Dissonant Themes

Still from Morning RaagaMorning Raga is an Indian-English movie starring Prakash Rao, son of K. Raghavendra Rao – maker of numerous commercial masalas in Telugu. It boasts a cast that’ll make the art movie circles get their collective undergarments into delectable bunches – Shabana Azmi, Perizaad Zorabian, Nasser , the works. It also happens to be a pretty boring movie, which probably enhances its appeal as an art film.

It is a pseudo-psychodrama, something about the irreparable psychological scars that Shabana Azmi suffers after an accident that kills her young son and her best friend. The best friend’s son grows up into a musician, and uses his music to get hitched to a ravishing looking Perizaad Zorabian and also remove the scars from Azmi’s wounded psyche. Though the setting is coastal Andhra Pradesh, everyone speaks in English. Even Thalaivaasal Vijay. But this post is not a review per se. It is an excuse for me to put up a picture of the ravishing Zorabian.

Perizaad

It is also a wishlist of sorts.

Will someone please tell Mani Sharma that rendering “Thaaye Yasodha” with a drum pad in the background is not fusion. Nor is having one female voice scream operatically while another sings a Keerthana. If you are going to tell him that, you might as well add that his music in the movie pretty much sucked. You are also free to generalize and tell him that his music mostly sucks.

Harris Jayaraj talks to Sujatha in the latest issue of Anandha Vikatan (paid subscription required), and tells him he hates this type of “fusion”.

“The music that passes for fusion these days – a tabla, a dholak, a veena, a drum pad and a keyboard all sounding off against each other – I hate it. It is a difficult task to blend traditional Indian instruments and modern cinema.”

While one of you is talking to Mani Sharma, will someone else please take the thesaurus out of Subhash K Jha’s hands. Here is his review of Morning Raaga. Please tell me what the heck this means:

Tamil actor Nasser as Abhinay’s estranged feudal father is portrayed rather uni-dimensionally. Did he have to be a boor to offset the sonorous sensitivity that suffuses the soul of this genteel work of art?

4 thoughts on “Dissonant Themes”

  1. How can you not like the music in Morning Raga? It’s phenomenal. I haven’t seen the movie but the music holds its own magic. As a lover of Eastern and Western music, Thaye Yashoda and Mathey are the kind of songs that can make a Western audience understand the beauty of Classical Indian. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve found any other Classical Indian that would appeal as well, to an audience of a different musical background, as this album.
    Sometimes what limits Classical Indian is that it won’t stop following the rules. Hence, a lot of the time it holds itself back from breaking into a more modern age by not understanding the importance of a remix for reviving musical interest in a more contemporary generation.
    To succeed, music has to be made with the consideration in mind that there are a lot of people out there who would listen to its jewels, provided they had a newer sound, that could not be mistaken for the same song that was that was sung a hundred years ago.

  2. I don’t know in what sense you wrote the above “a kind-of” preview of “Morning Raga”. Its one of the best movies i have ever watched. And talking about the music…it is ultimate! Perhaps, i was a person who was never too interested in music (though i used to listen), and particularly any of its classical form. But after listening to the excellent compositions in the Morning Raga, i started noticing it and am ready to take a plunge into the world of classical music anytime! It has fine balance between rap and pure Southern Carnatic Classical Music. Its a rare work. It obviously doesn’t sound like the “cultureless” fusion kind of music of today. Tne only worry is that we cannot expect films of this kind every fortnight. I know i am a bit late to leave a comment over a review of a film released 2 years back. But this is completely unacceptable. And i agree with the above person whomsoever left that comment.
    thanks…
    Ajay

  3. I completely disagree with the above two people. I used to be an ardent carnatic music fan, but not since I watched ‘Morning Raga’. What it did to me cannot be posted in the mere confines of this little comment box. Anyway, long story short, I have since started listening to Italian Reggae which is slowly cleansing my system of the sacrilege that was ‘Morning Raga’. Mani Sharma owes me & Ilaiyaraja a huge check.
    And I’m glad that I cannot expect films of this kind every fortnight. In fact, I hope I don’t have to see another movie like this as long as I live.
    Which reminds me, when does ‘Shivaji’ release and have you listened to the three “cultureless” mp3s that were leaked on the Internet?

  4. First of all, I am glad that someone has read these comments and reacted to it. To get to the matter directly…You said you WERE an ardent lover of Carnatic Music and it (all that love I mean)all got flushed OUT of your mind after listening to the music of Morning Raga. Now, I am not saying that I don’t count you, but it is a fact that the number of people who reacted to its music in just the opposite manner(i.e. Latin or whatever to Carnatic)to the way you did (i.e. Carnatic to Latin) , would outweigh the number in your court! I myself is in the late teenage. You can count and see, how many of us really like any form of Classical Music(*let alone Carnatic!). So the only possiblity is a shift from Western to Classical (again I wouldn’t say there should be a shift from Western to Classical as I too love, admire and listen to Western, though not rock, NO plz!) and not vice-versa. And again coming back to the music of the film, one of the postive effects of that fusion kinda music is that it attracted the youth! Had it been the full-length conventional songs, no one would have even cared to look at the name of the film for sure!
    I haven’t listened to the tracks of “Sivaji”… Have no idea. Is it that bad?!!

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