Makuta Effects reportedly employs roughly 55 artists at its Hyderabad facility. Over the next year and a half, company officials claim the rather lofty goal of 250 will be more the norm. The studio's on-set effects supervision, experience with motion capture, digital matte painting, and more have put it in talks with a handful of prospective domestic and international partners. Indian VFX cinema is coming into its own as a sufficient associate of quality moviemaking (as opposed to roundabout CG children's flicks), and the artists at Makuta plan to be ready when the tide fully turns.
"Whenever you are creating something completely from scratch, something that's never been seen before, and something that's entirely made out of CG," S.S. Rajamouli, director of Eega, commented to MM Network, "you have to do a lot of experimentation to make sure you have the action, mood, timing, and overall the story you want to tell. The painstaking hours Makuta VFX experts in the studio have paid off and it is there for you all to see in the big screen today. It is a proud moment for the Telugu film industry to break creative boundaries using technology to perfection."
Eega, a fantasy-comedy released in early July (lang. Telugu) to 1,200 screens and later in August/September (lang. Hindi) to an additional 500 screens, is about a man who is reincarnated as a common housefly. The man, killed by the angry suitor of his neighbor and would-be lover, decides to put his newfound fly-abilities to good use, and successfully makes the villain's world a living hell. Makuta VFX provided all the computer animation and clean-up for the fly and its principal environments. The studio's work on the film is rather solid, and the fact that the film received positive box office numbers certainly didn't hurt either.
Challenges remain, however, for any Indian visual effects hub to transition from a one-hit wonder and into a consistently creative (and lucrative) endeavor. Although India's animation and gaming segments have shown quantifiable maturity over the past three to five years, valid concerns remain regarding the large-scale availability of educated human resources, the lack of original intellectual property creation, and maintenance of international production partnerships through decidedly lower-cost advantages. For example, NASSCOM, India's leading information and business process outsourcing tracking institution, notably "revised" it's projections regarding the health of the animation and gaming industries: "[In] 2012 [..] from USD 1060 million to 830 million and gaming industry from USD 1163 million to 1000 million. Some of the factors which accounted for the revision were the global economic downturn, domestic box office for animation movies not picking up as estimated, end-to-end skill sets not being developed in the animation services industry, [and the] proof of concept/IP creation not up to expectations."
(sources: NASSCOM, Media Mughals online, The Hindu Business Line, News Track India)
Additional info: (image from left) Producer D. Suresh Babu , co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Makuta High End Animation; Pete Draper, Co-founder and CTO of Makuta VFX; and the Director S.S. Rajamouli of the 'Eega' team at the press conference in Hyderabad. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar.