Vishwaroopam 2 sound designer Kunal Rajan on his long-term association with Kamal Haasan

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Aug 12, 2018 16:20:22 IST

Kunal Rajan’s association with Kamal Haasan began in 2013 with the first part of Vishwaroopam, and it’s been one long and fruitful journey as he went on to work with Haasan in his subsequent films such as Uttama Villain, Thoongaavanam and Sabash Naidu. Despite having worked on Hollywood films such like Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Blades of Glory and The Spiderwick Chronicles, Kunal is really excited for Vishwaroopam 2 and expresses childlike enthusiasm because it’s very close to his heart. In this exclusive chat with Firstpost, he opens about the experience of working on this spy thriller franchise, learning from Kamal Haasan and the future of sound in Indian cinema.

Vishwaroopam 2 sound designer Kunal Rajan on his long-term association with Kamal Haasan

Kamal Haasan and Rahul Bose in a still from Vishwaroop 2/Image from Twitter.

Kunal’s work in the first part, especially in the action department, made a lot of difference to the overall experience. He made the action stand out purely due to the sound. He assures audiences can expect a similar experience in Vishwaroopam 2. “As far as Vishwaroopam 2 is concerned, we’ve tried to maintain the same sound experience. As audiences, you’ll find that part 2 is far more commercial than part 1. Hence, the overall tone of the film is different. We had to strive hard to find a balance between the commercial factor and realism. It’s something that the movie demanded and we’ve delivered it.”

In spite of working on big scale Indian films such as Ghajini and Enthiran, Kunal found working on Vishwaroopam really challenging. “Not only was it a two-and-a-half-hour-long action movie but it was also was shot in two languages, Tamil and Hindi. Although a lot of scenes were similar, it was like doing two movies.”

“The film has different types of action sequences. From underwater action to your regular hand-to-hand combat and war portions in Afghanistan, audiences will also get to see the kind of action they haven’t witnessed before on Indian screens. To work on different types of action gave us the scope and freedom to play with sounds. It was challenging but fun because I didn’t know if I’d ever get this kind of freedom to work on a project of this scale.”

The other challenging aspect was to spend so much time on this project. “Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on Vishwaroopam 2 in bits and pieces. People sometimes complain about not having enough time. But, too much time is also not good because it's tough to remain in the zone and work. It’s tough to keep the tone of the film together and not deliver what’s required when you work on a project for a long time,” Kunal said, adding that these challenges didn’t stop him from enjoying working on the film.

Talking about the experience of working with Kamal Haasan, Kunal said: “Working with Kamal sir and seeing him explain what he wants, his energy and his innovative ideas made a lot of difference to the output. He is one of the most brilliant filmmakers I have ever worked with and his enthusiasm made the whole experience not only inspiring for me but for my entire sound team,” he said.

Over the last 4-5 years, Kunal has worked on a few others southern projects such as Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury and AL Vijay’s Devi. Explaining the role of sound in Indian cinema, he said that as an industry we’re yet to embrace live location sound. “Since dubbing the voices in a film is the most common practice, we still haven’t adapted to the use of live sound on location. I feel this is one area where filmmakers in India need to make an effort." He’s of the opinion that, “sound in Indian cinema may have changed from a filmmaker’s as well as the audience’s perspective, but no matter how well you dub your lines, the quality of live sound that can never be achieved with dubbing."

Updated Date: Aug 12, 2018 16:20:22 IST