Dolby Atmos – Dolby Atmos is the latest surround sound technology from Dolby Laboratories. Unlike its predecessor Dolby 7.1 it takes away the burden of mixing overheads from the movie makers. They need not now mix for specific set of speakers in a particular location in a theater. This can support up to 128 discrete audio tracks and 64 speakers. The power of the technology is that it can produce life like sound for movies. There are overhead speakers mounted on the ceiling which creates more immerse sound effects. This gives the option to pan the sound effects of helicopters and rain which would create much more realistic effect than before.
This technology was introduced in April 2012 and is fast picking. It is much better than the Aura sound technology. This was first employed in the movie Brave. Later many of the movie production houses are using it. This was first installed in the Dolby theater in California and is now becoming popular in many theaters world wide. In India SPI cinemas is one of the cinema chains who are upgrading some of their cinemas with Dolby Atmos technology. This was employed in Indian movies Shivaji 3D, ABCD: Anybody can dance, Nautanki Saala and you will see this being used in the upcoming Tamil movies Thalaiva and Pizza II Villa as well. This technology is currently targeted for commercial cinema houses and later it might be made available for home cinemas.
Get ready to get immersed in a real life like sound.
Often you hear people referring to certain movies as cult movies or cult classic. What does it signify, what are cult movies? Well there is no definite answer to this as this is largely debated for its classification. However there is a widely accepted definition for a cult movie which we can look at…
A cult movie is normally identified by the audience take on the movie. You would see there is a sub community of people who follow appreciate the movie, recite dialogues from it and watch the movie several times. Such a movie would be classified as a cult movie. Usually the cult movie may not do well at the box office but later through TV viewings it might become popular with a sect of people. However this is not a generalization. There are very popular cult movies in the mainstream cinema as well.
Another stark characteristic of a cult movie is its transgression. The movie does not follow the normal path between the good and the bad, but presents a entirely radical scenario in front of the audience that is beyond their imagination. Sometime the different scenario creates a very disturbing effect that it is difficult to accept for many people and appeals only to sect of people thus eventually becoming a cult classic. Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Shawsank Redemption, Gods Must be Crazy are few examples of cult classics which made well in the mainstream cinema as well and appealed to a wider audience.
The 1990 Amitabh Bachchan’s Agneepath is a cult classic. The Tamil movie Aranya Kaandam released in 2011 can also be classified as a cult classic. The movie was a flop at the box office but gained popularity among a set of people through TV and DVD viewing.
McGuffin – Also referred as MacGuffin is a plot device which is used in many of the suspense, thrillers or adventure movies. McGuffin is a plot device which might be any object, place, person or a goal for which the protagonist is ready to give up anything including life. However in the end it turns out to be unimportant to the over all plot. This has been a very old technique described in literature. The director who made this very popular was Sir Alfred Hitchcock and he used it very successful in many of his movies. If you have seen Hitchcock movies you would understand this very well as he was master of this technique and many new directors are still following this.
Some of the recent movies where this technique has been used very well. In Avatar the unobtanium is the McGuffin. The briefcase in Pulp Fiction, the Crystal Skull in Indiana Jones – The Kingdom of Crystal Skull are other examples of McGuffin. Some of the Indian movies recently used this technique very well. In the blockbuster Kahaani, Arnab Bagchi is the McGuffin, in the recent Tamil movie Pizza the mystery house where the hero delivers Pizza is a McGuffin. Its is a very hard technique and needs to be handled well. The success of the script is all about how the audience like the McGuffin in the plot. If they like it the movie becomes a successful one. You might be able to find many movies where you did not like the McGuffin and hence disliked the movie.
3 Act Play – Popularly known as 3 Act Structure is a technique used in writing and story telling. The entire story or the screenplay is divided into 3 parts, the first part involves introducing the main characters of the movie and their situation. Usually in this portion a unusual situation or challenge occurs in the life of the protagonist and his/her life will not be same for ever. This marks the end of the first act. In films usually this ranges between the first 20 min to 40 min (in case of Indian movies which are long) of the movie. The second act is the build up phase during which the protagonist is on the quest to solve the problem and the situation gets only worsen with no hopes for a solution. This is the lengthier portion of the movie which lasts about 45 min – 60 min at the end of this act usually the protagonist takes a significant step that no one would easily imagine. The last portion is the climax (usually very slick 10 – 15 min) which leads to the final solution to the original problem and ends with the protagonist solving the problem. An anti-climax happens if the problem is not solved in the expected way…
One of the popular Indian movie Don (1978 Hindi film) and Billa (1980 Tamil film) this structure is followed very clearly. The first act ends when the original Don is killed and the street side singer takes up the challenge of posing as Don. The second acts is all about how he infiltrates into the enemy camp and establishes himself and overcomes challenges one after another. The problem gets worsen when the only police officer who knew his original identity is killed and the protagonist takes a extreme step to bring out the truth. The climax is how he solves it and emerges victorious. It keeps the audience guessing till the end. In the 2006 remake of Hindi Don, Farhan Akthar made changes to the climax portion converting it to an anticlimax which worked brilliantly as the audience were taken by surprise. The success of the screen play involves how well the writer engages the audience in all the 3 phases. If it is not written well or if you see random situations just thrown in you do not get connected and end up disliking it. Three act play is not the only structure for writing scripts… there are other formats as well and many of the modern film makers like Tarantino, Guy Ritchie use various improvisations over this to treat the audience differently. In the coming week I will write review on a movie which follows 3 Act structure to the book.
We know Raja Harishchandra was the first ever Indian movie… Do you know which was the first ever South Indian movie and who made it?
The first ever South Indian movie “Keechaka Vadham” (the slaying of Keechaka) was made in 1917 by Nataraja Mudaliar. Nataraja Mudaliar, an automobile dealer then had taken a Willamson 35mm Camera from a wealthy landlord in Tanjavur to make the first movie. The movie featured the episode from Mahabharata when the Pandavas were in exile. Keechaka, the queen’s brother tried to misbehave with Draupadi and since they were in incognito Bhima goes in disguise and kills Keechaka. The movie was made with a production cost of Rs. 35,000 and it made a collection of Rs. 50,000 which was quite good at that time. A milestone event that gave birth to Tamil Cinema occurred. Nataraja Mudaliar considered as Father of Tamil Cinema was the inspiration for many other film makers to come including JC Daniel (Father of Malayalam Cinema). A malayalam movie Celluloid had been released which is a biopic of JC Daniel.