Was Denied Rs 500 Scholarship by I&B Ministry: Oscar Winner Resul Pookutty

Resul Pookutty says he didn't receive his scholarship after he protested against privatisation.

Indian Cinema
2 min read
Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty.

Mumbai based filmmaker Payal Kapadia's film A Night of Knowing Nothing won her the prestigious Oeil d’Or for best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival 2021.

Resul Pookutty, an Indian film sound designer, gained international acclaim for his sound design for the 2009 film Slumdog Millionaire. He won an Oscar for 'Best Sound Mixing' and a BAFTA award for the film.

Both of them had something in common—their experience with student protests and activism.

Payal Kapadia, an Film and Television Institute (FTII) alumna, was part of the student protests, that went on for months, after actor-turned-politician Gajendra Chauhan was appointed as the head of FTII. At the time, the institute had taken disciplinary action against the students, including Payal. FTII had also cut her scholarship after the incident.

An FIR was also registered against her, and other students, for allegedly holding then director Prashant Pathrabe "captive" in his office. FTII decided to support Kapadia and pay for her travel expenses after her short film Afternoon Clouds was shortlisted for the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.


Resul tweeted about his own experience at his university and student protests. He said that he didn't receive his scholarship after he protested against privatisation.

"I was denied my meager Rs.500/- scholarship by #I&BMinistry for protesting privatisation in my final year.I was heartbroken then,for that was my only source, rest U all know," he wrote.

"So students, be the conscience keepers of this vast, wide &diverse nation. The universe will conspire."
Resul Pookutty, Twitter

After her film was screened at the Cannes this year, Payal said that the story couldn't have been told without discussing discrimination. A Night of Knowing Nothing follows the story of an FTII student, L, who writes letters to their estranged lover K, chronicling the happenings around them.

"Initially, we were shooting our friends and talking a lot about matters of love, and the impossibility of certain relationships because of caste or religious differences. We realised that talking about young people in India cannot be done without discussing discrimination."
Payal Kapadia, Filmmaker

Payal's A Night of Knowing Nothing puts student protests across the country at the foreground. She has many other films to her name including Watermelon, Fish and Half Ghost, and The Last Mango Before Monsoon.

Resul went on to work in several films like Musafir, Zinda, Traffic Signal, and Gandhi, My Father.

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