Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's about Rahman and Resul really!

Beyond the fact that Slumdog Millionaire’s emphatic win at the Oscar has given the country and especially the media much cause for celebration, this memorable event has also been an eye opener to our own film industry in many ways.

From the time one recollects - Bollywood – the world’s biggest movie making machine – has been unabashedly star-driven, rarely looking beyond its charismatic matinee idols. The winning of the triumvirate, lyricist Gulzar, music composer, the incredible music composer A R Rahman and Resul Pookutty for sound mixing, proves once and for all that our country’s real strength and talent resides in the men and women behind-the-scenes. Again, many years ago, it was an Indian, Bhanu Athaiya who won for Best Costume for Richard Attenborough's epic movie Gandhi.

Whether one thinks highly of the Oscar Awards or not, whether or not Slumdog Millionaire deserved its honour and beyond debates of whether the Danny Boyle flick is an Indian movie or not, one thing we need to thank this moment for – it finally brought three of our best men to the fore…and they weren’t Khans this time!

Technicians and people behind the scenes, in general, have always had the most creative and challenging jobs on hand. And yet, our country and industry too, has rarely recogonised their contribution in any sense. Our desi awards are a joke where technical and such ‘lesser’ awards are handed over without the slightest ceremony.
But then, all this is really symptomatic of our own obsession with a handful of stars, without showing enough readiness to support the cause of progressive cinema. Only an industry that puts its films above its stars will ever be able to appreciate the contribution of the people who make it happen.

Coming back to our three victors, A R Rahman has been carrying on a silent revolution in music for years now. Experimental, even as he remains unwaveringly original, it’s difficult not to be ‘invested’ in the Oscar at least for Rahman’s sake. No one possibly deserves an international honour more than Rahman and Slumdog…was a good excuse we thing.

Again, Gulzar has been one our finest directors and lyricists. We live in times where mediocrity is often celebrated, which is why it is even more heartening to see our geniuses getting their due.
Finally, Resul Pookutty’s win for Sound will hopefully impact the film industry the most. First of all, his win emphases the vast technical talent that resides in the country and that is great news in terms of the opportunities it might bring. But more than anything, this has been a huge morale booster for our technicians (sound design, editing, mixing, cinematographers, costume….and many others) who got their first moment in the sun, by way of Pookutty.

Even if it does not bring about any tangible benefits, one hopes it will at least bring about a change in the attitude of the film industry and yes, in us too! Let’s respect our hidden (literally!) talent, and please, let’s not wait until an international body fetes them.

-Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>it finally brought three of our best men to the fore…and they weren’t Khans this time!

Touche! "5-Star" stuff!

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