If you thought 3D movies and their “effects” are meant only for children, then “Ambuli”, a film powered by a young team all through, will prove you wrong. MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN
Think 3D and you think of objects “popping” out of the screen and tag it ‘children’s stuff’. But there’s another dimension to the three-dimensional format that three youngsters — Hareesh Narayan (28), Hari Shankar Krishnan (32) and Sathish G. (28) — have chosen to focus on and that’s depth and visual appeal sans the usual antics.
The third dimension
Their first project “Orr Iravu” won the Best Independent Film Award at the Chennai International Film Festival 2010. Encouraged by the positive response, the trio set to work on their next venture, “Ambuli” a 3D mystery thriller based on village folklore. A 3D film was not their first choice but having experimented with a 3D handicam and convinced by its effect they were keen to make their next project 3D.
“In fact, we are planning to have 3D publicity and marketing material too like 3D bioscopes. We have also launched an innovate website that takes the visitor through the various settings in the movie,” explains IT professional-turned-filmmaker Hareesh.
Interestingly, their marketing strategy — again by youngsters — does not overlook the reach of social media like Facebook, twitter, YouTube and micro blogging.
With youngsters at the helm, the entire process of pre-production, production and post reflects innovation and deviation from convention. Another instance would be the insistence on a storyboard.
“The storyboard for our film was done by Pughazendi. This reduces the need for discussions as everything from props to the framing a scene is already decided. Saves a lot of production time and cost,” says Hareesh. The storyboarding was so detailed that the stunt master quipped sportingly, “What is left for me to do now?”
Despite the advantage of age, the project has not been without its challenges. Recreating the time period — the film is set in 1978 — was a daunting task. The complexity of the narration and the risk that the producer has taken by actually indulging them with the latest in 3D technology are adding to the pressure. Another fact is that there are few 3D screening theatres.
Riding with the trio through the ups and downs has been a team of young assistant directors, technicians and crew.
“The atmosphere is very different. When you work with a senior the command flow is usually one-way, your ideas are not easily taken and they are not willing to experiment; whereas, here, it is an open setting. Everyone is free to give their opinions, we get feedback; basically the work atmosphere is very friendly,” explain the trio.
Through this film they hope to break the stereotype that a 3D movie is meant for children and that it has to have CGI. This film does not have any CGI-enhanced portions. “We have used 3D to show that it can be used to aesthetically enhance the movie too. It adds depth to a visual making the whole movie-watching experience real,” they say. “Even a regular commercial film can use the 3D technology, and we believe that in time it will come into mainstream cinema.”
“Ambuli” is touted to be the first feature film to be shot with the just-in-the-market Panasonic 3D camera, which does away with the need to “rig” two cameras.
“This is to imitate the way a human eye sees,” explains cinematographer Sathish who goes on to explain that this camera saved them precious production time and cost. “This camera has two lenses attached to a single body and they will record together, eliminating the need to rig.” Another advantage is that one gets to see the output in 3D while shooting, thus enabling them to work better. Another feature is that the entire movie was recorded on a memory card, making its transfer to a computer and digital editing easy.
Directors: Hareesh Narayan, Hari Shankar Krishnan
Cast: Parthepan, Ajay, Srijith, Sanam, Jothisha, Kalairani, Thambi Ramaiah, Uma Riyas, Jagan, “Naan Kadavul” Rajendran, Baski
With most of the crew being young, you would expect the music directors of “Ambuli” to be on the same wavelength too. And they are! The youngsters working on the music for this film share their experience on working on the project:
Venkat Prabu Shankar, 26: I scored music for “Orr Iravu” earlier. The challenging thing about “Ambuli” was its time period. The movie required western orchestration and we chose to use the modern orchestra. I had to enhance the movie’s “scare” effect with my music.
Mervin Solomon, 25: I was part of the band Poriyal. “Ambuli” was an amazing experience. The team encouraged me so much and never treated me like a fresher.
Sathish Kumar, 28: I have worked with the “Ambuli” team for “Orr Iravu” and “Raman Effect”, on ad jingles, and sung many songs too. Working in this film was challenging as each member of the team, right from the director to the Office Assistants were extremely informed. It is not a usual Tamil movie with duets and hero-entry songs, so I had that added responsibility. When the director listend to my composition they said that they had come with some expectations and song references, but after listening to my track they just said, “this is it!”
Sam C.S., 30: I have worked as a keyboard player under a few music directors, and also composed music for many private albums, devotional albums, jingles and short films. The lyrics of my songs in this movie have been written by Thamarai and Na. Muthukumar. Thamarai liked my song so much that she suggested many other alternate lyrics to elevate the flavour of the song; the same goes for Na. Muthukumar too.
A youngster in the industry…
Venkat Prabu Shankar: Now, producers seek fresh talents and so there are more opportunities. Even if one’s experienced, each project seems like a whole new learning experience.
Mervin Solomon: Being young when entering the field makes you confident. We can cope with the rapidly developing techniques and equipments. But I also think that it is important to listen to the experienced people as they know the industry better.
Sathish Kumar: I would say it’s a big advantage because we have lots of opportunities and time to learn from the seniors. But, being young enables one to think creatively in a different dimension.
Popularity: 1% [?]