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Sound Bite

Rowdy Rathore is a fun ride but boosting the film’s entertainment quotient further is its perfect mixing. Go Tech reveals the subtle brilliance behind the film’s soundtrack

Rowdy Rathore, as the poster and title suggest, is a very colorful and in-your-face film. It is pure entertainment that drives the movie. Mixing such a film is a daunting task. Since it’s completely smack-up, it’s very easy to lose perspective and end up with a free-for-all. Luckily, this wasn’t the case.

There were numerous references to the ’80s heroism and storyline. Considering this, I made sure I didn’t want to aim for a technically perfect and clinical mix for the film. The little imperfections are what make the soundtrack analogue and something that we psychologically relate to. But I didn’t want to have the same effect throughout and only some scenes demanded a ride like this. For example, in the scene where the hero adapts to his daughter, the music rides are camouflaged with the visuals. It was important to let the visual lead the soundtrack in this movie. Sound designers Kunal Mehta and Parikshit Lalvani too had designed their soundtrack so that it was not completely filled and had spaces for the music to breathe.

The music rides were not just fader rides. Emotionally, opening up a track was also done by having the music start from a very centre-screen sound. And then as instruments add up or the chord changes happen towards a crescendo, each channel of the surround system takes up that movement. In doing so, I found that flowing with the emotion worked wonders with the musical balance and how the scene enacts. So Rhitwick (who handled music premix), the designers and I sat and figured out what went where and when so that it was not musically wrong yet emotionally right. Sandeep Chowta’s music score was brilliant and that was what helped achieve such mixes.

The film is loud. Yes. And, for the first time, I am unapologetic. I was initially very skeptical of this. But the designers said let’s not be too technical and let’s go with our heart. It is loud but not annoying. I have always felt a difference between that. I make sure that nothing is annoying in terms of frequencies and balance. Instead, when I say ‘loud’, there is also a lot of silence within the space. It is this that makes the loud portions apparently loud.

The film was mixed in a 7.1 format, and has the highest number of 7.1 screenings in India. It is very easy to be over-enthusiastic with this format. Every engineer has his or her take on implementing this. It’s a very creative thing and so, there is no rule on how or what to put or mix there. I had something very simple in mind. If there was any scene where I wanted to be wide and open up, I avoided the rear channels. This is because it shortens the width of the surrounds when you have elements in the back surrounds too. For focus or length, I used those channels and carefully blended and took sounds in and out from there. Also, using that channel sparsely psychologically helped increase dimension. Maintaining a 5.1 mix and using the rear surrounds suddenly when required also heightened the drama and impact.

It was a lot of fun doing this film, especially when you have someone like Prabhudheva directing and always lets you have your creative play and space, and the fun duo of Mehta and Lalvani handling the sound design. And, of course, having the AMS-Neve DFC to mix on was a joy. The smooth faders really give a complete analogue colour to the rides so you can mix with your heart and still be technically right!

Gaurav Gupta is CEO, FutureWorks

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