Please tell us about yourself

Behind the breathtaking background music of the most-awaited Bollywood period drama ‘Padmavati’, lies a highly talented sound designer from Odisha.

An Award-winning sound recordist, Nihar Ranjan Samal hails from Jajpur district of Odisha. He’s an alumnus of Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), has worked as sound designer for ‘Padmavati’. This is the second project he’s worked with Bhansali; his first project with Bhansali was in ‘Bajirao Mastani’ in 2015.

He won the National Award for his brilliant work in ‘Madras Cafe’ in 2013.

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How did you get into films and audiography? 

After completing my MSc in Physics, I wanted to do a professional course and a friend told me about a sound recording course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. I had literally no technical knowledge about films or sound recording. My family also opposed me a lot, but slowly I got good exposure and developed interest in sound. After my diploma film got national awards, it motivated me to do more meaningful work.

Before FTII I had zero knowledge about film making and audiography. I only knew there is sound recording course. With this little bit of knowledge I joined FTII pune and my diploma film got National award for audiography . Since then I have a tendency to do more meaningful works in cinema.

Tell us about your work

Nihar had a 160-day tight schedule for ‘Padmavati’ at various locations in the country. He said the movie has been shot in sync sound, meaning the team used original sound from the locations instead of creating it in studio. Understandably, it was a challenging task.

“Sound designing for such type of films is really tough and at the same time, it’s quite a learning experience for a technician. I am glad that we have done justice to the script and vision of the director,” said the award-winning sound designer.

The busy technician from the State is now one of the most popular sound designers in the Hindi film industry and has done more than 30 films including documentary, short and feature.

He has worked on all kinds of films – short films, documentaries, indie feature films, regional films and mainstream commercial Hindi films as well. His filmography includes films like 3 Idiots, Vicky Donor, Tanu Weds Manu, Ferrari Ki Sawaari and Madras Cafe.

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?

Like every other family his family too was against his decision to purse Bollywood dreams and instead wished him to settle for a regular and secured job in Odisha.

“My family also opposed me a lot, but slowly I got good exposure and developed interest in sound. After my diploma film got national award, it motivated me to do more meaningful work,” explained the techie who has done MSc in Physics.

A native of Jajpur, Samal joined FTII, Pune, after MSc in Physics much against his parents’ wishes. “My physics background has helped me to understand sound engineering better, but then it boils down to creativity,” said one of the most sought-after sound designers in Bollywood.

“I am really fortunate that I got a chance to work with so many different directors and films of different genres,” signs off Nihar.