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Background scores A point!

Background scores A point!
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Any mention of Sholay sets off a flurry of activity in my mind. There’s almost a flood of memories- Gabbar’s chilling Kitne Aadmi Thhe, Jai-Veeru’s bromantic dosti, Thakur’s spiked shoes, Dhanno galloping away to save Basanti’s izzat, Mausi, soo-side, angrezon ke zamaane ke Hitler…the list is endless! Yet, it is the haunting title track, which only appears when the opening credits roll, that sets the tone for the cinematic brilliance that follows. The track is based on 11 instruments and blends the French horn-guitar-drums-whistle beautifully with Indian folk. For a music piece which has no lyrics, it packs in every sort of emotion possible. The genius that he was, RD Burman said everything about the film without as much as a single word. I believe that a lot of good films could’ve been great if the scores were better. For how long are we going to borrow from free stock music? But, there is hope yet. I saw a film last week- Children of War. Had it not been for the terrific Hans Zimmer-inspired background score, the brutal and tough scenes wouldn’t have created the emotional connect they did. 

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Hollywood film scores. Next time you watch any of these films, do pay closer attention to the music.

Inception- Hans Zimmer (2010): A champion of the classical-meets-contemporary school of music is Hans Zimmer, the composer behind hits like The Lion King, Gladiator, The Dark Knight trilogy, and Inception. Inception has everything a true Zimmer fan requires: wonderful themes, perfectly aligned electronic sounds and a soundscape that blows your mind and, to top it all, he even includes the emotional buildups that were hugely successful on The Dark Knight.

Psycho?-Bernard Herrmann ?(1959): Psycho remains Herrmann’s most cutting-edge work, establishing an iconic shrieking strings motif that has become internationally recognizable as the quintessential sound of terror.Hitchcock, who had originally planned to play the shower sequence without accompaniment, later admitted that ‘33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music’, and doubled the composer’s salary as a reward.

Gone With The Wind- Max Steiner ?(1939): Max Steiner’s lush score for this Civil War romance hardly stops for breath and is heavily reliant on individual character themes or leitmotifs: what could be more lump-in-the-throat American than the binding Tara’s Theme, or more arrogant than Rhett Butler’s march?

The Social Network- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (2010): The dark ambient soundtrack drives the film’s headlong momentum. It seamlessly corresponds with the tenor- laidback at times, urgent and furious on other. From drones to synth-rock to gentle ivory tickles and even an off-the wall rendition of In the Hall of the Mountain King, the musical duo’s electronic opus, unlike the career path of Mark Zuckerberg, is practically unblemished!

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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