A Raj Kapoor retrospective might soon come to a multiplex near you with one of the shows being a collage of his popular scenes and songs.
RK Films has entered into a tie-up with UFO Moviez, a leader in the digital cinema business that provides technology to the likes of Chak De! India and Heyy Babyy and Marigold. The most significant fallout of the partnership is a brave new format on the big screen.
“Those who do not want to see the whole of Sangam may see 20 minutes of it and then move on to the best scenes of Prem Rog. This way the interest of a multiplex crowd will be maintained. We are working on a two-and-a-half-hour package made out of the highlights of Raj Kapoor’s colour films,” Pankaj Jaysinh of UFO Moviez tells t2.
The showman’s eldest son Randhir Kapoor is excited about reviving the RK magic. “People from all across the country write in wanting to see Raj Kapoor on the big screen. But it is not viable to produce 300-400 prints for an old film. The current prints also cannot withstand the wear and tear of travel. So it made sense for us to embrace this new technology,” reasons the head of RK Films.
In stage one, the seven colour movies — Sangam to Ram Teri Ganga Maili — have been digitised. “We are giving the 35mm prints a wide-screen 70mm look. This involves processing on a smoke machine, treating the granules in the negatives and giving an artificial Dolby effect to the mono sound,” explains Pankaj Jaysinh. “Projecting the existing print on a multiplex screen will make the film look like a newsreel, with blank space left on both sides.”
But there is more to the technology than just treating a print. The master print need not even travel out of the Chembur office. “A film will be transmitted via satellite to the server of the exhibitor. He will be given a smart card to screen the film as many times as he has paid for.”
Considering each print costs about Rs 60,000, the digital variant, carrying a one-time tag of Rs 90,000, is a winner, both in cost and quality. Unlike the analogue prints, the digital does not deteriorate with every screening.
Randhir Kapoor is also looking to spread the RK romance to small towns. “This satellite facility gives me a wider range of audience to cater to.” Once the colour films find an audience, the black-and-white classics like Awaara and Jagte Raho will be handed over. But RK Films will not join the trend of adding colour to old films. “Classics should not be fiddled with. Can you think of seeing Charlie Chaplin in colour'” argues Randhir.