Resul Pookutty to File RTI Against Multiplexes for Poor Sound and Picture Quality

Resul Pookutty to File RTI Against Multiplexes for Poor Sound and Picture Quality

On Monday evening, Rajnikanth and his entourage from the South personally invited the crème da la crème of Bollywood to watch Robot in an upscale multiplex theater in Juhu, Mumbai. But the special screening was not so special, considering there was a terrible mess with jittery sound quality that left most people in the audience either embarrassed or fuming. The sound collapsed completely before the 7th reel, just prior to the all-important climax of the film, which is supposed to be the mainstay of the film.

Though Rajnikanth and director Shankar didn’t really raise an alarm, celebrated sound designer Resul Pookutty was not going to take things lying down. The Oscar winning sound designer says. “From the start of the screening I knew there was something seriously wrong. Then I came to know three sets of speakers were not working. I was so upset that I immediately wanted to stop the screening. But Aamir Khan pacified me, explaining it would look very improper in front of all these stalwarts to stop the show.”

The multiplex is going to land up in trouble for sure, and so will others in the business, as the Robot team is serious about suing the chain of theaters and has even asked the government to specify quality control methods done to heck the sound systems in the Mumbai multiplexes.

A visibly enraged Resul talks about how his worst fear of the day came true, “After seven reels with 40 minutes of playing-time to go, the sound collapsed completely. It was a nightmare. When finally the screening was restored the sound was worst than before. It was one of the most humiliating evenings of my life. I haven’t slept the whole night. And now I won’t sleep until I receive justice on behalf of all the technicians of Indian cinema, not to mention the average patron who is not aware of the deplorable standards of sound and projection provided by almost all the multiplex chains in Mumbai.”

Resul sounded deeply disturbed as he said, “We (the Robot core crew) had decided on the show after seeing the impact it had made in the South. Down there I have fought a relentless battle to change the sound quality in theaters. And now patrons in the South are so conscious of their rights to get optimum-quality sound and visual value that in Kerala, audiences broke seats and disrupted screenings at theatres with sub-standard technical value.”

He adds, “After that evening’s experience I have already approached the IMPPA (Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association) on behalf of the sound association of the Indian film industry. I’m next filing an RTI (Right to Information) with the government seeking to know what are the yardsticks applied before multiplexes are granted licenses for operation. Are sound and projection quality a part of the licensing checks?”

Resul maintained that he wanted to create the same value-awareness among audiences in Mumbai, and a significant step ahead in his endeavor against inferior projection and sound in Mumbai’s multiplexes is an RTI to be filed before the state government.

Resul seems to be in no mood to sleep over this issue. “After Slumdog Millionaire and the national and international awards, I at least have voice about sound in our movie theaters. While in South India the sound-quality in theaters has been drastically upgraded, in the North I am sorry to say theatres continue to use an inferior technical infrastructure. Sometimes smuggled machines are employed. I’ve often bribed projectionists to do their jobs better. During Black, Sanjay Bhansali and I went personally from theater to theater to check the sound. What we discovered was shocking. Does the average patron who pays Rs.150 for a ticket know how he’s being cheated? This is why I’m filing an RTI with the government.”

He points out, “We were already fighting an intense battle against the quality of visuals and sound provided by the multiplexes. After being so humiliated and shamed in front of the film industry on Monday evening, it’s an all-out battle for our rights and the rights of the cinema-going audience. Actually what happened on Monday evening was a shame not just for the Robot team but the entire Indian movie industry.”

Legal action against the multiplex chains by the Robot team has already been taken. Well, good to know that someone has a passion to slug it out till the end. Wish there were few others from the industry who would not shy away from making sure that there is no promise in quality entertainment, not just in the movies, but also in the medium that provides them.

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