The sound void: Where have all Foley artistes of North East gone?

Babul Das creating Foley sounds in studio. Photos: Debarun Borthakur

Cinema in the North East is currently witnessing an exciting metamorphosis. The rise of independent filmmakers, coupled with the proliferation of Over the Top (OTT) platforms and access to advanced technologies, has opened new vistas for the region’s cinema. But amidst this cinematic revolution, filmmaking in the region is grappling with a long-standing issue; an issue, which an average cinephile might find insignificant, but when observed closely, is a glaring void — the dearth of Foley artistes.

Filmmakers lament that the scarcity of Foley artistes in the region is not only hindering their creative process but also compounding the financial burden of the producers forcing them to outsource this crucial element of sound design.

“The scarcity of Foley artistes is affecting the quality of post-production. There are only a handful of them here and they are mostly concentrated in Guwahati, Assam. So, we either count on them or go to Kolkata and Mumbai to complete our job. I have been urging fellow filmmakers to learn the art so that we can do the post-production in our state and not dent our pockets by outsourcing it,” says National Award-winning filmmaker from Manipur, Oinam Doren, whose acclaimed docu-film, Songs of Mashangva (2010), showcased the musical heritage of the Tangkhul Naga tribe.

The invisible art

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