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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Intro Music Quiz

The first piece of music we hear in a movie is the music that accompanies the Introduction of the Studio/ production house that produced the film. The moment we hear these short and snappy Signature musical themes, we can say without looking at the screen, which Studio/Production house is behind the film. Majestic Fanfares, a cue from the score of the movie, incidental music that matches the animation that builds the name and logo of the production house on screen – Intro music could be anything. Or the music could be just a part of the branding exercise. For UTV Motion Pictures, intro music now is richly Indian classical and carries with it the identification of the place the movie is coming from – which is necessary these days with all those international markets opening up for Indian films.

Sometimes, some Studios use different music for different films – mostly a piece of music from the score of the film itself, in a way to pull the audience into the mood and universe of the film right away. I read somewhere that even Karan Johar was thinking of changing the Intro music of Dharma Productions for Agneepath as the angelic chorus singing saccharine Kuch Kuch Hota Hai melody doesn’t go with the genre of the film. Posted below are some of the Signature Intro music I like, of movie production houses/Studios in India and elsewhere. Listen to them and guess the Studio/Production Company

AGPPL Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions Pvt Ltd (Only in Swades - It is a theme from Swades)

1 -

AVM Productions

2 -

Aamir Khan Productions

3 -

21st Century Fox

4 -

Hope Productions (A Theme from English Vinglish)

5 -

Yash Raj Films YRF

6 -

Excel Entertainment (The brass theme from Haan Yehi Rasta hai song from Lakshya)

7 -

UTV Motion Pictures New

8 -

UTV Motion Pictures Old

9 -

Dharma Productions

10 -


11 -

Universal Studio

12 -

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Birthday K.S.Chitra

Happy Birthday to K.S.Chitra - A Singer who is an Epitome of Perfection. I just can't tell you how madly I love Chitra's voice and singing. Here is a list of my personal favorites. I am sure there are 1000s of greater songs, but these are my favorites

Aayiram Thirunaal Boomiyil Varalaam (Pudhu Vasantham) Composer - S.A.Rajkumar

Raat Hamaari Toh (Parineeta) Composer - Shanthanu Moitra

This song stayed in my midnight melodies playlist for years

Pudhidhai kaetkum Puththam pudhu keerthanam (Raman Abdhulla) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

Chitra's voice in this song is as Refreshing as the morning dew

Kannalanae (Bombay) Composer - A.R.Rahman

No Chitra playlist is complete without this song. That yearning in the the way she sing the last "Kannalanae" - Exquisite!

Nadodi Mannargalae Vanakkam Vanakkam (Vaanamae Ellai) Composer - Keeravani

A personal favorite.

Pul Veli Pul Veli thannil (Aasai) Composer - Deva

Oththayila Ninnadhenna (Vanaja Girija) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

Chitra's singing in this song never ceases to amaze me.

Anbae anbae Nee yen Pillai (Uyirodu Uyiraga) Composer - Vidhyasagar

That effortlessness in hitting the high note!

Kaaththu Kaaththu yena Kaaththu (Uzhavan) Composer - A.R.Rahman

Severe Nostalgia. A song very close to my heart.

Yethedho Ennam Valarthaen (Punnagai Mannan) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

A flower in full blossom

Ullaasa Poongaatrae (Kolangal) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

That Clarity! That no-fuss Singing!

Anbae Nee enna andha (Pandian) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

One of my all time favorites. I could spring back to life from death bed listening to this song.

Theendai Mei Theendai (En Swasa Kaatrae) Composer - A.R.Rahman

Paniyo, thaeno, nee suvaiththaal yenna aa aa aa aa aa aaaaaaa - Goosebumps!

Shaam Dale Sona (Piya Basanti) Composer - Sandesh Shandilya

The whole Piya Basanti album is #Chitra delight, but her singing is most serene in Shaam dale

Vanna Poongavanam (Eeramaana Rojavae) Composer - Ilaiyaraaja

Sheer fun!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Sweet Little Cue - Amit Trivedi - English Vinglish

Using the main melody or fragments of phrases and riffs from the ludes of the already composed songs of the film, as background music in the scenes of the film, is one of the most commonly used scoring techniques by the composer. When you already have the melody that fits the situation, you don’t have to break your head to come up with a new theme, but instead of just copying that layer or riff of the melody from the song and pasting it exactly on the scene, there is so much that a composer, who is not lazy and who considers composing background score as important a job of a composer as composing songs for the film, can and would do. Amit Trivedi is surely one such composer.

Amit Trivedi’s score in English Vinglish is proof enough. I already posted Sashi’s Theme and its variations as a Suite here. I want to point out a short and sweet little background score cue (just 12 seconds long) in the film, which may sound almost insignificant and may not even or have to be noticed, but is a sample of Amit Trivedi’s acumen in scoring a movie scene.

Composers sometime have to fill in the scenes with music to avoid long stretches of silence, to keep a specific mood alive. Sashi in New York is still in the mood of exploring, she is happy, trying something new, going out of her comfort zone.

She joins NYLC to learn to speak English. She comes back home happy after attending her first English Class at NYLC. In this scene, the Violin phrase from the beginning of the English Vinglish Title song is played in a slower tempo, but only one half of the phrase is played in Solo violin. There is also the accompanying pizzicato playing to Sashi’s sneaky entry (Sashi wants to keep her English Class a secret). The scene doesn't stay longer in the house, it immediately cuts to the shot of New York’s Sky line under setting Sun, implying that it is already Evening, and precisely when it cuts to outdoors to show us the setting Sun, Amit picks a soothing string section to play the second half of the Violin phrase that adds subtly and yet exquisitely to the relaxed mood of the Evening.

The shift to string section here is so critical in evoking and enhancing the mood of the scene. Amit Trivedi could have easily allowed the theme to continue on Solo violin and no one would have noticed or complained, but he didn't.

Listen to the cue

Friday, July 19, 2013

Maryan Background Score

I watched Maryan yesterday. I am little disappointed, film is not bad, not bad at all, but it could have been so much more, a lot tighter and impactful. There are a couple of great moments, for sure. Dhanush’s performance is absolutely stunning. Every word Danush utters in the movie with perfect accent, expression and dynamics is music to ears. Parvathy too is very good. Main issue with second half is that African Terrorists are not at all scary; it feels like Danush can escape whenever he wants to, only issue is the strange barren land he is stuck in. So, A.R.Rahman’s percussive score in African episode for the Terrorists sounds too loud and pedestrian - even in Daily TV Serials, they use same bang loops for every reaction shot. Rahman should have gone in for a lot of Silence instead of wall to wall music in the second half. On the other side, Rahman’s score – which is omnipresent in the movie - adds an emotional heft to the romantic moments. Enga Pona Raasa is the theme song of the film; it appears in a lot of colorful variations throughout the film for the various phases of the love story, but the version on CD with abundant silence in never used in the film. I wonder why.

Some of the cues (voiceless) from Maryan

Maryan Background Score by Suresh Kumar on Grooveshark