The mega-budget superhero movie, Ra.One, is Shah Rukh Khan’s most ambitious project to date. He is trying to make it a world-class film, but at the same time he feels that Indian filmmakers cannot compete with the standard of technology used by international moviemakers.
Khan makes sure not to offend anyone and praises the Indian film industry for their achievements in writing and production. “But, having said that, when it comes to technology in films like Batman, Superman and Spiderman, I don’t think we should even try to compare ourselves to that standard yet. An industry such as Hollywood, for example, is way ahead of us and has much better resources,” the 45-year-old actor told the media.
Ra.One is directed by Anubhav Sinha and Khan plays the superhero in the film. His costume, described as stiff and heavy, has been designed by a team of specialists in Los Angeles.
“It’s fortunate that I am able to take Ra.One to a certain level. I don’t have the resources to take it to a bigger level yet, but if the market for Indian films increases, we can easily do it.” said Khan, who is also co-producing the film with Eros Entertainment.
The budget of the film is said to be over INRS 1,000 million and is replete with visual effects. For the first time in India, the Dolby surround 7.1 system is reportedly being installed in several multiplexes in the run-up to the film’s release.
The technical team of Ra.One, including Oscar-winning sound engineer Resul Pookutty, and Khan will be in Los Angeles this month to work on the special sound effects.
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur has already showered praise for the film after viewing its 30-second trailer: “Ra.One has raised the bar on VFX technology in Indian cinema.”
The film, which also stars Arjun Rampal and Kareena Kapoor, is set for a release in the Diwali season on October 26.
Talking about his love for Bollywood, Khan said: “I have worked in this industry for 20 years now and I owe everything to it. This technology is my way of giving something back.”
“I hope the scope and audiences of Indian films increases and we get more money to make films as wonderful as Iron Man and Spiderman,” he added.
As far as the Oscars are concerned, Khan does not have any illusions. “I don’t think a movie as commercial as Ra.One will be nominated for an Oscar. However, I don’t really know what the selection process is. I don’t think we get to choose which film should be a contender for the Oscars.”
In 2006, Khan’s earlier production venture, Paheli was short-listed as India’s official entry to the Oscars by the Film Federation of India. “I was shocked when Paheli was selected,” he said.
Where the Indian awards are concerned, however, Khan resorts to his trademark witty self and jokingly remarks: “I think I’ll be happy with one or two Filmfare awards for the VFX in my film.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2011.