My Dear Kuttichathan was the first Indian film to be filmed in 3D. Jijo Punnoose, son of Navodaya Appachan made his directorial debut with this film. After Padayottam (1982), Jijo decided to direct a 3D film after getting inspired by an article in "American Cinematographer" shown to him by cinematographer Ramachandra Babu.
To understand the technology, Jijo travelled multiple trips to Burbank, California and bought sample reels of 3D films and held a preview in his studio. Appachan who was thoroughly convinced decided to produce this film under the allocated budget of 40 lakhs. David Schmier worked as the film's stereographer along with the film's cinematographer to ensure multiple images converge for 3D effect.
Ashok Kumar handled cinematography for the film, thus making him the first cinematographer in India to have shot a 3D film. T. K. Rajeev Kumar, who went on to become a famous director, started his career as an assistant director with this film.
With technology constantly evolving, it comes as no surprise the revolutionary changes that have been made in Indian cinema. Today, the buzz that surrounds the release of a 3D film in Hindi has quietened down because of the frequency with which it releases. However, there was a time back in the days of yore when some noteworthy films made quite the splash as the concept of 3D films with extraordinary visual effects at that time, was introduced to the audience.
With Ayan Mukerji's Brahmastra touted to be a revolutionary 3D visual spectacle to watch out for, the conversations regarding 3D cinema have reached an all-time high. The trailer of the film was launched today. The trailer has laid out the path for the epitome of exceptional filmmaking with the stunning VFX visuals bringing the story of "Astron Ke Devta" - Brahmastra live on screen.
But, did you know the first film that introduced the concept of 3D in Bollywood? It was none other than the Urmila Matondkar starrer- Chhota Chetan. To those unaware, My Dear Kuttichathan was a Tamil fantasy film - which was the first Indian 3D film to have ever been made. It was later dubbed in Hindi, titled as Chhota Chetan and released back in 1984 - the film had received a humongous amount at the box office. The producer of the film - Navodaya Appachan had commented how even though the storyline was the same, a few new scenes, characters, and a good 25 minutes were added in the Hindi remake. Back in that time, it was a novelty of sorts to witness such stunning visuals on the celluloid and to add to that, a stereovision 3D format was used for the film. It was a fantasy film and the 3D effects were very craftily embedded. 3D films also came with 3D glasses which was a major source of attraction for viewers back then. However, sources say that it took a long time for Hindi cinema to come up with another 3d film of a stature that matches that of Chhota Chetan.
The evolution of the Indian film industry has been brewing for a long time, through the easy adoption of technology. This can be seen in the visual effects rich films such as Krrish, Ra.One and the latest magnum opus, Bahubaali: The Conclusion. This has channelized a surge of improvement in storytelling, scriptwriting, and special effects skills to newer frontiers and is a reflection of the evolving standards of Indian cinema. Time and again, it has been proved that adoption of established technologies across the film value chain has resulted in a boosting of box office sales, wider distribution, and cost efficiencies.
India has slowly developed its position as a preferred destination for outsourcing of VFX and 3D conversion work. This can be contributed to the availability of low-cost labour; however, there is still a deficiency of aptly-skilled technicians. Development of skill in emerging and cutting-edge technologies is enabling early adoption and consumption of new technologies. This will, in turn, position the country as a film service centre for the global industry. Establishing more institutes to impart film education is the key to developing a standardised skill for films in India. Institutes are exploring the opportunities ensconced in specialised courses on key emerging technologies such as VR, drone cinematography, 3D conversion through tie-ups with global schools.
MAYA BAZAAR (1957): The epic fantasy film directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy, based on the Mahabharat, greatly upped the technical quotient for its time and also became the first Telugu movie to be remastered and coloured in 2010.
GUNGA JUMNA (1961): The film produced by actor Dilip Kumar was possibly the first mainstream Indian film to have the lead actor on the wrong side of the law and inspired many good brother-bad brother movies.
CHEMMEEN (1965): This beautifully shot 1965 film, one of the classics of Malayalam cinema, tackled the difficult subject of an inter-religious affair. It was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Superheros are popular in India but little does a woman get that part to play, actually bringing up a female super hero to light. But, with the changing narrative of Indian cinema, women oriented films are getting popular. Director Narein Praneas Rao, along with producers Abhay Kumar and Dr. Aravind K are all set to join the league of this reformation. They are coming up with this woman centric film, titled CROWN. Keeping it more iconic, this film will be a 3D film becoming India's first ever. One of its kind!
He was the Casper-like protagonist of Navodaya Studio's My Dear Kuttichathan, the big festival release. The posters described the film as 'India's First 3D Movie', a concept quite new to the lay man. Yet once the first set of shows got over, word of mouth was all the promotion the film needed. 'You need to see it to believe it', everyone said.
The task of mounting this pioneering effort was one of a hundred little miracles. Jijo Punnoose, the film's director, had just come off the failure of Padayottam (1982), the country's first indigenously shot 70MM film, featuring Prem Nazir, Lakshmi, Madhu and two up-and-coming actors named Mammootty and Mohanlal. Navodaya, the studio owned by Jijo's father Appachan, had already made Malayalam's first cinemascope feature, Thacholi Ambu (1978), and it was expected of Jijo to recreate its magic.
"Jijo was the brainchild behind Navodaya's technological innovations," says cinematographer Ramachandra Babu, who shot Padayottam. "After 70MM, he was looking for something new for his next. That's when I came across a 1974 issue of American Cinematographer, which detailed the concept, the origin and the technology behind 3D. After a golden period in the 50's, the technology was making a comeback with films like Jaws 3D. I gave Jijo the magazine and asked him to think about it. If there was anyone who could do it, I knew it would be Jijo."
Despite a lot of planning, Jijo factored in 90 days to shoot, three times the schedule of a regular movie in those days. The crew also needed a lighting budget that was twice that of a 2D film. All this for a running time of just 96 minutes. Jijo explains, "In 2D cinematography, it is always a Director of Photography's call on how sharp the image ought to be. It is a creative decision as to where the focus should be and how unfocused or blurred other areas need be. But when shooting in 3D, with apologies to every self-respecting DOP, all areas and objects in your image should look as sharp as possible."
Kothanda Ramaiah (KR), a Chennai-based director-turned-distributor, who had distributed Rajinikanth starrers like Thillu Mullu (1981) and Ranga (1982), was one of the first people to sense the true business potential of the film and its nationwide appeal. A film school graduate, KR understood 3D, unlike other people in the business. Even before the film's release, he travelled to Kerala to buy the theatrical rights for the Tamil version. "Big names like AVM Saravanan, K Balaji and Illaiyaraaja had expressed interest in distributing the film in Tamil Nadu, so I didn't feel I had a chance. The rate that was being discussed was Rs.15 lakh for 10 prints. But during our meeting, the rate quoted for the prints was far higher. Navodaya wanted Rs.40 lakh. This, at a time when Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan films would sell for around Rs.35 lakh."
Nevertheless, KR released the dubbed version in Chennai's Sathyam theatre on Deepavali 1984, when it took on Rajinikanth's Nallavanukku Nallavan and Vijayakanth's Vaidehi Kathirunthal. "I will never forget the roar in the theatre the second those first flaming arrows flew towards the audience," he says. "In a couple of days, its collection started to beat that of the other films."
KP Nambiathiri, cinematographer of classics like Lal Salam (1990) and the first Indian stereographer, worked on some of these films and says it was the exhibition that failed them. "Without the expertise of the Navodaya team, these other films relied on regular distributors to get to theatres. I remember several instances where screenings had to be stopped midway because the film gave viewers severe headaches."
Son of legendary playback singer K J Yesudas, Vijay Yesudas has not just followed his father's footsteps but also has ventured into acting in both Tamil and Malayalam cinema. In the first week of June, a Hyderabad- based company Key Entertainments had announced that it is venturing into film production with a multi-lingual film 'Salmon' with Vijay Yesudas in the lead. The USP of the film is that it is a 3D venture to be released for the first-ever time in Indian cinema in seven languages.
In a media interaction, reported by a news website, Kishore Raju, CEO of Key Entertainments said: "We are quite excited about our new venture. I have been closely associated with the industry over the last 15 years and felt this is the right time to venture into production. Salmon is one of those rare kinds of film that offers an edge of the seat experience to the audience. Going further we want to handpick projects that stand out of the box both in terms of style of narration and visual experience. And also a few more projects are in the pipeline, will announce once we finish our first one". 2b1af7f3a8