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Aural storytelling

by Jai Arjun Singh.

It is an oft-repeated dictum that the technical elements of film-making should be placed at the service of the narrative and must not draw attention to themselves. “If someone comes out of a film saying ‘Art design brilliant thi’, then it means we have failed,” a production designer told me recently. I get the broad point – that these things should work on a subconscious plane; they must not divert the first-time viewer’s attention – but I also think a one-size-fits-all proclamation on this subject is naive. Much hinges on the type of film one is talking about and the type of viewer (a professional critic wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t consciously register some of a movie’s inner workings).

Also, the idea that technical crew should be invisible worker ants often becomes a rationale to neglect discussion of certain elements of movie-making; we don’t have much accessible literature on film craft aimed at the engaged but non-professional viewer. Which is why it’s pleasing to come across Sounding Off, a memoir by the sound designer and mixer Resul Pookutty (written in collaboration with Baiju Natarajan). One can guess why this book has been produced by a big-name publisher, even though Mr Pookutty is only in his early forties: to cash in on the publicity from his Oscar win for Slumdog Millionnaire. But ignore that little detail and focus on the content, because this is an engrossing mix of reminiscence and information.

Read the rest of this article from Business Standard.

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