Mychael Danna – Monsoon Wedding (2001, dir. Mira Nair)
Winner at the 2002 Academy Awards: Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, dir. Peter Jackson)
To wrap up this current set of posts about film scores, here is Mychael Danna’s score for my favorite film by Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding (2001). There is a main theme that plays throughout the film, the sounds modifying to fit the moods of each scene depending on whether there is a more humorous or serious tone. The blaring horns of “Baraat” (1) play in the film’s opening credits, representing the joyous and playful celebration of family and the excitement of a new life for the bride, Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das), and the groom, Hemant Rai (Parvin Dabas). Other Indian instruments are heard in “Fuse Box” (2), a restatement of the main theme that accompanies a scene showing a different couple, the Verma house maid Alice (Tillotama Shome) and wedding planner P.K. Dubey (Vijay Raaz), as they shyly begin to realize an attraction to one another (hence the introduction of the more romantic flute). “Love and Marigolds” (3) uses a lush orchestral arrangement and piano to emphasize the sense of true love between Alice and Dubey, again incorporating flute and also adding the gentle plucking of traditional instruments to bring the score full circle from loud to soft. Whether striking comic or dramatic notes, it is a superb collection of compositions befitting a wonderful film.