Shailesh Kapoor: 2.0 and the Power of 3D

07 Dec,2018

By Shailesh Kapoor


Last week, Shankar’s ambitious film 2.0 released worldwide in three languages. The film has managed to do well, especially in the Hindi dubbed version, even as the original Tamil version has been a notch below expectations. At about Rs 140crore (nett domestic) business in the Hindi version in the first extended week of eight days, the film has a chance of crossing the Rs 200cr mark, to become only the third Hindi film this year after Sanju and Padmaavat to do so.


It’s now popularly agreed that the film lacks the screenplay quality or the emotional depth of many good Hindi films released this year. Even compared to the first film in the franchise (Enthiran in Tamil, Robot in Hindi), 2.0 is over-simplistic in its conflicts and its layering of its characters and their conflicts.


But there’s an aspect that has clearly worked for the film. And that’s the third dimension in the 3D version of 2.0. The film’s 3D execution is immaculate, providing for much fun and spectacle, hitherto seen as the exclusive domain of Hollywood films in India. Much of the film’s first half, and its long climax, is watchable, and often eminently so, because the visual effects keep you engaged because of their imaginative constructs and flawless execution. Be it the use of mobile phones (in millions) as a visual device, or the graphics work on Akshay Kumar’s character Pakshi Rajan, 2.0’s 3D version is fertile with creative ideas in the VFX space.


No wonder, then, that the 3D version has far outperformed the 2D version. The 2D version got almost 40-45% shows in the multiplexes, but has contributed to less than 20-25% of the multiplex business in the first week. Conceptualising and shooting a film in 3D is rare for Indian filmmakers, who have used 3D in the past as a marketing gimmick than a content form, converting films into 3D in post-production, leading to 3D visuals that are often irritatingly distracting to your viewing experience.


But if there was any doubt one had about the power of good 3D cinema experience, 2.0 puts it to rest. With the advent of digital, cinema has increasingly become a spectacle-driven medium, with only high-content films offering immense uniqueness surviving at the other end of the spectrum. 3D, too, has become an integral part of the spectacle. There have also been experiments with the fourth and fifth dimensions, to create a sensory experience. But the 2.0 example proves that only when the experience is organically built into the concept at the very onset, it has the potential of giving worthy returns.


Will India make more conceived-and-executed-in-3D films now? Only time will tell. A great story and canvas like Bahubali worked without 3D support. But every filmmaker is not a Rajamouli or a Hirani. And that’s why, relying on technology can be a safer, though more expensive, bet than relying on creating characters, deep emotions and genuine conflicts. That may not make cinema better off than before. But if that’s what cinema needs to survive over the next few years, so be it.



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