Music Review: Dhobi Ghat

EXPECTATIONS One is pretty much aware of the fact that Dhobi Ghat is a song-less film with not even a theme track in it that comprises of any spoken words. Add to that the fact that it doesn’t have any Indian composer at the helm of affairs and instead features international composer Gustavo Santaolalla means that Dhobi Ghat would indeed boast of an unusual soundtrack. This also means that while the film itself has been made for niche audience, the music would have an even lesser market hence raising doubts around its commercial viability and the very logic behind releasing it commercially.

MUSIC Number of times one hears the statement that music of so and so film needs to be felt rather than heard. While in most of the cases a statement like this is made just to make any impression without any real meaning or intent behind it, there are exceptions when the makers actually manage to crack that. This is exactly the case in Dhobi Ghat where music is just an accompanying partner along with the characters, doesn’t intrude with the proceedings, truly stays in the background (to go with the spirit of ‘background score’) and most importantly manages a consistent feel right through the narrative without any major highs or lows. Gustavo Santaolalla creates the kind of sound for Dhobi Ghat which truly fits the T when it comes to theme score for a film. There are number of situations in the film where accompanying music is required. These range from ‘At The Ghat’, ‘Arun Getting Closer To Yasmin’, ‘Arun’s Final Painting’, ‘Munna’s Love’, ‘A Love Letter To The City’, ‘Longing, Loneliness, Loss And Love’, ‘Intersections’, ‘Munna Falling In Love With Shai”, ‘Shai And Munna Bond’ and ‘The Aftermath’. However the very distinguishing factor between one track and another is that there truly isn’t any. One can comfortably move from one track to another and then play it in a repeat or a shuffle mode and still there won’t be anything that would make you pick one over another. In fact it truly is one theme album as there is a consistent sound right through this barely 15 minutes duration score which makes more sense after one has seen the film.

OVERALL All of this also means that there is a very very very small segment of audience that would actually want to actually pick this one up from the shelves. In the times when even conventional albums have to be extra ordinary and boast of that one big number to make an impression at the stands, an album like Dhobi Ghat which has a niche appeal to it will not just struggle but in fact go largely unnoticed at the stands. Of course internationally such music can make an impact or even win a few awards for itself. However what has to be remembered is that even for Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack to succeed there was a ‘Jai Ho’ required, something which is missing in Dhobi Ghat.

OUR PICK(S) Entire soundtrack in one single listening if you like hearing instrumental theme pieces

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