Imagine a movie without sound. The era of silent movies has long gone by. Nowadays one cannot think about a film without sound. Hence music, too, as an extension, becomes an integral part of this sound and therefore the film.
Music can enhance or ruin a film. At times, it can be the only redeeming factor in a film. The music can, sometimes, add to the overall effect of the scene. The Shower Murder Scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho wouldn’t be so horrifying if it weren’t for Bernard Herrmann’s screeching violins. More recently, Inception always reminds you of the Edith Piaf song ‘Non Je Ne Regrette Rien' or the Horn (also called the Inceptionator) which has now become synonymous with film trailers worldwide. Harry Potter wouldn’t have been the wizard-boy next door if it hadn’t been for his trademark theme. Pulp Fiction always brings back memories of its opening credits played to Dick Dale’s Misirlou.
Music is the spine to a successful, enjoyable and, sometimes, iconic film. At the same time, one should also give a thought to the element of dance in movies.
From John Travolta’s classic disco moves in Grease and Saturday Night Fever to the Twist with Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction (Tarantino is a genius when it comes to these things!); Joseph Gordon-Levitt dancing to Hall & Oates’ You Make My Dreams in the middle of the street a la Bollywood style in (500) Days Of Summer as an expression of unbridled joy and unparalleled happiness (also earning the song the “I Just Got Laid” tag while inspiring men to propose to their love in the same manner).
Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet doing the polka dance in Titanic was one of the happiest moments in the film. Aronofsky having Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis prance to the gracious ballet in Black Swan depicts how dance became not just the subject but also a character in the film.
For ages, musicals have enchanted audiences worldwide. From the classics: The Sound Of Music, My Fair Lady to modern hits like Chicago, Dreamgirls and even the penguin-tapping Happy Feet, people sing and dance to these tunes till date.
Most of the Indian film industry thrives on this formula of music + dance + film. Be it Salman Khan romancing Madhuri Dixit in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun or Hrithik Roshan clubbing away in his debut Kaho Naa Pyar Hain; it can be Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Priety Zinta in the disco or at a Punjabi wedding in Kal Ho Naa Ho or even Amitabh Bacchan celebrating Holi to Rang Barse in Silsila; these song-dance routines are iconic. Music and dance have been a huge part of Indian culture and it has been justifiably adapted into the Indian film scene.
This blog will talk about exactly these things. The uninhibited flow called Dance, the sweet aural essence called Music and the marriage of visuals and sound into a culmination called Film by three people who are passionate about each. Welcome to Rhythmoveejhatkas.
Written by Runcil Rebello.
A French composer Claude Debussy once said, “Music is the silence between the notes.”
Who listens to music and what kind of music do we listen to? Do we really perform a background check on the artist whose “one song we like listening to?” What strikes the balance? Is it the lyrics or the euphony? On a bright blue morning when Dean Martin sang “It’s A Marshmallow World” or when the Poets of the fall penned down – “Carnival Of Rust”? Did we know why Pink Floyd wrote “Wish You Were Here”? I always thought it was a call for one’s beloved which isn’t actually so.
Music therefore has not always been about the sound of celebration; U2 performed “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” which was the band’s most overtly political song till now. There has been a good old history about the coming together of their band and their so-called prose. It is not just poetry. It was a formation of the ‘Salvation Army’ – whose single one dimensional goal was to sensitise and influence mellifluously. It seemed that music became the force with which a whole new clan of rebels, metamorphosed through the elements of sound and lyrics.
The late 80’s and 90’s saw a decade of revolutionary changes in the music circuit. The MTV generation was born in this era of our musical journey. MTV was called “illustrated radio” and the audios were soon converted into compact discs. Music became more diverse, with disco, new wave, heavy metal, rap, techno pop, grunge, punk rock and the “new” country sounds.
But the 21st century seems to have started a whole new tide. If there exists the bling, apathy and head-bopping rhythm-enticed music of hip-hop and rap, there is also the mellowed down lyrics, multi-instrumental rock which focuses more on the interpersonal relations and the human feeling. Say it isn’t so!
Rap and hip-hop is gaining ground by each day; Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West still remain the champions of the cause. Yet pop too is witnessing a revival of sorts; Lady GaGa, Ke$ha, Rihanna & Taylor Swift (although belonging to separate genres of R&B and Country) are bringing pop back to the masses. Indie Rock, too, is soon catching up. The list is endless with artists like The Arcade Fire, Guster, Vampire Weekend, The National, Cage The Elephant, Villagers and Modest Mouse.
Then there is the blend of various genres coming together to produce sounds never heard of before. Elton John sings with Eminem, Paul McCartney sings with Linkin Park, Chris Martin of Coldplay sings with Kanye West, Arcade Fire adopts the Blondie approach by utilising disco in their songs. But more about this in the next post by me.
Till then, you can please your ears and minds by checking out the songs mentioned here, and we’ll make sure that you’re listening to them.
A beautiful song with a melange of instruments used and a blurry of exotic voices. Copyrights not owned by us. Just letting people know good music.
William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)
A live version of a really beautifully-written and performed song. I do not own the copyrights of this song. Just sharing it for the love of it.
The audience’s screams reached a crescendo, the last shafts of sunlight faded, it was night…
and it was about to begin.
Springing from the belly of the stage, “toasted”, he came. The crescendo reached new heights…
He took his aviators off, and thus, started the greatest performance, by the greatest entertainer……
of all time.
Well, calling Michael Jackson the greatest entertainer of all time is a passe. We know it; the world knows it. But it takes a wholly different perspective to give in to the awesomeness of Jackson’s live performances. And, for the record, no one ever did (or does) it better. I’m not biased when I say that; three of his world tours (Bad, Dangerous and HIStory) were record breaking tours of such great and impressive magnitude that artistes today can only imagine.
I confess, I’ve never seen an MJ tour (I am as old as the Dangerous World Tour). But thanks to HD videos on YouTube, I can fully relive the greatest moments Michael had on stage.
Having explored (and pioneered) the short film style of music videos, like Thriller (truly a classic!), Beat It, Bad and Smooth Criminal, Michael created a -spectacular combination of superb choreography, state-of-the-art stage shows/props, and the unique Jumbotron to “take the audiences places where they’ve never been before, to show them things they’ve never seen...”
The Bad World Tour (BWT) was undoubtedly one of the greatest shows during the 80’s, as Michael’s popularity was reaching its peak, not only in the United States and Britain, but also in countries like Japan and India, and created a revolution in the music, fashion and dance industry.
Following BWT, was his super-successful Dangerous World Tour (DWT), perhaps his best, where Michael was truly at the peak of his career. DWT was a forerunner in the use of technology like the “toasting mechanism” (Jam), the Jumbotron, the “lean” and of course, the “rocket-man”; Michael figuratively wrote the proverbial “Every Trick” book. Combing complex dance routines with live singing is not a walk in the park for even seasoned artistes; to top that, performing in over 18 countries over a period of 8 months is something that only MJ could pull off!
His spirit and exuberance on stage was unparalleled, his choreography was dance-power at its best. Starting his shows with power-packed numbers like Jam and Wanna be Startin’ Something and a slower R&B ballad, Human Nature, with some spectacular (and sensual!) choreography. Some of my personal favourites are: Beat It with a fantastic opening on the cherry-picker, amazing vocals, and well, I have said “power” many times, haven’t?! Thriller, we all know is a classic music video, but performing it live complete with zombies, and the ‘floating coffin’, ‘disappearing’ M.J. and reappearing in Billie Jean, is another league by itself. Billie Jean also showcased Michael’s unstoppable Moonwalk and amazing vocals, again! And is there a better way to end a show than Man in the Mirror and the famous “rocket-man” climax!
Post-DWT, Michael’s reputation took a beating with the child abuse allegations, severely traumatizing him. However, not one to give up, he returned with the HIStory World Tour (HWT), and the world showed that they hadn’t forgotten him.
The HWT was bigger, better and grander than any tour Michael had ever done before. Not using the “Toaster” due to his faltering health, he chose to return as “spaceman”.
Technologically, HWT was far superior than any of it’s contemporaries. Micheal’s choreography, too, was at its best. His moves were more mature, sleek and crisp than the Dangerous and Bad tours, this time focusing more on the little known styles like locking-popping, glide, and the famous robotics. He could also focus more on his dancing due to the use of lip-syncing, as he suffered from laryngitis for a major portion of the tour. Some of his outstanding performances include They Don’t Care About Us, Stranger in Moscow (perhaps the best of his performances in this tour), Billie Jean (again, perhaps among his best ones) and the touching Earth Song.
Performing since a very, very young age, Micheal had the longest live performing career. In his world tours, he reached out to his fans on a personal level, giving them a show of a lifetime.Today, if I am asked if I could go back to the past and witness a historic event, what would I choose, the answer (if you haven’t already guessed, c’mon, that’s a no-brainer!) is one of his world tours, just one show. Quite literally, a show of my lifetime.
Michael’s no more, but his legacy as an entertainer, a song-writer, singer, and a phenomenal dancer will live on. And his pioneering efforts and unorthodox attitude in choreography and stage performances will forever keep him in our hearts. Like Javed Jaffery once said, “the history making, thriller of an entertainer!”
Written by guest writer Proshant Chakraborty who also drew the lovely MJ pictures.
First came across this song when it was used by Twitter in its short ad to promote NewTwitter.
The song being all of 3:08 comes across as too short. The ambient sounds at the start make you wonder before the banjo plays out a simple tune. Then once the other instruments come in and the vocals too, you’ve taken off into another world altogether. And with just 6 lines of down-to-earth lyrics and a whole plethora of sounds, Freelance Whales manage to woo us with their song Generator ^ First Floor. You just wish that this enchanting song was longer!
I don’t own the copyrights to this song. Just want to share it.
Jack Johnson, an American folk singer, song writer and musician has a huge fan following - the Ladies especially! He has a such a soothing voice which melts your heart and makes you want to go - la la la :) This song refuses to leave my playlist since 2008. Banana Pancakes sold like hot cakes, Constellations reminds me of the moon on a moonless night. Cocoon and Cookie Jar take me home to my mommy, those hot chocolate cups and the chocolate cookies. And I thought simplicity was dead.