Pointless Acts : Re-Mastering and Re-Releasing Films, which are already in Digital

Starting with re-processing of Sivaji Ganesan’s movie Karnan, several films have been digitally re-mastered and re-released in theatres. These include films like ‘Pathinaaru Vayathinile’, ‘Baasha‘ and now ‘Vetri Vizha‘. All these films have already been available in Digital format for quite some time now.

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In this article published on the Internet, Deva, the distributor ( DARWIN PICTURES) holding the rights to the film ‘Vetri Vizha’ speaks about the need to archive film negatives for posterity and for them to be preserved for the upcoming generation.

First of all, preserving movies on film is a very costly proposition. It is also much more cumbersome, and only continued re-runs of film can make saving ‘film on print’, viable. This is obviously well known and that is the reason why digital slowly replaced print. More over, with the ‘shelf life of movies’ coming down to a matter of days, if not weeks, the possibilities of even thinking of film, is less than zero.

The availability of free digital copies online ( and affordable DVD’s) seriously limits the general audience interest in wishing to see a near similar, albeit slightly enhanced experience of the film at the theatre. The upper limit of Basha’s re-released collections hitting at around only 40 Lakhs seriously limits the scope of what can be done to a film like Vetri Vizha. Given this budget limitation, the movie makers are definitely not going to do a 3D version of the film, or something like that. Moreover, no matter what re-mastering you do, you aren’t going to end up with a ‘Bahubali’ kind of experience at the theatre. So, what is the point? Even, if it is a stark improvement in quality, would it justify in bringing the general and younger audience to the theatres?

It is obvious that classic films need to be shown to the younger generation. But this film, Vetri Vizha has already been available on YouTube, for quite some time now. So, logically, why would most people, wish to come to the theatre and pay for it, when they can see a film for free? They will not.

In all probability, the screening of ‘Vetri Vizha’ is just another gimmick that would appeal only to ‘die-hard-fans’ of the actor Kamal Hassan (who have already seen this movie multiple times) and continue to rake in more moolah, for the rights holder. Simple.

Rather than invest so much resources into remastering and screening films, of which digital prints of acceptable quality are already available, why don’t we put in that same effort to bring Digital copies of films stored in film prints, but are unavailable to the common public in any form what-so-ever?

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