In 2009, when Avatar and a spate of Hollywood action, adventure and fantasy films released in India in three-dimensional technology (3D) format, the audience was fascinated. Now the bug seems to have bitten Bollywood. Several films, including Dangerous Ishhq, Raaz 3, ABCD and Suparn Verma’s untitled project for Kumar Mangat, are being shot in 3D.
The audience is excited. The realness 3D technology gives to a film can take it to a whole new level. As student Heena Kokel says: “I saw the 3D promo of Dangerous Ishhq and it looked awesome.”
But not many theatres support the technology. So why is Bollywood fascinated by it? “Adventure, supernatural and action spectaculars lend themselves to 3D, so shooting on 3D can be a boon,” says Suparn Verma, who directed Acid Factory (2009).
The technology can make a film immersive, feels Vikram Bhatt, director of the 3D films like Haunted (2011), Dangerous Ishhq and Raaz 3. “Dangerous Ishhq is about a woman who is revisiting 500 years of her past lives,” he says, adding, “3D enhances the experience.”
Since most theatres are not 3D equipped, many filmmakers are shooting their films as usual, but converting some prints to 3D, as Don 2 (2011) and RA.One (2011) did. But this doesn’t work, says Bhatt. “A converted film is like a fairytale books with cutouts. 3D has millions of layers as opposed to the 8-10 layers in a converted film.”
And viewers can tell the difference. “I felt cheated watching Don 2 masquerade as a 3D film,” says film buff Ruchika Agarwal. “Converting it to 3D didn’t add anything to the experience. I am looking forward to seeing Indian cinema in 3D, but only if they use the technology to take the story forward, not as a gimmick.”
Indian filmmakers do not shoot in 3D because it needs extra effort, explains Bhatt. “You need to learn the technology and get specific crew and equipment. Plus, it means spending 25 per cent more time on the set.” Shirish Kunder points out that it’s difficult to ask actors to give extra time to shoot in 3D.
However, with the number of 3D-equipped theatres growing, things are looking up. “When Haunted released, there were just 170 screens,” Bhatt says. “For Dangerous Ishhq, I have 400. I hope the number will go up to 1,000 in the next two years.” Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax, says, “It will. The flow of 3D English content is growing so we already have 42 screens that are 3D equipped and plan to add 75 more.”
What is 3D?
To put it simply, what you see with two eyes is 3D. If you were to shut one eye and look at life, that’s 2D. When you make a film in 2D, you are not seeing things with two different perspectives, you are only seeing with one eye. When you wiggle both the eyes and concentrate at your fingers, in a while you will find that the finger is moving. That is 3D because that is how both eyes perceive the fingers. The brain maps both the visions and creates 3D. This depth is unique to shooting and is not possible when you do a conversion.
Films being made in 3D
Vikram Bhatt’s Dangerous Ishhq starring Karisma Kapoor and Raaz 3 starring Emraan Hashmi
Remo D’Souza’s ABCD, a dance film starring newcomers
Ram Gopal Varma is reportedly planning a 3D horror film with Kangana Ranaut.
Rajinikanth in his daughter, Soundarya’s mythological 3D animation flick, Hara
Suparn Verma’s untitled supernatural flick for Kumar Mangat
Shah Rukh Khan’s Don 2 and Ra.One were converted to 3D.
Akshay Kumar will be seen in Shirish Kunder’s Joker, along with Sonakshi Sinha.