Music is the food for the soul. Music commences where speech ends. Music transcends time; transports us to a world of its own.So it is for feature films too-an intrinsic part. Can you think of a movie without its music? Well, the silent era(1895-1936) is behind us now, and even then the global phenomenon in the name of Charles Chaplin composed some outstanding tunes for him exemplary films like the theme from ‘Limelight,’ ‘Smile’-a timeless classic for the movie ‘Modern Times.’ Not only was he a genius filmmaker, an actor, but his movies are also remarkable and remembered for and by their music.
The silent films initially had live piano players and a musical sequence would theatrically build up a scene with its playful, comical moments, a round of thrills and chills, or an instance of love, laughter, and loss. Uplifting or depressing-the haunting melodies touch the very chords of our heart and leave an impression that lasts long after watching the film.
Music- be it a soundtrack or background filler is the most essential and powerful artistic tool in the hands of a filmmaker with which he subjects his viewer to have the right mindset intended;the chords set the perfect mood and the emotions conveyed in each frame is somehow more pronounced, unspoken thoughts underlined, striking messages seem all the more loud and clear.
While there are realistic films lined up for our viewing pleasure with the high background score-the captivating effect of the notes create a profound impact that makes the story come alive-in other films, music provides an escape from reality. We Indians love our ‘song and dance’ sequences in movies. Our cultures are rich and diverse, warm, vibrant and colorful- we have a song for almost every occasion and festival, and that’s the way we like our motion pictures to be infused with “gaana-bajana.” At least for some films, it does break the monotony! For other gripping screenplays, it pauses or delays the tension for a while.
Film scores are the driving force to bring out the joy, sorrow, suffering, fear, apprehension, anger, romance, passion therein. The slow or fast tempo psychologically affects us and impels us to be one with the actors. When Jay plays his harmonica in the beautiful twilight of ‘Sholay,’ it unwraps the desolation and melancholy in Radha. The famous “shower sequence” in ‘Psycho’ would be less unsettling and scary without the screeching sound of a violin which symbolizes danger and uneasiness thus adding and heightening suspense. In ‘Jaws,’ the score is that of anticipation of danger, we are warned of the peril looming large with the disorder of the music, compelled to watch the horror unfold.
A plunge into the dazzling world of make-belief, fun and fantasy created by Walter Disney would fetch us “Musicals” because a tale as old as time can only be narrated with music; the proud triumphant and “happy ever after” impact formed with music.
Shakespeare said,” if the music is the food of love, play on.” A movie is a creative medium for artistic expressions that communicate and connect with people. When the two are juxtaposed- it’s sheer magic.