Remember, my work in India got me Oscar: Resul Pookutty

By Robin Bansal

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) He admits that the condition of film technicians in India is "pathetic", but Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty says he would still prefer staying and working in the country rather than chase international projects.

"Something that is always to be remembered is that it was my work in India that got me an Oscar and not my work in the West. I have no qualms about people (from the West) chasing me now (for projects) but when you go there, the whole dynamics of work change for you and I don't want to be in such a situation," Pookutty told IANS in an interview here.

"I want to live and work here in my own country and pass on whatever I have learnt so far to the next generation. Yes, may be 10 years down the line, if I get an opportunity to head West, I might think about it but not now," he said.

Pookutty won an Oscar along with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp for best sound mixing in Danny Boyle's multiple award-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" at the 81st Annual Academy Awards last month. But the soft-spoken sound wizard says his "essence still lies in my roots".

The 38-year-old, who also won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for his work in the same film, rued the condition of technicians in the country and how the contribution of a majority of them goes "unrecognised".

"The condition of technicians in our country was pathetic until before (the Oscars). The technicians in the industry have long been underestimated, as we are used to recognising only glamorous people. They have been denied the public forum since a long time," he said.

But didn't the Oscars bring a change in his life?

"Yes, there has been a change in my life after the Oscars but only considering the acclaim that 'Slumdog...' has brought in for our country globally. Otherwise I am the same guy and not a celebrity. I do my work the way I used to," he said.

"I also don't want people to start expecting a lot from me now instantly. After all, even Sachin Tendulkar doesn't score centuries in every match," the sound designer added.

Pookutty was in the capital to release K.A. Francis' book "The Essence of Aum" at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Monday.

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

He started his career in 1995 with Rajat Kapur's never-released film "Private Detective: Two Plus Two Plus One" and went on to design sounds for films like "Black" (2005), "Traffic Signal" (2007), "Saawariya" (2007) and "Ghajini" (2008).

Carving a niche in Bollywood was not an easy task for him.

"I was always trying to do a particular kind of work but mainstream cinema identified me much later. It took me almost a decade to establish myself since I started working on Rajat Kapur's 'Private Detective' in 1995 to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Black' in 2005 with almost three more years to actually make a mark for myself," Pookutty said.

"And it's not that I didn't do good work in those 13 years. Some of my very good works say for example a special film like 'Gandhi My Father' (2007) have just gone unnoticed," he added.

As far as future projects go, Pookutty is now "trying to finish some prior commitments" made before the Oscars like "Rectangular Love Story", "Pappu Can't Dance Saala", "Rangeen In Love", "Mocktail", "Hawai Dada" and Bhansali's next movie.

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