Thursday August 14, 2014

The Hundred-Foot Journey (Music review) – A R Rahman

Posted by Karthik

Ghatam and strings… and then a single violin peeks in to give the ghatam some South Indian company in Hassan Learns French Cooking. It all ends in a mellow flute note, distinctly Indira-style and the tune playing something akin to ‘kodutha sandhangalil… en manadhai… nee ariya’ from MS Viswanathan’s ‘Sippi Irukkuthu’ song from Varumayin Niram Sirappu! The Village of Saint Antonin occasionally refers to delectable Charukesi before traversing a decidedly more Western tone. New Beginnings and Mr.Kadam play different melodies one after the another and seem disjoint. Vintage Recipe‘s short, engaging sitar-led melody morphs into a pleasant strings piece!

The Clash sounds like Rahman took the clash a bit too literally as a predictable Indo-European musical clash, where Indo is sitar. Destiny, Fire, War is a great companion piece to Rangeela’s Hai Rama and a seamless amalgamation of styles that works well, before it veers into a 3rd act that, again, seems too melodramatic and pandering to conventional desi-style sound. The Gift‘s central melody is beautiful, and You Complete Me‘s poignant and endearing melody brings to mind the flavor of Kandukonden Kandukonden’s title song. The End Credits Suite recalls Indira’s Thoda Thoda almost instantly and is perhaps the soundtrack’s best.

India Calling and Reunion breeze through with limited appeal, while A La Hassan de Paris is the soundtrack’s most progressive, and very groovy, very Fanah! My Mind is a Stranger Without You (Toi C’est Soleil) is a gentle melody handled fantastically as a duet featuring Argentinean-Armenian singer Solange Merdinian and Rahman! The song echoes in Alone In Paris too, as a track that could have jumped out of Rahman’s score for Deepa Mehta’s Water! Afreen is rousing, no doubt, but the tune sounds at best like a rehash of Rang De Basanti’s title song. It is hard to shrug off the disappointment in an imaginative composer like Rahman harping on the terribly dated sitar-led Indian’ness. But, when he lets go of that, the soundtrack does get interesting.

PS #1: No, this is not a 300-worder (it has more than 300 words by the way!). This is, in my view, a 100 worder. I did want to capture my thoughts on all the tracks (as many that enthused me).

PS #2: I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to rush to see it either. So, I have no idea how the soundtrack is ‘used in context of the film.

Keywords: The Hundred-Foot Journey, A R Rahman, Not a 300, 100.



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