CHEKAVAR SOUNDTRACK REVIEW
It is not very often you see, a heavy orchestral (western classical) score in an Asian film. Despite, being the second biggest film industry in the world, orchestral scores have been a rare affair in Indian films; requirements for the same too being very less, since majority of the productions root themselves on the Naach-Gaana formula. It is a pleasure welcoming an avant-garde orchestral score from an Indian film, and that too, ironically being from a commercial feature film in Malayalam.
The soundtrack features a total of thirteen tracks. For the first time in Malayalam industry, extracts from the background score of a film are included in the Audio CD, which also includes a couple of orchestral tracks from the film.
Let us see, how the prodigious talent Rahulraj proves himself to be a promise to Indian Film music.
The journey through this soundtrack basically has two phases. The first phase contains songs, while the second phase contains extracts from the score.
Phase – I
The film features only two songs.
i) Poonchillayil: Rahulraj’s love affair with the Bansuri, dates back to the days when he started composing themes for Mata Amritananda Mai Devi. Ever since then, this instrument has always created magic with him. Chitra and Vijay Yesudas render their first track for Rahulraj. A very simple melody tuned in vintage Malayalam style with beautiful flute bits. An instrumental variant of this track, titled as ‘Love’ is also included in the soundtrack.
ii) Poril Theyyaram: The track opens with a stylish synth-bass hook; Indrajith croons the carnatic-derived Malayalam portion of the song quite impressively. Metallic riffs dominate from the second bgm. Rapper Ragged Skull marks his debut in Malayalam industry, by rendering the rap portions of this track.
iii) 24 Hours (Bonus Track): This track is Rahulraj’s composition for a forthcoming film called 24 Hours. Rahulraj experiments with Alternative Metal, and the result is, a track which sounds like an opener of a 007 film. Phase I of the soundtrack comes to an end with this song.
Phase – I I
- Gauri’s Theme: After the previous track (‘24 hours’), here there is a complete transition, to Indianness. Rahulraj and Gayathri Suresh lend vocal support to this carnatic instrumental which has ecstatic interludes characterized by Bansuri and live strings in Mandolin and Veena. This track somehow makes our subconscious minds picturize a typical south Indian brahmin girl serving filter coffee.
- 2. Heart Of God: The track opens with ancient chants of Lord Shiva, conducted live with choir. Rahulraj breaks conventions to give hybrid results. The track keeps alternating from Indian rhythms to orchestral chords and amazes the listener. This track would require repeated listenings to clearly interpret what the composer has conveyed.
- 3. In Search of Love: Rahulraj repeats magic with acoustic guitar, after Venal Kattil. Flute bits dominate the track; bassline too is very attractive
- Metal Pooram: This track exposes the remarkable versatility of the composer. As the name indicates, the track takes us to a festive mood, with metallic guitar riffs and unconventional drum patterns varying throughout the track. Ragged Skull proves to be one of the finest finds of Rahulraj.
- The Final Invasion: Those music buffs out there, who patronize Ennio Morricone’s Casualties Of War , The Mission, or Howard Shore’s Se7en; this one is Rahulraj’s treat for them. Rahulraj employs contrapuntal hooks in a track where majestic horns and progressive brass take the front seat . The Live Choir portions which take a page from Ancient Chants of Lord Shiva are synchronized with jaw-dropping rhythms , penetrative double bass, cello and horn clusters. This track is the first of its kind in Indian cinema, and would certainly inspire contemporary composers to experiment with the genre.
- Love: This is an instrumental variant of the opening track Poonchillayil.
- Helpless: Flute takes paramount position in this orchestral track, which deserves its place in a cult horror classic.
- Forces of the Dark: This track opens with the ending vocal bits of The Final Invasion. It has typical John Williams style chord progressions accompanied by Indian rhythms. Yet again, (after The Final Invasion) , this track gives us the feel that it belongs to a mainstream Hollywood production.
The remaining two tracks are karaoke versions of the two songs.
This soundtrack has pure brilliance engraved all over it, and comes as a wake-up call for Indian filmmakers to realize the importance of background score in films.