Panjaa DVD – Camera Spotting and other observations

The Pawan Kalyan movie Panjaa is out on DVD from Volga Videos.  I’d seen the movie earlier on an IMAX screen and enjoyed it a lot.  Therefore, when the DVD was released, I bought it immediately (on Friday – when I went to see Chronicle at Prasad’s).

When I’d seen the movie earlier, I posted a few tweets about a couple of cameras I spotted in the movie.  I’m able to show you now, thanks to screenshots from the DVD.

There – you see it?  That’s a Canon EOS 5D Mark II being used to photograph Brahmanandam’s character Paparayudu.  The camera appears to have a 50mm f1.8 II lens mounted on it.  You can click the image above to see a bigger picture.

This screenshot is from slightly earlier on in the same scene –

Here, the camera appears to have a bigger lens mounted on it.  I can’t confirm this though, since it’s difficult to make out in this screenshot.  Perhaps a shot from a Bluray disc would make things clearer.

Either way, a 5D Mark II is an impressive choice of photography gear for a village!  The way the guy has the strap on is also cool.

Earlier in the film we see something more retro – a Yashica Twin Lens Reflex camera.  I don’t know much about classic cameras so can’t identify the exact camera.  But I believe something like this was seen in Agneepath also.

Another photography-related observation from the end credits –

The Publicity Campaign Photography for the movie is by Sharad Haksar.  The reason I know that name, is that I attended this event called BlogCamp back in 2006 in Chennai, and one of the most interesting presentations I got to see at that event was Sharad Haksar’s presentation on photography!  Check these two old blog posts: mine, Varun’s.

I enjoyed the movie greatly, and I thought the cinematography (by P S Vinod) was very good.  The “Veyira Cheyyi” song sequence is artistically shot –

This is a nice “in motion” example of what a lot of photographers do in their still photos – use a very shallow depth of field and cross-processing.  I am not sure if the DOF effect here was achieved in camera, but either way, it looks great on screen.

Volga Videos have released the DVD with what appears to be ‘variant covers’.  I saw at least two different covers at Sangeet Sagar, where I bought it.  I was actually tempted to buy two copies of the movie just to have the two different covers but I stopped myself.

The back of the DVD cover contained something interesting –

It says “Punchline: the war within”.  Isn’t that supposed to be tagline, since a punchline is something that comes at the end of a joke!  Genre is “Action/Love” and the final part will make one say whisky-tango-foxtrot: “Type: Straight”.  Really?  Straight?  As opposed to what other type?

The top of the cover also advertises “The Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen for Everyone!” which would lead one to believe that there’s a documentary about Anamorphic Widescreen on the disc.  But sadly, that is not the case and all we get is the typical warning that tells you to switch to letterbox mode if you have a 4:3 TV.

I wasn’t aware that the NTSC format had an official logo.  After I posted the above photo to Facebook, my friend pointed out that the logo appears to be the result of a Google search for NTSC.  That is actually taken from a page titled Nuclear Technology Safety Center.

I also bought the DVD of the Mahesh Babu movie Dookudu at the same time – that is also released by Volga Videos and is also labelled as being “Straight”, and that also has the above NTSC logo.

These DVDs cost Rs 149 each (if you buy them in Andhra Pradesh, it’s Rs 155 in other states).  It’s worth getting them.  The covers of both discs indicate that Vedam would be released on DVD soon – a long wait considering that the movie was released in 2010, but as that is a very well done movie, it’s a DVD I’ll definitely be buying.


Chronicle from director Josh Trank is a “found footage” movie that explores what would happen if a ‘normal’ person was given superpowers.

Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is a shy and troubled youth with a sick mother and an abusive father.  He decides to document his life by recording video – that’s how the movie starts.  Through the footage that Andrew records, we encounter the other two main characters in the story – Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell), who is Andrew’s only friend, and Steve (Michael Jordan) who is running for President at their high school.

The three encounter a mysterious force that grants them telekinetic powers.  The remainder of the movie shows us what they do with these powers – told mostly from the point of view of Andrew’s camera.  If a ‘normal’ person is given telekinetic powers, would that person use it to do goody-goody stuff?  No, they wouldn’t – and that’s what Trank’s take on the subject matter is, which results in an engaging and very well done movie, that does turn quite dark as it progresses.

Coming in at less than 90 minutes, Chronicle actually covers a lot of ground (origin and a whole story arc for the characters), and builds up really well.  It’s well written (screenplay by Max Landis, who is John Landis’s son) and the acting is very good.

The standout performance for me was from Dane DeHaan as Andrew, who was really believable in the role.  Towards the end, the movie reminded me of Akira, though the two are not related, Andrew’s character does have shades of Tetsuo from that movie.

The visual effects are very well done – they blend in very well with the supposedly ‘filmed’ footage.

The film takes a lot of artistic license with the “found footage” aspect (I don’t suppose the filmmakers have officially claimed it as a “found footage” movie, have they?).

Early on I suppose it could pass off as footage that was ‘found’ as is, but later on it freely breaks from that mould, since we’re shown footage from more than one camera.  Therefore, what is shown in the movie cannot possibly be found footage, as anyone who’s edited video would tell you.  If what we’re shown is true, much of the film is supposed to be shot with a Canon HD camera but I doubt that it would produce shallow depth-of-field effects like what we see.

In reality the movie was shot with Arri Alexa cameras (so yes, it was shot digitally) with Cooke S4 and Angenieux Optimo Lenses (technical info courtesy IMDb).

Of course, complaining about the video aspect not being plausible, in a movie about people who get telekinetic powers is needless nitpicking, I realise (see Bellisario’s Maxim)!  So it’s best not to think too much about that and simply enjoy it as a unique storytelling device employed by director Trank.

Overall a very nicely done movie.  Definitely worth watching and Josh Trank is a name to keep in mind!

Rating: 8/10

Note: I saw this at Prasad’s, entered the hall in time to see the trailer of This Means War (first time I’m hearing of this movie – it’s directed by McG).  My friend informed me that I missed the trailer they showed before that – the one for Prometheus!  Granted, it’s the same one I’ve already seen dozens of times, but it would have been awesome to see it on a big screen.

Another Note: Praise to whoever decided to release this movie in India, the same praise as I would attribute to the people who released Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive in India.  Drive was also shot (Newton Thomas Sigel) digitally, with Arri Alexa cameras.  Apart from the lenses mentioned above, the IMDb page lists Zeiss Master Prime Lenses as being used.