Robbing the Box-Office

Published On: 2016-02-12

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Robbing the Box-Office


Source: Screen India 

Date: February 16, 2007 


It's official. Glamour and technology is the winning combo of the day. Out of a spate of action flicks released this winter, Dhoom : 2 has managed the longest theatre run. Most opinion polls conducted by media houses, websites, and blogs declare Sanjay Gadhvi's film as the winner. In one internet poll, the margin between the two films was 0.44%. A U.S. listing ranks Water and KANK as number one, Dhoom : 2 comes in second, Don at a close third, while Lage Raho Munnabhai and Rang De Basanti almost tie for the fourth place. Dhoom : 2 ranked sixth in the UK Top 10 box-office hit charts, beating Don in the race. But more intriguing than all the statistics, is the attitude towards the film. The reasons for appreciating Don are pretty transparent - style, hype of the remake, and SRK. Dhoom : 2, on the other hand, is an 147 minute film with more than 40 minutes of special effects. Yet, after a cursory praise of the 'superb', 'scintillating' or 'worldclass' graphics, the emphasis usually shifts to the 'other attractions'. 


The famous Hrithik - Aishwarya kiss is still being viewed (and demanded) by thousands of surfers everyday. A wave of Hrithik - mania seems to be gripping most of the bloggers, with a vast majority finding him more sexy than Aishwarya or Bipasha. Notably, all the media reviews seem to agree on only one point - the importance of the Hrithik factor of Dhoom : 2. David Chute of Los Angeles Weekly says " Rai and Roshan, gazing at each other with their perfect profiles, revive a form of unself conscious romantic fantasy that survives today almost exclusively in Bollywood." The New York Times reviewer seems to echo him: "When Mr. Roshan's surprisingly green eyes meet Ms. Rai's surprisingly blue ones, it's a delirious moment of unselfconscious, slightly cartoonish movie magic." 


Well. It's all very satisfying to keep munching on the old formula of great chemistry and heartbreak appeal, but the VFX people at Visual Computing Labs (VCL) of Tata Elxsi is as heroic as the big boys on screen. 


The 'fort' of the high suspense sequence where Aishwarya is introduced was actually a 16 square foot terrace. When Hrithik and Aishwarya leap spectacularly into space - the impression of a 300 ft drop was created for a height of 12 ft. The city seen glimmering far below the walls did not even exist - for that matter neither did the walls of the fort. Computer graphics and a lot of imagination created the charm. Audiences all over the world gasped as Hrithik and Aishwarya leapt onto their bikes over the whirling blades of a helicopter in the climactic chase sequence. The huge and clumsy rotor blades of the wooden dummy copter used in the shoot had fallen off before the camera could roll. Once again, it was CGI (Computer Generated Images) which had come to the rescue. The metal - corroding acid that allowed Hrithik to escape through the manhole, the arm of the robot car that steals the diamond, the diamond itself, the little insects creating a panic among the children at the museum - are all farther examples of CGI. The action and stunts were similarly 'supplemented' and rendered more dangerously by VFX. And apart from stray incidents like the rotor blade fiasco, every little detail was carefully pre-planned. The director, the action director and the cinematographer sat with the Tata Elxsi team, converting the story board painstakingly into 3D animation sequences timed exactly as they would appear on screen. The camera angles were made available to the cameraman well before shooting began. This process took an entire year. Dhoom : 2 sizzles. And this has been possible through the perfect marriage of acting talent and technology.