Tears, cheers and sweets at Pookutty's Kerala home

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Anchal (Kerala), Feb 23 (IANS) His family was in tears, villagers crowding around a TV set in front of his house here cheered and plates of sweets did the rounds as Resul Pookutty became the first Indian to bag an Oscar for best sound mixing for critically acclaimed film "Slumdog Millionaire".

Tension had built up in the neighbourhood as the Oscar for sound editing did not go to "Slumdog Millionaire", but shouts of joy broke out when Pookutty, 36, was declared the winner for sound mixing.

"We decided to place a TV in front of our home because since last evening the mood was building up. He (Pookutty) called me last night and said it is going to be tough," said Byju P.T., the Oscar winner's elder brother.

The ones who could not hide their happiness were his two sisters who had tears rolling down their cheeks in Vilakupara village, about 50 km from the Kerala capital.

"We just can't hide our emotions and I don't know what to say," said one of his sisters.

As Pookutty was set to make his acceptance speech in faraway Los Angeles, hundreds of villagers waited spellbound.

The minute the award was announced, plateful of sweets did the rounds among the ecstatic villagers who had been glued to the television since 6.30 a.m.

Saifuddin, another brother of Pookutty, thanked Allah for the honour bestowed on their family.

"We are humbled that this has happened in my family and an award many felt he would never won," Saifuddin said.

Wishes poured in for Pookutty from Malayalam film stars and state ministers as well.

"He has reached the real heights in the film industry. Though he is a Malayali, he is yet to work in a Malayalam film. This is because sound has not got its due share here. Now things will change," said Malayalam superstar Mammootty.

State Culture Minister M.A. Baby couldn't stop praising Pookutty.

"This is unbelievable for Kerala and for the country. Resul has got it at the prime of his youth ... this is what is more exciting. Hard work pays off and this is going to be a great impetus for all in the film industry," Baby said.

Pookutty was the youngest of eight children and had a passion for films right from his young days. However, his father was keen that he become a doctor, but Resul failed the medical entrance examinations and went on to pursue his film industry dreams after studying at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. He has also got a degree in law.

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