Justalkin Episode 31: Soundtracks that are independent of movies
Don’t we all love musicals and the song-and-dance routine! Every movie gives us an opportunity to experience new music. But sometimes, the soundtracks go way beyond the movies themselves, and become favorites on our playlist. Let’s take a look at some soundtracks that are popular even independent of the movies that they were made for.
One of the most amazing soundtracks of all time in Bollywood. Amit Trivedi’s masterpiece for Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet. Boasting of an incredible cast that included Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Kay Kay Menon, and based on a book called ‘Mumbai Fables’ by historian Gyan Prakash. This movie reflected the sounds of Bombay and the jazz it loved in the 60s. The album features orchestras and musicians from across the world, and singers like Neethi Mohan, Amit Trivedi himself, Papon, Mohit Chauhan, Shefali Alvares and Shalmali Kholgade. The movie was termed a disaster at the Box office, but you’ll love the soundtrack if you don’t take that into consideration.
Again a collaboration between Amit Trivedi and Anurag Kashyap. Dev. D is a modern take on the romantic-yet-sad love saga of Devdas and the music also reflects that. The soundtrack has 18 songs and each one of these songs, every single part of it, tells you a new story. This features a whole range of lyricists and singers because each song has a different style - folk, raw, hard rock, love ballads, etc. But the masterpiece really was ‘Emotional Atyachaar’. For the longest time people were trying to find out who Bandmaster Rangeela and Rasila were - they were the guys credited for the song. And 9 years after the song came out people discovered that it was actually Amit Trivedi and Amitabh Bhattacharya themselves who’d sung it!
Kochadaiyaan is a Rajnikanth movie, so you can expect they went all guns blazing to make it a hit. This time it didn’t rest only on Rajni’s shoulders to get people to the theatres. This was India’s first photorealistic motion capture film, but we’ve seen better VFX than that. Thankfully they didn’t cut budgets for music and got the best guy in business to do it. AR Rahman first refused, then came on board, and joined hands with Vairamuthu to create an epic soundtrack for an epic story. Except the story didn’t really take off. Together, they apparently shortlisted lyrics from hundreds of verses to make sure the songs didn’t sound too outdated, although this was a periodic drama. They worked with orchestras from across the world, and managed to create a really unique sound that was both Indian with Western orchestra elements, and both fresh as well as taking you back in time.
Solo released in both Tamil and Malayalam featuring Dulquer Salman. It tells the story of four different people - four stories with four protagonists, all played by Dulquer Salman. What really sets this movie apart is the soundtrack because it has twenty two tracks! And it features music by some amazing independent artists and some really well known bands from across India. These include Agam, Thaikkudam Bridge, Filter Coffee, Brodha V, and Masala Coffee. Together they made a soundtrack that last about an hour and each track has its own unique elements of fun and experimentation. Check it out, it’s not entirely in Malayalam - there’s also Tamil, Hindi and English so you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy told you what to expect - the first movie starts off with Chris Pratt being kidnapped with a cassette tape - with tracks that the makers of the movie very nicely picked and put together for us. It features some of the most epic songs we’ve all grown up to! Chris Pratt’s character has to find a way to stay connected to the Earth, and he does that with music from the 60s and the 70s, featuring the music of artists like Marvin Gaye, David Bowie and The Jackson 5! Awesome Mix Volume 1 became the first soundtrack to top the charts with all the tracks being previously released ones. The soundtrack for the sequel included Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick, and George Harrison. Perfect songs for every scenario in the movie.
Baby Driver had some really good reviews for it’s story and acting, but the soundtrack stole the spotlight! Ansel Elgort plays the role of a boy who has tinnitus, but constantly listens to music as a form of therapy. The soundtrack features a whole range of artists, right from Jazz legend Dave Brubeck to the experimental Queen. And because music was so integral to the storyline, the film’s director Edgar Wright consulted with James Gunn - the maker of both volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy, to make sure they didn’t pick the same songs for both their movies! The name of the movie itself - Baby Driver - comes from an actual song by Simon and Garfunkel, so they lived up to the expectations they set.
Saturday Night Fever
One of the best song-and-dance movies to ever come out of Hollywood would have to be Saturday Night Fever. It stars John Travolta as Tony Manero, and the makers curated a whole new tracklisting, fought with labels, and brought in new artists. Funnily enough, the songs by the BeeGees are some of the most popular ones from this movie, but the band wasn’t even involved till post-production! They said they didn’t have any time to write for this movie because they were working on other music but somehow managed to put stuff together in one weekend and gave us hits like ‘Staying Alive!’. The movie released in 1977, but it still remains the second best-selling soundtrack of all time!
Into the Wild
‘Into the Wild’ is a biographical survival film and takes you on a journey experienced by a young man trying to find himself and the world. Now Pearl Jam is known for its alternative and grunge rock, but director Sean Penn picked Eddie Vedder to write the music - it’s mostly raw folk sounds, with elements of rock. Ask Vedder about the experience and he’ll say he just went into a zone for a week or two and was done! He just kept writing material and had as much freedom as he wanted. After you listen to the soundtrack you’ll know that there’s no other musician who could’ve done what he did.
It’s always an added bonus when a great movie has great music. But sometimes when soundtracks outshine the movies that they’re made for, you thank the producers for releasing the budgets and trusting the right people to make music. This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com.