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Can you recall the number of 3D films that have released this year? Forget the year, at least this month? It will be difficult, considering the fact that there has been at least one a week; on average. Ever since Avatar shook the global box office late last year, there seems to have been an almost wild scramble from Hollywood film makers to turn their respective films into the 3D format, irrespective of whether they planned to do so when they began working on their project. It can be safely said that at least 20% of the Hollywood releases in India this year have had a 3D format; even films like Step Up which have no great effect upon being projected in 3D have not been left alone.

This is neither good nor bad; it is just a passing fad which will fade off sooner rather than later until another ‘Avatar-like’ phenomenon comes along to reignite the craze in the format once again. But, one thing that has grabbed notice is the fact that there seems to be a common perception of 3D filming and projection being a highly innovative and complex enterprise which began only recently and is still out of reach of the Indian film industry.

Well, to demystify things; 3D cinema has existed since the 1950s and was a major craze during the one or two decades of that period. Yes, the techniques and technology used in making and projecting 3D cinema has changed and evolved over the decades, but the concept per se is not something daringly new. One needs to be a complete technical professional to fully understand the process behind the making and projection of a 3D feature film. But, from the little information that is available through the internet and other sources, it can be said that 3D cinema seems to be more of a technological game on the projection side rather than on the actual production side. It is more of a post-production game than anything else which is why films not originally intended to be in 3D are also converted to the format, like Titanic which is now being converted (the degree of success or effectiveness is another debate). In short, 3D seems to be all about the technology of creating optical illusion in theaters rather than any great changes made while actually shooting a film. Of course, if 3D plans are made well in advance, then shots can be composed in ways such that the final effect looks even more pronounced (which allows us to identify a well planned and shot 3D movie from an ‘afterthought 3D movie’.).

The second myth which one seeks to bust is that ‘the Indian industry is not up to 3D requirements’. Well, that is nothing but a false notion developed by the lack of 3D ventures from Indian cinema over the past two decades; reasons unknown. But, the fact that the Indian industry is technologically, creatively and infrastructurally up to the requirements of the format was proved way back in 1984 when ‘My Dear Kuttichathan’ released and made waves all over India. The fact that it retains its appeal even today (it is getting ready for a re-release) is testimonial to its quality and it remains (strictly a personal opinion) one of the most imaginative use of the possibilities of 3D ever seen on screen.

In conclusion; we all love 3D, even though we know that we are being duped into false perceptions of depth by projection techniques and vision distorting glasses. But, it has been there almost ever since India became independent and the Indian industry definitely has got what it takes to produce some immensely enjoyable 3D cinema. Sooner rather than later – let’s hope.
Tags : My Dear Kuttichathan, Avatar
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