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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Sound Mixing

Best Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing is basically the practice in the post production of a film, where in the collective types of sounds from the score, to dialogues, music, silence, foley sounds and effects to be merged together through the manipulation of volume, source signal, frequency and panoramic position in order to achieve a flawless and smoothly flowing collective sound to the final picture.

While Sound is probably my weakest side as a filmmaker, I'm trying level best to work it out and thus the introduction of this new award with a full slate of nominees. If I do make a mistake however, do correct me or let it slide.

Anyways in this case there wont be any honourable mentions, instead let's get it on...

Justin Jose for Kapoor and Sons

With an engaging and emotionally strong score, the mixing by Jose takes precedent by utilising the effects and natural mood of the setting well. There is a clear distinction made between the diegetic sounds that pervade the very dysfunctional family and then morph smoothly into the operatic score.

The mix is elegantly done, flowing through the film as the sounds of nature and all transform into the pains and sadness as well as the swell of hope embodied by the score.

The highlight of this is the first family fight, where the constant running leak is an interference against the family's breaking down against each other, every sound meticulously clashing until the action hits crescendo and the sounds are dissipated by the score. A mastery of composition.

Debobrat Chhalia, Prabhal Mansingh Pradhan and Gunjan Augustine for Neerja

Neerja's confined space necessitates an integral use of sound and it is employed with dexterity. As all goes to hell in the stand alone plane, there is moments of chaos amongst the passengers, fiery dialogues flying about between the terrorists, hostages and negotiators while a spat of emotional silences stir old pains in Neerja Bhanot as the stirring music pushes her to discover her own heroism.

The mix of this is absolutely flawless as everything comes together, starting slow and moving with exceptional thrills through the film until all the sounds are finally focused into an absolute silence as Neerja hits martyrdom.

There's a distinctive flow of a graph to the sound as all the chaos reigns at the precipice of the takeover then hits a moment of silence towards its bittersweet end. The final scenes are all primarily focused on dialogue, a smart move in retaining silence around as the speech by Rama Bhanot hits hard until finally the hopeful song 'Jeete Hain Chal' kicks in and emotionally stirring us into applause for the young woman that gave her life for the right cause.

Sanil PK for Phobia

As is with any horror, the sound in Phobia is very important especially when considering the psychological and metaphysical plane with which the film plays.

The beautiful use of silences is mixed into the film as a reference for the haunting scenes of future premonitions Mehek the lead protagonist plays in. These silences are filled with the smart incidental sounds with each sound whether of a wall knocking, a laughter or a doorbell all crafted and brought together with a meticulous understanding of the response required.

This is a mix that plays wonders on the viewers senses always creating a great sense of dread and haunting pause as Mehek deduces whether all is in her mind or around her, the ambiguous mix merely haunts and appropriately leaves no answer to be found the very foundation of unraveling like its mind blowing twist.

Sai Nathan for Raman Raghav 2.0

There's electricity in the air with Raman Raghav 2.0 and an absolute shout out for that must go to the motion of how the score, silence and sounds come together.

A prime example of this is the tense chapter on Ramanna and his sisters questionable relationship. It's a ticking time bomb of the scene made exemplary by how the sound is utilized in slowing down time and each point is critically played off, as one point the cooking goes on, in the other the sense of dread exemplified in the score and wonderfully formed with a complete fearsome silence crafted around a dreadful Ramanna.

Raman Raghav's absolute highlight is how the two lines of sound, the foreboding silences meet the chaotic mania surrounding Ramanna and Raghavan respectively are brought together in a narrative highlight as the two titular characters realize they are one in the same at least mentally and emotionally.

Anil Radhakrishnan and Justin Jose for Udta Punjab

Jose gets a second nomination for a sound mix that works wonders in filling gaps the narrative falters at.

From a screenplay standpoint the multiple track storyline falls due to the contrivances especially in bringing its leads together, most importantly the undying love that saves Tommy Singh and 'Mary Jane'.

Listening closely to how each sound and score hits across the board, the confluence of the mix hints at an ethereal connection between the two characters constantly linking them together on a mental plane, this use of sound puts it into the mind of the viewer that the one magical moment of retribution for the two as their fates intertwine allows the idea of belief that they can be saved from the world of addiction.

In its completion, Udta Punjab captures flavor of Punjab within its sound as well as uncovering and unrelenting darkness.

And the Winner is...

Sanil PK for Phobia!!!

An absolutely well deserved win, we shall see if the other half of the equation matches up.

Up Next: The other new award...which film walks away with the Best Sound Editing award!

'Nuff Said,

Aneesh Raikundalia

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