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An effects-oriented film in a story-telling format.

By Manisha Deshpande

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Special effects can work wonders in narrating the story of a film. They not only make the story more intriguing but also give it an added impact," says special effects expert, Wilson Louis, who makes his directorial debut with HO SAKTA HAI. The film revolves around the theme of black magic and has 45 minutes of special effects in it.

"It is not a horror film as is being misinterpreted by some people in the trade nor is it a special effects film. It is an effects oriented-film in a story-telling format," adds Louis.

The decision to turn director happened to the special effects expert when producer Ashok Kotwani happened to see one of his short films. "It was a 15-minute film shot on a new format, which won the Seagate International award for the best short film. Ashok saw the film and asked me whether I had a subject in mind that I could take up for direction. Initially, I had planned a different subject but the thrust was to make a film where special effects could be effectively tapped in the narrative. I chose HO SAKTA HAI," recalls Louis.

He wasn't disappointed when the producer sanctioned him a budget of Rs 1 crore for the film. "There were two ways of looking at it. Having handled the special effects of more than 30 films in Maya Entertainment, I was aware that I could incorporate special effects in the film from the beginning, including the process of color correction and transition," he recalls.

He decided to make the film with newcomers but he wanted to ensure that it was marketable too, which is why he opted for Victor Banerji, who had a distinct reputation in the market. It took him 28 days to shoot the whole film as he had conceived it. "People refused to believe it when they saw it. But it took a lot of organization before the film actually went on the floor. I prepared the story-board, shots, montages in vivid detail and saved on the time spent on color correction and dissolving, besides the frame-cutting, by planning the special effects as part of the narrative," Louis articulates.

Producer Ashok Kotwani was more than pleased with the product when he saw it. Moreover he managed to fetch a good price for the film, recovering his cost and profit even before the film's release.

But the big question on everyone's mind is-will superstition and a subject revolving around black magic sell in today's times? "It very well will because each of us are constantly seeking solace in the daily humdrum of life. We are all apprehensive about forces that cannot be defined, yet govern our life in some way or the other. Otherwise why do you think car owners make it a point to buy the traditional nimbu-mirchi to ward off all evil spirits? It sells at all the traffic signals in Mumbai," he says.

Now that he has made it possible to shoot a film with special effects in an incredible budget, Louis is flooded with queries from producers about the possibilities of doing more such films. "The number of queries that I recently received have led me to devise a special package for producers in association with Maya, where they can plan a film with special effects in an economical budget," Louis says.

Louis has also made a different package for regional producers who are given 40 percent discount for their films. "I want more and more producers to use special effects in their films, that's why the effort," he says.

He is full of interesting experiences about the special effects he did for several films as the head of Maya's special effects division. Most of them worked very well apart from the exception of a handful few projects, where the makers messed up with the special effects. "Such a problem happens when the producer decides to incorporate special effects at the last moment and expects you to deliver results," he says, citing the instance of a film, KARZ-THE BURDEN OF TRUTH. "The film was shot badly and the producer wanted us to complete the special effects work in eight days flat. We subsequently completed it simply because we had signed the contract," he tells you.

So what is he planning next? "A film based in the interiors with a very intriguing story-line. Of course special effects will be an inherent part of the film," he smiles.


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