This issue of TW has two sets of page numbers - International pages TW-1 to TW-56 for TW, and India pages TM-1 to TM-24 for TM. TM is inserted between pages TW-46 and TW-47 of TW.
6 Cometh Megaplexes!
RMW Launches High Tech Studios A New Technotainment Trait
Alam Ara - First Indian Talkie is 80 Years
The â€˜Marchâ€™ of Indian Cinema
Now an Inspired Multiplex
March, on to Digital Indian cinema is going places. May not be exactly rivaling the activism of the West or the Far East, but in its own inimitable style that befits its profile! Today it gloats all the formats that are boasted by the global leaders: from cinemascope to stereoscope; from sixtrack to XT; from xenon to E to D-cinema to 3D to 4k; and of course standalone to multiplex to megaplex to signature cinemas. It is making movies in Avataric style as well as building entertainment cities. It is making waves on many a global shore too with accolades and Academy honours. More, it now prides in Hollywood-benchmarked studios too. TM-4
Quite a 'big' leap! With technology harnessing and opulence of offerings getting cinematically blended the industry, for one, looks pretty much 'inspired' by the new age cinematainment. This juncture, and more so, this month, is truly special in that it marks the 80th Anniversary of release of Alam Ara, the first Indian talkie that set the exhibition industry on a 'sound' footing. It was on 14 March 1931 the movie was released in the 'Majestic' Talkies in Mumbai. Theatre Magic celebrates the prideful occasion through its special story this time on the 'March' of Indian Cinema.
At a time when the industry is rearing to go truly global, it is a little unfortunate that it tends to forget its own footprints. That the country does not have even a single copy of its first talkie movie is not just a loss of 'heritage,' it's losing a tenet. At least someone out there to step up the digitization of filmy archives to save the remaining 'footages' for the posterity?
Bhavanashi Ramakrishna Editor, Theatre Magic
Breaking News... New Avataric Genre Hitting Indian Cinema
Gear Up to get Haunted in 3D! Almost fourteen months after the Avataric revolution, Indian cinema is about to get a similar fare, but with a different genre, and from within India! Though likened in many a respect to the James Cameron's alienist magnum opus, it seeks to bring yet another out-of-the-world proposition, an eerie-filling entity that promises to haunt Indian cinemas and their patrons both technologically and stereotypically! So, come this 6 May, and all be prepared to get 'haunted' in 3D digital format! An Avataric stuff in India- that's take one! That it - if out in time (before anyone else) - will be India's first stereoscopic movie entirely shot and screened in 3D Digital is take two. That it brings a good measure of the brains behind the best of Hollywood horror/ sci-fi flicks, and seeks to relive the horror that Indian movie audiences are often haunted with is take three! Yes, a new tech-movie fare from India's very own horror-fame Vikram Bhatt - tilted Haunted in 3D - is coming fast. Take a look at the people behind the scenes with the custommade 3DCC camera system that was used for Avatar shooting. "
Director of Photography: Pravin Bhatt
Action: Abbas Ali Moghul
Stereography: Brent Robinson
DIT: Christan Jeams and Cassidey
DMT: Micheal Reuben Flax
The technical crew from Hollywood brings a huge aura of fame with the incredible work they did for movies like Resident Evil - The Afterlife, SAW 7, and The Incredible Hulk while Pravin Bhatt carries the weight of over 100 movies' work to make his mark in the Haunted movie stuff. Stereoscopic 3D, not a very quaint phenomenon now - thanks to Avatar and the awareness it spread - is thelatest form of 3D that creates maximum depth in the shot and creates a great impact on visual experience. Haunted's extensive special effects were done at Prasad Studios, Chennai.
"Haunted is my most challenging and fulfilling movie," declared Vikram Bhatt recently, at the Haunted 3D First Look unveiling event in Mumbai. "The challenge began from the scripting stage itself because we had to visualise the country's first next-generation stereoscopic 3D movie," he said and elaborated, "it was all new. The style was new, the technology was new. We had to acquaint ourselves with the technology, learn it, adapt to it." Vikram - known for a unique genre of movies such as Raaz, 1920, and Gulaam - is highly appreciative of his tech team. "I must thank the entire technical teamâ€ŚWe would never have been able to achieve this unique
milestone in Indian cinema without them." Haunted 3D is a compelling story, set in the misty mountains of Dalhousie that revolves around Glen Manor, a sprawling mansion with a secret past and a haunted present. The protagonist 'Rehan' - played by Mahakshay Chakraborty, son of yesteryear star Mithun Chakraborty visits Glen Manor to complete a transaction, involving its sale that his father had initiated and which is now under a cloud due to certain mysterious incidents. What he does not bargain for is that while he is trying to do so he discovers a secret and falls in love with it. What makes it
more intriguing is that the secret catapults him to the biggest challenge and question of his life- for his mission in the plot requires him to save a girl who is already dead.
bringing in this next wave of change through our innovative business model designed around state-of-theart 3D digital cinema systems with satellite based delivery to theatres across the country."
The spine-chilling story -as it is put out to be - is penned by Amin Hajee. It is casting Achint Kaur, Arif Zakaria, Sanjay Sharma and newcomer Tia Bajpai- all woven around Mahakshay's mission. According to the makers of Haunted, the movie promises to be a real technical thrill. Says Brent Robinson, the Stereography man: "In Haunted we used the latest technology, similar to what was used in Avatar. It is not based on the archaic technology of converting 2D to 3D but actually includes beam-splitter and stereo tango rigs as well as 3D cameras along with S12k digital cameras." The movie uses suspense, silence and the play of music to scare audiences," Brent continues, "we tried to maintain a moody tone for the film without going overboard. Otherwise the human mind would have found it difficult to understand and assimilate what's going on." While that being the story behind-thecamera, the one that is to unfold in front of the curtains (in the cinemas) is its being the first mainstream 3D Stereoscopic movie, and its promise to usher in a new wave of 3D conversions on the exhibition front in the country. That's an enthusiastic anticipation, if not an indicator in itself. That the country already has over a 100 3D digital screens all over the market, there is a good operating ground
According to him, UFO is gearing up to equip over 500 theatres in the country with 3D digital capability within a year. Getting associated with Haunted 3D is part of its initiative of promoting Indian 3D content towards leverage the future growth potential of 3D technology.
already developed, feel the producers and distributors. More, the movie will take India's cinema exhibition industry to a new high with more 3D digital conversions, they opine. "We are confident that Haunted 3D will be the harbinger of change and will usher the next big wave of theatre conversions to support 3D movies," Kapil Agarwal, Joint MD, UFO Moviez India Ltd, the technology and digital 3D partner for the movie, was quoted as saying. "We are focused on
The movie is produced jointly by BVG Films and DAR Motion Pictures who are visibly excited about the whole mission. "It is indeed a privilege to be an integral part of India's first Stereoscopic 3D movie Haunted 3D," Arun Rangachari, Chairman, DAR Capital Group, was quoted as saying. "Given our focus on and quest for films based on quality contemporary content and new age technologies, we had absolutely no hesitation in partnering with BVG and Vikram when he first discussed the idea of Haunted 3D with us. So, Indian cinemas and the moviegoers, get ready to get Haunted in 3D.
Cinemax Reports Dip in Profits
PVR's Net Losses Up in Q3
Mumbai-based multiplex operator announced its unaudited results for the three months period ending 31 December 2010, with a decline in net profits and other operations. The company's operational income during the period under review stood at Rs. 52.13 crore against Rs. 55.74 crore from the corresponding quarter last year, and the net income dropped from Rs. 47.61 crore in third quarter of last year to Rs. 45.36 crore third quarter this fiscal.
New Delhi-based exhibition major PVR Cinemas reported marginal profits in standalone earnings but posted consolidated net losses for the quarter ending December 2010. As for standalone earnings, profit of the company rose 1.92 per cent to Rs. 6.89 crore from 6.76 crore earned during the same quarter last year. Net sales for the quarter also raised by 6.95 per cent to Rs. 95 crore while total income for the quarter raised by 8.74 per cent to Rs. 97 crore.
Revenues from theatrical business dropped from Rs. 54.24 crore in Q3 of last financial year to Rs. 50.65 crore in Q3 of the current fiscal. However, buoyant about the business environment in the country, the company intends to pursue its aggressive expansion plans across the segments. It plans to invest to the tune of Rs 100 crore and double its screen presence to around 200 by 2013. It has already drawn up plans to spend around Rs 45-50 crore in the next six months period to add about 30 screens. One of the largest exhibition companies the country, Cinemax operates a total of 33 multiplexes with 105 screens from 18 cities. It is targeting a turnover of Rs 240 crore in FY 11 and intends to touch Rs 380 crore in FY 12.
Inox Net Declines 40 pc to Rs. 5.25 Crore Inox Leisure Limited reported unaudited earnings results for the third quarter and nine months ended December 31, 2010. For the quarter, the company reported a decline of 39.93 per cent in net profit to Rs. 5.25 crore against a net profit of Rs. 8.74 crore during the same period of last financial year. Total income for the company, however, increased 19.76 per cent to Rs. 100.94 crore for the reported quarter from Rs. 84.28 crore during third quarter of fiscal 2010.
Net sales\ income from operations during the period under review stood at Rs. 100.20 crore compared to Rs. 83.89 crore for the same period a year ago. Profit from operations before other income and interest and exceptional items have been pegged at Rs. 10.50 crore as against Rs. 15.84 crore for the same period a year ago. The EPS got diluted to Rs. 0.85 from Rs. 1.42 for the same period of last financial year. For the nine-month period, the company reported a net profit of Rs. 12.09 crore against a net profit of Rs. 10.03 crore during the same period last year. Net sales\ income from operations shown good growth at Rs. 268.43 crore compared to Rs. 184.85 crore for the same period a year ago. Profit from operations before other income and interest and exceptional items stood at 25 crore as against Rs. 18.68 crore for the same period a year ago. During 2009-10, the company had acquired Fame India Limited, the promoting company of Fame Cinemas which now fully stands a subsidiary of Inox. The company initially acquired a total of 1,51,57,751 equity shares through block deal, followed by another block deal for acquisition of 25,07,537 equity shares which resulted in a stake of 1,75,65,288 shares in Fame India. An Open Offer was also made for another 82, 31,759 equity shares at a price of Rs. 51 per share. The process got actually over by January 2011, but the process was set to bring Fame under complete control of Inox with a stake of 52.27 per cent in the former's existing and paid-up capital. The company operates a total of 36 multiplexes and 136 screens in 24 cities, besides distribution and production of movies.
The company posted earnings of Rs. 2.54 a share during the quarter, registering 13 per cent decline against Rs. 2.92 per share over previous year's third quarter. However, as for consolidated earnings, the company reported consolidated net loss of Rs. 13.26 crore. Total income, however, increased to Rs. 133.6 crore for the quarter from Rs. 114.28 crore registered during the third quarter of fiscal 2010. The movie exhibition business revenues stood at Rs. 103.15 crore during the quarter under review, while production and distribution accounted for Rs. 30.25 crore. The company intends to add another 20 screens by March 2011 in key markets like Vijaywada, Udaipur, Surat and Nanded. The company also expects to open around 60-75 multiplex screens which are under various stages of construction and fit-outs and are expected to commence operations over the next 12 months. As on date, its cinema circuit consists of 33 cinemas with 142 screens in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Ghaziabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow, Indore, Aurangabad, Baroda, Allahabad, Chhattisgarh, Ahmedabad, Latur, and Raipur.
PVR, Kotak Entertainment Credit Card With a view to further value adding cinematic benefits to its patrons as well as attracting other moviegoers, PVR Cinemas is bringing in a new Entertainment Credit Card service in association with Kotak Mahindra Bank- claimed to be a first of its kind in the country. Movie enthusiasts will now be able to draw a bigger and appealing value from their everyday spends by availing free PVR tickets every month through the PVR Kotak Credit Card. Acting as a more engaging medium for both PVR and Kotak's customer base, this product is expected to be very effective in enhancing loyalty and retention of PVR customer's base. With new PVR Kotak Entertainment Credit Card, customers get to enjoy free movie tickets at a rate which is competitively superior to the traditional rewards programme normally offered. The PVR Kotak customers earn up to two free movie tickets on spends of Rs. 7500 anywhere; it being way higher than most premium credit cards in the market. What's more, the customer
earns a bonus free movie ticket when he or she when he spends Rs. 750 in a month at PVR cinemas adding to his value proposition. The PVR Kotak Entertainment card also allows the customer the freedom to choose a low interest rate of 1.99 per cent per month. This low interest rate choice is coupled with customers agreeing to pay a minimum amount due of 20% of their total credit card dues. The uniquely positioned Entertainment Card offers the three month EMI benefit across any purchases above Rs. 5000 at no interest and no processing fee. This will help customers use credit more wisely since they can plan their finances much better. This is a feature that no other credit card offers and strongly differentiates this card from competition. The credit card will be available in two variants Platinum and Gold to cater to a larger audience. Besides availing of free tickets the customers can also avail of exciting offers through the card while dining, traveling or shopping.
PVR Group president and CEO Pramod Arora said, "the launch of PVR and Kotak Entertainment Credit Card is yet another important initiative towards PVR fulfilling its vision of being number one in the hearts and minds of people. We are delighted to be associated with Kotak for the first ever Entertainment card by any multiplex in the country. The innovative Entertainment Credit Card is targeted at our premium customer base to give that extra value add and a delightful PVR experience on their spends. Both the multiplex industry as well as the credit card market in India is witnessing an upward swing and we are expecting a very positive response for our Entertainment Credit Card." "Indians thrive on cricket and movies as the two biggest entertainment genres, and hence our endeavor is to create this unique and differentiated Entertainment Credit Card proposition with the leading Entertainment Company - PVR Cinemas in this country," Kotak Mahindra Bank Group Head-Consumer Banking K V S Manian said.
RMW Posts Losses, but Grows Big Reliance MediaWorks Ltd. the holding company of Big Cinemas multiplex brand - India's largest theatrical chain - recently announced its third quarter results for FY 2010-11. Owing to continued investments and expansions within and outside the country, the company has reported a net loss of Rs. 57.04 crore- more than doubling its net loss of Rs. 27.33 crore during the corresponding period of last fiscal. However, it showed marginally higher growth of 5. 14 per cent in sales and business during the period compared to same period of last financial year. The other key financial highlights included •
Total Income from Operations for Q3 stood at Rs. 242 crore
EBIDTA from Operations for Q3 pegged at Rs. 31 crore
Exhibition division revenues charted Rs 172 crore
Film and Media Services division revenues stood at Rs. 60 crore
Television production division contributed Rs. 24 crore
Film Post-production Services which include the print processing lab as well as digital services such as Digital Intermediate, Digital Cinema mastering have continued to maintain market leadership. The division recently commenced VFX and promos services for domestic clients. Production services comprising equipment rental solutions for film and TV clients operated at 80 per cent occupancy and serviced some of the premium shows and events. The division expanded this business through launch of India's largest Hollywood Benchmarked Studios and also commenced Broadcast Postproduction services. The company's theatrical business brand BIG Cinemas witnessed as many as 10 million admissions during the quarter. "Reliance MediaWorks' both top line and EBIDTA has increased by 39 per cent and 30 per cent respectively compared to the corresponding nine month period in the previous year, reflecting strong
returns on investments from the asset base created in past two years," said Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks Ltd. "With the recent commissioning of the Studios and the BPO facility we will see further traction and expect film and media services division to be a substantial contributor to our business portfolio," he added.
Cinepolis India to Invest Rs. 130 Crore Cinepolis India - the Indian concern of Mexican exhibition giant Cinepolis plans to invest in the country to the tune of Rs. 130 crore over the next one year towards created around 40 multiplex screens all over the country. While the company's much touted India's first megaplex, a 15-screen cinema is still in the making, it is pursuing its goal of creating 500 screens by 2016 which would require a whopping Rs. 1500 crore-plus investment by the company. For the immediate future, the 40 screens of the company are said to be spread over seven locations in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai, besides the national capital region.
While the announcement to this effect was recently made by Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta in presence of Honorable Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, the voting for the event also began in the right earnest with Bollywood queens Kareena, Katrina and Priyanka casting their vote in Mumbai. A visibly jubilant McGuinty said at the IIFA decision to come to his city, "Ontario's diversity makes us stronger and the IIFA Weekend and Awards are proof of that. The weekend will build on the growing economic and cultural ties between our province and India and showcase Ontario to the world." "I think IIFA is a very novel venture and has allowed our Indian Film Fraternity to expand its wings over the globe with IIFA's remarkable idea of taking the fraternity to different cities and countries each year," added Preity Zinta. "Through the 11 successful years that IIFA has completed, we have experienced unbelievable love from global fans," she said and added, "IIFA gives us the opportunity to see firsthand the support we are receiving beyond borders. I am very excited to see the IIFA action shift to Toronto this year, which shares a close association with India."
IIFA Moves on to Ontario
Explaining IIFA's journey over the past few years, Anil Kapoor said, "IIFA has opened many doors for the Indian film Industry in the host country, be it in terms of film shooting avenues or the assistance given to filmmakers and producers from Government and Tourism bodies. IIFA has also helped propel Indian Cinema, by virtue of the deals that have been struck with production houses and the screening of our films that would have never had the opportunity to be showcased there, prior to the IIFA event."
After brushing with the shores of UK and other European cities, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Middle East, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) is now pitching itself for North America. The 2011 edition of the highprofile movie event will thus be held in the Canadian metropolis of Ontario from 23-25 June this year.
Wizcraft director Sabbas Joseph said, "Toronto is a great choice for IIFA's North American premiere. We have already gained a great response from people across Canada, America and key territories across the world with guests eager to join the celebrations in Toronto. We are certain that this year's IIFA will be absolutely memorable."
The company is already operating a four-screen multiplex in Amritsar, its first expression in the country. It may be recalled that the company did vie for the DT Cinemas brand of DLF, following PVR's futile attempts to get DT under its banner. The attempt, however met the same fate as that of PVR's.
Akshay as Canada Tourism Ambassador Bollywood actor Actor Akshay Kumar has an extension of one of his most prestigiously held honour- being an ambassador for Canadian Tourism Commission's (CTC) for India for the second year. In what is taken as the CTC's recognition not only of Akshay's brand identity as a promotional factor but also India as a prime market for its tourism fortunes, the agency decided to take him onboard for the second year in the running. It threw a big bash recently in the national capital for members of the Indian travel trade industry endorsing the perception. Akshay Kumar will leverage his celebrity status in India to promote Canada as a premier four-season destination in his continued role. As part of the role, he will make several promotional appearances in both India and Canada
Kabir Bedi Knighted by Italy
as well as familiarisation trips across Canada to be reported and extensively documented by the media. Kumar said he is honored and privileged to represent the CTC as their Ambassador for India for a second year. "I am truly proud to encourage and promote Canadian tourism in India, which is like a second home for me," he said.
Academy's Ek Aur 'Guzaarish' Bollywood's occasional brilliance finding Academy accolade appears to be on the rise. Following closely on the heels of Dhobhi Ghat screenplay finding its entry to the Academy's library archives, it's Sanjay Leela Bhansali's acclaimed Guzaarish and Ashutosh Gowariker's different genre Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey have also found their way into the Academy library for their remarkable screenplay. That both the directors are known for their brilliant scripts and screenplays is one, their getting the Academy shelf space is another, raising the bar in Bollywood intelligence by a bit high. Guzaarish - with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead - dealt with the life of a quadriplegic and also the subject of mercy-killing while Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey - an adaptation of Manini Chatterjee's book 'Do and Die-The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34' - is a period movie set in the backdrop of India's Freedom Struggle under the British Raj. Presented by PVR Pictures and jointly produced by Ajay Bijli, Sanjeev Bijli and Sunita A. Gowariker, the movie
confirmed this award and are committed to continue on this path to conserve energy. As a company we shall continue to contribute to change the minds of people to imbibe energy conservation as a way of everyday life."
stars Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the lead. It had lyrics by Javed Akhtar, music by Sohail Sen, costume designs by Neeta Lulla, art direction by Nitin Desai and cinematography by Kiiran Deohans. Despite being poor performers at the box office, both the movies won critical appreciation from across the moviegoing communities in India and overseas.
Go Green 'Fame'd with Award Fame Cinemas was awarded with the Energy Conservation award in the LT Commercial segment by the TATA POWER's Commercial customer meet held on 19 November, 2010. Fame Cinemas has been on the Go Green move by saving energy through various mediums. Some of them being the usage of LED lights and CFL's in all present and upcoming projects and processes re-engineering and refinement to reduce consumptions . Fame Cinemas COO Rishi Negi states, "We are pleased to have been
Bollywood's occasional brilliance finding Academy accolade appears to be on the rise. Following closely on the heels of Dhobhi Ghat screenplay finding its entry to the Academy's library archives, it's Sanjay Leela Bhansali's acclaimed Guzaarish and Ashutosh Gowariker's different genre Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey have also found their way into the Academy library for their remarkable screenplay. That both the directors are known for their brilliant scripts and screenplays is one, their getting the Academy shelf space is another, raising the bar in Bollywood intelligence by a bit high. Guzaarish - with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead - dealt with the life of a quadriplegic and also the subject of mercy-killing while Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey - an adaptation of Manini Chatterjee's book 'Do and DieThe Chittagong Uprising 1930-34' - is a period movie set in the backdrop of India's Freedom Struggle under the British Raj. Presented by PVR Pictures and jointly produced by Ajay Bijli, Sanjeev Bijli and Sunita A. Gowariker, the movie stars Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the lead. It had lyrics by Javed Akhtar, music by Sohail Sen, costume designs by Neeta Lulla, art direction by Nitin Desai and cinematography by Kiiran Deohans. Despite being poor performers at the box office, both the movies won critical appreciation from across the moviegoing communities in India and overseas.
Alam Ara - First Indian Talkie is 80 Years
The ‘March’ of Indian Cinema – Bhavanashi Ramakrishna
The month of March is a busy time – both by default and design – for most Indians. Accounts closing for businesses and corporates (and so for their staff too), examinations for academia, weddings and such others for households, so much of the Indian citizenry known for its entertainment vibes, ironically will, have little time to relish what is its own- a thing of pride and achievement entertainingly. Fourteenth day of this March marks 80th anniversary of Alam Ara- the first full-length Indian talkie feature film. That the release of the movie set an epochal ‘march’ in Indian cinematic entertainment history goes without saying. Even as Indian cinema seeks to accelerate its ‘march’ into digital and 3D domain, it is relevant to reminisce and relish the first Indian talkie film outing for the sheer significance of the development, ironically, though, Indian media and cinematic governing regimes seem to have forgotten, if not ignored, it. TM makes a snapshot visit at the historic moment. Fourteen March, 1931... Majestic Talkies in Bombay... It was the rarest of the rare setting at the otherwise very orthodox cinema. A huge amount of unseen and unheard excitement ranting the air, the cinema management had asked for police support to manage what it feared uncontrollable crowds at the theatre. For it was a truly ‘majestic’ moment for the theatre as well as Indian cinema as whole- release of Alam Ara – the first full-length talkie feature film in the country. Irresistible as it was, the excitement
‘All living. Breathing. 100 per cent
a playwright from the Parsi Imperial
Theatrical Company. It was
‘78 murda insaan zinda ho gaye. Unko bolte dekho!’
was understandable though. For, the
Understandably, the crowds thronged
movie’s promotional posters thus read:
to watch it, pondering how the dead characters would speak, that too on a screen that they knew cannot speak. Police, indeed, had a tough time in controlling the avidly outnumbering cinema patrons. The movie was produced by Imperial Movietone company – a very ideal name for cinema of those days (?) – and directed by Ardeshir Irani for story
Majestic Talkies of the yore
and script by Josheph David who was
cinematographed by Adi M. Irani and Wilford Deming while music was scored by Ferozshah M. Mistri, and B. Irani. The 124-minute Hindi-Urdu mix talkie movie had as its star cast Master Vithal, Miss Zubeida, Jillo, Sushila, Prithviraj Kapoor, Elizer, Wazir, Mohammed Khan, Jagdish Sethi, apart from the illustrious LV Prasad. That the movie ushered in a new era in Indian moviedom is one with firsttime celluloid dialogues, it also made ‘records’ of sorts by creating first playback singing for Indian cinema.
Actor Mehboob was originally scheduled to play the lead in Alam Ara. However, Master Vithal from Sharda Studios took the rare honour. When Sharda sued Vithal for breach of contract, he was defended by none other than M A Jinnah.
Movie Sound Synchronisation
the queue system was not known to
The stupendous success of Alam Ara
filmgoers and the booking office was
led to a rush of other talkies into
Alam Ara effectively broke the golden silent era and laid a foundation for the new talkie era. However, globally, it wasn’t the first. It was Warner Bros. who had only a few years earlier launched the sound era with Don Juan (1926) starring Mary Astor with synchronised musical score and sound effects. They followed it soon by Jazz Singer. However though, it was Lights of New York (1928) that was the first talkie film followed closely by Hitchcock’s Blackmail (Britain) and Rene Clair’s Sous Les Toits Paris (France).
literally stormed by jostling, riotous
production. Moviemakers set on
mobs, hankering to secure somehow,
enticing actors from the stage since
anyhow a ticket to see a talking
voice was the chief criterion and not
picture in the language they
all actors of the silent era could adapt
understood. All traffic was jammed
to sound. One of the results thus was a
and police aid had to be sought to
barrage of talkie releases. Three weeks
control the crowds. For weeks
after Alam Ara, Madan Theatres’
together tickets were sold out and
released Jamai Sashti (Bengali),
blackmarket vendors had a field day.”
followed by Shirin Farhad (Urdu). The
Voices and Tones Silenced by Sound!
Kajjan and Master Nissar, was recorded
On the Indian front, Madan Theatres of J F Madan took the honours with the country’s first synchronised film Melody of Love in 1929.
The arrival of sound was revolution on several fronts for cinema. On the tangent, it wiped out a whole big industry and its appendages. The talkie era silenced a whole generation of artistes, filmmakers and technicians of the silent movie era. Many studios who were unable to switch over to sound had to shut down. The artiste community – largely dominated by Anglo-Indians who did not speak fluent Hindi or Urdu – was the worst hit. Those who could not sing were also hit since there was no playback format yet and direct recording meant artistes had to sing their own songs.
and contained three times as many
While the box office riches were too obvious, the ensuing impact was far more amazing. Majestic Talkies was practically mobbed by surging crowds. Abdulally Esoofally, Irani’s partner in the making of Alam Ara reminisced those dreamlike moments later in the Indian Talkie Silver Jubilee Souvenir: “In those days,
movie, featuring the most popular singing pair of the time Jahan Ara on an RCA photophone sound system songs as Alam Ara. It was a stupendous success, catapulting JF Madan to the top of cinema glory. It was followed by Kalidas (Tamil, 1931), Bhakta Prahlada (Telugu, 1931), Ayodhyecha Raja (Marathi, 1932), Narasimha Mehta (Gujarati, 1932), and Dhruva Kumar (Kannada, 1934). All have ‘sound’ed records of sorts. Cinema people suddenly became demigods, and anyone and / or anything connected to cinema became a statement, a prideful possession, and a subject of incredible reverence.
The Alam Ara Trait Inspired by Universal Pictures’ Showboat, Ardeshir Irani went about making Alam Ara which took him months due to hazardous recording conditions, the distressing laboratory processing methods of that time and the secrecy surrounding the project. Irani himself wrote once: “There were no sound-proof stages , we preferred to shoot indoors and at night. Since our studio is located near a railway track most of our shooting was done between the hours that the trains ceased operation. We worked with a single system Tamar recording equipment. There were also no booms. Microphones had to be hidden in incredible places to keep out of camera range.” Irani and his assistant Rustom Bharucha picked up the rudiments of recording from Wilford Deming, an American engineer, who had come to India to assemble the equipment for them. The methods of film production, however, took the American technician for a shock. “The film was exposed in light that would result in blank film at home,” he wrote, “stages consisted of flimsy uprights supporting a glass or cloth roof or covering,” The French DeBrie camera, with a few Bell & Howell and German makes, completed the list of photographic equipment. The very early attempts to make motion picture audible mainly relied on the device used by Edison in 1913 which employed the phonograph record for the source of sound. Though the method worked satisfactorily, the one big glitch was the sound reproduction wasn’t enough to fill a theatre. Also the reproduced tone did not sound natural enough to give proper illusion. It was the vacuum tube which came later and amplified even the most inaudible whisper.
SPECIAL FEATURE “Whenever, they (the Talkie people) camped, they were given a princely ovation and a hero’s send-off. The Railways gave them travel concessions; the guard at Trichy junction delayed a train by four minutes for the latecomers,” wrote T S Mahadeo, in Indian Talkie. “A theatre proprietor in Salem slept by the loudspeaker on the stage to guard it Kalidas (Tamil, 1931)
during their stay there; every coffeehouse they visited in Tumkur town in Mysore refused payment for food and drink; in Burhampur, the cinema proprietor took the party around the vegetable market, where the best of vegetables were presented to them.” The Box Office began making such a resounding collections that they
Movie Sound Synchronisation Alam Ara effectively broke the golden silent era and laid a foundation for the new talkie era. However, globally, it wasn’t the first. It was Warner Bros. who had only a few years earlier launched the sound era with Don Juan (1926) starring Mary Astor with synchronised musical score and sound effects. They followed it soon by Jazz Singer. However though, it was Lights of New York (1928) that was the first talkie film followed closely by Hitchcock’s Blackmail (Britain) and Rene Clair’s Sous Les Toits Paris (France). On the Indian front, Madan Theatres of J F Madan took the honours with the country’s first synchronised film Melody of Love in 1929.
turned practical mortgage-liftersenabling those cinema houses that Bhakta Prahlada (Telugu, 1931)
had shut down during the Great Depression to reopen. With only a little dilution, it was more
A Filmster’s Letter
or less the same situation for decades
In a letter to the Times of India (March 23, 1931), a movie patron who signed as Filmster wrote about the quality of sound, “principal interest naturally attaches to the voice production and synchronisation. The latter is syllable perfect; the former is somewhat patchy, due to inexperience of the players in facing the microphone and a consequent tendency to talk too loudly.”
to follow as the new cinematainment shot into fame people like J F Madan (Read TW Dec. 2009, 10th Anniversary Special) and the revered Dada Sahib Phalke and L V Prasad. The number of cinema theatres in the country went on raising, so did the moviegoing enthusiasm and a whole industry was built thus. Ayodhyecha Raja (Marathi, 1932)
Today, while everyone speaks about digital, 3D, satellite transmission and all that, it’s time we recalled how it all began, no?
The Alam Ara Plot
Dhruva Kumar (Kannada, 1934)
Alam Ara was remade in 1956 and 1973 by Nanubhai Vakil
Alam Ara is typically Indian in thought, story and philosophy. Victory of Good over Evil, but after a travail. It centers on an imaginary, historical royal family in the kingdom of Kumarpur. The main characters are the king and his two warring wives Dilbahar and Navbahar. Their rivalry escalates when a fakir predicts that the good queen Navbahar will bear the king‘s heir. Dilbahar, obviously the bad one, in revenge, tries to seduce the kingdom‘s chief minister Adil. The attempt fails and a vengeful Dilbahar gets him imprisoned and exiles his daughter, Alam Ara played by Zubeida. In exile, Alam Ara is brought up by Gypsies. Upon her coming to the palace in search of her father, Alam Ara meets and falls in love with the charming young prince played by Master Vithal. The film has a happy ending when Adil is released, Dilbahar is punished and the lovers marry. The tragedy, however, is that this film is no longer available in any format and even the National Film Archive does not have a copy. The only available copy of the movie reportedly got reduced to ashes in a 2003 fire mishap that gutted most filmy archives.
RMW Launches High Tech Studios
A New Technotainment Trait Reliance MediaWorks (RMW), the Mumbai-based film and entertainment services solutions major, broke a new ground, expanding, thereby, its expanse of technology strides. Following closely on the heels of its explorative MoU with Russian World Studios, the ADA-Group concern recently launched what it boasts as Hollywood-benchmarked studios. While the former development expands the entertainment major's overseas exploits, the latter one elevates the company's as well as India's technology trait to a new high. Reliance MediaWorks Ltd (RMW), India's fastest growing film and entertainment services company, made a filmy record of sorts. The company recently launched what it boasts as Hollywood-benchmarked studios in Mumbai that is characterized by a slew of unique features and technology strengths. The new grand studios comprise eight sound stages spread across a seven-acre area within Filmcity in Mumbai, with a total built-up area of over two lakh square feet. The RMW Studios will now be the comprehensive resource for Feature Films, Television, Commercials, Music Videos, New Media, Gaming, Special Effects and Special Events. Built over a period of two years - with a meticulous design and scrutiny - the first phase of the three sound stages studio has been made operational from January 2011. The second phase comprising five sound stages will be operational by mid 2011. The Studios capacity now equals to 25 per cent of Mumbai studio market. The RMW Studios have been built as per strict Hollywood-compliant design specifications by Wylie Carter & Associates, the Los Angelesheadquartered studio design specialists who have earned fame with highly acclaimed studio projects with such names as Walt Disney Studios, Raleigh Studios, and DreamWorks SKG's Playa Vista Studio. The designers were, of course, supported by Los Angeles-based
specialist consultants like Nadel Commercial Architects, John A. Martin Assoc. Structural Engineers, Levine & Seegel Mechanical Engineers and KSG Electrical Engineers. The combined expertise of the celebrated studio design experts saw the emergence of not only RMW but also India as one of the most technologically advanced bases in the world for entertainment solutions. The RMW Studios are the first studios in India to have advanced technological features like super silent 'sync sound', 55 feet height, enormous 'live load' bearing capacities and elephant doors which allow full truck access on to the stages. The fire safety and security measures at the studios are as per Los Angeles County Fire Department regulations.
The RMW Studios are connected to an Optic Fiber network which links it with the Reliance MediaWorks' Film Post Production facilities in Film City, Animation unit in Pune, TVC Post and Broadcast Post facilities in Andheri and international offices in LA and London and hence offers tapeless solutions from 'origination to post production to playout'. Commenting on the development, Anil Arjun, CEO of Reliance MediaWorks said, "the launch of RMW Studios is a natural extension of the film and media services we're already providing in the entertainment space. There is a severe shortage of high quality infrastructure in Mumbai and this need gap becomes more acute every year with the constant increase in big budget film, broadcast and advertising commercial productions. April-June 2011
TECHNOLOGY These Studios are a one stop solution that blends Infrastructure with technology, experience and aesthetics and a prominent step in an strategy to increase our footprint across the entire entertainment services value chain." Along with the Studio Infrastructure, Reliance MediaWorks also offers end to end pre-production services like Film Cameras, Multicam Equipment, Automated Lights and LED walls for Broadcast shows and Events and expertise of a technically qualified team along with the equipments, and also has state of art post production facilities for Feature Films, Broadcast Shows and Television Commercials, making it a one stop solution for film makers.
MoU with RWS Event as it was rearing to commercially commence the prestigious studios, RMW, just before the launch, has concluded Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Russian World Studios (RWS) and Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinokollektsia (OGK). The MOU was signed during the India visit of Russian president Dmitri Medvedev.
• Eight sound stages spread across a seven-acre area within Filmcity, with a total built-up area of two lakh square feet • Built as per strict Hollywood-compliant design specifications • Capacity equals to 25 per cent of Mumbai studio market • First studios in India to have advanced technological features like super silent 'sync sound,' 55 feet height, 'live load' bearing capacities, elephant doors and fiber optic connectivity to all post-production facilities. Russian World Studios is one of the largest private film companies in the Russian market. Existing since 1998, RWS has produced hundreds of projects, both for TV and the big screen, as many as 20 of which are international. The company also owns two studios, one in Moscow and one in St Petersburg which are spread across 22,000 square meters. The organization's profit made a staggering 1.6 billion rubles in 2009 and from 2010 onwards, RWS is known to be the partner of the Federal Funds for Economical and Social Support for National Cinematography.
RWS is actually a part of JSFC 'Sistema, the largest diversified financial corporation in Russia and the CIS serving more than 100 million customers in such industries as telecommunications, high technology, fuel-energy complex and petrochemistry, radar and space, banking, real estate, retail, mass-media, tourism and healthcare. Established in 1993, Sistema has shown $7.3 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2010, and its total assets made up $42 billion as of September 30, 2010. Obyedinennaya Gosudarstvennaya Kinokollektsia (United State Film Collection) is Russia's federal state
unitary enterprise that preserves and manages the Russian film archives. RWS and Reliance MediaWorks have associated to outsource work related to Film Restoration, Image Processing and Enhancement and HD Conversion from Russia to Reliance MediaWorks facilities in Mumbai (India) and Burbank (California). "Russian film and television industry is moving towards digitization and the United State Film Collection houses thousands of legacy film titles which need to be restored, digitized and uprezed to HD," said, Yuri Saprono, CEO Russian World Studios. "We are pleased to have found a partner in Reliance MediaWorks who shares our commitment for excellence and has time-proven hardware, software and custom R&D and can help us restore the Russian film legacy." Says Anil Arjun: "By combining RWS's leadership, know-how and expertise in Russian market with our experience and versatile technology, we are geared to provide next generation services to RWS and OGK's vast film archives. Russian Cinema has been a true embodiment of their rich history and by offering restoration services in
Russia we are honored to have the opportunity to revive some of these classic movies." Depending on Russia's requirement and developing business potential, Reliance MediaWorks and Russian World Studios will also explore the possibility of jointly setting up a dedicated restoration and digitization facility within RWS Studio complex at St Petersburg for image processing and touch-ups. The restoration and digitization services would be provided by Reliance MediaWorks to RWS and OGK through its Media BPO, which is one of the world's largest dedicated film and video restoration facility. Located in Navi Mumbai and spread across 90,000 sq ft area, the state-ofthe-art facility is built to international standards encompassing stringent content safety & security norms. The facility has been security audited and passed by International Studios. The facility is linked through fiber optic connections to the Reliance MediaWorks operations in Burbank and London and can seamlessly transfer data across locations.
Reliance MediaWorks' Media BPO is currently also digitizing, restoring and archiving 1000 films (Image and Audio) preserved by National Film Archive of India (NFAI). Some of the work done by the company's Burbank facility includes titles such as Citizen Kane, Singin' In The Rain, Casablanca, Sunset Boulevard, the Indiana Jones trilogy, the original Star Wars trilogy, twenty James Bond films, and numerous classic Disney animated films. Reliance MediaWorks operates BIG Cinemas, India's largest cinema chain with over 540 screens spread across India, the United States, Malaysia, Nepal and Netherlands. The Group currently has a dominant and comprehensive presence in film services: motion picture processing and DI; film restoration and image enhancement; 3D; digital mastering: studios and equipment rentals; visual effects; animation; TVC post production with presence across India, USA, UK and Japan. Reliance MediaWorks' television venture, BIG Synergy, is among the top players in the television programming industry. April-June 2011
Now an Inspired Multiplex
Remember the not-so-old, truly traditional and grand standalone cinema - 'carved' out of passion for cinematic design - at Thakur village at Kandivali in Mumbai? The boastfully created art-deco stylized single-screen theatre that had relived a big thing all these years has recently changed guard, 'inspired' by 'multiplex' revolution- seeking to reshape and redefine cinema exhibition in the country. It's literally an Inspired Multiplex expression now. A TM account: It's often hard to believe certain changes that change perceptions. But inspiration does often changes guard and that makes different statements at times. The Thakur Cinema at Kandivali in Mumbai is a case in a point. The grandiose single-screen theatre that relived many great styles of cinema building in the country is no longer the one it used to be. Yet, it is literally inspired to be a multiplex under the banner sporting the same name. Yes, Inspired Multiplex Pvt. Ltd. (IMPL), the latest enterprise staking a claim in the Indian multiplex business. The supposedly costliest single-screen cinema in the country - reported to have been built at a cost of Rs. 12 crore - got retrofitted into one of the most ambitious, new age mutliplexes with many unique features to befit the cinema and promotors' brand identity. That the IMPL operates its cinemas with the brand name My Cinemas the new theatre promises to make moviegoers relish the same. The grandiose image that Thakur Cinemas has crafted and registered
amongst the moviegoers in town is now further inspired under the IMPL banner in that it's going to be one of the first in the country to offer the exciting new 2K, 3D largest screen with XT sound movie. The revamped cinema though still a single screen, is rendered 'elite' in its own right with some distinct changes in the interiors. While the earlier 750plus seating capacity had been resized to 668 to bring in the element of plush, the erstwhile balcony class has been redesigned as an Elite Cinema with recliners and exclusive service offerings.
"Despite its expansive space, this cinema cannot be converted into multiplex due to its structural intricacies, "clarifies Prasanna Manjrekar, one of the directors at IMPL. "Instead of attempting restructuring the exteriors only to make it a multiplex, we decided to restructuring interiors to make it more elite and in tune with MyCinemas identity," he explained. According to Prasanna, the Elite Cinema is an elevated form of the now commoner Gold Class which no longer commands the exclusivity. Elite Cinema - as the name implies -
elevates the movie watching experience to a new high. The cinematic elements charactering the new re-oriented Thakur My Cinemas thus are: myMax: myMAX promises to take you to never imagined frontiers of entertainment with a 70-feet wide screen. It unlocks new dimensions of
wonder that awaken the senses, leaving you spellbound. myMAX makes you feel the full emotional impact of the visionary creators' dream. It talks about of 35 trillion colours and 45 bit resolution here!!! The myMAX brand focuses on highestquality, most immersive motion picture entertainment. As the myMAX theatre network grows, so does the
visibility of the myMAX brand. While myMAX remains committed to highest quality movie experience, the Company is rapidly expanding its commercial theatre network. XT Sound: The XT Sound experience is unique and powerful with its 3-way XT sound system for critical sound reproduction in large cinemas with maximum output and minimum distortion using the Aperture Bi-Radial
technology. The system at peak produces a power of more than 20,000 watts RMS. Imagery of immense size and striking clarity, sound so clear and deep you can feel it. XT Sound promises uncompressed digital, wrap-around sound that is simply unsurpassed in depth and clarity. The system is claimed unique in that it delivers exact volume and quality at every seat throughout the theatre. From a small drop of rain to a massive clap of thunder, you'll hear every shade and subtlety, regardless of where you are sitting.
2K Digital: It's a DCI-compliant 2k digital cinema which makes My Cinemas capable of showing 3D movies. My Cinemas claims it is committed to provide state-of-art 3D Active technology through 2K Digital technology for all their properties. My Cinemas are opening their next property in Q4 2010, in Bulgaria with four screens at a shopping mall in Pleven Bulgaria. The Company is also sizing up the markets in Romania and Turkey. In India My Cinemas shall be launching their next property in Holy City of Haridwar in Q1 2011. My
Cinemas targets to have 300 Screens in the next 3 years. "The success over the past year of 3D releases for features like 'Avatar' and 'Alice In Wonderland' proved that audiences are not only willing to pay a premium for the new digital experience, but they are demanding it," says Prasanna. "My Cinemas gives the full capability to provide our audiences with the technology and total luxury that brings theater going to a new level with its low cost tickets."
The Grandiose that Thakur Cinema Was! Only to brush up the memories of what the cinema was in its erstwhile format, the cinema boasted: •
A three-level auditorium with a two-stage, with largest flatscreen (70x30 ft) which could also serve as a multipurpose stage
Concealed surround sound with largest and highest number of speakers (45 concealed and two 5674 JBL speakers, the then world's largest) that produced an output of 11,000-watt, almost equal to an Imax screen
Widest seating area with 24-inch rocker seats
As many as 17 exit points
Rooftop swimming pool serving both as firefighting measure and fancy offering
Art-deco design with antique type motifs all over
Most spacious interiors with plentitude of offerings
Reported to be created at a whopping cost of Rs. 12 crore -
almost enough to build a three-screen multiplex - the cinema created a record of sorts when it came into being. In addition to Dolby and DTS, the cinema was then equipped with highest configuration of SDDS, second only in the country, after Mumbai's erstwhile Central Plaza. Acoustically designed by Mumbai-based Jhaveri and Jhaveri it was claimed to had been designed at 0.6 RT (reverberation time) against the industry norm of 0.8-0.9. This created a sound ambience equivalent to a dubbing suite.
The Raise of Thakur Cinema as reported in TheatreMagic, January-March 2004
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