'In our country, technicians are not taken seriously'
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'In our country, technicians are not taken seriously'

Resul Pookutty, alumni of FTII and the winner of the BAFTA Award for sound design for Slumdog Millionaire, techspeaks with Rachana Dubey.

entertainment Updated: Feb 12, 2009 18:36 IST
Rachana Dubey
Rachana Dubey
Hindustan Times

You are 15 days away from the big Oscar day.. anxious?

I am not anxious or nervous. I am scared because the expectations are too high. There are several technician colleagues who see this nomination as a sea change on the technical side of Indian cinema.

It’s taking me till today to fathom that I am nominated in the same category as some of the finest names in the world. Today, I am feeling that my mother should have been alive to see this.

Are you expecting yourself to win?

I have no expectations from the Academy Awards. I don’t think I am bringing the trophy home because the competition is so tough.

It’s a complete honour to even have a nomination with the best names in the world who are known for their sound across borders and film industries. I’m not bothered who wins. I’m content with the nomination.

Did you expect

Slumdog Millionaire

to be received so well across the world?

Not at all. When we started out, the movie seemed like a small shoestring budget movie. And if you look into the logistics, it really is a small budget film by international standards. But somewhere, I felt that this movie was going to be special. When I saw the first rough cut, I told Danny (Boyle) that it seemed more like a Bollywood movie and not an international project. But when the film was completed, it looked like a fabulous Hindi movie which was high on international standards.

How did you land the movie.. there were two guys on board already by then?

There are two segments of sound designing or sound mixing.. one is the production sound and the other is the ambience sound. I was on the production sound while Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke worked on the ambience sound. So, it’s our joint effort. And believe me, being on the set all the time with three cameras and several still cameras and not getting shot in one of the frames is not easy.

Do you think your nomination will change the perception of the world about the kind of technicians we have in India?

It will, but before the perception of the world changes, we have to change our perception towards our technicians here. A movie is sold in the name of a director and actors but there is hardly ever a mention of the sound or production technician. In the west, people come and watch a movie if a certain technician has worked on it. The technicians are really the ones who make a film possible. Production value is gauged from what is visible.

Do you feel technically Indian films are at par with the west?

Technology is the same across the world. But in our country, technicians are not taken seriously. We can do good or maybe even better work than what is produced in the west but we don’t do it. There are no benchmarks or standards primarily. The technical side of a film has never been the reason for it to sell, no matter how much of an effort has gone in to make the film sound correct. Sound is the last chance a director has to tell his story correctly.

Finally, what kind of cinema do you relate to?

Melodramatic cinema.. the sort made by Ritwik Ghatak.

First Published: Feb 12, 2009 17:42 IST