‘Hollywood’s background scores are more mature’
Background scores in films and TV in India are very different from how they are composed for projects in the West. Music – composer duo Salim Sulaiman, who have composed background scores for films such as Dhoom (2004), Dostana (2008) and Cocktail (2012), talk about their experience of composing the score for the 2014 Hollywood film, Sold.
“It was a completely different approach. In our country, people tend to focus more on the songs, and background scores don’t really get that much importance. I mean, you wouldn’t hear anyone say, that oh this composer’s score in the film was good. They all say that a composer’s songs were good in the movie,” says Salim Merchant.
And, Sulaiman feels that the industry hasn’t understood the “magic” of film scores, and adds that producers don’t understand the importance of silence in at certain moments in films. “It’s not an easy thing to do. Creating a film score is an art, and we have really learned about its magic over the years. After creating scores for films across genres, from dramas to sports films, we have got to know the art of scoring, and we have realised that one should be very minimalistic with their approach. When there is pin drop silence in the background, when it’s a horror scene, or a thriller scene — that has more impact on the audience than filling it with loud music. The key is to know where not to put the music (sound),” he says.
Salim agrees with his elder brother’s views. “It’s sad and it has become a tradition that every sad scene will be accompanied by such loud music. It has been hammered into our psyche, and TV, I feel has spoilt it a lot for us. The idea is not to load the scene with heavy music, but to invoke that particular emotion. That’s why the way one works in Hollywood is very different. They try to bring in some maturity to their background scores,” he says.