While researching for Bajirao Mastani, Bishwadeep Chatterjee reached a Panchgani temple where Brahmin pundits were chanting from the Vedas and he decided to include this in the movie’s sound track. “Groups of women were singing bhajans, which I later used in ambient sound at Bajirao’s Shaniwar Wada,” he stated.
He paid similar attention to the war scenes, and after discussions with music score composer, Sanchit Balhara, the duo decided to avoid intricate percussions as blending the sounds of animals, costumes and weapons with music would be almost impossible. So, he added layers of sound on top of the foleys to create a larger than life impact aural impact to complement the movie’s captivating visual treat.
Chatterjee’s effort paid off when Sanjay Leela Bhansali told him by saying that Bajirao Mastani had the best sound design amongst all his movies — a huge compliment coming from a perfectionist himself. Of course, the National Film Award for Best Audiography that Chatterjee bagged was the proverbial cherry on the cake!
Though he cherishes every moment working on the movie, his favourite scene is the climax when the ailing and delusional Bajirao imagines his soldiers are attacking him. “Since the scene is surreal, I used garbled Buddhist chants and high pitched tribal howls to create an eerie atmosphere. This was interspersed with the Mahamrityunjay mantra and conch shells being blown in temples for his well being, which is quite a juxtaposition,” he recalled.
This layered language of reverberations is understood by few. But the thoroughness with which he approaches his work has made Chatterjee a much-sought after sound designer in the film industry today.