Sunday, 12 August 2012

Anatomy of Telugu movie songs

Telugu. It's a language. Language of one of the southern states in India. One of the different and, distinct features of an Indian movie is that they have songs - songs in which the Hero and Heroine, mostly, dance to the tune. The songs (and dance) try to portray to the audience the things which dialogues cannot say. Instead of an OST, we have songs from a movie and they capture the entire essence of the movie, or are supposed to. They form a chief part of the movie industry in India - both north and south.

While the article I am writing about chiefly concerns itself with Telugu movie songs, one can, in general, use it  for the Hindi and Tamil songs as well - though there are a few distinctions of their own.

The average Telugu movie is made up of at least 5 songs and usually 6. The Indian movie being a lengthy affair, there is an intermission/recess so that the audience can attend to their Calls of the Nature or to filling up their stomach. Thus, these songs are spread in a 50-50 way either way between recess. So, you have 3 songs before the intermission and 3 after.

As most stories deal with the broad aspects of Love and Romance, and ofcourse leading up to marriage, the usual song pattern goes like this:
1. Intro song - This song is meant to introduce the protagonist, the Hero, to the audience and briefly explain why he is the Most Generous, Most Talented, Most Handsome, The Only Real Man (whatever the definition of "Real" in this phrase is) while also touching upon his Wisdom, Courage, a little of the Road side Romeo and Naughtiness. You will sometimes have the hero tell you how to lead a life, what the qualities of a happy guy are, how not to worry about the sad things in life, what Life is, how an 18 year guy should be (even whilst portrayed by a 35+ man).
You may sometimes have an introduction song to a heroine and this will obviously portray that she's a fun loving, good daughter, good sister, good friend, a Friend of the Lonely, a Friend of the Poor, a Friend of the Underprivileged - basically a kind hearted angel who's just come down to visit this grief-stricken Earth.
Noticeably, this song is an utterwaste of one's time and a director's resources - as almost all the Heroes in the Telugu movies have same personal traits - encompassing all these.

2. Just saw the Heroine song - This song tells us how the valiant Hero fell for the Woman of his Life. The Hero will speak about the basic feelings of Love - of floating in the clouds, of telling the audience that he's head over heels for her. In the end, you should be convinced that he's fallen in Love and you simply can't miss the point as it's presented to you in many - and - different ways in New Zealand, Australia, US, UK and the Europe. Sometimes, they'll be shot in India too.
A variation of this song might also show you how the Hero and the Heroine quarrel with each other. To tell you that they can't stand each other - in which case they'll realise that they love each other after a couple of more songs, or maybe one.
The People of the World complaining that the Quality in Standards have come down are probably complaining so after they've watched these songs - as even the lyrics have become so bad that they are centered around the Heroine's name. If her name is Madhu, the song concerns itself with all the words rhyming with Madhu. If she's Sunitha, then you have different set of words to rhyme. A complete and utter lack of imagination combined with a total loss of purpose.

3. Duet - Hero and heroine are in Love and they tell the whole world about it. By the end of the song, one is convinced that they'll never part and have been chosen by the Hand of Fate itself for their journey together.

INTERMISSION - mostly a recess here. Few films have four songs in the first half of the movie.

4. Varied - Ah, finally ! In this part, you have a suspense. You'll never know if there's another Duet coming up, possibly because the Hero and the Heroine feel that they have yet to clarify those doubting minds that they are still in love and that the Hand of Fate has really chosen them for their happily-ever-after life.
You'll never know if there's an Item song - a song which is added to cater to the Masses - a raw version, a closer-to-animal take of Love and usually confused with Sex part of it. The Item actress in this song will be portrayed as one hailing from a small village, having all the characteristics of a promiscuous female. She's the Object of Obsession of all the men and she's simply bowled over by the Hero. Obviously, this means to reaffirm the fact that he's the only Real Man in the vast state of Andhra Pradesh. How this means what it means and why it is supposed to prove that the Hero, despite his lust for her, is supreme in every sense of the word is beyond my understanding. You'll be better off entering the Telugu movie with your analytical part of the brain switched off. Don't worry, after watching a few movies, it'll auto-shutdown (yes, I am a software engineer, you can tell it by this word(s)).
You'll never know if it is going to be heart-break song - the one where either the Hero is ditched by the Heroine, owing mostly to some a-good-daughter-sacrifices-love sort of misplaced notion or because she loves him too much to see him possibly be hurt by the villain, or her father, in the near future. This song speaks about the terrible things that Love brings with it and of how the audience must empathize, sympathize or whatever with the Hero and the Heroine.
The Hero and the Heroine are spotlessly clean in their character, nevermind the Hero's dance with the Lusty lady of the Item song.

5. Varied - Suspense again !! But don't worry. The three "You'll never know" songs that I've described above will vary in sequence or only a couple of them might be picked for the movie. You never know which is going to be the first - either the Heartbreak or the Item song. This is not the place for a Duet at all. So if you have one Item song earlier, you are, most definitely, in for a heart break song.

6. Duet - Mostly the final song of the movie, this song is again a duet. It stands to reaffirm their earlier faith that the Hand of Fate had really chosen them to be together, and despite the bad guys and problems, they'll assure the audience that their love for each other is intact and that the Roses will bloom again.

This brings us to the end of the movie.

While there are a few variants to this sequence, and even fewer exceptions, you will most certainly experience them in the same order. A few movies that come with a fresh of breeze, have a different take on the songs and are, quite welcome to me. As for the rest of the audience, I cannot speak and will not.

God save the Telugu Cinema.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Dark Knight Rises escape music - Bane chant

It's amazing how music can inspire you and drive you. I've been trying to get my hands on the chant and music that were the background score when Bale tries to get out of the pit in The Dark Knight Rises. It sounds like "Deshi Deshi Basara Basara" and lots of people are explaining what it means. I haven't explored that part yet but this whole chant with the music makes it a real hair-raising thrill. A complete inspiration. Especially the way the music stops for a little more than second when Bale takes the jump without the rope and then makes it. That music starting again - that is the Rise of the Dark Knight.

Amazing what music can do, isn't it ? Look at this video that someone has rightly put up. This music makes anything look epic - even a cat video. Take a look at this:

Hats off to Hans Zimmer. I loved the way "The Dark Knight" ends with the music really getting me high and this one now makes it a tough choice between the two. Well, for one, both these are associated with different emotions for me, so it's not a choice between them, but rather that both stand out in their own, shall I say, genre.