At a time when we can lip-sync to pre-recorded movie dialogues or songs within seconds, it feels strange to look back on the silent film era that lasted till the 1930s. That era came to an end, when director Alan Crosland’s The Jazz Singer, starring Broadway star Al Jolson and packed with a synchronised recorded score as well as song and speech sequences, premiered on October 6, 1927. The Warner Bros production went on to revolutionise the industry and since then, soundtrack and score have become an inseparable part of films. Three musicians from the city share their Hollywood favourites over the years.
Trainspotting and Great Expectations
The soundtracks of the cult film Trainspotting, Requiem For a Dream and The Beach, stand out for musician Donn Bhat. “I was in my teens when Trainspotting was released. I remember the song Lust for life, coupled with some electronic music, and the anti-establishment nature of the film, it was super cool,” Bhat recalls. Another great discovery for him was Great Expectations (1998). “The artiste Chris Cornell had a song in it called Sunshower. He’s a bizarre artiste, and I kept hearing him,” Bhat shares. Giving us the example of the scene in Trainspotting in which Lust for life plays out, he explains that the visuals and soundtrack have to marry each other for it to really strike a chord with the audience.
Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park
Drummer Gino Banks reveals that he is a big fan of composer John Williams, who has produced music for several Hollywood hits — from Superman to some of the Harry Potter films. He’s worked extensively with Steven Spielberg, too, Banks shares. “But my favourite is Schindler’s List, which was beautiful. It features the great violinist Itzhak Perlman,” he tells us. The other Williams favourite, he adds, is Jurassic Park. “Williams is a master at merging this subtle melody into a grand melody. The epicness of it gives you that feeling of the film, his signature style when it comes to other movies such as Star Wars, too. You look at the movies based on the soundtracks,” Banks says.
Singin’ in the Rain and The Big Lebowski
Musician and actor Imaad Shah picks the 1952 American musical Singin’ in the Rain. “It’s a great film about the shift from silent films to the talkies, and about the making of films. The songs are amazing, particularly the title track,” Shah says about the iconic number starring Gene Kelly. From the newer crop, Shah recommends The Big Lebowski. “It’s a hilarious mystery with brilliant songs, particularly Bob Dylan’s The man in me,” he shares.
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