, “Race 3”, “Bharat”, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff-starrer “War”, Akshay Kumar’s “Kesari” and Rishi Kapoor’s “Kapoor & Sons” are infused with Hollywood mastery.
“Now that we are used to watching global content, from films to content on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, people have more expectations. They want everything to look good. It makes a difference. The production value, the look and lighting has to be on par with the Hollywood standard. It works well for all as it improves the whole get up of the project,” trade expert Rajesh Thadani told IANS.
According to Thadani, historical projects such ad Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat”, Ashurosh Gowariker’s “Panipat” and the Ajay Devgn-co produced “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” need to be credited for driving the trend forward.
“Historical films are more into that because all the VFXs are intact,” Thadani added.
Some notables projects with foreign twist include “Kesari” with “Mad Max: Fury Road” stunt coordinator Lawrence Woodward, “Bang Bang” with “Thor” stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong, Sunny Deol’s “Ghayal Once Again” with Hollywood stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, “Krrish” franchise, Prabhas’ “Saaho” with Hollywood stuntmaster Kenny Bates, Taapsee Pannu’s “Naam Shabana” with Hollywood stuntman Cyril Raffaelli and Rishi Kapoor’s “Kapoor & Sons” with makeup artist Greg Cannom.
When not hiring talent from the West, filmmakers are looking out to the foreign world to add Hollywood appeal to the project.
“Our technicians are better trained, our facilities have become better, production values as well as budgets have gone up, and then in many cases we are hiring Hollywood talent. In this case, peer competition goes up and everyone wants to learn new techniques and what eventually happens is that everyone is updated…It benefits the film. The look, sounds, and colours get better, which audience love,” trade expert Girish Johar told IANS, adding that “it used to happen earlier too, but now it is on a wide scale and in larger quantity”.
Hollywood action director Paul Jennings, who has worked in movies such as “The Dark Knight” and “San Andreas” among many others, says the action spectacle in “War” is on par with films like “Mission Impossible” and “Fast and Furious”.
“What I love about Bollywood is I believe you can push the action a little bit further. You can do things which push the boundaries of believability right to the edge and it means you can end up with more spectacular sequences,” Jennings said, who designed jaw-dropping action sequences for “War”, which is his first Bollywood film.
Famous action director Tom Struthers, who has choreographed action for Christian Bale in “The Dark Night”, for Tom Hardy in “Dunkirk” and Salman in “Tiger Zinda Hai” and “Race 3”, is also impressed with the world of Bollywood.
“I think Bollywood is in a great place right now. They are experimenting with culturally different professionals in the camera, stunts, action-directing departments,” said Struthers, whose first tryst with Bollywood was with Nikkhil Advani’s 2013 film “D-Day”.
So, it is all about keeping up with Hollywood, and the trend will only grow in the time to come.