Dangerous Ishq 3D review. Bollywood goes native on S3D

Dangerous Ishq is not the first Bollywood 3D movie to be shot in native 3D (versus a post conversion). That honor goes to Haunted 3D, directed by the same Director.

First off I have to give credit where due. The Director has gone against the grain of both Bollywood and even Hollywood Studios, by choosing to shoot native 3D versus opting for what I affectionately call the lazy solution of converting an entire movie after-the-fact.

Tempting as it may be to do yet another 2D v/s 3D pros and cons discussion, I’ll limit it to a critique of what can / should be improved in forth coming Bollywood 3D productions, just so that they can indeed be on par at lower budgets and yet of the same caliber of their more expensive Hollywood counterparts.

Dangerous Ishq: Stereoscopic 3D review

Let’s start with the Pros:

  1. Shot Native v/s post converted: This in itself says that the Director knows the differences between the nuances that can only be achieved (at least till date) with native stereoscopic acquisition. The first image in this article shows that (watch for it in 3D in the movie). The chain link helmet, the intricate jewelry, all come alive and make for greater immersion in the scene. Contrast that for instance with Princess Deja’s converted ensemble in John Carter.
  2. Immersion in the environment in Stereoscopic 3D: There is no question about it. The locations look excellent in all their captured glory in Stereoscopic 3D. No flat wallpaper like walls or pillars because budgets or time frames did not allow for the artists to “convert” the scene. More importantly no excuses that peripheral imagery is not important as the movie is about seeing the main talent…etc…etc. The beauty of the environment was there to watch if the audience so wanted to. More on that later, ironically, coming up in the Cons section.

The Cons:

Can Stereoscopic 3D Save a Movie?

Until watching this movie, I was under the un-shakable belief that Stereoscopic 3D could never save bad acting or a movie. However, Dangerous Ishq is making me doubt the vehemency of my belief.

  • I will have to admit, that it was the rich period costumes, the sets and the architecture captured in Stereoscopic 3D that sustained my attention in the movie, long after I’d lost interest in the acting of ALL the cast. It seems that the main actress got better as she “regressed” into her past lives, (the further into her past incarnation she went, the better the improvement in acting). The main actor reminded me of a Bollywood KEN in all incarnations. But this is strictly a stereoscopic 3D critique…so getting back…

Retinal Rivalry:

The number one problem with the film was the horrid Retinal Rivalry: This artifact reared it’s ugly head throughout the movie. The first line of defense is a good quality mirror rig with, of course a good quality 50-50 mirror. The second line of defense is in Post. Bollywood is notorious (in my opinion) of wanting to own the most expensive gear, yet not wanting to invest in knowledgeable crew in post. Again it’s ironic that Hollywood depends on talent in India to do almost ALL their animation, conversion and “finishing” for Stereoscopic 3D films, yet home-grown productions should suffer from lack of talent in addressing simple problems such as retinal rivaly. Quite easily fixed in a number of post systems, Mistika being one.

Retinal rivalry showed up in almost every scene, and manifested itself in everything from the sheen on actors black hair, to silk/satin turbans, to polished furniture and similar objects. In many scenes, color was not balanced between left and right eye views. These are the very reasons that 2D to 3D conversions seem to be the easy way out, yet the solution itself is simple as noted in the previous paragraph.

Lilliputian-ism, miniaturization, Hyper Stereo:

Call it what you like, it was present in this movie in many scenes. I have to ask: Who was the stereographer? Did he not have good communication with the DP? So many scenes had deep 3D shot from completely un-motivated high angles. We have to remember in Stereoscopic 3D, Motivation is key to all camera work. We can’t cheat or fake depth nor scale in 3D, as we can in 2D.

The still shot above shows what would happen in 3D. The Camera’s POV is that of a giant, always looking down on the actors in the film. Such scenes looked like Dollhouse models with miniature actors running around. Even on the big Cinema screen Hyper Stereo was on ample display in the scenes.

Here’s a quick lesson on Camera Motivation for Stereoscopic 3D and  how to Think in 3D. Hopefully the DP and/or Stereographer take this as constructive criticism.

Danger-ishq Framing in 3D:

The image above shows complete lack of communication between DP and Stereographer. Such a scene is a failure in 3D and adds nothing to the scene.

In writing Dialog, there is the…

Hi-how-are-you?

I’m-fine-thankyou.

…guideline or rule, that is key to great dialog. The point being that such lines of dialog as the one above are un-inspiring and do not add to the film. The same holds true for bad framing in S3D. It is un-inspiring and has no place in a 3D movie. Each scene and shot should be of value. The Lamp in negative Z space occupying a good section of 3D real estate, and causing stereo window violations to boot is akin to bad dialog.

Many such examples of bad framing litter the movie.

Of particular concern was the clear lack of depth script, and continuous convergence pulling on many scenes, leading to eye-strain. Top that up with huge positive parallax and this movie showed that it lacked a good synergy between stereographer and DP or that the stereographer was still learning the ropes.

I have to be blunt; sorry, but this is a non-biased critique, and at the risk of it being music to the ears of conversion studios, it has to be mentioned.

Missing Stereoscopic QC in Dangerous Ishq:

To sum up some of the other errors…

  • At least  one scene with Pseudo Stereo (inverted 3D). The stars in the sky are at wrong depth as the actress and actor gaze up, early on in the movie
  • Bad stereo 3D compositing as the actress steps out of the hospital corridor and into one of her past worlds (Ground contact is off, as is mismatched depth)
  • At least one scene with vertical misalignment on actress’s face towards the ending. (visible only if you remove glasses. It lasted long enough for me to do just that)
  • In consistent framing on narrative scenes. Un-necessary pulling of convergence and actors faces into negative Z-space
  • Depth Continuity issues.
  • Title logo animations… All had excessive -Z  parallax.

In summarizing, I’m happy that Bollywood has shown foresight and is taking the plunge into producing Stereo3D movies. It’s a great step forward, and no doubt will yield results,  given the indigenous spirit of the talent in India. I have every reason to believe that this Director is one to look out for in leading the way for Stereoscopic 3D filmmaking in India.