agement were some of the major technical hurdles. Hussain says, “For the look, I studied a lot of paintings, non-photo realistic technical papers and did a lot of my own paintings. While technique took time to develop, it was the aesthetic aspects of translating qualities I love in still paintings into moving pictures that were the real challenge. A lot of testing went into getting the right balance between large brush strokes, detail and movement. To create the intricate networks of pipes, I wrote scripts for the placement of custom modeled pipe links which I was able to quickly adjust to compose each shot. For asset management I wrote many scripts to automate as many of the more mundane aspects of production as possible.”
The film’s music was composed by Sindhi Jogis (snake charmers) in Pakistan and with the help of friends in Sindh, Hussain was able to reach them. “We had an initial meet and greet session where I shared a black and white cut of the film on my laptop with these incredible musicians. Then I discussed the emotions of the story in detail and they played some melodies to express them. On the day of the recording session, courtesy of the Institute of Sindhology in Jamshoro, Sindh, we went through each scene several times. I watched on my laptop and gave hand gestures and words as cues for emotional beats while Ustad Anb Jogi led the musicians and chose raags and melodies on the spot.”
Sound Engineer, Zulfiqar Ali Gopang provided excellent recordings of each take, despite constant load shedding. Hussain later mixed and edited the tracks to create the score. With the music in place, he requested his friend, Sound Designer Brian Stroner to lend his creativity to the sound design. “To hear the lightning crash for the first time with that Sindhi music took my breath away. I had worked without sound for so long, imagining what it would feel like, but nothing could have prepared me for how powerful the music and sound design ended up being,” says the director.
Hussain is currently busy with the preproduction of his next personal film and is also doing freelance work from around the world. On the bloom on his rose he says, “I hope that ‘Gul’ encourages people to think for themselves. It is rare in animation to create something just the way you want. Often we hope that someone will one day give us the funding and means to create that dream project. I feel fortunate that I was able to give myself that opportunity with ‘Gul’.”
— Roxanne Mehta
Bonus Behind the Scenes Image: