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Rahman's tunes bring Bose back

By Amberish K Diwanji
March 24, 2005 14:37 IST
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Sachin Khedekar (centre) in BoseThis is a film that has created a buzz much before its release because it deals with one of India's most colourful personalities.

Bose: The Forgotten Hero is based on the last five years of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's lifeĀ and is directed by Shyam Benegal, rated one of India's best directors.

In an interesting departure from the norm as far as Bollywood music is concerned, Benegal had music director A R Rahman insert theme songs into the film. In Hollywood, most well known films have over the years become almost instantly recognisable by their themes. Hopefully, Bose will set a trend for themes in our films rather than the song and dance routine that is so much part and parcel of our movies.

Aazadi, a blend of western classical with a few Hindi words, including Jai Hind that is sung in the background, is yet surprisingly Indian in tune that is the trademark of A R Rahman.

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Kadam kadam badaye jaa
is often considered the anthem of the Indian National Army as it marched towards India. The song is a mix of martial tune and classical composition. It is the kind of song that gives the listener goose flesh. After all, this is the tune that launched a thousands soldiers, armed with little more than the determination to free their motherland.

Ekla chalo, a famous Rabindranath TagoreĀ song that was loved by both Bose and Gandhi, has had a makeover as a duet sung by Sonu Nigam and Nachiketa Chakraborty. Not sure if the purists will quite like it.

Hum Dilli Dilli jayenge is another INA song, made famous over the years as the army's resolve to capture Delhi. The song is the kind that gets one going, set to a fast pace with a martial tune.

Desh ki matti, a song of nostalgia, is sung evocatively and slowly, the words drifting down as lazily as the Ganga over the plains of India.

Zikr, a Muslim prayer set to tune, is again a good hear, a song that lifts the spirit.

Ghoomparani is a popular rhyme sung by Bengalis, usually while putting their children to sleep, and is another lilting song that soothes the spirit.

And then there is the Durga Puja rhythm that one hears blaring from pandals whenever the festival season comes upon us, played out by Rahman as only he can.

After the songs come the themes and the musical versions of some of the songs. Brilliant music played out by orchestras that provoke the imagination, especially when one links the theme with the title. So while hearing the Netaji themes, one can just shut one's eyes and try and imagine a solitary Bose as he essayed one of the greatest stories to free his country, a
story that is perhaps more poignant because it came so near and was yet so far.

That Benegal and Rahman were unwilling to make any compromises with the music is proved by the fact that the Czech Film Orchestra, based in Prague, rendered the themes. Hopefully in the future, such themes and orchestra music will be provided from within India. Emilie theme is particularly lilting.

Similar is the case with the other themes that are either sombre (Hitler theme, U Boat theme) or a little fast-paced (Afghanistan theme).

The orchestral renditions of Kadam kadam badaye ja and Desh ki mitti also make for some great music and hearing them in a dark cinema hall can only have a deeper impact.

The CD ends with an orchestral version of the country's national anthem. How does one review the anthem? Suffice to say no matter how often you hear it and how many versions, you can always hear it another time. Especially this version!

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Amberish K Diwanji