Shakespeare Wallah is yet another Merchant-Ivory production (see my Bombay Talkie post), directed by American James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The story is set in India, and borrows from the real life adventures of the Kendal family (in the film they are called the Buckingham's), a British travelling theater group who mostly performed Shakespeare across the sub-continent.
This is mostly an instrumental soundtrack. Ray uses, leitmotif, the classical western method of musical theme associated to a person, situation or other which in turn is used several times throughout the film. He also incorporates and mixes both western with traditional Indian music and instruments. The only actual "song" on the record is "Manjula's song". It is the only one with vocals, and is inspired by folk music as well as commercial indian soundtracks or filmi music with its dreamlike qualities. I also enjoy "Manjula's Possession" as well as "Lizzie and Sanju Backstage".
Overall, the album is melancholic and atmospheric, sometimes emotionally and sometimes to be used to describe the little unique universe in which all these characters are living in.It's interesting how Satyajit Ray's films are very much influenced by neo-realism, but this specific soundtrack is not realist in this sense. Not to say they live in a fantasy world the characters do not live in reality per say and the music illustrates that.
I am looking for a film documentary mad e in 1984 by Utpalendu Chakrabarty called The Music of Satyajit Ray. If anyone has seen it I would sure like to hear about it. Thanks, and enjoy the music and the lovely screencap below.Portrait of Satyajit Ray (top right corner) in Darjeeling Limited (2007) accompanied by Jason Schwartzman.
1. Title Music
2. Cleopatra's Barge
3. Arrival of the Troupe in the Rain
4. Manjula's Procession
5. The Good Old Days
6. Mubarak Begum: Manjula's Song-Dil Dharke (Heartbeat)
8. Bobby's Funeral
9. Love Theme - Sanju and Lizzie
10. Carla begs Lizzie to Return to England
11. The Desert Ballroom
12. Lizzie and Sanju Backstage
13. Lizzie Sails for England
Get the music now: Satyajit Ray Shakespeare Wallah