In her approach to composing music for film, Alokananda Dasgupta is closer to the Hollywood tradition than Indian films. Her work–Shala, Fandry, Tope, Trapped—has been more concentrated on musical themes, motifs and instrumental pieces than songs (although she composes songs as well). Very little of it outside YouTube is available for legal consumption, and Netflix’s Sacred Games, her latest, might change it. India’s answer to the Narcos’ of the world is a hit, and accolades for her score, from AR Rahman to Arijit Singh, are pouring in.
Dasgupta, who has grown up obsessing over films and film scores, is a fan first, and a composer later. We asked her to pick her favourite soundtracks from movies and TV shows.
My first love with an international series, and the beginning of my attraction towards dark shows began with The X-Files. I love the theme, I would listen to it on loop… So apt, eerie, beautiful, sombre yet simple. Just a melody played out through the whistle with the keyboard accompanied. Hair raising!
It’s beautifully minimalistic…and I love what Arcade Fire and Owen Pallet did with sounds to create loneliness in a dystopian world. I also loved “The Moon Song” by Karen O. It’s so painfully beautiful. It comes at the right place in the film and evokes the right emotions. A song with a purpose.
Call Me By Your Name
A lot of classical music, classical piano. Maurice Ravel’s piece from Miroirs called “Une barque sur l’océan”, which I love, was used. It was just apt… it added to the romanticism, without being being cliched in a love story set in a beautiful landscape in Italy. It evoked that sense of pain pathos that I felt with the Brokeback Mountain main theme.
Neil Young’s soundtrack of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man is haunting and it’s just one instrument. One person manipulating an entire score through guitar. It was him improvising, and he recorded it and used it. I think knowing that also helped.
True Detective is one of my favourite shows after Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. I love the opening credits; the song “Far From Any Road” by Handsome Family, and the credit visuals, are very haunting. The songs are by T Bone Burnett. I went mad when “My least favourite life” comes in the second season, although the season 2 couldn’t hold my attention like 1 did.
I am crazy about Zach Braff. You can tell that he has compiled the soundtrack with a lot of love. Every song is functional. The lyrics to the songs don’t always directly correlate with the scenes yet it pulls the narrative forward so seamlessly. Nick Drake’s “One of these things first” and Zero 7’s “In the waiting line” just define the scenes for me. It has permanently etched something in me…some kind of truth…serene, simple yet beautiful.
Watch FC In the Spotlight featuring Alokananda: