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Oscar-winning Sound Designer Resul Pookutty Denies Allegations That Sony Music Owns Copyright of Thrissur Pooram

Several netizens have said that even sounds and videos the percussion ensembles from the festival are restricted from being uploaded on platforms.

Meera Manu | News18

Updated:May 16, 2019, 7:08 PM IST
Oscar-winning Sound Designer Resul Pookutty Denies Allegations That Sony Music Owns Copyright of Thrissur Pooram
Resul Pookutty records one of the principal percussion ensemble of the Thrissur Pooram.

Thiruvananthapuram: Thrissur Pooram, the traditional percussion jamboree of Kerala, is ringing louder than ever this year as a debate has erupted following the culmination of its latest edition.

Pooram lovers are taking the film world head-on since videos of the festival were barred from YouTube and other social media platforms due to copyright laws.

The “sounds” of the festival were copyrighted by Sony Music after it was recorded for the Resul Pookutty-starrer ‘The Sound Story’. Videos and even audio of the festival, capturing Thrissur Pooram sounds, including the Ilanjitharamelam and Panchavadyam (one of the percussion ensembles), is apparently barred from being uploaded to any of the platforms.

A larger community of Pooram aficionados slammed the movie’s lead over the matter. Pookutty, who is currently shooting for the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer ‘Chehre’, was unavailable for comment. The actor, however, had clarified his stand in a Facebook post earlier when a social media storm was kicked up.

“As far as I know, Sony Pictures has only given the distribution rights of the film ‘The Sound Story’ only and nothing else! So the allegation that Resul Pookutty sold (Thrissur) Pooram is clearly either plain ignorance or based on some agenda. Where and why this has originated is something that literate Malayalees should ponder seriously on... I worked in the film as a sound designer and as an actor and have taken my professional remuneration and fulfilled my professional duties, it began and ended there,” the post read.

Prasad Prabhakar, the film’s director, wondered how the Pooram’s TV channel broadcast was uploaded on YouTube if the copyright allegation stands true.

“Be it livestreaming or not, any video could be affected if the said issue persists. Content is unchanged, right? First of all, the film plays just 5.42 minutes of the actual Thrissur Pooram. The rest was staged and recorded at our expense in Peruvanam temple. I handed over the intellectual property right to Sony Music. They own the rights of 5.42 minutes when the actual ‘melam’ (a percussion ensemble) runs close to two-and-a-half hours,” Prasad told News 18.

According to the director, a fully-equipped crew had come down to Kerala from London, USA and Mumbai to shoot the scene around ‘Pooram’. Master percussionist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar also played a certain portion of the ‘melam’. Kongad Madhu was on Panchavadyam and Peruvanam Satheeshan Marar played the Pancharimelam. The Thayambaka style was also included.

“The essence of the melam is reduced into a 5.42-minute pack. That is all Sony Music have with them. Everything else was made at our expense. Don’t I have the right to sell what I made? It is baseless to say we make money out of Thrissur Pooram. If all the controversy works towards showcasing the better side of the movie, let it be. I am not bothered about it,” Prasad said.

The film, which released in April, involved over 80 technicians from Hollywood and India. Pookutty and Joy Mathew are among the cast members.

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