Much before it hit the marquee, S S Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali made the right noises. The monumental movie, with its Hollywood-esque treatment, has been touted as one of the best flick to have ever been made in India. And, as the makers and crowd who were treated to the visual feast rejoice in its success, a team of Malayalis, who were part of the sound mixing team, are excited to see their hard work pay off.
The team led by Thrissur-based Justin Jose, film mixing engineer with Future Works, Mumbai, has put in a whopping 750 hours (a total of 45 days) for Baahubali, setting another record, that of a Indian movie which took the most number of hours for sound mixing.
Justin, associate mixing engineer Sarath Mohan, sound editor Gokul K R and dialogue/folly mixer Prathiba Krishnamoorthi are the Malayali presence behind the audio mixing department of Baahubali.
And, the team who has worked for many-a-great Bollywood works were left agape when they got to lay their hands on the wonder that Baahubali was.
For Justin, this masterpiece on celluloid was the most challenging and taxing experience.
“For sound mixer, the main task is to mix and strike a balance between the various sounds, dialogues and music of the movie. And, for Baahubali the challenge was manifold. Rajamouli wanted the sound to enhance the visual effects and for a visual feast like Baahubali this isn’t a small task,” says Justin. He adds that the movie, made in Tamil and Telugu, demanded separate audio treatments.
According to Justin, a period movie can be interesting only by striking a unique combo - that of ‘historical’ visuals and most-modern sound technology. And, this was made possible thanks to Dolby Atmos sound format.
“The challenge lay mainly in certain sequences like waterfall and war. A person who watches the movie should feel the waterfall. This we made by creating a low rumbling sound, a very time-consuming process. This applies the same in war-sequence too where many sounds come to play. The shots where arrows pass over was another challenge. To generate a sound envelop is a Herculean task,” says Justin.
Not just the sound, even silence held a major role. For a movie like Baahubali where sound comes into major play, the sound flow should be intersected by inserting silence. “Silence has a great significance. Even during the war sequence, silences should be put into use. Only then will the audio get the desired effect,” says Justin.
But, how much freedom does a sound mixer have in determining the audio of a movie? Justin says they do give inputs and suggestions to the director and the sound designer of the movie. “In Baahubali, it is P M Sathish who was in-charge of sound design. We held discussions and director Rajamouli had briefed us about his visions. We take creative freedom but at the end of the day, it is the director who makes the final call.” says Justin.
And, the feedback? Justin, winner of various awards, says Rajamouli was very excited to see the final product and if the director and crowd is satisfied, they are rewarded.