What can be more apt than a Rama bhajan to end this film? Any form of music has its own merits that when it will be appropriate to play/listen. A Bhajan which is always in praise of the lord, has a speciality that it does not have any time frame to listen. Having said that, bhajan also calms down our soul and maintains a balance whenever we feel stressed or in grief. The situation in the film is Rama has left the bhoolOka for the heavenly abode of Vaikuntam, leaving the people of Ayodhya. The only way to console ourselves and also sing praises of his glory is to sing a bhajan, that’s what Maestro does that by starting the end credits with a bhajan. Normally, he could have started with some instrumental music for the end credits, but Maestro knows the impact the film created at the end and he ideally complements with a bhajan. A point to note here is this bhajan is not like a conventional bhajan which we sing/hear in temples, mutts or in our own homes. This has that film flavor which he adds to distinguish it better. It does not mean it is inferior when it comes to devotion, just that Maestro stays true to the film context. The melody holds supremacy here. That’s where he has that hold and control over the music and how it is to be composed.
From 1:10-1:49 he transforms the vocal bhajan to instrumental music as the credits flow on the screen. The melody is almost similar to the bhajan which we just listened. Maesto keeps the underlying rhythm arrangement (he did not use percussion here, some sort of unique sound from piano) same both during the vocal bhajan and during instrumental version. He adds piano, violins and clarinet/oboe to the same base. The result is extra-ordinary. From 1:50-1:56 he just flattens (with sustains) to take the melody in a different direction.
He creates the base for another melody line during 1:57-2:03 by adding violins. Then he adds male choir, oboe, bassoon, flute, female choir one after another to produce the best of the harmonies we have ever listened. We can feel something transformation happening within us when we listen to this section. The male and female choir chant the ‘Omkaaram’ which is the mystical entity where Maestro is taking us on a journey from earth to a celestial abode. When they all sing together with every instrument playing on a high note to end the end credits, we are transported to a different horizon which is nothing but the same Vaikuntam to witness Lord Vishnu resting (anantha sayanam) on Adisesha (his brother Lakshmana as his bed, guarding him all the time) with Sangu and Chakra and his wife Goddess Mahalakshmi massaging his lotus feet.
The question one should ask here is what is so special about Maestro’s end credits? I ask this question every time I finish watching a film which consists of Maestro’s end credits. Just before the end credits start (please revisit the previous episode), we saw Rama merges with Lord Vishnu and gives a ‘half posture’ Divya dharisanam along with Mahalakshmi. Bapu gaaru freezes the shot, thereby denoting the end of the film. I felt incomplete when Lord Vishnu and Mahalakshmi give a standing posture, as this is not the posture which I always imagine about them. Almost like blocking us at the Vaikuntam door and asking us to go. I believe you too do not expect the film to end that way, but there is a reason to it. There comes the twist. That’s when people start walking out of the theatre without knowing what they are going to miss.
If the audience would have stayed further till the end of the end credits, Maestro was ready to take them further into the heart of Vaikuntam with his music to get the full glimpse of the God in ‘anantha sayanam’ with her beloved wife Goddess Mahalakshmi caressing his lotus feet. Did they not miss this rarest divine moment? This episode is mainly dedicated to those who missed the end credits and to those who wanted to witness the complete dharisam of the family through Maestro’s music. That’s why it is always very special about Maestro’s end credits. He is the only composer who knows the pulse of the film and who knows how to complete a film. There are no loose ends in the film with his music. If there are no end credits in a Maestro’s film, Maestro understands that the film does not need one, but when he scores, it is not just to recognize all the technicians involved in the film, it also tells more about the film itself which most of us tend to skip/ignore. Maestro never does music randomly which is what I would like to conclude with this end credits.
This has been a wonderful journey for me since last year to write about Sri Rama Rajyam and its music. I have never thought I could go on continuously for more than a year. Obviously there were some big gaps between my posts, but I feel very happy to have completed a marvelous musical journey with Maestro’s Sri Rama Rajyam. When I thought of starting a blog, the first thing which came to my mind is Sri Rama Rajyam. Such is the impact that film and the music had on me. I still remember the day (September 28th 2012) I wrote about the film’s title score and how Maestro squeezed the entire film and the story in a tiny capsule called title score. From then on, as the journey progressed, I discovered so many nuances in this film score which I would have conveniently skipped or ignored if I would not have written about this film score. One thing I understood in this entire journey is listening to a score is something different while writing about it is something very different. When you listen, you get an idea how Maestro would have composed/conceived this piece of music, but when you start putting those ideas in words, you would feel Maestro is writing for you as he extends the ideas and also corrects as you write. Once you read that, the initial idea which you got has been completely transformed into another beautiful one. You pinch yourself if this is true. The amount of satisfaction you get from these little moments are indescribable.
Twenty six musical cues which makes more than 100 minutes of musical score which is almost two-thirds of the film’s timing. Every episode is diverse in itself. Maestro played native instruments like veena, flute, sarangi, indian classical violins while also carefully utilizing european and middle eastern instruments like oboe, bassoon, trumpet, harps, piano, western classical violins, cellos, double-bass etc without compromising on the nativity of the film. As one of my friend observed, he did the score amidst his wife passing away. Such is the passion, dedication and a perfect example on how he surrenders to music more than his life. He did not outsource or involve in a discussion or gets inputs from fellow musicians when he wrote these scores. All by himself, just that he needed eminent musicians to play the technically challenging compositions. The score is intense on emotions, be it, Sita’s wish and the alarm or Badra reveals the gossip, Lakshmana revealing the reason, Rama shattered, People repents to Rama, Lava-Kusa’s disappointment, Sita’s anger, Valmiki clears Sita’s doubt, Sita hands over his sons or Bhoomadevi takes Sita, at the same time each emotion is different. Some musical phrases tells us the story which dialogues could not convey, while some phrases underlines the emotions for audience to grasp the visuals easily. When there is any situation where there is no music needed, he obviously did not force the scene with music. He also used some existing sound effects to his advantage and composed music based on that for some episodes which require that. All the above nuances we might know having watched Maestro’s films regularly, but what we might not know is how he keeps the precise timing in his scores. How does he know when to start the music and when to fade out? Each piece of music starts and ends with not a single note going out of harmony or hurriedly done to match up with the visuals. How is this even possible for Maestro with just one scan at the visuals when composers are watching again and again to synchronize the score with the visuals which takes months for them to complete? These unknown territories and best kept secrets have another name called ‘genius’ which hardly a few in the world have, Maestro is one among the very few. Sri Rama Rajyam goes to proves again this point, but firmly and in a completely different dimension.
I have not even talked about the songs in this movie. All sixteen songs are worth a rare treasure of a life time. Add another one hour of songs in addition to 100 minutes of the score, it is almost the movie. That’s the amount of work we are talking about, all done in less than two weeks. Another important aspect to note here is Maestro could have used variations from song sequences as leitmotifs for many scenes, that would have saved him time and effort, but he will never take things for granted and also he is so true to the art that he has composed so many new themes in the score in addition to using as very small part from his compositions. If I start talking about the songs, it will take another year, such heart-warming compositions, which is unimaginable by any composer of any era in any context. Sri Rama Rajyam is a Maestro masterpiece and stands tallest when it comes to celebration of art in purest form and at the same time with grandeur and not compromising on the soul. I am not saying it as Maestro’s best, as even that is not sufficient to acknowledge this phenomenal accomplishment, that is the reason I said it is the best when it comes to celebration of art. Maestro has proved yet again on how to honor our old and rich tradition and at the same time how to appeal to the new age. He is the only composer who can do justice to these kind of films. We would have definitely felt the vacuum without his music in this film. Thanks to Maestro, Bapu for making this film a memorable one. Thanks to Maestro and you all for making this journey a very special and memorable one. See you soon!