Not many know that Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty once wanted to become a physicist and win the Nobel Prize. Today, with back-to-back releases spanning Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Hollywood, the sound engineer must admit he has done pretty well for himself. His latest offering Gour Hari Dastaan, starring Vinay Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranvir Shorey, (that spans 1945 to 2006) is the true account of a man who fought for the nation’s independence and then falls prey to corruption in modern India.
“I was deeply moved by the dialogues, which is why I decided to sign it,” says Pookutty, who finished work on it nearly a year ago, but re-visited its sound design recently to give it a new perspective. He has also lent his voice for a tense scene in the film, which was screened at Cannes and the Beijing International Film Festival in May.
Pookutty has given sound a unique twist in the film-- using the sounds of trains to denote jumps in time. “I employed the sound of a steam engine as a metaphor for the pre-Independent era and progressed to electric trains as the action moved to recent times,” says the 44-year-old, who has an impressive line-up of films in hand.
His Bollywood ventures include Jaanisar, a period love story, Nanak Shah Fakir, a biopic on Guru Nanak and Jazba starring Aishwarya Rai, besides the Malayalam film Pathemari, with Mamooty, Appavin Meesai, a coming-of-age Tamil film with Rohini, and the Hollywood film, Promise Dad, which is about ice skating. Claiming that the movies “pick him”, the sound engineer adds, “For me, language is just a piece of sound and does not come in the way of a story. In the end, I only look at the emotional connect to join the chords together and make you feel what you see on screen.”
Going for the take
All set with his directorial debut in Bollywood next year, Pookutty says that like every film student he dreamed of becoming a director. “But given my physics background, sound was an easy way into the institute. And once there, my perspectives changed and I began studying it as a craft,” says Pookutty.
Choosing human drama followed by romance as his favourite genres, he picks Danny Boyle as his favourite director and Piku as one of the best films he’s seen so far.
Gour Hari Dastaan is scheduled to release on August 14.