The man I’m about to meet has received many awards in his career – both in Bollywood and Hollywood. Namit Malhotra is the founder and global CEO of Prime Focus, the world’s largest integrated media services company with clients ranging from James Cameron to George Lucas. They do everything from advertising to television post-production and from visual effects (VFX) to 3D conversion across the world. Globally, the company employs more than 5,500 people, with studios in various cities.
Namit is based in LA, but has just arrived in Mumbai to open a new state-of-the-art post-production facility here. He’s asked me to come and meet him there.
“I always dreamt of becoming a filmmaker,” he says as he takes me on a tour of the brand-new facility. “My father was a film producer and my grandfather was a cinematographer. So I’m the third generation in the entertainment business.“
“I heard your flagship studio is in LA,” I say. “How did you break into Hollywood?”
“In 2007 we bought Frantic Films and Post Logic in Los Angeles,” says Namit. “Both of these companies had good credentials in Hollywood. We had gotten involved in Journey 3D and we’d also done a considerable amount of work on Avatar. Following our success with Avatar and other work we started to gain traction among the studios and that prompted Warner Bros to reach out to us. We did a very good job for them.”
“What innovation did you bring to Hollywood?”
“We were the first in the world to convert an entire movie into 3D: Clash of the Titans,” says Namit. “It took seven weeks. There was a lot of skepticism around the fact that the conversion had been done so quickly, but the studio was very happy with the job.
“This year we surprised the industry when the news broke of VFX house Double Negative’s merger with Prime Focus World, followed by the acquisition of Reliance’s Film & Media business.”
“How did all that happen so fast?”
“We always wanted to break into the top league in Hollywood VFX and we wanted to accelerate,” says Namit. “We had worked with Double Negative before and that went very well, so…
“With Reliance Capital, an equity investor, we looked at combining the film and media services business of Reliance Media Works with ours. Our joint goal is to optimize resources and create greater value and new opportunities for all stakeholders involved.”
“So what is the secret of your success?” I ask. “Are you a creative person, a technical person or are you more business minded?”
“It’s a combination, I think. I’m both a right brainer and a left brainer,” he says. “I can talk to creative people and understand their way of thinking. And add my own creativity. But at the same time, I know the technical requirements to achieve the creative result. Last but not least: I’m good with figures and can oversee financial implications.”
“Your work is fascinating,” I say. “I’d like to learn more about it, so I have a proposition: I’m on a trip around the world, meeting ‘people with a vision’ and ‘brands with a purpose’. From here I go to Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan… and somewhere in January I’ll touch down in LA. How about meeting again in your flagship studio over there?”
“Sounds good,” says Namit. “I can show you the work we did on Sin City 2 which is our largest VFX commission to date. I think you’ll like it.”
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