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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grammy Award Winning Composer A.R.Rahman

So, from now on, it is going to be “Grammy Award Winning Composer” A.R.Rahman. The two Grammies for Slumdog Millionaire reassures the fact that the Globes and Oscars weren’t just because of the buzz or an after effect of the film’s international success. When I wrote this piece, defending that Rahman’s Slumdog Millionaire score is indeed one of his best; people were quick to ignore it as a sort of blabber by a fanatic. But with these Grammies that he has got now without any buzz and amidst a tough competition, though who were not convinced should at least now make an effort to understand the worth of Slumdog Millionaire Score.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Needle Drops

  • A.R.Rahman’s Couples Retreat Score has been nominated for International Film Music Critics Association awards for Scoring Excellence in ‘Best Score in a Comedy Film’ category. This is really very significant considering that there was no buzz whatsoever about this score even in the hardcore Hollywood film score magazines and websites. Winning is highly unlikely though.

  • Every little work that Michael Giacchino did in 2009 has been nominated in various categories of International Film Music Critics Association awards for Scoring Excellence.

  • While posting this poll, I was in dilemma whether to nominate ‘Dev.D’ in background score (Hindi). The film is a musical, filled with songs all over but with limited space left for an instrumental background score. I did like few pieces in the background score, the score for the scene in which Paro cleans Dev’s room is one. Dev and Chanda’s themes – two instrumental pieces that got released in the film soundtrack CD were also good. I am still not sure. I have to watch Dev D again. Interestingly in all Bollywood awards, Amit Trivedi’s music for ‘Dev.D’ has been pushed to best background score category and none have included it in the Best Music Category.

  • ‘Tamizh Padam’ is not just a spoof on Tamil films; there are enough spoofs on Tamil film background scores too (composer - B.Kannan). It really is not possible to spoof a genre of film without imitating background scores of those films. A complete joyride this film is.

  • And happy to inform that Background score blog is listed in

    “10 Best of Bollywood blogs” in blogs.com and
    “600 Movie blogs you might have missed” list in Totalfilm.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

I was watching ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ DVD with director’s (Abbas Tyrewala) commentary ON. I was really surprised to listen to a film director speaking so much about the film’s background score in his DVD commentary. He talks about the thought process behind the background score in many of the scenes and also about how in general A.R.Rahman works on a film’s background score. Abbas talks about Aditi’s theme, Party music, Jai and Meghna’s theme, instrumental of ‘Jane tu mera kya hai’ and much more. Here is a sample.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Michael Giacchino's 'Up'swing

As expected Michael Giacchino has won over James Horner in Golden Globes this year with his classic score for Pixar’s ‘Up', and he is definitely a front runner in Oscars too. Though ‘Avatar’ score reminds us of so many other scores of James Horner, it also is really a special score which managed to peep through its head out of all those huge multi layered visual spectacle and the meticulous sound design. However, as I had already mentioned, the simplistic charm of ‘UP’ score wins over the exoticism of ‘Avatar’ score.

Now, here is one of my favourite cues from ‘Up’ which wasn’t a part of the Original Soundtrack release. It is a dramatic music piece scored for the scene in which Carl Fredrieksen is shown doing his daily chores alone after Emilie’s death. Conventionally any composer would have played the Emilie’s theme on a sober scale in a solo piano to evoke a sense of loneliness but for the way this scene is cut showing the boredom of Carl, this approach works and makes us feel that he has learnt to get on with his life. The grand bangs fit aptly as we witness how the surroundings of Carl’s house have changed for worse.

Michael Giacchino has got 3 Grammy Nominations for his ‘UP’ score in Best Original Score for a Motion Picture, Best Instrumental Composition (Married Life) and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Up with End Credits) categories. Though I haven’t heard all the tracks nominated in these categories, I hope Michael Giacchino wins all the three Grammies.

‘UP’ is one of those special soundtracks I fell madly in love with instantly on very first listening. I could hum through every single cue of this film soundtrack, which is very rare in these days when film scores are becoming more and more abstract, strictly action based without any prominent themes. I strongly feel an animation film brings the best out of a composer as it is these films that require bold orchestral music with strong melodies. It is the dramatic score that makes the animated stories grounded and makes the audience instantly connect with the emotions of the characters no matter if that character is a piece of wood or a flesh and blood human being.

A.R.Rahman is not competing with Michael Giacchino as Grammies have a separate category for film soundtracks with songs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Background Score - 68 is from

This music piece is from Wake up Sid. Composer – Amit Trivedi. It is the Sid and Aisha theme. Sid and Aisha go for a walk around Mumbai in the night, with pleasant strains of Guitar accompanying them throughout their conversation and at the end of the conversation Aisha says that Siddarth is her first friend in Mumbai and Siddarth tells Aisha to call him as Sid and there begins their friendship and the main “Sid and Aisha” theme on Piano. It then recurs to sweeten all those fluffy and sometimes hefty everyday moments and conversations between Sid and Aisha. The piece I chose is from the scene in which Aisha scolds Sid for making her house untidy. Sid begins to clean the room. Even the damn-with-subtlety ‘Wake Up’ chants when Sid cleans the room, works nicely.

Wake up Sid clearly wins my award for the best background score in a Hindi film released in 2009. Amit Trivedi almost sidelined the original song composers of the film – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy by his pleasing background score, which includes 5 beautiful songs additionally added in the film. Wake up Sid's background score also seems to be the most popular one in 2009, which is evident, from the number of sites that show up when we do a Google search on ‘Wake up Sid background score’, all providing the High quality voiceless background score of the film for download.

Here is the full version of the theme from the scene. (I had edited the Wake up chants to not to give away the film)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Birthday A.R.Rahman

The media still continues to misinform that Rahman won two Oscars for the song 'Jai Ho' from Slumdog Millionaire

Monday, January 4, 2010

RDB Contest

Neither did I grow upon R.D.Burman’s music nor have I heard his complete repertoire of film soundtracks. Spending your childhood in a small Town in Tamilnadu means no exposure to anything related to the language Hindi. But later I realized that, even with such little exposure, those very few Hindi songs that invariably made its way into such Hindi-phobic little towns were that of R.D.Burman. When people used to praise A.R.Rahman as next R.D.Burman, I use to wonder why. Now, after watching the documentary ‘Pancham Unmixed’, I am convinced. What intrigued me even more was the information about R.D.Burman’s approach to film background scores. Today being 16th death anniversary of R.D.Burman, I decided to announce a contest, the (one) winner of which, will be awarded a DVD set of the Documentary ‘Pancham Unmixed’ from yours truly.

Send a detailed analysis or review of your favorite film background score, in no less than 1000 words, to backgroundscore@gmail.com on or before 31, January 2010.

The film chosen can be from any Indian Language or English. The article sent for the contest should not have appeared in any other online forums or blogs or websites before.

Based on the number of entries, the date of announcement of the winner will be decided and communicated later.


Please spread the word about the contest.