India’s first 3-D mo-cap CGI feature, Kochadaiiyaan, will open on May 9th. By Western feature animation quality standards, it looks comically bad, but perhaps it’s impressive if you’ve never seen animation before. Predictably, the film’s animation quality has already been criticized; Bollywood actor Imran Khan, who doesn’t have a part in the film, has defended its quality with this argument: “If you look back, 10 years ago even in Hollywood [animation] wasn’t a big thing. In the last 10 to 12 years, it has started growing in Hollywood and became part of the mainstream, so we have to give it a little bit of time.”
On a positive note, the film was directed by a woman, Soundarya Ashwin, the 29-year-old daughter of Indian film star Rajinikanth, who performs three different roles in the film, including that of the lead character. Ashwin explained to Times of India that her film used the same technique as Avatar, except for one significant difference:
“Avatar took seven years and so much budget and a James Cameron. There was always the insecurity of the unknown, but we have taken a road never taken in India and broken rules and have completed the film in just a year and a half.”
The film had a $20.5 million budget, which is generous by Indian standards. Its Wikipedia page offers lots of production details, and this ten-minute video documents the motion capture process.
Another nice thing that can be said about the film: it looks better than the trailer for Sultan the Warrior, an uncompleted mo-cap film that Ashwin attempted to make with her father about seven years ago. The trailer for that is below: