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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Kerala floods are as bad as the 1947 Partition: Resul Pookutty

As his home state grapples with floods, Oscar-award winning sound designer Resul Pookutty asks us to stay united in this tragedy. He also thanks the members of Bollywood fraternity who have come forward to show support.

bollywood Updated: Aug 25, 2018 16:19 IST
Etti Bali
Etti Bali
Hindustan Times
Academy award winning sound designer Resul Pookutty.
Academy award winning sound designer Resul Pookutty.(Photo:Satish Bate/Hindustan Times)

As Kerala faces the worst floods in its history, we see humanity break barriers to help those devastated by the calamity. A large number of Bollywood celebs also immediately rose to the occasion and actively took part in rehabilitation missions. Academy Award-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty also sprang into action to mobilise help for his home state. On Wednesday, Pookutty met the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, to discuss plans for the state. “The meeting with the CM went very well,” he tells us on phone from Kerala. Resul shares that the government of Kerala has urged actors to meet flood-hit families. “When someone like Mammootty and Mohanlal comfort people, it creates an impact,” he says.

The sound designer is proud that the film fraternity set a heartwarming example of solidarity. “I contacted Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Vidya Balan, Sidharth Roy Kapur, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. All of them helped instantly. Sushant Singh Rajput was a big sport. Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Akshay Kumar also sent help. Bachchan sir went out of his way and packed clothes and cartons of stuff, while Alia sent food and clothes. I felt that Incredible India is not just a tourism tagline, it’s the true spirit of India,” he says.


Different communities and groups are being mobilised to garner maximum help. “The government made a smart move by appealing to the fishermen community and mobilised them. The areas where Navy couldn’t reach, but for the fishermen, it is their livelihood. They fight with sea every day. 15,000 people they rescued with nothing in their hands, just a boat and a will to survive. Their boats were damaged and the government has declared financial relief to those people. Look at unity of these people because they have faced calamities like tsunami and Okhi in the past. The moment the Chief Minister made the announcement of calling the fishermen to help, the just took their boat and went,” he says.

Read | Esha Gupta: People losing everything in the Kerala floods would move anyone

Pookutty says that Kerala is facing a catastrophe that reminds one of the 1947 Partition. “This is the time when epidemics spread. People are going back to their house, but there are dead bodies and dead animals. People lost their documents. It’s like what happened during the Partition. To put a list of passports, visas, property papers, work IDs is a huge task,” he says.


 In this hour of distress, a few hate mongers tried to disturb peace, but Pookutty asks us to stay unaffected. “Let’s ignore negativity. There is so much love, affection and unity around us. If one person spreads hatred, then there are at least 100 people spreading love. Let’s focus on that,” he says.

Pookutty further wants people to laud the efforts of all those people, friends and neighbours from the state that are helping in whatever way they can. He recalls reading an account by an SBI manager: “He said this old man came to the counter and said he wanted to withdraw all the money from his pension account. The manager looked at him and asked why are you withdrawing all the money from the pension account. So this man said that all my friends and neighbours have gone for rescue operation. Their family has nothing to eat. I want to withdraw this money and buy food for them. And this manager writes that was the best banking experience of my life”.

Stating that “restoring water and electricity” is the “most immediate need”, Pookutty adds how Piramal foundation has done some unprecedented work. “They have supplied one lakh tablets of chlorine that can be put in the water and it will be clean for 1 month. We are also setting up RO water purifiers that can purify 1,000 litres of water in an hour’s time. Truck loads of medicines from the Piramal Foundation are coming in. The major concern is that there is lot of trauma among people. Three people have died because of trauma of seeing their houses just vanished, or gone in irreparable loss. Cleaning up is a major element. Kerala Police is cleaning up houses,” he says.

In addition to supplies, humanitarian need is also of utmost importance.“Mobilisation of health workers. We need doctors on ground, we need people who can counsel, psychologists are of immediate need,” he signs off.

Interact with the author at @TheBalinian