Thursday 8 August 2019

Satyajit Ray: Shakespeare Wallah (1966)

Shakespeare Wallah

'Shakespeare Wallah' [review] belongs on MFT3F mostly by association, as it technically isn't a product of Bollywood. Yet it makes sense to include it; the film is made and takes place in India, it features well known Hindi actors, and its beautiful music is composed by one of the country's biggest cinema legends. Not unlike 'Bombay Talkie', which coincidently came from the same producer-director team, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory. Whereas that soundtrack was by a pair of MDs who appear on the blog regularly, this is a score by a man who never has.

As many undoubtedly know, Satyajit Ray is a world renowned film maker. What I to a lesser extent was aware of is that he was also a composer. His music here consists not so much of songs, apart from the sweet 'Manjula's Song: Dil Dharke', but of instrumentals and short vignettes. They're low-key and sedate, merging Western composition (topically Renaissance-tinged at times) with Indian instrumentation; the result is lovely and often quite haunting. It's difficult, and perhaps pointless to pick out particular favourites; 'Pantomime' reminds me of something German prog-/Krautrock band Popol Vuh could have recorded, and Wes Anderson included 'The Deserted Ballroom' (in addition to tracks from 'Bombay Talkie') on the soundtrack to 2007's 'The Darjeeling Limited'.

Track listing:
1. Title Music
2. Cleopatra's Barge
3. Arrival Of The Troupe In The Rain
4. Manjula's Procession
5. The Good Old Days
6. Mubarak Begum:  Manjula's Song: Dil Dharke (Heartbeat)
7. Pantomime
8. Bobby's Funeral
9. Love Theme – Sanju And Lizzie
10. Carla Begs Lizzie To Return To England
11. The Deserted Ballroom
12. Lizzie And Sanju Backstage
13. The Unhappy Ending
14. Lizzie Sails For England

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    no reups

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This reminds me of "Parties, Sarees and Melodies" from your blogroll.

    1. Indeed, I have been duly reminded that Shakespeare Wallah appeared there some 10 years ago.

  4. Great Post . Thanks for sharing a rare LP.

  5. Sir,please share your next album. Eagerly waiting.

  6. Manjula's song is written and composed by Prayag Raj.

    1. You are correct; I should have noticed and mentioned that.


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