Cellular Jail, Andaman… a simple utterance of those words will stir up some poignant memories of the tyrannous treatment the oppressive British jail authorities meted out to the Indian Freedom Fighters imprisoned there. From Veer Savarkar to Neera Arya…tortures untold and unimaginable…
In the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, yet another Government of India initiative of connecting its people with the vibes of those sacrifices and struggles, presents the saga of Cellular Jail on the island.
Promoted by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), and designed, installed and integrated by TricolorIndia Schauspiel Pvt Ltd, the recently redesigned new sound and light show at the prison apparently has resonated with the national spirit among the visiting citizenry.
The exploit has many unique features to rave about, size, scale, space, systems and storytelling.
SI ASIA presents this touching episode of the Indian Freedom Struggle in our Video of the Month. Watch it, connect with it, and pay tributes to those who sacrificed their freedom for ours.
Cellular Jail in Port Blair- the very name of the notorious prison in the capital city of Andaman (& Nicobar Islands) springs many a scary story in the minds of yester generations. For, the horrors of the brutal treatment the jail authorities enforced on the Freedom Fighters during the British Raj haunted people for decades.
Arguably, one of the most gruesome jail regimes of the time, and one of the darkest chapters in the annals of India’s Independence Movement, the punishments and treatment meted out to the Freedom Fighters defied every single iota of humanity and reason. The three-storeyed, V-shaped colossal structure, constructed by the British from 1896 to 1906, mutely witnessed the most treacherous of inhumane atrocities borne by the Freedom Fighters.
Post-Independence, the building had been transformed into a National Memorial – with the objective of serving as a stark reminder to citizens- of the sacrifices made by the Freedom Fighters.
While there had been an existing sound and light show for some years at the building depicting the horrors of the time, it was ideated to revamp the whole set-up and evolve a new event with modern audio-visual technology glitz that creates more effective vibes with the citizens, and visitors in general – in tune with the celebrations of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav – even as it contributes to furthering the tourism in the archipelago.
Accordingly, the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), working under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, had initiated the revamping project calling for a turnkey solution that includes the creating and maintaining the new sound and light show, along with hardware and artistic works. Gurugram-based infotainment design-integration solutions major Tricolor India Schauspiel landed the project winning over stiff competition.
“The project’s main objective was to give a major facelift to the existing show while maintaining the previous script,” recalls Garima Mishra, managing director of Tricolor India. “We had to bring out the history, depict the turmoil and the gruesome story of the Cellular Jail,” she explains. “The show was to be created in such a manner that would put Cellular Jail on the world map even as it contributes to tourism.”
Given the importance of the project and site requirements, the integrator had their task cut out. Apart from the routine recce, team Tricolor went into a detailed survey to evolve a strategy to utilize the existing infrastructure and identify the areas requiring additional treatment and of what kind.
“This immensely popular site in Andaman, with over 1,500 visitors every day, was to be given a facelift towards contributing to tourism promotion, as well as local industry,” says Himanshu Singh Sabharwal, creative director at Tricolor India Schauspiel. “We were entrusted to upgrade the existing conventional sound &light show to a multimedia son et lumière of international standards; we had to put our best foot forward to meet the expectation,” he explains. “We had to bring to life the experiences and spine-chilling stories associated with the notoriety of the jail.”
A very unique and interesting spec of utilizing the existing infrastructure was exploiting the natural elements from the landscape of the prison. “One good example is using the big tree in front of the façade for projecting abstract audio equalization visuals on it,” informs Garima. “These visuals, played in sync with the narration, create an illusion of a Speaking Tree.”
That apart, Tricolor also created holographic projection on the ground, thereby creating multiple layers of projection surfaces that rendered the whole setting more dynamic and created a seamless viewing experience.
While every single site of this scale came with its own set of challenges, the Cellular Jail posed a unique challenge. That it is built in a massive inverted ‘V’ shape, with spokes protruding out and a watch tower in the centre, the setting wasn’t quite ideal for either viewing or aural angles. Team Tricolor had to work out a meticulous mapping of projectors’ placement at eye-friendly strategic locations.
So was the case of lighting, and the integrator had to employ dynamic lighting with a view to creating seamless watching from one end to the other.
The AV Majors
The audio-visual systems that have gone into this prestigious install comprised:
• The Harman family of JBL speakers, Crown amplifiers, BSS Dsps
• Barco projectors
• Dataton Watchout Media servers
• LBT moving heads and Hulk & laser lights
The success of this new son et lumiere show has come for instant gratification, with the show attracting an increasing number of visitors, exciting them with the new techbiz and nation-vibe narrative.
Tricolor, which has carved a niche of its own in the infotainment segment with quite a few fascinating projects to its credit, has added yet another big colourful feather to its hat of credentials.