Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya Background Score


The moment I heard those flamboyant piano runs in the theatrical trailer of ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya’, I had a gut feeling that this film is going to be an A.R.Rahman musical. Since this is a Gautam Vasudev Menon film, I was initially surprised by the quirkiness of the soundtrack of the film. However, in few days, the music totally embraced me or rather I totally embraced it. I knew that these melodies would make base for delightful instrumental pieces for the background score of the film. There is a scene in ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya’ in which after setting the frame and explaining how the camera should move to capture a shot for a film being canned within the film, K.S.Ravi Kumar says, ‘Inga Rahman background music potturuvaaru’ (Rahman will put some background music here). While making this film, I guess Gautam Menon would have told the same to his crew for almost every single scene. There is so much music in this film.

Usually, pure love stories are a composer’s delight to write background score for. Though it does not challenge with any freshness in what happens, the challenge is how to score for the freshness in how it all happens and bring within it the aura of romance through music. Gautam’s love stories have lots of silence in it, and little awkward dialogues and conversations with too many bits, pieces and phrases concatenated into full sentences. It provides a lot of scope for a composer to fill these silences with music and add to the romance that Gautam wants to ooze.

That conversation between Madhavan and Reema Sen in Reema’s house, after a power cut, just before the song ‘Verenna’ is one such instance where Harris Jeyaraj had his moment of glory in the background score. That saxophone bit did wonders in sparkling a chemistry and attraction in every meeting between Maaya and Anbuchelvan in "Kaaka Kaaka". There is this stirring orchestral version of ‘Uyirin Uyirae’ melody wells up in Anbachelvan’s eyes, when he carries a wounded Maaya to Hospital. I do not remember much of ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilayadu’ or ‘Pachaikili Muthucharam’.

This film is full of conversations between a boy and a girl in love - before, after and much later. They either they talk about loving each other or about parting ways. The moment we hear the stirring string section that flaunts the inner butterflies of a man, who falls in love with a girl on the very first sight, it is evident that Rahman is going to shower this film with his musical rains. He does and How! The score lightens the film, sprinkles romance in the air, and builds drama and adds momentum to a film that is packed with a series of conversations between a boy and a girl.

Melodies of all the songs in the film are used beautifully in the background score. Hosanna melody fills in for that initial euphoria of Karthik in finding his soul mate. The little funny moments in between them before they begin to talk to each other is filled with Vibraphone version of the song. The lyrical melody of the poetic “Yen Idhayam Udaithaai Norungavae Yen Maru Idhayam Tharuvaen Nee Udaikkavae" plays on flute and angelic female voice to enhancing the serenity of silences, where it is, throughout the film. The cello theme from ‘Kannukkul Kannai’ is aptly used whenever Jessie walks out of a conversation in the scenes preceding the song. The best used song musically and thematically is ‘Mannippaya’, the lines of which reveal the whole story of the film. The title track is almost used entirely as a background score. Aah! That female version of ‘Aaromalae’ for Jessie is heavenly.

Apart from the melodies of the songs, there are many music themes in the film. The shocker bangs followed by symphonic strings swirling is for Jessie’s reaction to Karthik’s sudden proposal in the middle of the road. This theme recurs many times for all such twists and turns that arises out of the unpredictability in Jessie’s character. A mild piano theme that borders on ‘Kahin Toh’ melody from ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ gives a serene touch to the scenes of intimacy. There is another all strings theme that pumps in chokes with pauses in between phrases and also momentum into the scenes whenever something unfathomable happens to Karthik. Rahman mildly introduces a disturbing Guitar melody creating a subtle discomfort in the aura when the conversation between Karthik and Jessie is about to turn into a conflict. The folk-rock fusion in that odd boxing scene also works well for the effect of the scene. The only misfire in the whole background score is that rock-jazz number (this is the first song played when the end credits begin to roll) that loudly overpowers the scene in ODE cafe where Jessie speaks of break-up. However, may be the loudness and the genre chosen is intentional to imply how torturing it is for a guy to deal with a fickle girl like Jessie. Oh! Now that I think of ODE café, I recollect the scene where the camera zooms in from the shot of giant Wind chimes, for which Rahman also begins to play his music on wind chimes to set the atmosphere.

And there is so much more music in the film which I have not talked about here. This is just a random rambling that I scribbled out of excitement immediately after watching the film. The background score of this film requires a detailed scene by scene analysis, which I am sure I will do later, after I get a DVD of the film. Until then, I am going to watch this film again, again and again in theatres, as many times as I can. The repeated viewing of the film is as much for the film as a whole as for its background score.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice article ... am still mesmerized by ARR Bgm

Suresh Kumar said...

Anon - Thanks. Me too :-)

Arun said...

The only misfire in the whole background score is that rock-jazz number..

Yes, That rock-ish Jessy number was too amateurish, IMO. But except for that, the BG score was very beautifully done. The female version of Aaromale took me by surprise. :)

Credit to Gautham Menon for doing complete justice to the songs. The title song was absolutely heavenly, quite easily one of the most romantic songs in recent times.

Thulasiram said...

BGM is undoubtedly heavenly. The piano strings (as we heard in trailer) is mindblowing. Really, every element of love is weaved in that tune. Brilliant.

Btw, well written, Suresh.

Sureshkumar said...

Thulasiram - Thanks :-)

riddhiman said...

Thanks a lot mate

Arvind Srikantan said...

A very great revisit of the wonderful BGMs. Very nicely written...! Truly amazing!

Venky said...

Well written .. The best part of the post is that you have embedded the music well with it.

Rehman in film circles isnt known positively for his re recording , atleast earlier, but he rocks in this movie.

Sureshkumar said...

ridhiman, Arvind, Venky - Thanks :-)

UndeniablyBlah said...

Hey,

I ran a google search for the VTV BG and it brought me straight to your blog. I love how you have written this article :) it's always a pleasure reading people who truly Get Rahman and appreciate his music at the many levels that it was probably conceived at :) Awesome appreciation of the movie too!well done.

Suresh Kumar said...

UndeniablyBlah - Thank you :-)

紀錄 said...

很榮幸能到你的BLOG留言o^~^o........................................

ff said...

Hi,
Where can I get the notes for this BGM ?

Regards, Gopi

Ram said...

hey nice analysis , i loved the BGm of this movie than anything from rahman's desk (I haven't viewed his hindi films though, due to language issues )

Vadi said...

Suresh...
i am a bit disappointed to see that u din hav those music pieces attached to the explanations of various scoring pieces, which actually is the most impressive thing in ur blog and postmortem of a movie.

hope u ll add it soon.