The man behind the visual effects of movies such as Interstellar and Inception is the CEO of a company that began in 1995 as an editing studio in a Mumbai garage. We chart the rise and rise of Namit Malhotra in this piece.
You could be forgiven for never having heard of Namit Malhotra, Executive Chairman and Global CEO of Prime Focus, a visual effects company that also owns Double Negative, the visual effects and animation company that has won many accolades for working on big-budgeted Hollywood movies such as Inception, Interstellar and Man of Steel.
The story of Prime Focus
The story begins in Mumbai in 1995, when Namit was a young(er) man of 18, at a computer graphics school. He recruited three of his teachers at the institute to found Video Workshop, an editing studio in his father’s garage. In 1997, Video Workshop merged with Video Works, a film production equipment rental business owned by Namit’s father, to give rise to Prime Focus. Under Namit’s leadership, the company grew as a provider of technological creative services such as visual and sound effects for television and movies.
In 2006, Prime Focus became a publicly traded company on the stock exchange, and Namit became its first MD and CEO. In 2009, Prime Focus World used its proprietary technology, View-D, to convert Clash of the Titans in 8 weeks. This led to offers from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Narnia, Wrath of the Titans and Shrek 2.
In 2014, Prime Focus World merged with Double Negative.
Ambition to create the ‘Pixar of India’
Namit takes great pride in being an Indian-owned company, and he says that the next great innovation in the field of Visual Effects will come from China and India. Prime Focus has the ability to be the next Pixar of India, and do similar work as seen in the Marvel movies that have come out of Hollywood.
Though Steven Spielburg and George Lucas recently had grim predictions for Hollywood’s future, Namit thinks that it applies only to passion projects. Spectacle projects are still likely to earn big bucks, and have a global appeal. The amount of visual effects in movies is going to only rise, as we move further and further away from the star system.
Prime Focus is definitely one of the big start-up success stories to come out of India. We wish Namit Malhotra all the very best in his future journey.