Saturday, January 1, 2011
Score in the Fore 2010
2010 was extremely eventful with respect to background score in Indian films. 2010 brought the score to the fore, at least to some extent. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced the inclusion of a category for ‘Best Background score’ in its yearly National Film Awards. And most deservingly, composer Ilaiyaraaja became the first ever recipient of the award in this category (Composer Johnson did win National Awards for his background score, but there was no formal category for background scores then). He won it for his Symphonic score in ‘Keralavarma Pazhassiraaja’. Ilaiyaraaja’s score in ‘Nandhalala’, the only Tamil film that released with Ilaiyaraaja’s music, deserves a National Award. Why not simply name the award as ‘Ilaiyaraaja Award for Excellence in Background Score’ and keep him out of competition? He is far way ahead of anybody else in the business.
For the first time, a composer (A.R.Rahman) released audio clips of background score of the film (Jhoota Hi Sahi) before the release of the film, in his facebook page to promote the film. Every single Tamil film soundtrack (Raavanan, Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya) of A.R.Rahman got a second release, extended with the inclusion of background score pieces of the film (Think Music is planning to release Endhiran background score too). For the first ever time, an Indian composer’s (A.R.Rahman) Indian film background scores were performed by Royal Philharmonic orchestra in a concert in London. Yet again, A.R.Rahman is strongly in contention for Golden Globes and Oscars for his stupendous ‘127 Hours’ score. As part of the promotional activities, A.R.Rahman gave lots of interviews and spoke in extreme lengths about how and why he chose each and every instrument used in each and every cue in the soundtrack.
In 2010, Indian film makers chose A-list Hollywood composers like Gustavo Santaolalla (Dhobi ghat) and Hans Zimmer (Ra.One) to score music for their films. Many Hindi film soundtracks were released with one or two themes from the background score of the film. ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan sey’ had a few more. Euphony and Universal Music Group released a compilation of R.D.Burman’s popular film background score cue in a CD titled ‘Pancham Unexplored’.
Amit Trivedi, who won the R.D.Burman Award for New Music Talent in 2010, is fast emerging to be a truly wholesome composer. From his interviews, it is clear that Amit Trivedi is probably the only popular composer in Hindi film music now, who wants to do the background score of all the films he composes songs for. In Amit Trivedi’s films, the line between songs and the background score are blurring. Udaan, in my opinion, deserves every film award given for Best Background score in 2010.
Salim-Sulaiman, the torch-bearers of background score in Hindi films, composed background scores for 7 films (Paathsaala, Kites, Anjaana Anjaani, Teen Patti, I Hate Luv Storys, Ashayein and Band Baja Baarat) in 2010. I haven’t seen any of the 7 films and would be watching ‘Band Baja Baarat’ soon.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the filmmaker turned composer with ‘Guzaarish’. He composed only the songs and not the background score. He, who finds it tough to communicate the requirements of the songs to a composer, has no problems whatsoever in communicating to Tubby-Parik for the background score. When receiving the GIMA award in ‘Best Background score’ category, for My Name is Khan, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy gracefully thanked Tubby, who assisted them in the background score.
Except for the haunting Piano theme (composer – Rooshin Dalaal) and some spoof music in the first episode, ‘Love, Sex aur Dhoka’ had no background score. Ram Gopal Varma (Rann and Raktha Charithra) continues to be incorrigible, when it comes to abusing the background score. Dhobi Ghat (Gustavo Santaolalla), Happi (Ilaiyaraaja), Nadunisi Naigal(No background score), Aaranya Kaandam (Yuvan Shankar Raja) are the films I am immediately looking forward to, for their scores.
Notable Background Scores (among the limited number of films I saw in 2010)
Udaan – Amit Trivedi
Ishqiya – Hitesh Sonik
Raavanan / Raavanan – A.R.Rahman
Nandhalala – Ilaiyaraaja
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya – A.R.Rahman
Endhiran (Robo) – A.R.Rahman
Naan Mahaan Alla – Yuvan Shankar Raja
Aayirathil Oruvan – G.V.Prakash
Also, 2010 was an eventful year for www.backgroundscore.com too. I learnt a lot.