The Resilience of Plastics in Indian Action Cinema: A Cinematic Odyssey

"The Resilience of Plastics in Indian Action Cinema: A Cinematic Odyssey" navigates the dynamic relationship between plastics and the vibrant landscape of Indian action movies. From prop fabrication to set design, plastics emerge as silent heroes, shaping the very essence of the cinematic experience. In the realm of prop fabrication, advanced polymer blends contribute to the authenticity of weaponry, exemplified in the colossal battles of "Baahubali: The Beginning." Plastics like thermoplastic polyurethane ensure safety in glass-shattering sequences, as seen in the climactic fights of "Endhiran." The evolution of action movie costumes owes much to the flexibility and durability of plastic-based fabrics. From the futuristic suits of "Dhoom 2" to the incorporation of aramid fibers in "Singham," plastics marry aesthetics with functionality. The synergy extends to special effects and CGI, where plastics enable seamless integration of live-action with digitally rendered elements, as witnessed in the ambitious sequences of "2.0." Plastics take center stage in safety measures, set design, and the creation of elaborate environments, exemplified by the transparent barriers in "Robot" and the lightweight props of "Dhoom 3." As the narrative unfolds, the resilience of plastics lies not only in their material properties but in their transformative role, pushing the boundaries of what's visually possible in Indian action cinema.


Dr. Pravin G. Kadam

11/18/202312 min read

Scientists doing a action movie
Scientists doing a action movie

Indian action cinema, renowned for its vibrant storytelling and high-octane sequences, has undergone a transformative journey with the indomitable presence of plastics. Far beyond being mere props or set elements, plastics have become integral to the very fabric of Indian action movies. This blog post delves into the nuanced ways in which plastics have contributed to the evolution and visual spectacle of Indian action cinema, with examples that showcase their versatile and indispensable role.

Prop Fabrication and Realism:

In Indian action cinema, where larger-than-life heroes engage in gravity-defying stunts, the authenticity of props is paramount. Plastics have emerged as the go-to material for crafting realistic and safe weaponry. One notable example is the use of high-quality polymer blends in the iconic film "Baahubali: The Beginning" (2015). The film's colossal battle scenes required weapons that not only looked formidable but also ensured the safety of the actors. Plastics allowed for the creation of visually convincing weapons, enhancing the overall realism of the epic.

In the midst of these epic battles, the plastic-based weapons wielded by characters became iconic symbols of the film. The intricate details and durability of these props not only added to the visual spectacle but also contributed to the immersive experience for the audience. The resilience of plastics in this aspect transcends mere functionality; it becomes a testament to their role in shaping the visual language of Indian action movies.

Beyond weaponry, plastics like thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) have been instrumental in crafting breakaway glass for intense fight sequences. In the Rajinikanth-starrer "Enthiran" (2010), the climactic fight scenes featuring glass-shattering stunts relied on specialized plastic materials, showcasing the role of plastics in ensuring both realism and safety.

The evolution of prop fabrication in Indian action cinema, marked by the use of advanced plastics, has not only elevated the visual quality but has also provided a safer environment for actors to engage in daring stunts and intense combat sequences.

Costuming and Flexibility:

The evolution of action movie costumes in Indian cinema owes much to the flexibility and durability of plastic-based fabrics. Heroes clad in sleek, form-fitting suits often incorporate plastic elements to facilitate dynamic movements. A prime example is seen in the film "Dhoom 2" (2006), where Hrithik Roshan's character dons a high-tech, futuristic suit. Plastics, including polyurethane blends, not only contributed to the visual appeal of the costume but also allowed for the agility required in gravity-defying chase sequences.

The incorporation of plastics in costume design goes beyond aesthetics; it addresses the practical demands of action sequences. The seamless integration of plastics into costumes ensures that actors can move with agility and perform intricate stunts without compromising their safety. The superheroic personas brought to life on the screen are not just defined by their powers but also by the materials that enable actors to embody these characters convincingly.

Furthermore, aramid fibers, a type of high-performance polymer, have found their way into Indian action movie costumes for added protection. In the film "Singham" (2011), Ajay Devgn's character, an upright police officer, sports a costume incorporating aramid fibers, blending aesthetics with safety, and exemplifying the marriage of plastics and action movie costuming.

The resilience of plastics in this context lies in their ability to enhance both the visual and functional aspects of costumes, contributing to the overall impact of characters in Indian action cinema.

Special Effects and CGI:

Plastics play a pivotal role in the realm of computer-generated imagery (CGI) through the creation of green screens. Indian filmmakers, much like their Hollywood counterparts, utilize specially manufactured plastic fabric for green screens, providing a consistent and easily separable background color during post-production.

In the magnum opus "2.0" (2018), starring Rajinikanth, plastics were crucial in creating green screens for the film's ambitious CGI sequences. The film seamlessly integrated live-action performances with digitally rendered elements, where plastics played an unseen yet vital role in achieving visual coherence.

The collaboration between plastics and CGI technology in Indian action cinema represents a convergence of traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge digital techniques. Plastics, in the form of green screens, act as canvases that enable filmmakers to transport audiences into fantastical worlds while maintaining a seamless connection with the live-action elements.

This synergy between plastics and CGI not only expands the visual possibilities for filmmakers but also showcases the adaptability of plastics to the evolving landscape of filmmaking technologies. The resilience of plastics here lies in their ability to seamlessly integrate into the digital realm, enhancing the overall cinematic experience.

Safety Measures:

Behind every daring stunt in Indian action cinema lies a web of safety measures, and plastics are at the forefront of ensuring the well-being of performers. Thermoplastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) are commonly used in the creation of impact-resistant safety equipment. The film "Krrish" (2006), featuring Hrithik Roshan as a superhero, utilized ABS in the construction of safety gear for the high-flying and physically demanding sequences.

Plastics also find application in scenes involving glass breakage, minimizing the risk of injury to actors. The use of breakaway plastics in the climax of "Singham Returns" (2014) showcases how safety measures, seamlessly incorporated through plastics, enable intense action without compromising the well-being of the cast and crew.

The incorporation of plastics in safety equipment and breakaway elements not only highlights their role in minimizing risks but also emphasizes their behind-the-scenes contribution to the dynamic and physically demanding nature of Indian action cinema. Plastics, in this context, act as silent guardians, ensuring that the spectacle on screen is achieved without sacrificing the safety of those involved in its creation.

Set Design and Durability:

Plastics contribute significantly to the construction of elaborate sets that withstand the physical demands of Indian action filmmaking. Polycarbonate, a transparent and impact-resistant plastic, is often used for creating futuristic panels or transparent barriers. The film "Robot" (2010), where Rajinikanth's character interacts with a robot army, features sets with intricate plastic details, highlighting the role of plastics in creating visually stunning and durable environments.

Lightweight and durable plastics such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) are employed in the creation of large-scale props and set pieces. In "Dhoom 3" (2013), where the narrative demanded spectacular heist sequences, EPS played a crucial role in constructing lightweight yet visually impactful elements, emphasizing the adaptability of plastics to diverse set design requirements.

The resilience of plastics in set design lies in their ability to withstand the physical demands of action filmmaking while offering a versatile and visually appealing canvas for the narrative to unfold. Sets crafted from plastics not only contribute to the immersive experience for the audience but also provide a practical solution for filmmakers dealing with dynamic and high-energy scenes.

One landmark film that showcased early uses of plastics in action sequences:

During the early 1960s, the film industry experienced a period of technological innovation and experimentation, and the James Bond franchise emerged as a trailblazer in integrating these advancements into its productions. One particularly notable instance was the 1962 film "Dr. No," the inaugural installment in the iconic James Bond series starring Sean Connery as the suave and daring British secret agent.

In "Dr. No," the filmmakers, led by director Terence Young, ventured into new territory by incorporating plastics into the creation of special effects, marking a pivotal moment in the intersection of cinema and synthetic materials. A memorable scene in the film showcases this pioneering use of plastics when James Bond, portrayed by Sean Connery, encounters a tarantula. Notably, the spider in this sequence was reportedly crafted from plastic.

While this early use of plastics in "Dr. No" may not signify an extensive reliance on synthetic materials throughout the entire film, it serves as a symbolic representation of the era's cinematic experimentation. The decision to employ plastic for a crucial prop, such as the tarantula, demonstrates a forward-thinking approach by the filmmakers, embracing the capabilities of emerging materials to enhance the visual impact of their storytelling.

The integration of a plastic tarantula into the film's narrative was likely motivated by the desire to achieve a heightened sense of realism and control over the on-screen action. Plastics, with their malleability and versatility, allowed filmmakers to create a lifelike yet manageable prop for a scene that demanded precision and safety. This innovative use of plastic in "Dr. No" laid the groundwork for subsequent advancements in special effects and prop fabrication within the action movie genre.

Moreover, beyond its immediate impact on the film, the plastic tarantula in "Dr. No" reflected a broader cultural fascination with the possibilities presented by synthetic materials during the 1960s. The era marked a shift in societal attitudes towards plastics, viewing them not merely as utilitarian substances but as tools for creative expression and innovation. Filmmakers began to recognize the potential of plastics in shaping the visual language of cinema, leading to a gradual integration of synthetic materials into various facets of filmmaking.

While "Dr. No" may not stand as the sole pioneer in using plastics in action sequences, it undeniably contributed to the evolving relationship between filmmaking and synthetic materials. This landmark film serves as a cinematic time capsule, capturing a moment when the film industry embraced the exciting potential of plastics, setting the stage for future advancements that would redefine the boundaries of visual storytelling in action movies.

One landmark Indian film that showcased the most use of plastics in action sequences:

Determining which iconic Indian action movie made the most use of plastic is challenging, as detailed information about the specific materials used in film production is not always disclosed publicly. However, one film that stands out for its extensive use of special effects and innovative props, which might include plastic elements, is "Robot" (2010), also known as "Enthiran" in Tamil.

"Robot," directed by S. Shankar and starring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai, is a science fiction film that features groundbreaking visual effects and elaborate action sequences. The film involves the creation of a humanoid robot, Chitti, played by Rajinikanth, and explores the consequences of endowing it with human emotions.

Given the futuristic theme and the need for advanced special effects, it's plausible that "Robot" incorporated a variety of materials, including plastics, in the creation of props, set pieces, and costumes. The film's grandiose sets and high-tech visual elements suggest a reliance on cutting-edge technologies, which might involve the use of synthetic materials like plastics to achieve the desired visual impact.

While "Robot" is a notable example, the specifics of plastic usage in film production are often closely guarded by the industry. Other iconic Indian action movies may also have made extensive use of plastics for props, costumes, and special effects, showcasing the dynamic relationship between the film industry and innovative materials.

Indian Prop Houses and Set Design Companies:

  1. R. K. Studios
    R. K. Studios, established by Raj Kapoor, has been a prominent player in Bollywood's film production history. Known for its iconic sets and prop departments, it has contributed significantly to the visual appeal of numerous Indian films, including action genres.

  2. Ramoji Film City Set Construction
    Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad is a vast film studio complex with an extensive set construction department. It provides state-of-the-art sets for various film genres, including action. Its expertise in creating realistic and grandiose sets has made it a preferred choice for many Indian filmmakers.

  1. Filmistan Studio Prop Department
    Filmistan Studio, with its rich legacy, houses a dedicated prop department that caters to the specific needs of film productions. Its contribution to set design and prop fabrication has played a crucial role in shaping the visual narrative of Indian cinema.

  1. Mehboob Studio Set Design
    Mehboob Studio, based in Mumbai, boasts a skilled set design team that collaborates with filmmakers to create captivating environments. Its set design department has been instrumental in enhancing the visual appeal of various film genres, including action.

  1. Yash Raj Films Set Construction
    Yash Raj Films, a powerhouse in the Indian film industry, operates an exceptional set construction department. Renowned for its high-production values, YRF sets have been a cornerstone in delivering visually stunning action sequences in Bollywood.

Indian Specialized Prop and Costume Fabricators:

  1. Creative Art Studio
    Creative Art Studio specializes in crafting bespoke props and costumes for the film industry. Known for its attention to detail, the studio collaborates with filmmakers to bring unique and visually striking elements to the screen.

  1. Indian Film Props:
    Indian Film Props is a dedicated fabrication studio catering to the film industry's prop needs. With expertise in creating custom props, it contributes to the visual storytelling of Indian cinema across various genres, including action.

  1. PropMaster Film Services
    PropMaster Film Services excels in providing a wide range of prop solutions for film productions. Its specialized services include the fabrication of realistic and functional props, contributing to the immersive experience of action-packed sequences.

  1. Bollywood PropMaker
    Bollywood PropMaker specializes in crafting props tailored to the requirements of Bollywood productions. With a focus on authenticity and creativity, the studio has become a go-to destination for filmmakers seeking unique and impactful props.

  1. Fantasy Costumes
    Fantasy Costumes is a leading name in the creation of specialized costumes for the film industry. With a focus on fantasy and action genres, the studio collaborates with filmmakers to design costumes that not only enhance characters but also withstand the rigors of intense action sequences.

Academic institutes in India with notable film or technology departments:

  1. Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune: 
    FTII is a premier institute for film education in India. While it may not have a specific focus on plastics, it offers courses covering various aspects of filmmaking, and research projects within its departments may delve into innovative technologies used in the film industry.

  1. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay - IDC School of Design: 
    IIT Bombay has a School of Design known as IDC (Industrial Design Centre), which focuses on design-related research. Researchers and students in this department might explore the intersection of design, materials, and technology in various applications, including filmmaking.

  1. National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad: 
    NID is a premier design institute in India. While it primarily focuses on design across various disciplines, including product design, it might have researchers exploring innovative materials used in different industries, potentially including the film sector.

Predicting the future usage of plastic in Indian action movies:

  1. Advanced Special Effects:
    With continuous advancements in special effects and CGI technology, the usage of plastics in action movies is likely to become more sophisticated. Filmmakers may increasingly rely on cutting-edge plastics and polymer blends to create realistic and visually stunning props, sets, and costumes.

  1. Incorporation of Sustainable Materials:
    As global awareness of environmental issues grows, the film industry, including Indian cinema, might witness a shift toward sustainable practices. Filmmakers may explore the use of eco-friendly plastics or alternative materials in an effort to reduce environmental impact.

  1. Integration of Smart Materials:
    The future may see the integration of smart materials and technologies into action movie production. This could include plastics with embedded sensors or interactive features, enhancing the immersive experience for the audience.

  1. Increased Customization:
    Filmmakers might increasingly seek customized plastic solutions to meet the unique demands of action sequences. This could involve collaborations with specialized prop houses and fabrication studios that excel in creating tailor-made plastic elements.

  1. Focus on Durability and Safety:
    The use of plastics in action movies will likely continue to prioritize durability and safety. Thermoplastics known for impact resistance and other safety features may become standard in the creation of props and safety gear for intense action sequences.


In the tapestry of Indian action cinema, plastics have woven a narrative of innovation, safety, and visual spectacle. From prop fabrication that enhances realism to costumes that marry aesthetics with functionality, plastics have become silent but indispensable architects of the cinematic experience. The collaborative dance between Indian action movies and plastics is a testament to the material's adaptability and resilience, evolving alongside the dynamic narratives and evolving demands of the industry.

As Indian filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of what is visually possible, plastics will undoubtedly remain a steadfast ally, contributing to the magic of action movie storytelling. From the grandeur of period epics to the futuristic worlds of sci-fi adventures, plastics in Indian action cinema are not just props – they are integral components that elevate the cinematic experience to new heights.

This cinematic odyssey of plastics in Indian action movies is marked by their resilience to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry. From the battlefields of historical epics to the sleek laboratories of futuristic sci-fi, plastics have adapted and thrived, becoming an indispensable part of the visual language of Indian action cinema. As the industry continues to evolve, the resilience of plastics will undoubtedly ensure their enduring presence, shaping the spectacle and magic of Indian action cinema for generations to come.