Monday March 18, 2013

To the makers of Samhita, the Marathi film – who did you make this film for?

Posted by Karthik

Composer Shailendra Barve was mentioned on Milliblog only twice, so far. First, for his song, ‘Mera jahaan’, from Taare Zameen Par (yes, he composed one song from the film – I’m assuming this is Amole Gupte’s remnant before he exited the film unceremoniously – or, was shown the door by Aamir Khan, again, unceremoniously). And then, for the 2 songs – ‘Cham cham’ and ‘Pia saanvara’ from Striker. I was never fond of the former (though I loved the song’s picturization), but the songs from Striker were wonderful!

So, when news trickled in today that he has won a National Award for best music – for the Marathi film Samhita – I was really curious to listen to the music. The note from the jury (page 7 in this PDF) says,

Versatile and soulful presentation of songs based on Raagas, backed by Indian instrumentation arranged in a manner that enhances the film.

Fine, sounds good. Where is the music? No! It looks like it is not meant for commoners like you and me – it is meant only for the National Awards jury and their ears alone. Yes, from what I gather, the music of Samhita was never released – yet – either as audio CDs or as mp3s, online. This is preposterous, to say the least. Not only is the music elusive to the end audience, it is also selectively shared with the jury – a privilege – and we (who never had an opportunity to listen to the music) are told that it has won the award.

Sorry, the makers can’t claim that no audio label was willing to release the music – there are avenues to release the music online these days; so that’s not an excuse at all. I’d perhaps pin it down to sheer apathy – the award is probably more important for the makers than making it available to us, the common folks on the road who are willing to pay money to buy the music.

Samhita’s Facebook page, on November 2, 2012, says this:

But of course, there’s no follow-up.

Today, the same page proclaims,

Like how we are still waiting for the movie, we await the music as well. This, even as the makers have passed on both, in complete secrecy befitting a spy thriller, to the awards jury. Ugh!

Just like the rule for movies – “The film should have been certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) between 1st January 2012 and 31st December 2012” (Page 4 in this PDF) – there should be a rule for the music release too. Otherwise, I find this a highly pretentious and selective affair. And massively unfair to audiences… on whom such film makers are usually dependent.



  • Amicuzzz

    Thanks for this very appropriate post Karthik…and appropriately worded for a true music lover!! A valid concern has been raised irrespective of answers which may or may not be provided. I had a similar reaction (well, not the first time for a National Award for music declaration) which was a mix of astoundment and unawareness) coz music lovers are unfortunately left in a uncalled-for position to pass a judgement on the ‘deservability’ of the award especially since this was a year when many regional scores (some best sellers too) made significant impact to the listeners by large. Hoping we get our answers soon and this sorry-situation never repeats. ;(

    • milliblog

      To be honest, I’m less angry now 🙂 I guess it is possibly complete lack of awareness from the makers on how to release the audio, if it has not bee picked up by a label. Which is possible because Marathi music scene has been small and is in doldrums for a long time. The CD route is outdated – best is they pick an online service like Flipkart’s Flyte or Oklisten and release the music at least online. Hope they do, at least now.

  • I wonder why they announced the award in this case… They could have released the news about the award to only the selected few… Also how can such films compete on par with mainstream movies which release their music via regular channels… Does not appear to be a fair comparison.

  • sriram iyer

    As a former enthusiastic follower of both your blogs, I am so happy that you continue writing and reviewing. I guess it’s time for me to get back to being a regular.

  • varmak

    This is a good joke by National Award Jury !!!! What a bunch of %&*%

  • Akashay Parab

    kathik here is the promo of that film… has few glimpses of the music..

    It’s produced by Mukta Arts…so i hope they will release the movie & music soon…by looking at movie’s promo i feel music is an essential part of the story….so don’t want to comment about judgement of jury without watching the movie & how can you say that marathi music industry is in doldrums…either you don’t have enough knowledge about Marathi music or you only listen to selective stuff cause never read your reviews about marathi movies except BP(that must be cause of Vishal-Shekhar)…

    • milliblog

      The ‘doldrums’ part is a comment on the state of the industry – not quality of music. The former is an open information – only a few regional music industries do well in India… Hindi, Tamil, Telugu top this list, followed by Malayalam, Bengali, Punjabi and Kannada, from whatever little I know.

      As for quality of music, I’m not equipped to either review them or comment on them – I can’t go deep into local influences to review them fairly.

  • dmachop

    Karthik, seems you’ve got it wrong this time. There has been several instances of movies being screened after the awards recognition. Look at the positive side, that the advertisements of a national award winner of the year (eg. Santosh Sivan’s NAVARASA 2005 in tamil). The same happens with the foreign film industry too but with film festival selections.

    • milliblog

      I’m aware of such instances where so-called ‘award’ films get theatrical interest (that too limited) after it gets an award. Till then, nobody would have been interested in distributing the film.

      That was not my point – commercial release of a film is very different from commercial release of its music. Release requires offline theater support, at least for now, in India. Pure digital release is not possible of feasible at least as yet.

      But digital release of soundtrack is very, very possible and many films do that too. It’s one thing to think yours is a small film and not bother with any other audience besides a jury of national awards and completely another to feel proud of your film’s music and release it at least digitally – there are enough platforms for that. Films like FALTU have done pur digital release, for a fee, on their own website.

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