In a gripping scene in Airlift, a 16-year-old Iraqi soldier shoots Akshay Kumar’s driver before his eyes, as he stands helplessly. Debasish Mishra chose not to use silence to accentuate Kumar’s vulnerability. “Instead, I suggested to director Raja Krishna Menon that as we were using Dolby Atmos, let us highlight the sound of a chopper flying overhead to add drama to that moment,” he recalled.
Such thoughtfulness was possible as Mishra started planning for Airlift’s a year before the shoot, which came in handy especially when he had to capture on-location ambient sounds when many people were concerned. The scene where 1.7 lakh Indians were holed up in a makeshift camp was actually shot in a Jaisalmer school with local artistes and few Arabic speaking actors. “Some Arabic translators then coached the junior artists for their dialogues; since Airlift was a sync sound movie as we wanted even their diction to be perfect!” Mishra stated.
Having worked for over 30 films in the past 12 years, he knows the importance of paying heed to these nuances. After all, in his line of work, while most members of the audience enjoy the big picture, sometimes it is these little blips that strike the right note – literally!