Reworking the 3D magic

VETERAN FILM-MAKER Navodaya Appachan has broken a longish dry spell with Wednesday's launch of his second 3D film, `Magic Magic 3D'. The magic of 3D and tax-free tickets are being counted upon to rework the 1984 success story of `My dear Kuttichathan'.

Digital sound, computer-generated visual effects and feats by trained canines are other highlights of the film.

``The new generation has not heard about 3D, the film is basically for them,'' explains Appachan.

He had invited the `Leader', K. Karunakaran, himself to launch the film in the Kripa Theatre in the afternoon.

But the Congress veteran, who was in the midst of hectic parleys connected with the ongoing crisis in the party, failed to make it for the function.

``It was Karunakaran Sir who launched `Kuttichathan' 20 years ago. Besides, I thought magic is the best thing to bring down the political temperature'', quipped Appachan when queried about his choice of the beleaguered politician for the launch function at such a juncture.

``Magic Magic'', which cost Rs.15 crores and took two years to make, is being produced in four languages - Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. It is scheduled for phased release in 100 theatres all over the country, 17 in Kerala alone.

The State capital has the honour of the nationwide launch.

Ninety per cent of the film was shot in Manhattan, New York, and the rest in India.

Since part of the shooting was done before the September 11 terrorist strike, frames showing the twin towers of the World Trade Centre are expected to be a draw.

``Shooting in the U.S. after September 11 was very tough as lots of restrictions were imposed on the movements of foreigners. It took us three months to finish what would have normally taken just one month. The setting in of winter worsened matters,'' recalls the Navodaya chief executive.

The plot is all about the problems faced by an Indian youngster, Indrajeeth, who lands up in New York by accident.

Frustrated by the ill-treatment meted out to him by his step- mother there, he runs away from the home and joins a group of street children and street dogs.

With magic and also with the help of the dogs, the boy makes enough money to live in Manhattan as well as for his return to India. The dogs even come to Indrajeeth's help when he is kidnapped by thieves.

The lead characters are nine-year-old Suraj Balajee, nephew of superstar Mohanlal, and singer-actor, S. P. Balasubrahmaniam. The baddie roles are enacted by Rob and Budd, professional stage actors from Hollywood. The cast includes the canine, Barkley, who is a `superstar' in Hollywood.

Appachan says the release of a 3D film is as tough as the production, because each theatre has to be provided with special screens and lenses, besides 3D-viewing spectacles for the audience. Navodaya mobilised about 2,500 jobless youngsters and trained them in fixing the 3D lenses on the projectors.

By Harish Govind M.