How VFX transforms Shahrukh Khan into a dwarf in his movie Zero by Ritabrata Saha

Did You Knew

Watched the teaser of ‘Zero’? Who hasn’t!

The trailer of ‘Zero’ seems to be Shahrukh Khan’s attempt at trying something out of the box. According to the director, Zero narrates the journey of a guy who reaches New York from Meerut despite his inabilities.

Now comes the major question. How was 5.5 ft. tall SRK changed to a dwarf? Visual Effects did that!

There is a team of VFX artists working behind the scenes to make this transformation flawless. Comparing it with ‘Bahubali’ that had 4500-5000 VFX shots ‘Zero’ exceeds them by a thousand more.

Let us see how the VFX team was able to make SRK short:

Use of forced perspective

You cannot really figure out that SRK is a dwarf until there are people in the background to have a reference. It is like an optical illusion that makes things appear closer, farther, bigger, or smaller than they actually are.

Some well-known films, like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Harry Potter’ used this technique to make characters like the Hobbits and Hagrid look smaller or bigger than the rest of the people.

Double scales

This technique challenges filmmakers with physical hard work along with digital efforts. This involves taking two shots, one with SRK in it and the other without him and compositing them at different scales to make a single image, with the SRK shot made to look smaller.

However the real credit goes to Ketan Yadav (CEO), Harish (COO) and 450+ talented artists of Red Chillies Entertainment. Red Chillies has used special effects to screen SRK as a dwarf but could they exactly make him match to the physical traits of a dwarf?

CG tracking

In case Zero, SRK was often shrunk with the help of tracking the body muscles using CG trackers. CG Trackers are pasted on the body of the actor during shooting scenes. The CG team then make a matte image and create a 3D image from the previously filmed scenes.

It is not the first time that a star with a handsome height has acted as a dwarf in Indian movies. In 1989, Tamil actor Kamal Hassan acted as a Dwarf in his movie Apporva Sagodhaargal without the use of any advanced technology. Director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao after many years finally revealed how the seemingly impossible task was achieved. A pair of special shoes was prepared to be attached to the folded knees and to give it more originality and an artificial leg was prepared with strings attached to it.

This was all before the dawn of CGI and VFX techniques.

Do you think that SRK’s Zero will be a new milestone in the history of Indian VFX and CGI? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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