Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Moody Slums & Gotham : The Music of Rahman and Hans Zimmer

Viplav, a very young and talented friend visited me last week and we had long discussions on films, and that's when this debate started on what he calls - 'A.R.Rahman Vs. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard'. I strongly felt Hans(with Howard)'s score for The Dark Knight is a better contender for any Award this year than the fabulous score created by Rahman for Slumdog.

I have been listening to all the tracks of both the films for a longtime (TDK's score for more than 5-6 months and Slumdog's OST for more than a month by now).

Slumdog's OST is something I really find truly amazing, one of the bestest A.R.Rahman Album in a longtime. Instrumental Themes - esp. Riots, Latika's Theme, Paper Planes, Liquid Dance (which reminds me of the Spirit of Rangeela in a way) are really good. I am yet to see the film so there are chances I will start liking the tracks even more after I have seen them in the film.

Dark Knight OST is something which I have been playing in rotation for past 6 months (almost) and I am hooked to it. I don't forget to play it whenever I am reading something (currently Angels and Demons, a co-incidence- Hans is also composing the background score for the movie based on the novel) and the moody tracks gel with anything se well, that it feels like a universal background score which can set up the mood for almost anything.

Currently as I said it's The Dan Brown Novel and with TDK tracks, the story plays smoothly like a film in my imagination with words and music flowing together in harmony and create some amazing visuals in this otherwise idle mind of mine. I listen to the tracks otherwise too and find them truly compelling, it was a great learning experience going through the documentary - The Sound of Anarchy which shows Hans working on the OST of TDK, which makes one understand what does it take to create a music which can set the mood and make the visuals even more compelling.

We had a long debate on Sunday whether Rehman should win this years Golden Globe or not. Monday morning I was shocked to see a delighted Viplav up early in the morning (which was a rare sight) -


"Woww..." I said and felt proud being an Indian, but somewhere deep inside I felt bad for The Dark Knight Team. What a score, but its ok as long as Ghar Ka Ladka Rahman wins.

Viplav's Facebook status reads - 'It's A.R.Rahman Vs. Hans Zimmer' for past one week.

Well my opinion differs here again...there is no 'Versus' here. Both the maestroes are so humble that it looks like they aren't even bothered about it.

I was going thru a recent Rahman interview where he tells about his meeting with this big composer from Hollywood - Hans Zimmer and I find another news where Zimmer says Rahman's tracks are really beautiful. I feel both of them share something more than music and awards, both are too talented and humble.
Personally speaking, I am a bigger fan of Hans's music and its well justified looking at the range of his music - from Epic Films like Gladiator, King Arthur, to fantasy classics like- The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Pirates Of The Carribean trilogy, The Last Samurai and animated classics like - Lion King, Prince Of Egypt, Madagascar 1 & 2, The Simpson's Movie and Kung Fu Panda et al. (his scores for Thelma and Louise and The Da Vinci Code are my personal fav. too).

IMHO I find Mr.Zimmer's music unparalleled and truly fascinating so it came as a surprize to me when Viplav forwarded me the link with the news - Academy decides Dark Knight Score not eligible for Oscars, and I was like - "WHATT??Are You Serious??"

The news reads - The Academy committee has decided that the score for The Dark Knight will not be eligible for an Oscar. The committee plans to tell composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton that their score for the movie will be disqualified because too many other people were also listed as composers (three other composers are also credited). The Academy only allows scores where over 70% can be credited to the main two principles. The Academy was given a signed letter by everyone involved with the score that Zimmer and Newton were responsible for over 70% of the score, but the Academy decided not to allow it anyway.

This isn't the first time Hans & Howards are disqualified by the Academy. It happened to them in 2005 also, when they were disqualified on the same grounds for their previous collaboration on Batman Begins.

By the time I wrote these lines thankfully The Academy reversed itself on The Dark Knight Score - here is the News -

After banning The Dark Knight’s musical score from the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture’s music branch committee reversed its ruling today, now making the film eligible to win an Oscar for best original score. It was originally said that the cue sheets had five composers, but after reviewing the paperwork they were informed that only two composers, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, were being credited for the work.

The Academy stated that the nomination ballots have not been mailed out to its members yet, so the addition of The Dark Knight will not have an affect on the voting.

The Indian in me will celebrate if Rahman wins and the Fanboy in me will rejoice if Hans & team wins. All I can say now is (lines from a Rahman song) - Sach Aur Saahas Hai Jiske Mann Mein Ant Mein Jeet Usi Ki Rahey.


Sinner said...

The Indian in me roots for AR Rahman anytime... so I really wud want him to win :)

Unknown said...

I havent heard the track of TDK so cant comment...But ofcourse INdian in me surely wants only Rehman to win... :))

abhishek said...

I have heard to both the OST's. I feel this is not rehman's best compositions...his work in lagaan and RDB are like way up higher.

Nidz said...

u gt patience to write so much.. OMG..

swati said...

being an indian i luvd rehman winning the this was his best composition yes he had a tough a healthy one..

santasizing...Fantasizing said...

ohh well...i have heard the tracks of TDK..and they really are awesome..moreso coz they completely blend with the theme of the movie...
but believe me..if u watch slumdog millionaire...u wuoldnt regret Rehman winning the award..his music is what makes the movie sheer captures the mood beautifully..
and ofcourse the Indian in me..will vote for Rehman anyday with his brilliance:)

Unknown said...

A.R. Rehman is one of my favs (i guess everyone's) and i'm happy for him! btw, i didn't know the rest of the story! thanks for info. :)

and thanks for liking my stories. :)

Gauri Mathur said...

Me too a big Fan of AR Rehman:)
i really wish he wins:):)

Rafiq Raja said...

Nice review Alok.

Whether he wins Oscar or not, Rahman has already put Indian Music on the International Mark. All credits to him.... He deserved it long before, only got it a this time around.

Eager to watch Slumdog Millionaire on theatres in India.... I would write a review on that once I am done with it.

Rafiq Raja

Vidooshak said...

never paid so much attention to bkdg scores, so this post was all bouncer for me.

on the indian side, i would say Salim-Sulaiman and Ranjit Barot are rather under-appreciated, don't you think? they have given some great bkgd scores too. but the glory always goes to the jhankar beats chap making the songs!

Vidooshak said...

i haven't seen SM nor heard the music, but reading some of the comments above I realized that yes, i did end up paying over 1500 bucks to see RDB in theatre 3 times-- only because of the mesmerizing background score. i loved the emotions it generated, something that wasn't replicated while watching RDB on TV.

For people who say this ain't his best score, maybe they are right, but remember that with Rehman you must allow the music to grow on you. It always sounds banal on first hearing and becomes more and more special as you keep listening...

(it is the exact opposite with Himesh bhai. hahaha)

Anonymous said...

It's win-win for you then :-)

I agree it's not Rehman's best score, but I have to root for him just because his body of work is so awesome.

Toonfactory said...

@ Harshita / Paaro/ Swati/ Dubu/ Gauri/ Rafiq - I am a big Rahman Fan myself and as Memsaab put it aptly - Whoever wins I am gonna celebrate.

@ Abhishek - I felt Rehman did fabulous job in Lagaan & Swades. RDB was good too...

@ Nidhi - Passion ho to patience bhi aa hi jaata hai dheere dheere ;)

@ Santasizing - I am yet to see SM...but m loving the tracks.

@ Vidooshak - In Indian scenario I always loved Kalyan ji - Anand ji & RD Burman's BG Scores. Whenever you get to see Don(1978)next, listen carefully K ji-A ji have composed a separate theme for all the characters. Ranjit Barot & salim Sulaiman are really superb. Loved Barot's Mere watan theme in Fizaa...wonderful voice rendition by Zubeen 'Ya Ali' Garg...

@ Memsaab - Haha...yep whoeveer wins, I am gonna be happy...BTW Rahman is yet to get nominated for Oscars

Anonymous said...

I too think The Dark Knight outshines Rahmans work in Slumdog millionaire, by miles. But the Oscars base their evaluation on many factors, often from a more technical viewpoint. For sure Rahman will win. He will win because its very seldom this kind of potpourri of sounds is added into a film that happens to be nominated, which makes it unique and stand completely apart from the rest. The Zimmer's score is fantastic, grand, and majestic - but hey, scores like this has been features a hundred times in Hollywood movies. Therefore, Rahman will be judged as unique, "fresh", perfect for the picture, flowing with the frames and so on. Guaranteed that Jai Ho, at least, will win an award.
Personally I felt Christopher Nolan deserved an Oscar for his directing job in The Dark Knight, which really was an awesome movie; perfectly timed, great entertainment, dramatic, great music and so on. But, as I mentioned before, the unique films in the Academy's selections are what usually wins because they stand apart from the norm.

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