Friday, May 29, 2009

An Itching Thought

In ‘Saroja’, there is a scene in which one of the characters is getting introduced is shot and edited like that of a daily soap. The background score in the scene was exactly was like that of daily soap rich with loud bangs and strings for each reaction shot which further enhanced the feel. When I first saw the movie, I did not know that the character who is being introduced is playing the role of a Television actor in the movie and I was wondering about where was his mind when the director Venkat Prabhu was shooting the scene. It was a well executed episode to fool the audience. In that scene, the background score that aptly imitated that of daily television soap played a very important role in fooling the audience.

But in a movie like ‘Luck By Chance’, where we clearly know from the very beginning that Konkana Sen is a small time actress who is doing these miniscule roles in movies, what is the necessity to use background score that is composed so authentic to the period and genre of the movie being shot inside the movie?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Treasure

While the composer himself is taking the least amount of interest in officially releasing his great background scores of 100s of his movies, there are his hardcore fans and music enthusiasts all over the world who with advent of technology do it unofficially via internet. Dilip in his blog provides us background scores of some of Illayaraja’s best background scores in incredible audio quality without dialogues (the best I ever heard on the net) for download. One can just download, write it on a CD and sell it as an official OST of the movie. A real treasure. Grab is now. Dilip has not only extracted but also compiled the background score pieces chronologically and thematically together. I especially like the way he has done it for the score of Pithamagan and Heyram. Billion thanks to Dilip. I wish he continues to do this.

Background Score - 59 is from

This piece is from Rock On. Composers – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL). I would call this piece as the main reunion theme. It appears in the scene just before the intermission when Farhan looks at Magik’s old photos and it repeats in different variations in all the scenes that follow up to the final reunion. This short and sweet guitar melody paints a magical soundscape to the nostalgia of the band Magik.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lord of The Rings Symphony

Answer for Background Score - 58

This piece is from Delhi-6. Composer – A.R.Rahman. This theme is used first when Roshan comes to India, lasts for a very few seconds and it appears at the very end of the movie, when Roshan comes back to life from an after-death experience musically implying something about what the arrival of Roshan to India really means. The sharp Santoor sound and the pace with which it is plucked is apt and instantly brings a desi aura. The techno spin Rahman weaves over it, makes it extremely catchy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Background Score - 58

Guess the Movie.

Star Trek & Angel and Demons

I am neither a follower of 'Star Trek' movie series nor have seen American TV series “Lost”. The name Michael Giacchino as composer drew my attention towards the soundtrack of the new ‘Star Trek’ movie. I totally admired the jazzy orchestral background score of 'The Incredibles' by Michael Giacchino even while watching the movie for the first time. Again in 'Ratatouille' he came out with a brilliant score. There is always a freaking madness in his style of orchestration that I like. The main theme of the new 'Star Trek' is instantly catchy. There are many bombastic action cues with catchy leitmotifs. On the whole, it is a classic Hollywood orchestral score made for a summer blockbuster movie.

Hans Zimmer repeats the best cue from the soundtrack “Da Vinci Code”, the “Chevalier De Sangreal” in “Angels and Demons” with a layer of Solo violin playing the main theme along with the orchestra. The music of “Angels and Demons” is synth and symphony. The mix of synth and symphony might be deliberate to sound the clash that happens between science and religion in the story. Anyone who has read both “Angels and Demons” and “Da Vinci Code” would agree that former has more action and understandably Hans Zimmer has gone for a high energy orchestral score with layers of synth, thundering percussions and full throttled choral sections. The score seems to be slavishly playing out to the cuts in the visuals and hence some of the cues would be better appreciated after watching the movie.

I am eager to listen to these two scores on high quality once the CD of these soundtracks hit the stores in India.




Friday, May 15, 2009

A.R.Rahman on Scoring



AND his next Hollywood project.

AND AND his next "Passage" with Shekar Kapur. I am excited about this. The music in the trailer is very good and it sounds like it is going to be a classic orchestral score throughout.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Answer for Background Score - 57

This piece is from ‘Ninaivellam Nithya’. Composer – Who else it could be but Illayaraja.

The background score of this movie and particularly this love theme is one classic example of Raaja trying everything possible to prevent the movie from the poor script, screenplay, direction and the stony expressions of the lead pair which should ideally spread romanticism in air. There is no romance in anything in this movie but Raaja’s music. Even if Raaja scores another 1000 movies, one cannot stop admiring the way he constructs and uses such beautiful themes in movies.

The initial flute bit where the lead pair meets for the first time is a nice warm up melody for the flute which is so eagerly waiting to play the gorgeous love theme. Raaja firmly registers the place of action with a simple guitar accompaniment, and he amazingly plays with the rhythm of it for different moods on various situations - sometimes as chords on piano, sometimes as staccato on strings, and sometimes on rustic tribal percussions to differentiate the subtlety of the emotions in different situations.

Raaja might have felt that such deadly expressions on heroine’s face require another great melody to save the scenes, and hence the Celtic violin piece that beautifully complements the main theme.

Initially, we hear a simple bass line running parallel to the main theme, it isn’t really in the fore and that perfectly works for the lighter moments of romance. But once relationship turns stronger, and as one becomes an emotional burden on the other, the bass gets heavier. The heavy bass line beautifully works for the heaviness of the situation in which the guy slaps the girl he loves the most in this world. Musically too, the bass line is just out of the world counter melody to the main theme.

Raaja rightfully brings in multiple layers of western choirs in latter portions for the love that suffers more opposition and reaches a musically epic end. Raaja adds another layer of Oboe to the main theme that appears in these sad portions to make it sound more sympathetic. (But I wonder why there wasn’t any real Oboe player when he recorded this music; the keyboard oboe tone sounds so artificial).

Ninaivellam Nithya Love Theme - Download

Watch the highlights (for the score) from the movie below


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maestro Blaster



Sethu is in love with Abhitha. Abhitha is a soft spoken, innocent girl from an orthodox, middle class Brahmin family. Sethu is rough outside and he remains so even in his ways to woo her. To impress Abhitha, Sethu’s friend advices him to be softer and not to get involved in any fights and clashes. Unfortunately, Sethu has to beat a baddie who beat his friend and when he is totally in action, Abhitha crosses the corridor in which he is busy chasing and beating the guy. Sethu, immediately after Abhitha enters the scene, stops beating, though a volcano of anger is still erupting in his face. Vikram’s performance in this scene shook me when I first saw the movie.

But as always, it is our Maestro Ilaiyaraaja who enhances the impact created by Vikram’s nuanced performance. Raaja plays a pedestrian action cue for the fight sequence. He then suddenly stops and brings in a cascade of strings that builds up to imply peaking intensity of Sethu’s anger and within a flip of a second the piece liberates into an exquisitely romantic soft piano melody that aptly captures the way Sethu’s intense anger takes a sudden relief at the sight of Abhitha. The highlight is the way Raaja achieves the impact with his acute transition in music. I am not sure I have articulated the beauty of the scene and the score well enough. No amount of articulation can explain the magic of Raaja’s music in this scene. So, watch it and feel it for yourself


Friday, May 1, 2009

Lagaan Suite

Lagaan has A.R.Rahman’s best background score yet. I already have posted a detailed analysis on Lagaan background score here. The background score cues from Lagaan have been compiled as a Suite that plays for 32 odd minutes. Now and here you can relive the Lagaan experience in just 32 minutes through its music.



On YouTube



Act 1 – Tracks 1 – 8
Act 2 – Tracks 9 – 18
Act 3 – Tracks 19 – 33
Act 4 – Tracks 34 – 36

Track Listing

1. Aamir Productions Theme
2. Opening Credits
3. Searching the clouds of Rain
4. Gauri Introduction
5. Bhuvan Introduction
6. Captain Russell
7. Gauri and Bhuvan
8. Challenge Accepted
9. Bhuvan demonstrates Cricket to Villagers
10. Bagha and Guran Join
11. Elizabeth meets the villagers
12. Gauri’s Jealousy
13. Angry Captain Russell
14. Ismail and Arjun Join
15. Intermission
16. Elizabeth continues to help
17. Kachra can Play
18. Re bhaiyya Chhoote Lagaan
19. Match Begins
20. Goli’s Bowling
21. Deva’s wicket
22. Fielding
23. Lakha’s foul play
24. Lakha’s catch
25. Guran’s bowling
26. Bagha’s catch
27. Disappointing start
28. Yardley’s Ball
29. Lakha is out
30. Bagha out
31. Isar Kaka faints
32. Tippu the by-runner
33. Last over
34. Victory
35. Farewell to Elizabeth
36. End Credits*

* In the Original movie, the songs are played in the end credits; I always wanted the ‘Lagaan – Once Upon a Time in India’ instrumental track in the original soundtrack CD to be played in End Credits.