Contemporary Indian films, in their essentially digitalized realms, incorporate techniques such as the location-based multitrack “sync” recording, and surround sound design that reorder the organization of cinematic sound. These practices contrast with the earlier mono- or stereo formats by reconfiguring the linear construct of a soundtrack to produce a spatially evocative sonic environment that offers the listener a more life-like auditory experience of the fictional site. Using significant examples from post-2000 Indian films, this article shows how earlier practices are being replaced by “sync” sound elements and surround sound mixing with a richly spatial arrangement of site-specific ambience. The article argues that these layers of ambient sounds lead to audiences establishing their embodied experience of presence with the fictional site via auditory spatial cognition and immersion in a cinematic soundscape. By situating contemporary sound production practices within the various trajectories of Indian cinema, this article contributes to the broader field of research examining the key developments and emergent aesthetics in constructing spatial environments for cinema.
film sound, sound studies, ambient sound, ambience, sound production, site, soundscape, digital sound, Indian cinema, sync sound, spatial perception and cognition