Kaushik Ganguly talks to Screen about his latest feature Sound.

Kolkata-based filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly is known for exploring sexuality through films such as Just Another Love Story (2010) and Empty Canvas (2005). His last film, Laptop, was selected for DIFF’s Muhr AsiaAfrica competition last year.

In 2012, Ganguly returns to Dubai with his latest feature Sound, based on the life of a foley artist in Tollywood (Kolkata’s local film industry). The film will screen in the Celebration of Indian Cinema section.

Where did you get the idea to make a film about a foley artist?

When I was working on the soundtrack of Laptop, my sound designer and I were discussing the character of the blind man that I play in the film. We decided that the ambient sound should be louder for him, because blind people concentrate on sound more than others. Then I realised how amazing it is when you ignore human voices and listen to ambient sound.

I thought of foley artists because they do the foley [sound effects] on a silent picture. In this set-up, you only hear effects and your brain tells you those sounds are more important. Human voice becomes secondary audio. This is what the film is about.

Can we call it a tribute to foley artists?

Definitely. They are the unsung heroes. We’ve never treated them well. Most of the directors have never met their foley guys. They come at night, work quietly and leave. The foley artist in my film also works as an insurance agent. They have to do something else in the morning as they are underpaid. 

Internationally, filmmakers are doing sync sound but in Indian cinema it will last for another 25 years I suppose. We depend on dubbing a lot. As long as you have dubbing, you have to respect foley.

Was it easy to find funds for such a film?

I found an amazing producer in Gautam Kundu of Brand Value Communications who also produced Laptop. He doesn’t even ask me about the subject of my films. No other producer would make a film with a foley artist as the hero.

What international prospects do you see for Sound?

I’m very hopeful because this film has an archive value. In the international arena, very few foley artists are left. It’s high time we showed respect to these kind of technicians.

The international community should take to the film - they always think of an Indian film as lot of music and songs. But this 100-minute film has no music or even background score.

Won’t it hamper your chances in the local market?

Kolkata is an amazing place. They will love it because they are not going to miss music or background score. I am going to promote it as the USP of the film.

Your last film Laptop also screened in Dubai. What do you think of the festival and the audience?

What I really liked about the audience in Dubai is that they are knowledgeable about cinema. The hospitality provided by DIFF is unparalleled and the quality of projection was superb. But I suggest they give more visibility to the films and filmmakers.