The national award for the best sound mixer didn’t quite come as a surprise for Justin Jose K., as he had worked in two of the big films that marked 2015 — Bahubali and Bajirao Mastani . “I expected it, yet kept my cool,” he said.
But he found all that poise vanish and Monday blues at his workplace give way to celebrations as the news that he had won the award for Bajirao Mastani brought in a flood of wishes from across the country. He was even happier when he learnt three of the films for which he did sound mixing won the top awards, Mr. Jose told The Hindu over the phone from Mumbai, where he works as the main sound engineer with FutureWorks. Besides Bajirao Mastani , he had worked in Bahubali that won the best film award this year, and in Kanche , which was adjudged the best Telugu film.
Being a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, Bajirao Mastani had to be carpeted with music, Mr. Jose said. But some scenes required a lot of probe into the characters and the mood.
The connect he shares with Biswadeep Chatterjee, the sound designer who also won the national award for his work in the movie this year, helped Mr. Jose to tide over such challenges. For the precision that the final product bore, he remembers the work of his team, especially his associate Sarath Mohan, whom he calls his “backbone”.
“We worked for nearly 600 hours for a month and a half,” says Mr. Jose, who had to study the characters, the period of the film and the requirement of the director to set the sounds right on Atmos, Dolby’s latest sound format technology that offers a wider choice of range with 128 audio outputs. His background in music also helped him, he said.
The award tasted sweeter for this economics graduate from Thrissur, as he recalled the years from 2004 he spent finding a foothold in Bollywood after a course in sound engineering from Chethana School of Sound. “It was tough, not knowing the language. The pay was also less, and there were real tough days. At times, I would feel like quitting or taking up other job offers. But I stayed put, and thanks to that, I could see this day now,” he said, adding, awards tasted sweet only after a struggle.