Bollywood Backstage: Everything About The Fake Horses In Films

Watch the magic of Animatronics being used in films nowadays

2 min read

Animatronics is the use of motors to animate a replica of a human or an animal, or bring lifelike characteristics to an otherwise inanimate object. Makes sense? Easier version: It is all the fake animals people ride in movies like Manikarnika. Actors aren’t just born with horse-riding skills! Check out this uber-realistic looking elephant, for example:

We met with Prasun Basu and his partner Gauri Tiwari who run an animatronics studio in Mumbai. Prasun spoke about the need for these life-like robots:

“As our filmmaking becomes more and more complex in terms of camera movements, there are all different kinds of rigs and all of that, sometimes it’s very difficult to have an unpredictable animal on set.”
Prasun Basu

Prasun also spoke about how he got into the world of fake horses and elephants due to lack of resources available to him in production design:

“We were doing production design for ad films and we would often face a situation where we would want a certain kind of prop which we would have to get from abroad as we couldn’t find a good vendor here. So that is when we started this.”
Prasun Basu
Kangana rides an animatronics horse in Manikarnika. 
Kangana rides an animatronics horse in Manikarnika. 
(Photo: Still from Manikarnika)

He pointed out how animatronics is spreading like wild-fire and becoming the first choice for film-makers.

“A lot of Indian films today are using animatronics. To name a few, Manikarnika, Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Taanaji and Panipat. And mind you, this is not space rocket-level engineering, this is very basic.”
Prasun Basu

While animatronics is rapidly growing, it remains to be seen if it could ever take over the fluidity of CGI. What do you think the future of animatronics is going to be?

Producer: Vishnu Venugopalan
Sanjoy Deb
Assistant Camera:
Gautam Sharma
Veeru Krishan Mohan

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