Hyderabad: If Baahubali set a benchmark impossible to beat in the near future, it was thanks to the development in technology. The larger-than-life waterfalls and the grandiose battle sequences were all made possible by use of digital technology.
For such progress in films, one should credit Kotha Basi Reddy as the man who introduced digital technology to films in India in the year 2003. He brought Digital Colour Grading Equipment (Base Light) from London.
He brought this equipment with a huge investment. He is fondly called ‘Digital King’ in the industry. The company he found, Digiquest, is the pioneer in digital filmmaking in India.
Digiquest served more than 400 films in terms of digital production till date, a record not many can boast of in India, said Radhakrishna, a longtime associate and disciple of K Basi Reddy.
“There was a lot of resistance. I struggled to push the digital technology in filmmaking. I suffered massive financial losses. I took the burden of educating people about the benefits of it. Now, I feel jubilant that digital technology is behind most of the films being made. It is a mission accomplished and it feels satisfying,” Basi Reddy told reporters at a press conference in the city.
“I reached out to all film industries — Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Oriya, Hindi and even Bengali film industry,” he added.
When you say digital, it is Digiquest, said CV Rao Annapurna Studios post-production general manager.
Recognising his visionary thinking and introduction of digital technology in India, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) made him a part of their think tank and a national media and entertainment committee member.
Basi Reddy also worked hard to get industry recognition for AVCGI — Animation, VFX, Comic & Gaming Industry of Telangana, which he was instrumental in founding. AVCGI is a non-profit association formulated for artists. It aims to rope in the entire animation, visual effects, comic and gaming industry under one roof.
“Film causes a lot of damage to the environment. Also, it was a burden on the foreign exchange of the country. Digital studios helped save money on foreign exchange and cost of film production. And, they also democratised the industry. That is my contribution to the industry,” said Basi Reddy.
“We pride ourselves on being the first to bring in digital technology. We have scripted a new page in the history of Indian cinema by transforming from analog to digital,” he added.
Equipped with a state-of-the-art production studio house and excellent facilities, Digiquest Academy nurtures students in Digital Film Making.
“‘Sontha Ooru’ was the first film I made using this promising digital technology. That film bagged four Gold Nandi Awards. Then we made an English movie 7 Days in Slow Motion, which bagged 17 international awards. Subsequently, we also made Boxoffice and Oka Romantic Crime Katha. We have worked for several other movies, such as Magadheerva, Baahubali 1 & 2, Eega, Kick, Katamarayudu, Soggade Chinni Nayana, Oosaravelli, Kithakithalu and many others. I like digital technology. I have a dream to produce an Oscar award-winning movie. That is my life’s goal. We are currently planning that project,” said Basi Reddy.
“My ultimate vision is to make Hyderabad a world class digital film and entertainment hub. And Bahubali success adds to my mission,” he added.
He commented on the name of the Telugu film industry also. “Tollywood is the name of Telugu cinema, but it is used for Bengali cinema too. Technically, Tollywood refers to Bengali film industry as Bengali cinema is based in Tolly Gunj, a place in Kolkata, and hence the name Tollywood. Since Baahubali brought a good name for the city, I propose ‘Hyderwood’. We must all work to popularise it,” Basi Reddy said.