It's a great feeling and you feel humble: Resul Pookutty

It's a great feeling and you feel humble

Rajan Singh09 Oct 2009

In this interview, Resul Pookutty talks about working in Blue, challenges involved in doing an underwater film. He also talks about getting recognition and life after winning Oscar and finally, about working with the maestro, A.R.Rahman

Resul PookuttyResul Pookutty (more photos)

Resul, has the feeling of having won an Oscar sunken in?

Not yet because the other day Rahman and me were at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and then to Parliament and all that, I have forgotten the fact that I have won an Oscar but sometime you walk into a function and then you see loads of photographers clicking you away to glory. Then I used to wonder that why are they taking my photograph and then I used to realize that oh it′s the Oscar effect. But life is back to normalcy, you have resumed your work, projects are going on and what is important at the end of the day is your work. I have swung back into work but people′s aspirations and their willingness to come forward and appreciate towards whatever little you have achieved is still going on so you feel humble at that gesture.

Please give me an honest reply; has your life changed post Oscars?

I can see that it has changed because today on the podium there were only two people for the promotion of Blue, which is such a star studded and huge budgeted movie. There were no stars and there were only two people associated with the field of sound and music, which means that′s a great welcoming change in Indian cinema. A sound man has been called in for the promotion of a movie because they think that sound can change the way you experience entertainment and that′s a very great realization and that has been brought by the Oscar. I am happy.

Tell us a bit about the experiences you had while researching for the designing of the sound for this movie, as it′s an underwater film.

We have not still finished designing it, we are in the process of doing it. The initial set of recordings and the talks with the studios in LA have taken place and we have created water pits and swimming pools. Warner Bros have associated themselves with the movie. The fact that someone like an Indian technician who has never been in the foreground for an award, never been recognized, is now working with the biggest studios in LA. For me that is like a dream come true. I have been working in LA on and off since 2004 and I had never imagined that a day will come that Warner Bros will call me to work in their studios. That′s a great welcoming change and the fact that we are able to show our caliber to that level to win their confidence is amazing.

Judging by the fact that most of the sequences in the film have been shot underwater, how difficult and challenging was it for you to design the audio for this film?

Yes, it was definitely challenging and lots of research has gone into it. It′s a new world and no one can see it with their eyes because it involves underwater diving and taking help of special gears. Almost 99 per cent of the Indian population will never be able to see the world, which is beneath the seabed. This film is giving a glimpse of that and when I thought about it, it struck me that two-third of earth is water and that also goes on to prove that there would be another huge life down there. Taking it further there would be some sound of that life which is submerged beneath the seabed that I have not experienced. To get the basics right, I have to experience it first and then pass it on to my audience. So the first thing was to hear it and then create drama out of it with that share of experience of underwater life and what happens there, and that′s also the whole theme of the movie.

Could you please specify the researches that were involved in the film?

Most of it was technical. We had to go down to the actual shipwreck where we shot the film because it revolves around a treasure hunt, which is lying under the sea bed. It was some 120 ft beneath the seabed and the location was Bahamas. When you have a microphone then you know that it′s a diaphragm in a magnetic field so when you take microphones under the water there is such a huge body of water around it which creates so much of pressure on to it. How to withstand those pressures and create a new microphone technique to be able to record and recreate those kinds of sounds was a challenge for us. Those sounds have a separate range of frequencies with which we captured the sound. Some of them are inaudible for us while some are beyond the reach of the recording techniques that are available. While designing the audio for the film everything was to be taken into consideration - the actuality of recording the elements there. Most of the time cinema is a make believe thing and we then have to recreate things. For the purpose we had to create a huge water body in the Studios and record movements of underwater bodies. Also this is going to probably be the first film for which we will come out with a 3D version of the movie. To create a sound for a 3D movie is technically a very challenging task. Oscars has opened so many ways for me, now I only have to call up a company in LA and then they make microphones for me. For an Indian technician to reach to that level of caliber and winning is a great thing. I will tell you a very interesting thing when we were mixing the promo of the film at Warner Bros LA studios. There were two senior engineers also involved and after we finished the task I walked up to them to introduce myself and say my thanks to them. After I introduced myself they said to me that they of course knew me, he further said that he was an Academy member and he had voted for me and he was very happy that I was there. So I just cannot explain the fact that there are thousands of people like that who have walked up to us. This time when I went to LA they did not even take my fingerprint at the immigration, it′s that kind of appreciation and it′s something that which I would be never able to explain. A film on ordinary lives of Indian people has touched hearts of people across the world. With the new security system you cannot imagine taking the fingerprints at the immigration.

BlueBlue (more photos, videos, songs)

Do you consider the combo of yours and Rahman as a lethal combination?

I don′t know, the fact that two big films of last year - one international huge hit and the other biggest hit of Indian cinema, we have done it together so when I saw the first cut of the movie, I called up Rahman who was in LA at that time that we are going to be beaten up for this movie because we better sit and do as much and as big and good work as we can. The same people will pull us down if we don′t match those expectations and rip us apart. We both are trying our level best and I believe that every film has its own fate. Whatever you do at the end of the day, it′s the audience who will decide whether they like it or not. But we are trying to give our best and just that I always say that Tendulkar won′t be able to score a century in every match so please give us that leeway.

Finally do you think so that you are getting all the credits that you rightly deserve so post-Oscars?

Rightly deserve - I don′t know. It′s a great feeling and you feel humble more and more. The fact that youngsters are relating to me and looking up to me: school kids and college kids - that is something which really touches me to the core and I look up towards them. Anthony told this to me that if a student fails then you have failed so if youngsters are failing then we have a responsibility towards them and we are at fault somewhere, so that′s the catch in this.

Thanks a lot.


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