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Friday, May 25, 2012

Background Score - 79

It has been a while since we had a background score quiz. So, here it is. Guess the film.

Jappanil Kalyana Raaman

What an amazing conversation Ilaiyaraaja writes between percussion instruments of varied genres. I could hear Mirudangam, Tabla Tarang, Xylophone, Drums, Chendai, Kanjira and there could be more. The main melody, though absolutely beautiful, is just an excuse to hold the delicious conversation between the varied percussion instruments together. Ilaiyaraaja seamlessly moves from one genre to another in a way only he can.

I was on a buying spree in flyte, and was searching for all Ilaiyaraaja theme music tracks that are available for download. And it is then I found this theme. It is from Jappanil Kalyana Raaman. I don’t remember much from this film and I don’t where this piece is used in the film.

Tere Naam Vs Sethu

I was shocked by the number of likes and positive comments in this YouTube video. All these days, I was thinking that Salman khan's Tere Naam (remake of Bala's ground breaking debut film in Tamil Sethu) was a colossal flop. I saw Tere Naam in a bus, while on a journey from Bangalore to Mysore. I felt like puking when I saw Salman khan as college student with that ridiculous hair style and lethargic performance. It was intolerable for me, and it would be for anybody who has seen Vikram’s performance in the original. But, from the YouTube, I understand the ones for whom the film was made for immensely liked the film and Salman's performance. I even saw that Tere Naam 2 was also planned, so it was popular enough to have a sequel.

The YouTube video of the Climax of the film kindled few thoughts about the score in my mind

Tere Naam - Climax. Salman walks into Bhoomika’s House. The floor of the empty hall is scattered with flowers and remnants of religious rituals that seemed to have been completed minutes before. The fresh smoke coming out of Yagna Kunda suggests the blazing fire that was put off just minutes before. Everything in sight clearly tells us that some festivities have just happened there and that it could be Bhoomika’s marriage, and this thought troubles Salman, who took so much pain to meet his lady love and prove that he is cured. There is no music played in the background in this scene, not until the suspense is revealed.

Sethu – Climax. The moment Sethu looks at the Yagna Kunda in the middle of the house, the thought is triggered in his mind and Ilaiyaraaja plays a piece on Veena that is stuck between two notes like how Sethu’s mind is stuck oscillating between two thoughts – is she or is she not married. He begins to run inside the house, passes corridors. He hits a door. In the music that plays in the moment when Sethu begins to walk even while recouping from the shock of hitting the door, every single note, every single layer of instrument seem to imply every single thought that crisscross Sethu’s mind at that point. It also intensifies the tension, suspense and gradually leads us to the final bang that hits hard to add to the shock of Sethu and us the audience. There is no music after that.

But, in Tere Naam, though there is no music for the scene that leads to the point of revelation, there is a sentimental, somber alaap played to intensify the pain and squeeze tears out of every one in the audience when Salman cries.

I was just wondering, what would I have thought and written, if the reverse was the case. That if there was background music in Tere Naam and no background music in Sethu for that long tracking shot that precedes the shocking revelation. I am sure I would have said, “See how Ilaiyaraaja brilliantly uses Silence and intensifies the tension in the scene, whereas in the Hindi version, they have spoiled the mood by playing loud music”. Wouldn’t I? What would you have thought?

Speaking of Sethu, here is another amazing Ilaiyaraaja moment from the film

Half a Million Hits! Thank You!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Watched this scene after a long time, I have forgotten how beautiful the background score in this scene is.

Jessie (Trisha) and Karthik (Simbu) accidentally meet, three years after the break-up. Karthik assumes that Jessie is married. Jessie thinks that Karthik might have moved on in his life. They slowly begin to have a conversation about their lives they lived for three years without each other. There is no background music when Jessie inquires about Karthik’s life. Karthik does not speak much. He is hesitant to speak. There is a strange uneasiness in the aura, which is underlined by the Rahman’s restless twangs of guitar.

Karthik begins to describe the other girl in his life. Precisely when Karthik says, “Padam paakka avalukku pidikkadhu (She does not like watching movies)”, Rahman begins to play the Hosanna melody. Jessie realizes that Karthik is talking about her. There is no other girl in Karthik’s life after Jessie. When Jessie says that she is not married yet, there is no music in the background score. Rahman lets the surprise sink in, and when it does, Megha’s voice hums Hosanna melody without any instrumental accompaniments, and it serves as a healer to the pains that Karthik had to suffer all these years without Jessie.

Karthik is relieved, but before he gets angry first, because all that he had to go through in last three years was unnecessary, they could have lived happily together. He asks Jessie to marry him immediately. For the ecstatic twist in the tale, Rahman plays relieving Guitar strains in the beginning. Open high-hat cymbals join the cue triggering an instant change-over in the mood. The exuberant melodies on Guitar and Piano join in one after the other and at the end the heavenly strings play an enchanting melody to enhance the romantic aura. It does not get any better Rahmantic than this.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vazhakku En 18/9 Theme

Balaji Sakthivel's Vazhakku En 18/9 is a Must Watch. Prasanna's background score is neat. For the first time, I saw "Music and Background Score with Live Instruments" in the opening credits of a film.

Vazhakku En 18/9 Main Theme