It's no news that Resul Pookutty’s forte is sound. He tells stories through aural means and has the coveted Academy and BAFTA awards to prove it. He has been the main driving force behind the sound design of films such as Saawariya (2007), Enthiran (2010), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Ra One (2011), and Pushpa. The noted sound designer has now made his directorial debut with the Malayalam film Otta.
“Otta was not supposed to be directed by me,” he says when asked about his first foray into a different territory. “I was supposed to produce it and a friend of mine was supposed to direct it, but then I had to step up. I was a sound designer an, I would do what I wanted to as work come my way. Though every film has its own set of challenges, it’s a domain I had control over. With Otta, I am taking baby steps to getting out of my comfort zone.”
Making the film, however, was no cake-walk for the him as he was tested positive for dengue on the fourth day of the shoot, and had to be admitted in the hospital for forty-five days. The money he had invested, the sets that were built, and the film itself were stuck in limbo for a long time. He had an ensemble cast that had actors from Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi film industries, such as Rohini, Sathyaraj, Adil Hussain, and Asif Ali, to name a few.
Despite the hardships, the filmmaker finished the film, and he credits it to his incredible cast and crew for pushing through. “I almost died and came back. I had nightmares for weeks,” he says, “They did 12 bottles of plasma transfusion. It took me forty-five days to recover and for all those days, the set stood there. I lost all the dates of my actors. But my cast and crew were so lovely that they went out of their way to accommodate the film. People traveled for hours by road just to give me one scene and go back. We shot non-stop sixty-seven days after I came back from the hospital.”
Be it by accident, Resul Pookutty is a director now with the release of Otta on November 27. Despite the high-pressure experiences that he faced during his first film, he still finds the drive to make more. He mentions that he now has a story for superstar Rajinikanth and he wishes to make a film like Alejandro G Innaritu’s Babel with the legendary actor. “I think I’m built for this,” he says when asked about how he sees filmmaking after his debut feature, “I went to film school with the vision of making a film one day. I want to die as a feature filmmaker, even if I am a bad one. I thought it would be a cakewalk for me, but the Almighty said, ‘No, you have to walk the path.’"