Saturday, May 22, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Score of Three Cities

Background Score – 70 is from Meenaxi – A Tale of 3 Cities. Composer – A.R.Rahman. Though I attempted many times to watch this film, I couldn’t move past the utter boredom that the 15 minutes of the film is. When I came to know that A.R.Rahman performed a Suite from the background score of Meenaxi in his recent concert with London Philharmonic Orchestra, I got interested to check out the orchestral stuff he has done for this film. I dug the VCD and watched the film, just for the background score. The film turned out to be quite interesting.

A.R.Rahman’s background score plays a very vital role in bringing a lot of coherence, drama, momentum and emotional heft in a dull, fickle and meandering narrative of the film. Rahman has set three distinct music themes that are characteristic of the 3 different cities the narrative travels to. Hyderabad gets a catchy qawwali bit as its signature tune, which also is the theme for the writer (When the writer comes to Prague to meet his fictional character - Maria, the same theme reprises). Jaisalmer theme is a folksy melody sung by an earthy piped instrument and all of music cues for Prague episode are grand western orchestral pieces.

Though the narrative demands scoring in sync with the sound of the soil of the different cities, Rahman connects both Jaisalmer and Prague episode - Meenaxi – Kameshwar and Maria – Kameshwar love story with a common musical theme, which is the gorgeous Oboe theme that is introduced upfront in the opening credits of the film.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Talks on Scores

As part of a Presentation Workshop in my place of work, I had a chance to present on a topic of my choice. I gave a small extempore talk on ‘Film Background Scores’. To my surprise, no one had any clue whatsoever about film background scores. Most of them didn’t know that A.R.Rahman won an Oscar for background score. I asked, “What instantly comes to your mind when I say background score?” and I got two replies – ‘James Bond’ and ‘Sarkar’.

Two weeks ago, I was watching ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai’ in KTV. A friend of mine came to my room and sat with me to watch the film. The film was about to end. My friend joined when Jeeva’s (Vijay) family comes to Mini’s (Shalini) house to give Mini’s chain back. In this scene, when Mini comes running out of the kitchen, Ilaiyaraaja plays a joyous Piano piece. It is in here, my friend sitting next to me, remarked ‘Paathae illai, Thalai, yennama music pottirukkaru’ (can be roughly translated as “See, how well the master has put music”) and he continued to hum the background music all along and couldn’t stop praising Ilaiyaraaja’s background score till the end of the film.

I have never seen him speak about music or film background score before. He is someone, in whose Laptop, you will find music playlists named as ‘Ajith Hits’, ‘Vijay Hits’, ‘Danush Hits’ and not A.R.Rahman Hits or Ilaiyaraaja hits. And he doesn’t know that I blog about background scores. Then I asked him about how he was able to hum the background music of the film. He said that he watched ‘Kaadhalukku Mairyaadhai’ 13 times when it got released.

Listening to Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai

The quest for Film of Background Score - 70 is still ON