Resul Pookutty becomes first Asian to win Golden Reel Award

Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty has made the country proud by becoming the first Asian to win the award for best sound for documentary "India's Daughter" at the coveted Motion Picture Sound Editors' 63rd annual Golden Reel Awards.

Resul Pookutty
Resul Pookutty

Pookutty, 44, who attended the awards ceremony here, took to Twitter to share his excitement about winning the honour for British documentary maker Leslee Udwin-directed "India's Daughter", made on the Delhi gangrape incident of December 2012, which is banned in India.

"I am honoured with the Golden Reel Award for 'India's Daughter'. This is an incredible recognition for me as well asfor all those worked in the banned film apart from all those who protested against the brutal killing of Nirbhaya," Pookutty told PTI from Los Angeles this afternoon.

The Oscar-winning sound engineer said he is the first Asian to win the coveted award at the 63rd Golden Reel Award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors' (MPSE) of US for best sound.

The government had banned the film from public screening/ airing in the country.

Dedicating the award to the 23-year-old paramedic student who was brutally gangraped on December, 16 2012 following which she died, Pookutty said the film "India's Daughter" is the true spirit of the youth of the nation.

He said the film recognises the entire spirit of the youth who protested against the inhuman treatment being meted out to girls and women.

"I dedicate this award to Nirbhaya's soul... And her indomitable spirit," Pookutty said.

The competing films/ television documentaries in the list included "Beware Baltimore", "Chef's Table", "Deadliest Catch", and "The Undrafted" "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Martian", "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "The Revenant" among others.

Pookutty said a double nomination was rarity in the industry and the beauty is that both these are Indian works.

Late last month, in a rare achievement, Pookutty had won two nominations for two films, both banned in the country, from the prestigious American Motion Picture Sound Editors' (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards.

The 44-year-old artist of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame has won nominations for his sound engineering work in "Unfreedom", a US production, and "India's Daughter".

He noted that all his international recognitions came for the work he has done in India, but expressed anguish over the ban imposed on both the films in the country.

"I don't understand why a progressive society like ours should react the way we do now. I am pained at the suppression of artistic freedom," he had said earlier, adding these two works are analysis of extreme violence, which any progressive society should welcome.

"By banning such films we are nullifying the will of the people," Pookutty said.

The MPSE recognises excellence in an array of sound editing achievement, from sound effects and foley to dialogue and ADR to music and score integration.

The MPSE is the final industry group to announce nominees this year and remains the only group to do so after annual Academy Award nominations.

"India's Daughter" was directed, written and produced by British director Leslee Udwin. Though the documentary was banned in India, it was globally beamed on March 4 last year.

"Unfreedom", which espouses homosexuality, is the debut film of Florida, US-based director Raj Amit Kumar. The film, starring Adil Hussain and Victor Banerjee, is also banned in the country by the Censor Board.

The thriller chronicles a lesbian love story set in New York and New Delhi and is said to be inspired by Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poem - "Ye Dagh Dagh Ujala". The film is expected to hit North American halls on May 29.

Pookutty is a film sound designer, sound editor and mixer, and lives in Mumbai with his family. He is a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

He, along with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp, had won the Academy Awards for best sound mixing for the Britsh production "Slumdog Millionaire".

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