“Mateen Ahmad + National Film Award.”
These were the words that Umesh Pant (22) googled on Monday evening. The search result confirm what his classmate had told him.
His professor at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university had really won a National Film Award. Though his achievement — Best Audiography — wasn’t highlighted as prominently as that of other Bollywood stars, Mateen Ahmad (40)—an assistant professor at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre—is content with the congratulatory SMSes sent by his students and friends.
Ahmad, who teaches a paper called ‘Sound’ at JMI, has been awarded for his audio design for the film called Children of the Pyre.
The documentary is on children who make their living off the dead at Manikarnika in Benaras, the busiest cremation ground in the country.
“Films and teaching. And I cannot choose between the two,” said Ahmad, who worked on the film even while he was teaching full-time at the varsity and then screened it for his students in class once it was released.
“Though cinema is my true calling, I’ve always loved to share information with youngsters and help them understand the medium better,” he said.
Though he pursued his BA and MA in Physics, Ahmad was attracted towards making films. “But my academic background hasn’t been wasted. Cinema is a blend of science and aesthetics and physics helps immensely in designing sound,” he said.
An alumni of Film and Television Institute of India, Mateen is working on another documentary based in Kashmir.