Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan's Jawan is the perfect big-screen entertainer, complete with its larger-than-life protagonists, high-octane action sequences and whistle-worthy dialogues. Among many factors, the sound adds to the action thriller's big-screen appeal. Not many know that a Los Angeles-based team, led by sound designer-producer-editor Kunal Rajan, was working on Atlee's directorial venture since two years. "When production began in 2021, there was a lot of uncertainty about when audiences would start returning to theatres, and OTT was taking over. So, we discussed creating an unparalleled theatrical experience for the audience, something that will be difficult to achieve in a home theatre," recalls Rajan.
The sound designer says he was lucky to have such a vast canvas in his first Hindi movie. He adds that he had a generous and deeply involved producer in Khan. "I did all the sound design and pre-mix in LA between February and July 2023. We usually mix all our films in LA. But since SRK sir wanted to be involved in the mix, we flew down to Mumbai in August so that he could sit with us and give us his inputs. He knows his audience very well. During the mix, he wanted the music and sound effects to play a certain way in some scenes. All those moments got a huge applause in theatres."
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Rajan has handled the sound design of all Kamal Haasan's films in the past decade, including the Vishwaroopam franchise and the upcoming Indian 2. Sound design in Hollywood offerings differ drastically from Indian counterparts. Asked whether it was challenging for his American crew to create the sound palette for Indian audiences, Rajan explains, "We use a different approach to mix Indian films compared to working on Hollywood films. Typically, a Hollywood mix is too subtle for the Indian audiences. Dialogue and music play much louder in Indian mixes. Having worked on various Indian films over the years, my team has adapted to the Indian sensibilities. I have slowly started incorporating Hollywood sensibilities in Indian films, and vice versa."