This episode is more of music and sounds rather than dialogues. Lakshmana got the news that the Aswa-medha (horse) was tied by some kids. He got furious and sent two of his men to get it back. Alas! they only got back series of arrows from Lava-Kusa which forced them to run behind Lakshmana. Lakshmana was also welcomed by the shower of arrows. Lakshmana warned Lava-Kusa to handover the horse as it was Rama’s horse. Since Lava-Kusa had a bad experience in Ayodhya, they started making ridiculing Rama and Lakshmana. Since Lakshmana could not tolerate any further, he declares a war against Lava-Kusa and they in-turn retaliate. While the war gets intense Lava-Kusa decides to shoot an arrow which will make Lakshmana faint, so that Rama would follow Lakshmana to the Ashram.
Since this is war, normally the sound effects take front seat and the score takes a back seat. What we have to observe hear is how Maestro interlaces his music effectively amidst the sound effects so that it does not disappear or drown. Please hear the trumpets and sax (0:03-0:10). Maestro plays in a funny fashion as the arrows follow the soldiers. The trumpets change their color to serious mode when Lakshmana gets wild (0:17-0:21). As we hear the peculiar sound of arrows surrounding Lakshmana, the violins play a tremolo at the background (0:19-0:34) and gradually transforms to a crescendo. Maestro weaves the violin magic clearly despite the other sounds. When Lakshmana asks Lava-Kusa to appear in front, if they are brave enough Maestro punches in more trumpets (0:37-0:49) so that even the horse whinnying does not fade the music. The way trumpets fade away beautifully as Lakshmana witness Lava-Kusa for the first time. Unlike Lakshmana’s war, this is not a war between sound effects and Maestro’s background score, it is the amalgamation of the two which brings the tension in the scene effectively.
Lakshmana proudly claims that the horse is none other than the Great Rama. As he speaks we hear a grand thud, cymbal clash (1:00-1:05), that’s when Lakshmana destroys their arrows. There is no music from 1:06-1:27). Lakshmana’s pride was destroyed into pieces within seconds when Lava-Kusa blame and ridicule Rama and Lakshmana for abandoning pregnant Sita to forest. Maestro plays some sober violins (1:28-1:55) during the whole conversation. Divine piece of music! Lakshmana reverts back saying he can tolerate anything spoken about him but he cannot when anyone talks bad about Rama. Hearing this Lava-Kusa reverts back that they too cannot tolerate anyone who marries and abandon a woman like this.
That’s when the actual war starts (2:09). We hear a full-fledged symphony (2:17-5:09). Double-bass, cellos, violins take center stage along with the mirage of sound effects. The war starts with Agneyastram (wind of fire), vaarunaastram (weapon of water/rain/storm), naagaastram (weapon of snake), Trishul, Chakra, Vaayavastram (weapon of wind) and finally ends with Lakshmana fainting to a smoke weapon. Violins start in a percussion mode (2:38-2:57) and the big thud of drums follows from 2:58-3:04 as Lakshmana gets more angry as water is all over on him. The biggest highlight of this score is when Lakshmana fires his snake weapon (3:36-3:53) and Lava-Kusa counter-attack with weapon of eagle. Maestro has created a breathtaking sound with cellos and violins. The way Maestro has created the effect of snake crawling through cellos/violins is mind-blowing to say the least. We can also hear the sounds of fire blowing (by the snake) and cry of eagle (created by the effects). Maestro changes the melody frequently, as the fight between snake and eagle is underway (3:54-4:11). @4:12 we hear a horse cry in fear as Lakshmana was attacked by the weapon of eagle. When there is music there is not much other effects, and when the actual fight between weapon happens there is no music. When the war between Trishul and Chakra takes place there is more of sound effects rather than music, except it starts with some grand cellos (4:13-4:22). The war culminates with Lava-Kusa firing the more powerful weapon to make Lakshmana and his warriors unconscious. Maestro uses the same theme he just used during snake-eagle war (4:53-5:09).
We are treated by a full-fledged symphony for the last three minutes by Maestro. Even though I have only observed a minuscule part of it, there are layers of violins, cellos talking to each other one giving hand to another, one melody leading to another, the percussion which comes and go to broadcast the fierceness in the battle, all take the crowning glory. With all this it is very difficult to abruptly stop and leave space for the actual sound and special effects to take effect and again start from scratch. I am blown to smithereens by this breath-taking symphony. The grandness and the fierceness Maestro brought to the table (especially at the lightning speed he scans the scene and writes the score) is extremely impossible to even imagine by others. That’s is our Maestro. John Williams, Ennio Morricone and other respected composers, Are you listening?