KTVR Creative Reels' Ambuli 3D is said to be the first digital stereoscopic 3D film. Directed by Hari Shankar and Hareesh Narayan, it is produced by KTVR Loganathan. Satish G has cranked the camera.
In an interview, the directors speak about the making of the film. Excerpts:
What made you do a 3D film?
We feel watching a movie should be an experience! Our previous venture, Orr Iravu, was the first ‘viewpoint' film in India. It enabled the viewer to become the character and live the film. In Ambuli 3D , a thriller, we want the audience to experience the movie as if it's playing around them. Besides, Ambuli 3D is the first Tamil film to be shot directly with a digital stereoscopic camera (Dual Lens Camera, Panasonic Model No.: AG-3DA1)
What is the difference between shooting a 3D film and a 2D film?
To shoot a 3D film, proper homework should be done before going to the sets. Each shot should be planned and executed the right way. We could achieve this because we did a storyboard for every frame months before the shoot. Another major difference is the lighting. You cannot shoot a 3D film in inadequate light — it's impossible with this camera. This made our cinematographer's job difficult, as more than 60 per cent of the film takes place during those hours of the day when there's insufficient light.
3D has been there from the 1950s. How different is the technology employed in this film?
In conventional 3D filmmaking, the film is shot with two cameras fitted on a single huge rig. There are several constraints using the rig because it's huge and heavy. Besides it takes long to set up. The Panasonic 3D camera is devoid of these problems. — it's digital, compact and has two lenses fixed in a single body which act like the human eye (just like the camera used in Avatar). Besides, even as you shoot, you will be able to see the output live in 3D, which makes us do a better job.
What makes Ambuli different from other 3D movies?
3D is still in a nascent stage here. In 1950, Hollywood came out with thrillers such as Dial M for Murder and House of Wax in 3D. After the whopping success of My Dear Kutty Chathan, 3D films in India came to be associated with kids. Ambuli 's technology, genre, plot and timeline make itdifferent from the other films in this format.
Apart from 3D, what can we expect from Ambuli ?
The script is the strength of any movie; 3D is just an added attraction. Set in 1978, the film revolves around a remote village Poomadandhi Puram. The people there believe in horror tales that keep them off the streets after sunset. Two students, Amudhan and Vendhan, studying in a college near the village, plan to investigate the strange phenomenon they come across in a field during their summer holidays… the suspense keeps you hooked.
The promos for Ambuli say it's a film based on folklore…
The movie is actually based on a real-life incident that took place in the 1950s; the story is handed down the generations. We have woven a tale around that incident.
What is the role of director-actor R. Parthiban in the movie?
Like in Aayrathil Oruvan and Andhapuram, Parthiban's role in Ambuli is amazing. He is part of the movie, though not as the protagonist. His role is packed with suspense. He elevates the story to the next level.
The number of 3D theatres is only now increasing in Tamil Nadu. Have you planned to release the movie in both 2D and 3D, considering the number of screens?
We are releasing the movie only in 3D — we're spending a huge sum on converting 2D screens into 3D. We believe releasing Ambuli only in 3D will keep a check on piracy and people will go to the theatres to watch it. It's a village subject and we want all of Tamil Nadu to experience 3D. Hence, we have planned to release the movie in both anaglyph and polarized format. We are importing more than 1 million 3D glasses.
With new faces in the lead roles, how did you convince producer KTVR Loganathan to bankroll the film?
It is because of the immense trust he had in the script and the technology, particularly 3D. When it comes to 3D, one cannot restrict the budget. And for a man like Loganathan, quality comes first. As for the cast, the movie required fresh faces to play the protagonists. The others in the cast are well known — R. Parthipan, Kalairani, Jagan, Gokulnath, Thambi Ramaiah, K. P. Jaganath, Bosskey and Uma Riaz Khan.
Why was the plot set in the 70s?
There are three reasons for this — the visuals, the conflict and the audience.
The visuals: Since it's in 3D, we want the look of the film to be different — the polka dots, bell-bottom pants and the era of the radio gave us scope to provide a visual treat.
The conflict: in the Seventies, there were no mobile phones or laptops. It gave us the opportunity to build more conflict into the script and make an adventure film.
The audience: alienating them from the present to provide them a whole new experience — a story that takes place in a fictional village.
With this new camera, is it possible for anyone to make 3D films without training?
No. Making a 3D film requires understanding the science behind 3D. Just having a cinematographer will not do, you also need a stereographer to shoot the film. A stereographer is able to calculate and tell what object will look authentic when given a 3D effect. For Ambuli, Satish G is both cinematographer and stereographer. Experienced stereographer Daniel Symmes from the U.S. trained him. Symmes was involved in the production of “Paramapadham,” a 3D teleseries.