Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Journey of a Song in a Score




Songs - at least those that are composed by composers, who put film maker’s vision above everything else - are now an integral part of the film’s narrative. The composer completes half of the film’s background score when he completes composing the songs of the film. These are songs made specific to the given situation of a given film and they cannot be used in any other situation of any other film. Composer need not break his heads to compose new themes while writing the background score. A melody on trumpet that imitates the bleat of a (black) sheep in Arima Arima song is classic evidence of the extent to which the composer was informed about the scenes and situations in the film, even before the film was made. In films with such songs, the line between background score and songs are thin. Pudhiya Manidha in Endhiran is also one such song. The main hook of the song is the melody of the line Pudhiya Manidha Boomikku Vaa, which plays as Chitti’s theme throughout the film.

The song opens with a gentle Synth bass melody, which continues to loop over and over throughout the song. This Synth bass melody is beautifully elaborated on the string section of the orchestra when Dr.Vaseegaran is giving birth to Chitti part by part. The orchestral version of this Synth bass loop appropriately plays for Dr.Vaseegaran’s last minute urgency, curiosity and hyper-activity in bringing his ten long years of work, the Robot to life.

Sana is continuously trying to reach Dr.Vaseegaran, who is busy giving final touches to his machine child and Rahman emphasizes this diversion by introducing a conversation between Strings section and woodwinds section of the orchestra both playing the same melody. It is like how both Chitti and Sana are trying to draw the same amount of attention from Dr.Vaseegaran.

The Pudhiya Manidha theme is then heard on a serene Indian flute, when Dr.Vaseegaran begins to give a lecture to Chitti about the Human emotions. The flute begins with the theme, but soon liberates itself into a totally different melody with a classical tinge. With the Pudhiya Manidha melody withering off all its rigidity and electronic associations and embracing the tenderness of a flute and fragility of Human emotions, the machine slowly and gradually becomes humane. We do not get to hear this melody much after this. Chitti is no more a new born; he has grown enough to feel and act on his own.

What follows is an anarchy that Chitti Version 2.0 unleashes. There is continuous onslaught of evil brass bangs and full throttled action cues in Rahman’s score for Chitti 2.0’s action. There is not a pinch of innocence in Chitti for Rahman to play Pudhiya Manidha anymore. Towards the end of the film, Chitti gets a re-birth. Dr.Vaseegaran resurrects Chitti by replacing Dr.Bhora’s Red chip with Chitti’s own.

Cut to: The Court Room.

The court gives death sentence to Dr.Vaseegaran, for creating a Robot like Chitti, which led to all the chaos in the city. Chitti gets up to produce itself in court as a material evidence defending Dr.Vaseegaran, and it is in here, Rahman plays Pudhiya Manidha boldly on horns again implying with a bang that Chitti is back like the way it was.

Pudhiya Manidha theme continues to play sympathetically on an Oboe in the background when Dr.Vaseegaran asks Chitti to dismantle itself. When Chitti spells out one message after another to Human clan, the melody of the lines Maatram Kondu Vaa is heard. When Chitti says, “I am going to miss you Sana”, for the first time in the film, a female voice hums Irumbilae Or Irudhayam melody. Dot.

No. That’s not the end of it. 2030. A Science museum in 2030.

When the Camera zooms into the museum, Rahman allows S.P.Balasubramaniam to gently croon Vairamuthu’s golden verses Karuvil Pirandha Ellam Marikkum Arivil Pirandhadhu Marippadhae Illai from Pudhiya Manidha song. With those verses playing in the background, Rahman primes us to what happens in the Museum when a curious kid asks her teacher about why Chitti was dismantled. Chitti is alive and kicking. A.R.Rahman plays a scintillating orchestral piece for the kid’s shock and surprise when Chitti replies to her curious question.

The film ends, but Chitti lives on forever. To hint its possible return Rahman cannot play anything other than Pudhiya Manidha in the end credits of the film. The complete Pudhiya Manidha melody booms large in a breathtaking symphonic form in the end credits. Pudhiya Manidha Bhoomikku Vaa.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Background Score - 76




Last week, in our first ever conversation about background scores in last 4 years, my roomie pom-pomed the melody of a background music piece from a film and asked me to guess the film. I could recollect the hero, the scenes and the situations from the film, but I totally forgot the name of the film. Guess the film.