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Monday, April 26, 2010

Vikraman - S.A.Rajkumar

The pieces in Background Score – 69 are from Vikraman films - Poovae Unakkaga (1), Suryva Vamsam (2 & 3), and they are Composed by S.A.Rajkumar. When I saw these films as a kid, I had no idea about background scores but I have wept and laughed in the scenes with these very background score pieces. The background music really played a very vital role in inducing an emotional audience response to the drama in the visuals of Vikraman films.

But after a point when I became aware of the background scores, I began to realize, how overtly manipulative, sentimental and repetitive S.A.Rajkumar’s background score for Vikraman’s films are. While, I have got no complaints about the melody (I love the flute piece that plays when Nambiar and Vijayakumari sneaks out of their house to have a glimpse of their Grandson), it is the mundane repetition, with the composer never ever trying to tweak the melody differently in different situations in the film, except for increasing or reducing the tempo of the piece, that puts me off. For how a melody – a motif, can be orchestrated in various forms to fit in various situations in the film and yet not sound monotonous, listen Mohan theme from Mouna Raagam.

Coming to the background score for comedy scenes, it really is annoying to listen to sound tones employed to tickle the funny bones for every single line uttered by a comedian or every single reaction shot of his face, in a comic scene. The theme itself is quite good though.

Any theme from any of the Vikraman films can be used without changing a note or even tempo in any of his other films; the themes, emotions, scenes and character are similar to that extent in all of his films. So, a composer cannot be blamed much for this. Probably, if Ilaiyaraaja had scored atleast one film of Vikraman’s, then we would have known what S.A.Rajkumar, Sirpi and others failed to do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

'The Music of A.R.Rahman' Concert

From the names of the film directors and producers thanked in the above snapshot, here is my guess track listing of the Film themes and Songs played in ‘The Music of A.R.Rahman’ concert by London Philharmonic Orchestra in Alchemy Festival.

Maniratnam – “Bombay Theme” from Bombay

Andrew Lloyd Webber – “Bombay Awakes” from Bombay Dreams

Shekhar Kapur – “Divinity Theme” from Elizabeth – The Golden Age and “Waltz” from Passage

Kevin Wallace – “The Song of Hope” or “Lothlorien” from Lord of the Rings Musical

Danny Boyle – “Mausam & Escape” from Slumdog Millionaire (See Rashid Ali Asad Khan sitting at the centre of the concert podium)

Vince Vaughn – “Jason and Cynthia Theme”, “Jason and Cynthia Suite” and “Intervention” from Couples Retreat

He Ping – “Horses”, “Mountains” and “The Golden Era” from Warriors of Heaven and Earth

MF Hussain (that’s a tough one) – Orchestral Version of “Do Kadam” from Meenaxi

Ashutosh Gowariker – Lagaan Theme, Lagaan Opening Credits, Swades Title theme, Jodhaa Akbar Love Theme, Khwaja Mere Khwaja Instrumental

Ketan Mehta – Mangal Pandey Theme, Mangal Pandey End Credits

Shyam Benegal – Instrumental Themes from Bose: The Forgotten Hero especially the orchestral version of the national anthem “Jana Gana Mana” to end the show.

With this track list and a professional Symphony Orchestra, I guess it is exactly the kind of concert I have been wishing to watch. As usual, there will be no official release of audio or video recording of the concert. Sigh!

Here is the actual tracklisting of Film themes performed in the concert

And some High quality Pics from the Concert and Concert Rehearsals

Concert Reviews:



Pictures Courtesy: @ashantiomkar

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sound Vs Score

Karthik Raaja speaks about background scores in an interview

"Coming up with a background score is a tough job as it is related to the psychology of the audience. You should know how to treat a scene and create the intended impact. Not everyone can pull it off well. And today, sound effects have started dominating the BGM (background music). There will always be a debate between the composer and the director during the final mix on whether to go for a BGM or a sound effect. But sound effects cannot convey an emotion. You can convey the breaking of a glass through sound effects but then, you can even convey that through the visual alone. On the other hand, a BGM can even tell you why the glass broke. My dad gives a lot of importance to emotions when it comes to BGM; for me, it is emotions as well as what’s being shown on screen that matter when composing BGM."

Sound Effects Vs Music