National Awards 2019: Raja Krishnan on winning Best Audiography for Rangasthalam, and working on Nerkonda Paarvai
Raja Krishnan won the National Award for Ram Charan-Sugumar's Rangasthalam for 'playing with beauty and essence of the tonal quality of the silence' in the sub-category as re-recordist of the final mixed track.
When the National Award for Best Audiography was instituted for the first time in 1976, Tollywood received the trophy for sound designer SP Ramanathan's fine work in legendary filmmaker Bapu's Bhakta Kannappa. Since then, Telugu cinema had never won an award for sound until 2018 even after the category was sub-divided into location sound recordist, sound mixing and re-recordist of the final mixed track. Now, ace audiographer Raja Krishnan has brought back the trophy to Telugu cinema after 42 years.
Raja Krishnan has won the National Award for Ram Charan-Sugumar's Rangasthalam for 'playing with beauty and essence of the tonal quality of the silence' in the sub-category as re-recordist of the final mixed track. "I've been working in the industry for the past twenty years. My first film in Tamil was E but it was after Pizza, I got the accreditation, and it was a real game-changer. Maya made my stand in the film industry very strong. After Maya, I was offered several Telugu films starting from Arjun Reddy. I've been working in the Kannada film industry from the very beginning of my career. After Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu, I got U-Turn. Premam was the reason I happened to work for Rangasthalam. That's how one film led to another in every industry I forayed. Movies are no longer region-specific; audiences consume films from different regions and languages; for me, work in one industry opened new doors in some other industry," Raja Krishnan told Firstpost in an exclusive chat.
"Back then, when I started my career, it was the age of the mono channel. Even after the advent of DTS, it was not widely deployed in all the theatres. Theatres in cities evolved with all the changing technologies, but outside the cities, the scene was not the same. Those who have been working from my time were the lucky ones to witness this move to digital transition. We had to update ourselves with the evolving technologies constantly," said Raja Krishnan, whose extensive filmography includes some fantastic films like Jigarthanda, Iraivi, Vikram Vedha, Take Off, Kanchivaram, Kaaka Muttai, and Bangalore Days to name a few.
Raja Krishnan says he doesn't rely on the software entirely for his work. "I am a person who uses software just as a tool. I prefer to watch the movie without any music or BGM first; I should personally be convinced about the level to which the effects and music elevate a particular scene. If a scene works better without music, I will definitely tell the director. And the new age directors let me make the final call. For instance, the second half of Nerkonda Paarvai was filled with BGM, but Vinoth and I decided to go without BGM. Ajith sir's performance made me feel that specific sequences will be impactful without music. Ajith sir gave me just one instruction during the recording. He wanted his voice to be bassy. I worked really hard to attain the output. Now, I have received great responses from everyone. The level of freedom I got while I worked for Game Over and Maya reflected on the screen."
Talking about his work in Rangasthalam, Raja explained, "The lead hero of the film is hearing impaired. While designing the soundscape, I have to change my perspective to make it easy for the audience to travel with the film. I felt the point of view treatment is crucial for the storyline, and it really worked on screen too. In the movie, music and sound were correlated in so many ways. Devi Sri Prasad and director Sukumar were so flexible, and they were with me during sound mixing. Sukumar has become an unpaid marketer, and he recommends me to every director he comes across."
Raja says sound designing as a long-term career option has excellent prospects. "My answer would've been different if this question was posed a few years back. Earlier, the sound had little or no budget, but it is not the same now. Sound department has a separate budget just like music. After all, a movie is all about sound and light. Even the audiences are noticing and appreciating sound design nowadays. After Nerkonda Paarvai's release, I received a lot of calls," concluded Raja.
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