Sound is not given its due importance: Resul Pookutty

Resul-PookuttyI don’t like the term Bollywood, as it gives an impression that our industry is just aping the West. I’d rather call it Indian cinema as I have grown up watching films made by Indian directors. Our films have their own cultural identity. We have to protect our audience and our cinema, which is larger than life. Our strength lies in story telling and in original ideas. We have so many stories that have their roots in our traditions and culture. Yet, there’s a dearth of original ideas. We make innumerable films focusing on the films’ star power but a screenwriter is not given his or her due importance. This is anything but right. At times, even 

B-grade films fare well at the box-office and the only reason is good writing.

Take a look at Gravity. It’s a story of a person trapped in space. The quality of writing made it a believable film, which was liked by one and all. Indian cinema is very dynamic. Though the industry functions in a chaotic manner, there’s a high level of mutual trust. That’s its beauty. It accepted actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan with open arms despite their non-filmi background.

That said, I hate the complacent, chalta hai attitude of people here. It’s detrimental from the business and creative point of view. If we want to push young talent and create waves internationally, we need to step out of our comfort zone.

The award ceremonies only celebrate commercial success. True talent often gets left behind in the quest for more moolah. We need to nurture talent — be it in writing or technology. We should do something for the greater good of others. Till date, we have contributed nothing to cinema in terms of technology that has benefited all.

Also, a lot of money is spent on the cast, action, sets, costumes and visual effects but sound is not given its importance. As sound designers, we have to convince producers to spend on it; now why do we have to do it in the first place?

The attitude of actors also matters when it comes to dubbing. If you compromise on either, the quality will suffer. Sound gives an expression to a film; if we are making larger-than-life films, then formats like Dolby Atmos need to be used.

(As told to Nilesh Rao)

Resul Pookutty is a sound designer and mixer. He has worked in Hollywood, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam films; he won the Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing for the film, Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

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