The Telegraph
Monday , June 2 , 2014
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Resul catches forest sounds

- Oscar awardee roams Assam for Diganta Mazumdar film

Jorhat, June 1: For seven days Bafta and Oscar awardee Resul Pookutty, along with Assam’s Amrit Pritam, delved deep into the forests of the state to collect sounds of a different kind.

Pookutty, who stopped over here before flying back to Mumbai today, said the film is about saving the rainforests of Assam.

The sound designer, who hails from the village of Vilakkupara in Kerala’s Kollam district, said the sounds that he had collected here would also form a part of his sound library besides being used to breathe life into the imagery of the flora and fauna of the film Barxaaranya (Rainforest), being directed by Diganta Mazumdar.

Addressing a small audience at the Mentors House junior college auditorium here last night, Pookutty said he had come to know that because of heavy deforestation, the large forests of Assam had dwindled to half the size.

“Already 50 per cent of the sounds must have been lost to mankind. Maybe after another 50 years we will not get to hear many of these sounds, which we have collected now. The sounds that I collect will some day form a part of history,” he said.

“There was a time when elephants used to come inside our village and damage houses. Today the forest stands at quite a distance from our village. Those days are over and even those sounds,” he said.

Describing the painstaking effort that went into the lending of sound to the project, director Mazumdar said Pookutty, Amrit Pritam and Mushtaque Sheikh, who had accompanied them from Mumbai for assistance, would wake up at the crack of dawn and record sounds inside the forests from dawn to late evening.

“We woke up at 3.30am and by 4 we were deep inside the Jepore reserve forest. Pookutty, while recording the sounds, does not hear anything else. The equipment that was used is of the highest quality and four microphones were set up simultaneously to catch the minutest of rustles. It is not possible to imagine what all went into the recording of these sounds. It was a totally different and enervating experience,” Mazumdar told The Telegraph over phone from Guwahati.

The team visited Dehing Patkai rainforest area along the Assam-Arunachal border, Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, Gibbon wildlife sanctuary in Jorhat and Kaziranga National Park.

The movie on the rainforests of Assam is a feature film that tells the story of the need for preservation of forests, what they signify, and the people who resided on the fringes of these forests and interdependence of man.

Pookutty and Pritam also visited Na Shyam Gaon at Titabar and recorded the religious hymns of the largely Buddhist community which resides there.

Pookutty said the sound library that he had built up had recordings of sounds of the metros, Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai, villages, vehicles, different sounds of water, religious songs and innumerable other sounds which he said “made up the soul of the universe” and would one day share with seekers and students.

“I had once made three of these albums public but after a few days I had found that many of these sounds were being used in Hindi film songs and ad jingles. I don’t want the people to become lazy and not seek out sounds on their own but just use mine,” he said.

Speaking about designing sound for Hollywood and Bollywood films, he said he preferred the realism of Hollywood.