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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Listening Jodhaa Akbar

The chemistry between Ashutosh Gowariker and A.R.Rahman is really surprising, because the background score written by A.R.Rahman for ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ is just as good as the movie. As Ashutosh starts the movie with disclaimers about Jodhaa and history, he takes help from Rahman, who hits a bang when those important disclaimer slides start to roll, to gain the audience attention. This bang and this yearning for audience attention can be felt in the notes and strokes that Rahman has used throughout the movie and that is its biggest problem. At many places, Rahman’s background score is overpowering than underscoring. And to my surprise, there are few moments in the movie where Rahman even hits some of his worst notes ever. Rahman has written score to match Ashutosh’s vision and to match the impact that Ashutosh intends to make with his visuals. But as there is a huge disconnect between what Ashutosh intended to convey through his visuals and what the visuals actually convey, Rahman seems to have caught on the wrong thread.

For example, that bang motif which Rahman uses for terror, shock, surprise and anger doesn’t fit in all the moments rightly. This bang, fits well when the now grown up Jalal finally holds the hands of Bairam Khan to stop him from killing the defeated king. It indeed is a big shock to Bairam khan and the high decibel horn and percussion conveys it loudly yet perfectly, but the same bang when used for Jalal’s shock/anger or whatever the reaction you may call that the shot of Jalal intends to convey, after he comes to know that Jodhaa wants to meet him in private to talk about her two condition, it sounds totally out of place and damn hilarious too. And the high decibel orchestra that accompanies as Jalal walks from his tent to Jodhaa’s tent is also too loud and unnecessary.

The war, battles, sword fight scenes all have a very percussive score (which has a huge ‘Warriors of Heaven and earth’ hang over) those that just follow the basic formula of background scoring without anything new or notably great. The closer shots of the battle scenes looking like that of those war scenes in B.R.Chopra serials, Rahman’s score in these scenes sound odd and are a huge waste.

The score also turns bad when Rahman moves away from the sound of the period, place and the culture in which the drama is set in. His usages of Chinese rhythms, western choirs are too distracting and affect the authenticity of the visual material. The best example for this is the fragmented choir piece used (Rahman’s favorite style of scoring for conveying grandeur) when Jodhaa enters the Mughal Fort for the first time. The shots used to show grand structures and well built exteriors of Akbar’s fort, don’t convey any visual grandeur to my eyes (production designer Nitin seems to have concentrated more on the authenticity of the interiors than the exteriors which stands tall like freshly and finely cut and connected cardboard pieces) and added to that when this loud fragmented western choir joins, it looks and sounds out of synch.

The final fight between Shariffudin and Akbar uses the same percussion rhythm and strings as that in one of the initial War sequence where camera reveals the grown-up Akbar’s face for the first time. It sounded okay in that scene but when the same is used in this one-one fight, I couldn’t decipher the link, because the action and the music don’t go with each other.

Rahman’s score is thoughtful, beautiful, apt and effective only when it sticks to the roots and emotions. The simple and elegant Mughal theme on Arabic strings (heard in the very first scene when Amitabh starts his history lesson), the beautiful raag based melody sung by female chorus as Rajputana theme when Amitabh’s lesson shifts to Rajputs and Jodhaa (used again when Akbar comes out of Jodhaa’s tent and tells everyone that he accepts her conditions and for the marriage, and a more scintillating and grand version appears when Akbar comes to Aamer to call Jodhaa back) the playful and expressive string melody, deep cellos and flute pieces come together to underscore the love blossoming in those cute private moments between Akbar and Jodhaa, the sitar version of ‘Nagmein hi nagmein hai jagti soti fizaon mein’ are all exquisite pieces that sprinkles Rahman’s genius amidst other underwhelming pieces that dominates.

Listening Lagaan

Monday, February 25, 2008

Background Score - 22

This is one of the awful BGM's I have heard in recent times. Guess the movie.

Answer for Background Score - 21

This piece is Baatsha Title Score. Composed by Deva. Krishna once in a while sends some interesting BGM pieces to me for guessing and this is one of those. Thanks to Krishna. Though I guessed that it is from a Rajini movie and it is composed by Deva, I got stuck and I couldn't get the movie right. For me the big clue in this piece is that pleasant Veena piece which is used in all family sentiment scenes in the movie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Answer for Background Score - 20

This piece is the title score of Omkara and composer is Vishal Bharadwaj. A brilliant blend of malicious Langda theme and romantic Oh Saathi re melody with a dusty motif on strings pulling the melody from behind, the soothing chorus and strings creating an epic aura, seducing percussions and moody woodwinds put together sets the mood right at the start of the movie.

P.S: A special collector’s edition CD was released with around 30 minutes of themes from Vishal Bharadwaj’s brilliant background score of the movie.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moods of Illayaraja - Answers

Good amount of Participation. Though none of them have got all right, everyone made a very good attempt. If someone had posted this to me, even i wouldn't have answered all right. Anyway, the quiz champions are Navin(16), Saraks (15) and Zero(15).

Virumandi Title Score
Guna – Crying for Mother
Mouna Raagam – Karthik Chasing scene
Pithamagan – Sithan Crying
Singara Velan - Prelude to sad version of ‘Puthucheri Katcheri’ song
Aboorva Sahotharargal – Theme
Sethu – Love theme
Pithamagan – Main theme
Uthiripookal – Azhaghiya Kannae Instrumental
Jhonny – Love theme
Chinna Gounder
Azhaigal Oivathillai – Love theme
Madhu – Title Score (Kaetkavillayaa instrumental)
Netrikann – Rajini Theme
Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai – Climax (Mini Bringing juice)
Cheeni Kum
Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai – Climax (Parent’s acceptance)
Sathileelavathi – End Credits

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Moods of Illayaraja

On 100th day since the first post of this blog, I present you a musical collage. And ofcourse, guess the movies (there are 18 pieces).


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Answer for Background Score - 19

This piece is from Chandramukhi. Score is by Vidhyasagar. Overall a decent background score with live orchestral pieces used throughout. This piece is used in the title sequence when Rajini reads some books in a library to know about the legend of palace. In the OST released with background score pieces from Chandramukhi, you can find the track name of this piece as 'The hidden Legend'.