Odisha techie does it again; this time in ‘Neerja’

By Debasis Barik

Bhubaneswar: At a time when everybody is praising the performance of Sonam Kapoor and the direction of Ram Madhvani in the latest Bollywood release ‘Neerja’, there is another sterling performance in the film that has gone virtually unnoticed. National award winning sound designer Subash Sahoo, who hails from Odisha, has made a significant contribution to the success of the film based on the real life brave heart Neerja Bhanot.

The techie, who has already carved a niche for himself in the Hindi film industry with some remarkable work in films such as ‘Omkara’ ‘Kaminey’, has added another feather to his already crowded cap with his wonderful sound work in the film that has proved to be huge Box Office hit in the first week.

Speaking to odishatv.in, Sahoo said: “Though the shooting of the film, especially recording live sound, was a quite a task for us, the appreciation that the film has been getting from both critics and audience, makes us feel that the hard work we put in has been worth it.”

“One doesn’t get to do a film like this very often in Bollywood. But by the time one is done with such a film, one learns what one cannot learn even after working on 10 films,” explains Sahoo, who takes great pride in working for a film like ‘Neerja’.

The experienced sound designer, who has already worked with some big names in Bollywood, is all praise for Sonam Kapoor. He feels the actress has given the performance of a lifetime in the film.

Appreciating director Ram Madhvani, who had decided to shoot the film in very long unbroken takes, often lasting 45 to 60 minutes at a stretch, he said the director had extracted from the actress what other directors had failed to do.

Ram had done this by allowing the actors to perform freely without any interruption. The idea was to protect the extreme realism of the film.

“The experience of working with Ram Madhvani has been extremely fulfilling and rewarding,” feels Sahoo, who believes in signing films which can challenge his craft.

The film revolves around the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi and how the 22-year-old air hostess Neerja fought for the lives of her passengers and sacrificed her life in the process, has been receiving rave reviews from all quarters. It is also doing well in Odisha too.

“Initially, ‘Neerja’ was released in 12 screens in Odisha. But after seeing the good response, it has got 8 more screens taking the total number of theaters to 20 across the state,” Sahoo informed.

The sound master, who hails from Kendrapada distric and studied in the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, has worked as a sound engineer in more than 50 films, including short films and documentaries.

He got effusive praise for his craft in the Vishal Bharadwaj-directed film ‘Omkara’ in 2006, which fetched him his first national award for best sound designing. He received the award for best audiography for a second time for Bharadwaj’s 2009 dark thriller ‘Kaminey’ with Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles.

The veteran technician has also worked in Bollywood blockbusters like Ajay Devgan-starrer ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai’, among others.

The Bollywood sound designer has also worked in Odia film ‘Nila Mastarani”, directed by Chakradhar Sahoo and got the State award for it in 1996.

Though he once wanted to be an actor, Sahoo finally shot to fame as a brilliant sound designer and settled in Mumbai with his wife, a son and a daughter.