Otherwise a performance-driven film, Shimit Amin’s directorial venture used smart VFX as a stand-in for its crowd sequences
Remember the climax of Chak De! India wherein Shahrukh Khan’s character stands still with his eyes flooded with happy tears as his hockey-team wins the World Cup trophy? It certainly was the scene of the film as Shahrukh tries to come to terms with the winning moment amidst the crowd of thousands of people erupting in joy. But, do you know that when this scene was shot there were hardly 10 people present on the ground? Yes, so small was the budget of the film that the director Shimit Amin could not gather a paid crowd as that would have raised the cost of the film unreasonably. So, Shimit brought in SRK’s company Red Chillies VFX to create some smart visual effects that would make it seem like the stadium was indeed crowded. When you watch the movie on YouTube Boxoffice, you won’t be able to differentiate the VFX from the real people. Contrary to Chak De, Aamir Khan starrer Lagaan, Ashutosh Gowariker got real people to act as the crowd. He not only paid them but gave all of them one meal a day too. Real or fake crowd, both films did extremely well. While Chak De! went on to bag the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Lagaan was nominated for the Oscars! Now that’s the power of ‘mass’ appeal, isn’t it?