Lights, camera, and visual effects! Decoding the vast potential of Indian VFX industry

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  • From Game of Thrones to Baahubali, VFX has become popular across Indian and international productions.
  • Oscar winning studio Framestore which won the award for films like Blade Runner 2049 and Gravity, is setting up a studio in Mumbai.
  • The Indian visual effects and animation industry will be worth ₹184 billion by 2024, according to KPMG.
From Game of Thrones to India’s very own Baahubali – if there was one thing that held audiences’ attention throughout, apart from the brilliant storytelling of course – it was the visual effects.

The scenes transport you to a place very different from your own and make you believe that the world shown in these shows and movies do exist – and that’s the power of VFX.

While Indian audiences watched GOT, little did they know that Khaleesi’s massive dragons they saw on screen were actually made in India by Prana Studios.


But Indian films are craving for visual effects too, and the scale and size of Indian industry is making global studios set up shop in India.

Oscar winning studio Framestore which won the award for films like Blade Runner 2049 and Gravity, is setting up a studio in Mumbai. It will also hire 500 people. But this is not its first tryst with India.

Framestore earlier made a major investment in Jesh Krishna Murthy’s VFX Studio, Anibrain, in 2017.


“Mumbai has become a centre of excellence in digital filmmaking. There’s a depth of talent that can deliver to the scale of Hollywood with the colour and flair of Bollywood.In terms of visual effects, we will set the standard here as we did in Montreal almost eight years ago,” said Framestore’s founder and CEO, Sir William Sargent.

But Framestore isn’t the first global company to turn to India. In 2018, global animation studio Dreamworks partnered with Technicolor to open DreamWorks Dedicated Unit, Technicolor India (DDU) in Bengaluru.

And there is a reason why these companies are coming to India. The Indian VFX and animation industry is worth a whopping ₹88 billion with VFX alone holding on to ₹68.4 billion, according to a KPMG report.


“The VFX segment in FY19 saw stereo scoping work flowing to India from international markets and a rise in VFX demand, not just from Hindi movies, but even from South Indian films,” said the report.

The South Indian industry which produces a large number of fantasy movies, is early to catch on to this trend. Hyderabad-based Firefly studios was the frontrunner for Baahubali’s visual effects.

The city is home to many other such studios like Makuta Studios, which won National Awards for its work in Magadheera and Eega, and also Green Gold Animation which has gained worldwide recognition for its animation series Chhota Bheem.

In fact, the Telangana government is also setting up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for gaming, visual effects and animation.

Meanwhile in Bengaluru, startups like MRT Studios, Thought Cloud Studios, Videogyan, and Om Studio are making noise with their VFX work in Kannada films.

Unlike South India, visual effects has not yet seen a massive uptake in Bollywood -- although it is used massively for films like Fan, Ra.One etc. Ayan Mukherjee’s next with Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt titled Brahmastra is slated to be India’s biggest VFX superhero movie.

With the hustle in the sector, there are no surprises that the KPMG report predicts the Indian visual effects and animation industry to hit ₹184 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 16%.

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