Mumbai, Jun 23 (PTI) Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty is set to make his production debut with a film that will explore the stories surrounding soldier Harbhajan Singh, whose death is part of a popular lore within the Indian Army.
Singh died while on duty in 1968 at the age of 22 while on duty as he slipped and fell in a stream.
Pookutty said during his conversation with soldiers, he came to know about the stories surrounding Singh and the belief that he continues to guide them in their dreams. There is even a temple in Singh's name close to the Nathu La Pass near Sikkim.
“There are legends in every army. It is said that Singh patrols the Indo-China border making sure soldiers don’t fall asleep while on duty. His life story is full of such fantastical elements,” the sound designer said.
Pookutty said he was inspired by writer-director Jyoti Kapur Das’ 2018 short film “Plus Minus” which turned the legend of Singh into a slice-of-life story of a 22-year-old Indian Army soldier, played by YouTuber Bhuvan Bam.
The 18 minute-long film followed a train conversation between a lady (played by Divya Dutta) and a young soldier (Bam) to make a comment on the definition of patriotism in the country in current times.
'I happened to watch ‘Plus Minus’, it is an interesting story. I had picked up Singh’s story long ago as one of the subjects that we were trying to put together for an OTT platform. The story stayed with me.
“When I saw ‘Plus Minus’, I was happy that a film on this subject already exists. My co-producer Avi Raj and I decided to collaborate for this film and we began the writing process,” Pookutty said.
The film will not be a reincarnation story but a deja vu tale with a mix of real and fiction elements.
“When a jawan dies what their family goes through after his death is painful. We don’t know about their personal life, people around them,” he said.
Pookutty said the film will be narrated from the point of view of a woman, the soldier’s love interest.
“The first half will be about Singh, how he entered the Army, his days as a sepoy, his death, how his spirit continued to guard the Indo-China border.
“We will have some portions of his story narrated before and after his death from the girl’s side, his love interest,” he said.
The yet-to-be-titled feature film will be set between two timelines — 1968, when Singh died, and in 2020.
'For the 2020 portion, in our story we have included the on-going situation at the Indo-China border. Our script is almost ready. We will soon take it to Army officials and get their feedback,” Pookutty claimed.
Indian and Chinese armies have been on a six-week standoff in several areas of eastern Ladakh. The ties between the two countries came under severe strain after Chinese military killed 20 Indian Army personnel and injured around 76 in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15.
Avi Raj said the film will also touch upon the COVID-19 situation at the Indo-China border.
He said the pre-production work on the film has already begun. The team plans to shoot the first half in a village in Punjab, the second half in Gangtok. PTI KKP BK RDS BK BK