Cast :Suraj Sharma, Tabu, AdilHussain, Gerard Depardieu, Po-Chieh Wang, Irrfan Khan
Music :Mychael Danna
Editing : Tim Squyres
Cinematography : Claudio Miranda
Screenplay : David Magee, Yan Martel(novel)
Direction :Ang Lee
The name ‘Ang Lee’ itself, is heat enough to kindle a fire in a movie buff’s mind. The glorified director has returned in 2012 with ‘Life of Pi’, an adventure drama based on Yan Martel’s novel of the same name. The much critically acclaimed movie with a difference to boast about, also hosts a long array of soundtracks aimed to create the specific emotion. Without any further ado, let’s take a dive into each of those.
|Piscine Molitor Patel|
|Christ in the Mountains|
|Thank you Vishnu for Introducing me to Christ|
|The Deepest Spot on Earth|
|Death of the Zebra|
|First Night, First Day|
|Set Your House in Order|
|Skinny Vegetarian Boy|
|Pi and Richard Parker|
|I’m Ready Now|
|Back to the World|
|The Second Story|
|Which Story do you Prefer?|
Soundtrack Analysis :-
Singer : Bombay Jayashri
The tenderness, which this track presents is amazing. Excellent rendition by Bombay Jayashri, as always.The track is reminiscent of mental panoramas, with a wide open meadow with few trees during twilight and a bullock cart moving away in the distance – a typical Indian scenario. But, the same, is in fact, the adversary to the popularity, at least among an Indian crowd. Such slow-moving tracks are nothing novel to an Indian audience and similarities can be found out in various old tracks, especially those from South Indian languages. As far as an Indian audience is concerned, the melody is soothing, but it has already gone by.
2. Piscine Molitor Patel
The song is one with it’s own share of variations. Neither the pace, nor the style stays constant through the track. Intentionally or not, the initial part of the song paints a mental picture of Europe, with the instrument and the style, which rather drastically, changes to Indian, although through an intriguing piece. The frequent numb silences and sudden pickups in between the track, is a reminder to the composition style of the late KunnakudiVaidyanathan, who created magic with his violin. The song moves to a high towards the end, completely in an Indian framework of music and ends rather unexpectedly. Although the track seems to be unique, it lacks the grip required to make the entire audience put it in a loop. The desperation to create something magical is evident in the track, which didn’t reach quite up to the expectations.
What if Beethoven slowed his pace a bit and composed something? That is how this track feels like. The up’s and down’s in the track highly resembled Beethoven’s style of symphonies although, this one is not entirely in piano. A well framed track, nonetheless, which would make you keenly listen and move your heads to the pace. You would not miss the track, although the track is short. But, while it is being played, you would enjoy it and tranquilize.
4. Meeting Krishna
Although slow, this track does much justice to the name. You are unknowingly elated to a heavenly level. With a constant, slow pace flowing throughout, the vocals, although minor in contribution, succeeds to an extent in elevating the mood. The best part of the song, is the absence of instruments, while the initial ‘hum’ is going on. It provides a natural feeling to the start, which kicks the mood in. The instrumental, which follows it, succeeds in taking on the subtle temperament, in it’s required level. Although short, worth listening to!
5. Christ in the Mountains
This one is up the hill and down to the pit. The start of the song is so good that it is powerful enough to induce a smile of content, both in the listener’s face and mind. The positive energy which it imparts is beyond words. But, then with the previous technique of too many variations in the song, it is almost impossible to pitch in to a specific note in the latter half. As soon as you catch hold of one note, it drastically changes to another one, giving little or no time to enjoy it completely. Would have been the best composition if the entire track took inspiration from the former half.
6. Thank You Vishnu for Introducing me to Christ
Much like the intriguing name of the song, the song has a strange chime to itself. The song begins with a very positive insight and builds up a bit with a beat, but then completely slows down again, jeopardizing the build-up in mid-air. However, the latter half blends in music with a Hindu touch, as well as that with a Christian touch neatly – the establishment of an unwritten, non-secular dogma, which might have been the purpose of the song. That association is wonderful to think about. A good listen!
7. Richard Parker
This track tends towards silence almost throughout the song, except for a surge in the end. It can’t be labeled as a separate track in the strict sense, since it does not run even for a full minute. The mood is kind of eerie, presenting no sensible link with the track name, at first look. But, it is a track with a difference!
8. Appa’s Lesson
This is a song of revival. One of the best tracks of the OST, this one brings in the ‘return of goodness’ or the ‘rise of purity’ kind of feeling at an astounding level – much like the result of a father’s(Appa’s) advice. The ambience created, is carried on throughout the track in a neat and organized manner, step-by-step, with further layers of instruments towards the end, much like the step-by-step development of life, for a metaphor. Must hear!
‘Home Sweet Home’ is what runs through the veins of whoever listens to this one. A brilliant composition, ‘Anandi’ is crafted in such a way, so as to be a source of remembrance of one’s homeland and culture. This might be especially soothing for true Indians who are spending their life outside India or people who still hold on to values and culture tightly. The mood doesn’t go down even more a moment. Another must hear!
10. Leaving India
If the song was meant to symbolize a journey out of the motherland, it does the straight opposite in reality. The song is one of those ‘scenery in the distance’ kind of tracks , which instill a diverse natural Indian panorama in your mind. Rather than making it move off slowly from the mind, the song infixes it further inside. Although that stands, the composition is in fact, good, except for the ending, which goes on a little weird path, compared to the rest of the song. Provided you don’t try to imbibe the mood which the name suggests, a good one.
11. The Deepest Spot on Earth
Reminded of the Mariana Trench? Nope, not even close. A very short track, it doesn’t have much to claim. A plain background music, with a slight variation in the latter half, which , at least to some people would be similar to the alien voice in ‘Koi Mil Gaya’. Maybe with the movie, the track might mean something, but as a standalone, the song doesn’t have any substantial charm.
Set aside the sudden silences. Then, it is simply marvelous. Probably one of the longest tracks in the list, the strangeness of the title is transferred to the track – only in a nice way. The grandeur of the musician is evident at several high points in the track, which takes you up into a strange land, where you really cannot express what the emotion you are feeling, is. It is a clean shade of ecstasy without a pace. If it were not for the unexpected silences in the end, this track would have been one of the best. A must listen, nonetheless!
13. Death of the Zebra
This maybe one of the shortest tracks in the list, again with nothing much to claim. Although the number of instruments used is very less, whatever has been used is considerably effective. But, the fact remains that there is nothing new in the track. The same old euphonic ‘Indianized’ melody. This may mean something when tallied with the movie, if in a scene like what the title says, but without it, this is just another random practice solo.
14. First Night, First Day
Incredible art.Powerful, Enthralling, Elating. The track is pretty long compared to others in the list, but the drag is simply out of the question. He first half is simply superb with the slow rise and stability of the instrumentals. Vocals set in, unlike most other tracks in the list and although, with menial verses, brings out a highly powerful and penetrating euphoria matching the instrumentals. It gives a sort of ‘lone strider’ feeling which is much like the theme of the movie as well. The latter half is a little bit different in style, but not at all bringing down the mood. A must listen!
15. Set Your House in Order
The title looks to transfer a certain amount of strictness to the song, but with that thought in mind, the initial part of the song would seem completely ridiculous. It is nothing but a funny beat, in a traditional Indian style, which although induces a slight laugh, is decent enough. The second part of the song moves on to a more serious flavour, considerably good in itself. But, the transition between the two is very rigid and can’t be associated properly, whatever concessions are offered. It’s more like an open meadow on either side of a high mountain. Individually, both parts of the song are considerable.
16. Skinny Vegetarian Boy
The song reminds you of the life on the boat. All you can imagine, is the boy on the boat, moving through the ocean and nothing else. It doesn’t present anything new, but it is quite nice to listen to, with the typical relaxing boat ride beats, with a zoom out into the wide panorama towards the end. A decent experience.
17. Pi and Richard Parker
The music is slow enough to depict the relationship between Pi and the tiger, but it is in fact, monotonous without the video. It is not boring or intimidating in any way and it is a very much bearable or rather, a nice rendition of a touching music. But, without the video, the song loses much of its intended outcomes and the emotion fails to grow massively, although it sprouts to an extent. One among the usuals.
18. The Whale
The track succeeds in bringing in a certain amount of mystery with the metronome-like chant throughout, but everything which was added to it, took the feeling down. Although monotonous, the metronome would single-handedly provide much of mystery, but the additional instrumentals take it back to a normal level, cancelling out the metronome’s effect. Not a very soothing track.
19. Flying Fish
Confusion. That’s the only word to describe it completely. The entire track is less than a minute and is filled with musical pieces of various styles one after the other in succession. It is a relief from the ‘tending towards silence’ tracks, but on the other hand, it seems like a random mix of certain musical pieces which does not seem to go with each other. Individually, each might seem good, and that too, only if prolonged well. Not really an attractive option to listen to.
20. Tiger Training
This is an intensified version of ‘Meeting Krishna’. With the same ‘hum’ on a higher pitch, the track brings in, the same emotion. But, the ‘first time’s the charm’ psychology is applicable here too, and hence, if you listen to this, after listening to ‘Meeting Krishna’, you may push it down to second grade. But, disparities removed, ‘Tiger Training’ deserves the same appreciation as ‘Meeting Krishna’. Worth!
Simple, melodic, enjoyable. ‘Orphans’ is proof that things need not be complicated to make a mark. It is like a flowing river, or rather a spring, originating from a glacier on a mountain. No tide, no obstacles. If there are any obstacles, the water flows right over it. The track is as clear as a mountain spring, with the entire purity contained in itself. Takes you to serenity. Must listen!
22. Tiger Vision
The track is slow and it is a bit dragging as well. It is not monotonous in its entirety, but whatever comes in to get rid of the monotony, doesn’t do a good job. The female voice towards the middle, raises the mood a bit, with some (maybe unintentional) Christian touch to it, but that momentum wears down in the drowsy nature of the track. An average one.
23. God Storm
Intensity, is what the title stands for, and to an extent, that is exactly what is felt. With powerful instrumentals and an even more powerful voice, the song assumes a massive proportion, most of which is induced in the listener. The up’s and down’s in between reduce the shine of the track a bit, by hampering with the continuity, but the entire emotion is not lost. Worth a listen!
24. I’m Ready Now
This is again, a ‘tending to silence’ track, in its former half, while a well-crafted piece in it’s latter. The former half was supposedly meant to set a background for the nice latter half, but it didn’t work out that well. In fact, if you try to weigh both halves, the very idea itself may feel awkward. The two seem to be entirely different in its kind. Therefore, antonymic to the condition of ‘Christ in the Mountains’, if the entire track drew inspiration from the latter half, it would have been a splendid one.
25. The Island
A very refreshing track indeed. Somewhere, somehow, it is a finger pointed towards a setting in a Buddhist monastery – peaceful, calm and blissful. The tracks keeps it’s slow, but activity-filled pace throughout and doesn’t leave a moment to be distracted. The mirth induced is similar to a ‘Gramophone’ experience in the sense that, one can listen to the music, sitting back on a long chair, with closed eyes. Worth it!
26. Back to the World
The longest track in the list, but arguably the best as well. It does not have a beat, it does not have much variety embedded in it, but what it has , is a feeling of trance, which breezes by your side in a nostalgic essence. You won’t get bored of this at all, in the more than 8 minute track time. Sit back and concentrate – you won’t feel like opening your eyes in the next 8 minutes. The flow of the track is very smooth, covering each and every miniscule particle along the way. My personal favourite!
27. The Second Story
Although not as brilliant as the previous one, this one is also a very commendable track. It is a bit more silent than ‘Back to the World’, and a bit drowsier. But, as a whole, the track does good justice to the intentions. Maybe not as powerful as the first, but ‘The Second Story’ might be a good listen indeed!
28. Which Story do you prefer?
The list ends on a considerably bright note indeed. The voice covers up much of the track. Rather than being powerful, it is more of sensuous, leaving an option to the listener, as the title suggests. As a conclusion to the list, the track acts it’s part well, slowly bringing the elation down to a normal state. You can surely end the list with a smile!
The movie, already highly critically acclaimed, is receiving mixed opinions from the general audience. But, as is with the case of most such films, ‘Life of Pi’ might be a good player at the upcoming ‘Golden Globe’ and Oscars. The soundtrack of the film on the whole, is in fact, a good substantiation to the mood the film intends to bring. But, enjoy the tracks as much as possible along with the film, as except for a few tracks, the others fail to bring out almost the same emotion as intended, when listened to independently. The soundtrack has a certain monotony existing over most of itself and that cannot be overlooked under any circumstances. However, if you are looking for a good relaxation after heavy work, putting the entire soundtrack in shuffle might actually help with a few tracks standing out from the rest. But, putting together 28 tracks with none going to a resentful level as such, deserves credit and Mychael Danna is to be applauded for the same.
Picks of the OST : Appa’s Lesson, Anandi, First Night First Day, Orphans, The Island, Back to the World
Verdict : Enjoy it with the movie,Be selective if listening independently !