Undoubtedly the 'King' of all Bollywood classics, Sholay has a highly underrated background score. RD Burman, in prime form, created one of the most memorable soundtracks for a film, based on the inspirational spaghetti Western themes of Ennio Morricone. From the soaring opening music of the film to the thrilling action sequences, the background score segues into the plotline in perfect symmetry.
If Sholay was good wine, Satte Pe Satta was a fine homebrewed ale. RD Burman sat down with another Sippy, Raj, to create a memorable track for this cult classic starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. One of the most memorable sounds of the film is the entry of Amitabh's evil twin. Having repeatedly failed at finding the perfect tune, RD stumbled upon it when he heard jazz singer Annette Pinto gargling. The sound you hear in the background is Ms. Pinto gargling water, and RD providing the rest of the magic.
Ram Gopal Varma has never shied away from admitting his distaste for Indian cinema's penchant for songs in films. Surprisingly, Varma is a director whose films are littered with some subtle, but powerful background scores that fuel the storyline. For his epic saga on Mumbai's underworld, 'Satya', Varma hired Sandeep Chowta to compose a soundtrack as snazzy and thrilling as his film. Chowta succeeded with style and was rewarded with a Filmfare Award for the Best Background Score.
Anurag Kashyap's directorial never found a release after running into the censors. But its soundtrack developed a major cult following. The soundtrack of 'Paanch' was composed by another upcoming music director then, Vishal Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj's soundtrack is a refreshing departure from folk and Indian influences, turning to heavy rock and dark, despairing sounds.
5 Dhobi Ghat
Kiran Rao's debut feature created waves on its release. Artistic and sensitive, it portrayed the lonely lives of citizens in a crowded city. But it was not just the film that caught the attention of audiences. The beautiful, haunting background score by Gustav Santaolalla was praised across the board. A two-time Academy Award winner, the Argentinian Gustav Santaolalla somehow captured the sounds of Mumbai's' lonely hearts perfectly.
Another wonderful film from the stable of Anurag Kashyap, Udaan was a beautiful story about the freedom of children and the struggle for their dreams. But it is the background score that emerges as the true hero of the film. In a story about repression, Amit Trivedi's assured use of silence stands out. The exhilarating crescendo of the song 'Aazaadiyaan' brings a sense of liberation at the end of the film.
7 Monsoon Shootout
Director Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shootout premiered at the 2013 Cannes film festival to great acclaim. Gingger Shankar's stark background score earned plaudits as well. The international artist has designed a supremely contemporary score with double cellos, violas and the piano used to great effect. Definitely one to watch out for!