Namit Malhotra is the Indian CEO of London-headquartered visual effects (VFX) major DNEG, the team which recently bagged an Oscar for the smash hit ‘Dune’ – its seventh since ‘Inception’ in 2011. Besides the Timothee Chalamet thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve, DNEG was also in the running with Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond in ‘No Time To Die’ – a first for a Bond film in many years.
Here, the pioneer in the field of visual effects, animation and stereo conversion tells iGlobal about his journey from a small garage in to the Oscars red carpet, his Bollywood family roots and his company’s success being a reflection of India’s growing digital prowess.
What in your view is the secret of DNEG's success?
Here at DNEG, our guiding principle is to work towards a goal to transform the future of storytelling.
DNEG has been investing, evolving, and growing to add a new layer of content creation at every step in the industry. DNEG’s technology stack demonstrates close to 20 years of innovation and excellence.
With our experience and R&D capacity, we’ve been drawing the world's top creative minds who understand DNEG's passion for enabling the creative process, a feat we achieve through our engineering and artistic capacity often resulting in ground-breaking outcomes.
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What’s behind the Oscars 2022 success story?
I see 'Dune' in a different light. I genuinely believe what the has been able to create as per his vision, has never so seamlessly integrated to this level. I have never felt so strongly about the art form and the seamlessness of what we have been able to deliver, it is mind-blowing.
When you watch 'Dune', you are left astonished by the sheer seamless, integrated experience it has to offer. I have been talking about how there is a pre-Dune and a post-Dune world in the VFX space simply because of what we were able to achieve.
With respect to ‘No Time To Die’ – James Bond is my favourite of all time and is one of the major characters that I grew up following. For the first time, after four-five decades we are seeing a James Bond film has been nominated for the VFX category at the Oscars.
To get into the line to get the nomination is very, very hard. That is a big step forward, knowing that we had a different approach to visual effects when compared to ‘Dune’.
Does DNEG signify a trend of India's own digital story?
India’s digital prowess has been acknowledged far and beyond the projects that have been going on since over a decade.
DNEG does help validate the creative talent pool and how technological advances can be used to create a collaborative effort while creating quality content on a global scale.
DNEG’s story and significance lie in its people and the multiple sites working in tandem with each other. All of that can’t be achieved if we don’t have the technical (digital) infrastructure to support the creative processes.
On a personal note, what attracted you to this field?
Being the third generation of my family into films, my career story could be a little surprising to many. I started my professional career out of a garage in Mumbai back in 1995 when computers were not that advanced.
Initially, I thought my father wanted to dissuade me from my agenda (of becoming a director) but eventually, I realised that he wanted me to do something more structured. From such humble beginnings to leading a global conglomerate I am incredibly grateful to my father for his faith in me.
Between 2006-2007, we made a modest start and bagged a few through our perseverance and have never looked back ever since.
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What's coming up next – the ones to watch from DNEG?
While we continue to push the creative envelope, there are a plethora of projects our teams are working on, closely with creators to bring an immersive cinematic experience for the audience, which includes ‘The Last Of Us’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Aquaman 2’ and many more.