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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mankatha Background Score

The catchy trumpet theme has the power, punch and the attitude needed to back a charismatic hero, which Ajith is in this film. Yuvan Shankar Raja plays a very tricky game with listeners with this instrumental theme. It begins with string section playing the first half of the main trumpet theme. That is expected. That is the way to hint at a theme. You can’t play the complete theme instantly in the very beginning of the piece. That is a nice strategy to keep the listeners interested in the piece. We anticipate that after playing enough with the notes of the first half of the melody, the composer would lead us to a satisfactory end with the theme playing in its entirety at least once at an unexpected point before the track ends. While I was waiting for the composer to surprise me, Yuvan totally surprised me by not playing the theme in its entirety until the end. And that worked too. The theme always ends the moment it hits its peak note. Maybe, that is to imply the infallibility of the hero, because the second half of the theme actually descends down from the high point the theme reaches in the middle. This theme is used throughout the film whenever Vinayak Mahadev (Ajith) makes a surprise entry or does something unexpected in a scene. There aren’t many variations of this theme in the film except the one with additional heavy Rock Guitar layers and it plays in a crucial scene. The other important theme in the film is the strings-heavy heist theme which is used throughout the episode in which the Heist is planned and executed. Obviously, it is inspired by scores of various Hollywood action films, but sounds quite catchy and effective in this film. A piece with prominent brass section backed just by Tabla beats is used for a comical situation in the film. It sounds quite fresh and totally in sync with the situation for which it is used. Yet again, after Saroja (the Car toppling scene) and Aaranya Kaandam, Yuvan plays a western classical piece (or is it an Original composition?) for an action scene in this film too. Our film makers or sound designers are yet to learn their lessons when it comes to mixing the score with the film. As always, it is too loud in Mankatha too. Between, Background score assisted by Karthik Raja, Bhavatharini and Premgi Amaran it seems. Whatever that means!

Some of the cues from Mankatha Background Score

1. Trisha Intro

2. Tabla for Trumpet

3. The Spy

4. Hangover

5. The Heist Theme

6. Mankatha Theme

7. Violence Symphony

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Memoirs of a Rahmaniac

A.R. Rahman completes 20 Years in Indian Film music. I wish A.R. Rahman continues to make music that I like, like he has always been. So looking forward to the next two decades of A.R. Rahman’s music!

I started writing Memoirs of a Rahmaniac to post it in here on 20th anniversary, but as I kept pouring my heart out and writing about every little thing that happened in my life in association with A.R. Rahman’s music, the whole write-up grew so huge in size that I realized that it cannot be just a blog post. What started off as a 2000-word blog post became 18000-word e-book. I don’t have to add much to Memoirs of a Rahmaniac to make it the Autobiography of an A.R. Rahman fan. This was pretty much my life from 1992 – 2012.

A.R. Rahman is no Mozart. I am no Salieri. And Memoirs of a Rahmaniac is no Amadeus. But you get the idea.

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Zip file contains e-book in all major formats: mobi (Kindle), epub (Nook, Kobo, Sony, iBooks), and PDF.


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Big Bang Symphony - A.R.Rahman

After writing this post (about A.R.Rahman’s Orchestral Concert at Hollywood Bowl), I kept thinking about the pieces that I would like to see performed when such a concert happens in India. Now here is something I put together which I would like to see performed as the opening act of the concert. I named it “Big Bang Symphony”. The transitions from one piece to another may sound rough and abrupt but I guess that is because of the difference in the audio quality of the source material. Also, there shouldn’t be any difficulty in making the transitions seamless with conjunctive phrases of music when adapting this piece for a live orchestra. The Synth layers and vocal parts could be easily transported to an equivalent instrument in the orchestra.

Big Bang Symphony

Some grand orchestral pieces from Shankar's films are strung togather in this suite, which I would like to call "A Gentleman, An Indian and a Mudhalvan - A.R.Rahman"

A Gentleman, An Indian and a Mudhalvan - A.R.Rahman

In Lagaan Suite, always only the "Once Upon a Time in India" theme is performed. This Lagaan Suite includes also the song "My heart it speaks" and its various instrumental versions, the "Waltz for Romance" and the flute piece from the opening credits of the film.

Lagaan Suite

I like the themes to appear in this order (Jwala Theme, Captain Gordon Theme, Mangal Pandey Theme, Biting the Cartridge, Rising, End Credits) in Mangal Pandey Suite.

Mangal Pandey Suite