Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sounding off by Resul Pookutty


Resul Pookutty “Sounding Off” is a memoir written in Malayalam and  translated by K.K. Muralidharan.

I picked this book to know more about the Oscar- winning sound designer, and also about Slumdog Millionaire crew (You know  about whom i’m talking about :’D)
Resul Pokutty didn’t bother to present himself as  Ideal person. That makes this book, a must read.

Resul Pokutty hails from a village named, “Villakupara.” The transition from Vilakupara to Pune film institute is the biggest change in his life. He hails from village and talks about ‘life in the village,’ whenever given a chance. In the epilogue too, he worries about being in the vicious circle of consumerism explaining his village life. His childhood at village gave him a good grounding for his whole life.

This book gave me an outlook to the work that happens behind the camera.  Be it about Foley recording or the kind of mics  that are used for various purposes. Now, I’m more conscious about the sound in the movies I watch and, it’s sad how many people’s work is still under the shadows of people who are only shown on screen.. Every artist should be acknowledged for his work. At least people who are under spotlight should keep sharing about people who strive to make a picture whatever it is.


There are many instances I was overwhelmed by his sadness, happiness, confusion.  He made a point where his acknowledgement is due. He acknowledged people who helped him at times when he was in need of all help. Be it Jeji Bai, who cooked for him or the Bai, who washed and ironed clothes for him. I loved the act of acknowledging all the people who helped me to be wherever he is.

His clarity of thought towards  work, cinema and life is worth learning from his life experiences.  He writes, “ What makes me feel emotional is my own intensity of work.”

“When we see something over and over again, it might soften the edge of our instinctive reactions.”

“Reading and writing are much more personal and private experiences compared to cinema. A book triggers different sensations and thoughts in different readers.”

“What we proudly take to be a glamourous, rebellious attitude is nothing but a mistaken rigid pattern of thinking.”


“Here let me share with you a pearl of marital wisdom: Don’t ever try to teach your wife anything. “


It’s interesting to know about him. His evolution from college student at Villakupara to being a Pune artist. His knowledge on Art and Literature is immense. I loved knowing few facts on sound from him. He shared why everyone’s sound seems pretty in bathroom. In his own words,

“Normally, when you open your mouth and utter something you hear three kinds of sounds- the sound from the  mouth, its reflection from the surroundings, and the sound conducted through your body, or bone conduction. And we comprehend sound through two kings of hearing, The first two kinds of sound you hear with your ears and the third kind  through the whole of your body. That’s why when we hear our voice on a tape, we find it a bit  unfamiliar. The tape can’t record the sound that you hear through the bone conduction within your body.

We don’t find our recorded voice on the tape very appealing.

In the bathroom, your voice gets a bit enhanced because of the reflection  and a bit of delay and reverberation. Your voice gets a little prettier. When you hum a tune, it gets sustained.”


Learnt a lot about the procedures of sound mixing, Foley recording. Loved reading a new subject all over.

His Oscar journey is worth reading again and again.   I’m glad, I picked up this book at the exhibition sale.

Reading this book gave me a good outlook to the work that happens behind the camera.

And not to forget, K.K. Muralidharan did a decent work, without messing up the essence of text and context.

Resul Pookutty deserves the best in the world for his intensity towards life. God bless him.

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