Oscar winner Resul Pookutty opens about his directorial debut 'Otta'

Resul Pookutty
Resul Pookutty. Photo: Instagram

Resul Pookutty, who has been keenly watching and analyzing a lot of Indian and foreign films has a cautionary note to Malayalam cinema—if you know the history, beware, you might be throwing Malayalam cinema into the same state that Bollywood is in currently.
Oscar winner Resul Pookutty’s first directorial 'Otta' is releasing in theatres on the 27th. He talks about his film which stars Asif Ali, Sathyaraj, and Arjun Asokan, as well as other career updates.

What is Otta all about?
The film chronicles some of the events that took place in the life of Mumbai’s ‘Samathol’s founder S Hariharan who is a social worker. His organization finds missing children, hands them back to their parents, and also helps in rehabilitating them. Hariharan ran away from home as a child and lived in Chennai. His life-changing moment happened when he met someone there. Though he did go in search of that person later on, he couldn’t find him. Can this film help in finding him? 'Otta' is also searching for that friend.

You can relate to a lot of relationships in this film. Though the film also has actors from other languages, we aren’t going to dub the film in other languages. This film has a soul of its own so we will be releasing the film in other states and countries with subtitles.

How come you decided to make your directorial debut in Malayalam?  
Interestingly a lot of people asked me this question. And that question really surprised me. My mother tongue is Malayalam and I have studied in a Malayalam medium school. There were three films in front of me to pick as my directorial debut. There was a Hindi film and an International project. I picked Malayalam as it will be easier to communicate with people.

Sound and music
'Otta' gives importance to music and new milieus. The Tamil lyrics were written by Vairamuthu sir. There are many divisions of Malayalam in this film. Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu lines are appearing in the film. Language for me is always about sounds. Indian cinema is always a blend of several languages. That for me is pan Indian cinema. Not dubbed films. We have used sync sound for 'Otta.'

What is happening in Bollywood?
The main pillar of regional cinema would be their strong literary works. But for Hindi films, their main pillar is not Hindi literature. In the last 10 years, Bollywood has been ruled by a set of actors and filmmakers who create package films. There are only a few people who think differently. When 250 films are released only 8 become blockbusters. In the last few years, only 15 films a year have managed to get back the profits. Ever since the US-based production companies descended in Bollywood, instead of stories, there have been only package projects. That was a setback.
In the current scenario, Malayalam films also might join that trend.

More than 200 films are released in Malayalam yearly. When so many films are released, that will affect the quality of films. Even Bollywood producers are willing to produce films in Malayalam after seeing our films. If you are aware of the history, be careful, quick bucks can divert your attention. Only those who make films keeping an eye on our topography and roots will sustain.

New projects
I have been busy designing sound for 'Aadu Jeevitham', and some Kannada and Telugu films. Now the mixing of 'Aadu Jeevitham' is left. There is 'Pushpa 2' and a Hindi film pending.
Currently, the story discussion of my next film is underway. There are plans to direct films in Hindi and Malayalam. My company is doing the Hindi remake of Premam. I might also be directing the film. Then there is a British film. Many people are approaching me to explore the various possibilities of sound. One country has even suggested collecting all their authentic sounds and turning them into a music form. I can only give out details after finalizing it. 

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