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|March 28, 2001||
An eyemax experience!
The first IMAX screen of India was inaugurated on 25th March at Wadala in Bombay.
Built at Rs 400 million, the IMAX cinema is the baby of Manmohan Shetty's Adlabs, which had gone in for a public issue a few months back. Adlabs started out with a film processing laboratory and is the premiere lab in Bombay today. The IMAX concept, as is comon knowledge, is imported from Hollywood.
Besides the IMAX cinema, the complex will also have four normal screens. The IMAX screen will be open to the public in a few days, whereas the other cinemas will be opened in a few months.
Manmohan Shetty reveals, "The other screens are ready, only the interior is being done up now."
Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh inaugurated the the IMAX screen, while Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal was the guest of honour. There were three shows of one hour each for invitees on the day of the launch. A 10-minute film, Maa Tujhe Salaam, by Bharatbala Productions was screened, followed by Mysteries Of Egypt from the IMAX library.
The cinema has a seating capacity of 518.
For the uninitiated, the IMAX screen is round, like a dome -- from left to right -- and covers the ceiling of the auditorium, too. The viewer gets the feeling of being right there while watching a film. Especially fascinating or frightening -- depending on how strong or weak-hearted you are -- are the sequences when the camera moves at great speed and the viewer gets the feeling of moving in the hall.
Imagine then, if the camera is moving at a height atop a mountainous range and suddenly, there's a deep valley that it covers. You almost feel as though you are dropping down, deep into the valley.
The feeling may be akin to the one you are likely to experience if you are flying an aeroplane for the first time and have lost control of it. To add to your woes, it is moving at great speed. Or picturise a scene showing waves of the sea in full fury, splashing all across the screen and you, seated right in the middle of it all!
The IMAX dome in Bombay is the largest in the world -- it spans 30 metres in diametre. Manmohan Shetty revealed that the admission rates would be Rs. 150 for an adult and Rs. 100 for a child.
After the formal launch, Shetty said, "The IMAX people did not believe me when I told them, I was ready to launch the cinema on March 25. They warned me, it was too hurried a start and asked me to reschedule the inauguration. But I stuck to my guns as I was confident, nothing would go wrong. They are surprised, I could do it."
Another first with the cinema is that the projection room will be in full view of the public. Located on the first floor, it has glass walls all around so that the public outside can see how the projector beams the IMAX film on the huge screen. The projector is completely automatic and computer-operated.
It should also be mentioned that normal films cannot be screened in an IMAX theatre. Only films specially made for the giant screen can be shown. The IMAX library has about 150 films -- a mix of entertaining and educational fare.
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