March 25, 2013

Satyajit Ray: Shakespeare Wallah (1965)



While many know Satyajit Ray as a director, most famously for his Apu Trilogy, The legend also gained same acclaim as a composer with Wes Anderson's 2007 film Darjeeling Limited. The soundtrack for the film holds five compositions of his. One of the tracks featured on Darjeeling Limited's soundtrack called "The Desert Ballroom", the shortest track on the record, is originally from the 1965 film Shakespeare Wallah.


The story of a family troupe of English actors in India. They travel around the towns and villages giving performances of Shakespearean plays. Through their travels we see the changing face of India as the old is replaced by the new, Maharajas become hotel owners, sports become more important than culture and the theater is replaced by Bolliwood movies. Based on the travels of Geoffrey Kendal with his daughter Felicity Kendal

Music given by Ray is mostly an instrumental. Ray uses leitmotif (A melodic passage or phrase) the classical western method of musical theme associated to a person, situation or other which in turn is used several times throughout the film. He also incorporates and mixes both western with traditional Indian music and instruments. The only actual "song" on the record is "Manjula's song". It is the only one with vocals, and is inspired by folk music as well as commercial Indian soundtracks or filmy music with its dreamlike qualities. 

Overall, the album is melancholic and atmospheric, sometimes emotionally and sometimes to be used to describe the little unique universe in which all these characters are living in.

Input : Stella


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