Technology has improved so much :-)
Maniratnam's Roja on DVD
Imagine my surprise when I saw Roja on DVD. The local stores and video libraries have been plagued with poor quality pirated stuff or for those seeking a better print - the lowly poor cousin of the DVD - the VCD! Anyways, I went ahead and bought Roja on DVD - the sleeve claims that its the first Tamil Movie released on DVD. I'll skip the story line as everyone and his relative have seen the movie by now and stick to the review of the DVD. The Movie has been released by Pyramid A/V International and Digital base. They can be contacted at email@example.com for comments.
My biggest peeve was that it has been released in the Pan and Scan version only and not Wide Screen. It would've made perfect sense to release this on both formats - the technology affords this, but this is a start! I wish they would release the movies in their original Aspect ratios in the future. I agree that releasing them in the 16x9 enhanced trasfer is probably an overkill, but the wide screen version is a must have and a minimum requirement. I hope they take notice. The Audio is Dolby Stereo. Again, I don't know how the original movie was released, but not releasing the audio on Dolby Digital is a big mistake. At least the sound track could've been re-recorded on Dolby Digital, if not DTS. I can't wait for Kuruthipunal on DVD with a DTS sound track. Anyone who has seen Fifth Element on DVD will appreciate the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track with the deep resounding sound effects. The Sub-woofers were hardly put to test by this DVD. Show me a tamil move that will make my sub-woofers rumble!! It also includes the Video Song List and Audio Songs and a list of characters in the DVD menu. As you can see, no real goodies. How about Sub-titles, Dual Language Sound tracks for dubbed movies like this, and a list of favorite scenes in the Menu? Also the presentation was shoddy. Numerous spelling mistakes, a poor synopsis of the story and an unclear picture of Arvind and Madhu on the cover. Please improve the packaging!! But I'm not complaining too much. I'm glad to see a Tamil movie on DVD and I hope this format takes off and replaces its poorer cousins - the VCDs and the VHS... The picture quality is generally good except in a couple of places where it 'jumps'. I played both the VHS Original and the DVD to compare and the DVD rocks when it comes to pure quality of images.
I wish Pyramid a great success with DVDs. My wish is that they come out with excellent DVDs that match the English movie offerings in quality and presentation. I hope they don't just transfer the VCD to DVD and instead do it from scratch. For example, the Avvai Shanmughi and Minsara Kanavu VCDs are terrible. Another plus is that the DVD is region free, i.e. playable on DVDs around the world in NTSC Format! My rating is 3 stars for the effort! It's a great start and I hope it continues..
Original Photograph (Roja - On DVD):
Audio CD Insert