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Into the third dimension

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FEAST FOR THE EYES Avatar, which took 14 years to make, marks Cameron's return to direction after Titanic
FEAST FOR THE EYES Avatar, which took 14 years to make, marks Cameron's return to direction after Titanic

APARNA NARRAIN

Theatres in the city are going 3D coinciding with the release of James Cameron's visual-effects extravaganza, Avatar, writes APARNA NARRAIN

F or everyone who watched “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” with the fervent hope that it would feel like pizzas and hot dogs were raining on their heads or saw “A Christmas Carol” hoping to shrink back in the interests of self-preservation every time the Ghost of Christmas Past threw its chains about, it is time to rejoice. Come December 18 and most of the multiplexes and a few single screen theatres in Bangalore will go 3D, including Fame, PVR, Fun, Urvashi and Mukunda.

The move to go 3D coincides with the release of “Avatar”, James Cameron's much-hyped $230 million sci-fi epic. Urvashi Cinema was the first to get off the mark by going 3D on December 4 with shows of “A Christmas Carol” and “The Final Destination”. According to Amit Gowda, owner of Urvashi Cinema, it is the first cinema to go 3D in Karnataka.

He says, ‘“Avatar' is a multi-million venture that is supposed to change film-making. If you want to get a proper feel of it you have to watch it in 3D.” He adds, “18,000 screens worldwide have been converted to 3D just for this film. We have tied up with the XpanD brand. The technology used in the cinema is active shutter technology and we have spent nearly a crore on it. In addition we are installing a pearl-based screen at a cost of Rs. 13 lakh. Urvashi is the first cinema in India to use this technology.”

“We want to give something fantastic to the audience and we want all kinds of people to come and watch the film. We have tried to keep ticket prices as low as possible. The cheapest ticket is likely to cost Rs. 180 and the most expensive Rs. 250. The night show will be 2D for people who do not want to spend that much.”

As for the audience reaction to the 3D effect, Gowda says, “Collections were tremendous for ‘A Christmas Carol'.”

Owing to the high costs, multiplexes are not converting all screens to 3D. Rishi Negi, CEO of Fame India Ltd. says, “Initially, one auditorium will be converted to 3D in Fame Shankar Nag Chitra Mandira and in Fame Lido respectively. The technology is very expensive costing in excess of Rs. 50 lakh.”

As for the ticket prices, Mr. Negi says they will cost a little more. “The cheapest ticket will cost Rs. 150 and the most expensive will cost Rs. 350. A refundable security deposit of Rs. 100 will be collected for the 3D glasses which cost Rs. 150 each.”

At Fun cinemas and PVR only one auditorium will be converted to 3D. Vishal Kapur, COO of Fun Multiplex Pvt. Ltd., says, “One auditorium with 450 seats will be converted to 3D.” He adds, “Tickets will cost a little more between Rs. 300 and Rs. 350 inclusive of the glasses.”

Amitabh Vardhan, CEO, PVR Cinemas, says, “Only Gold Class will be converted to 3D as of now. We will convert some other screens later.”

Talking of the plus points in the technology, Rajkumar V.T., projectionist at Fame Shankar Nag Chitra Mandira says: “The 3D system has several advantages. Loading the film will take only 10 minutes whereas loading the reel takes at least 45 minutes. Also now films won't be delayed and it won't get cut midway.”

Bangloreans are suitably thrilled about going into a new dimension. Veronica D.B. who works in IIM-B says, “I am definitely looking forward to seeing ‘Avatar'. I watched the first Indian 3D film ‘My Dear Kutti Chathan', when I was in college and I still remember it. Watching a 3D film makes you feel like you're in the middle of what's happening. Everything feels so real. There was a scene in the film where a cherry topples from an ice cream cone and everyone in the theatre stretched out their hand to catch it!”

Rishika Mudappa, who works in HSBC agrees, “I'm looking forward to watching ‘Avatar' because it will be a nice change from the usual fare.” She adds, “It's a good decision to convert cinemas to 3D in the city because a lot of new films are being made in that format.”

On the other hand, Cyril Samuel, a student at Christ University, is not very keen on watching “Avatar”. He says, “I'm not very excited about the film. I've seen film outworks in 3D before since I'm learning about it. Besides my friends who are abroad have told me the film is not that great, so that has influenced my opinion as well. But I do think it's good that cinemas are going 3D.”

And will “Avatar” be a hit? Gowda says they expect good returns. “Around 30 3D films are expected to be released next year. 3D is the future of entertainment. It won't just fade away.”

Watch it

* One screen each in Fame, PVR (Gold Class) and Fun and single-screen theatres Urvashi and Mukunda are going 3D

* Urvashi Cinema was the first to get off the mark by going 3D on December 4

* Ticket prices range from Rs. 150 to Rs 350

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