I love film scores.
The problem is that so few capture an audience’s attention because they either get lost (mixed low in scenes) or they are largely uninteresting. There are those that become an entertainment all of their own, apart from the film. Examples of these are John Williams, whose list of scores read as a ‘best of’. Ennio Morricone is another with his unforgettable The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Cinema Paradiso scores. Many films have good scores. And then there are simple scores that catch an audience’s attention with its blend of musical pieces that stand out. The score of The Namesake is one of these.
The Namesake, adapted from the Jhumpa Lahiri novel of the same name, is a story of names and identity. The story centers on the growing child of an Indian couple, who moved to NYC after their marriage. After arriving, the wife becomes pregnant and is surprised at the US custom of naming a child immediately after birth. Not having given thought to the name, the couple bestows the child with two more or less meaningless names. While the child is young, he assumes one of the names as a permanent one, a choice that haunts him long after the child grows into a young man.
The music of the film uses a beautiful running score by Nitin Sawhney, interspersing the music with tracks that identify India and, in contrast, NYC. You can hear a Bengali folk song, the intriguing ‘30s sounding “Jhiri Jhiri Choyetali” by Geeta Dutt. Several tracks further, the American rock sound of “Mo’s Affair,” with Pixies-like guitar (“Where is My Mind?”) exemplifies its moment. There is a rap tune, “The Chosen One,” from The Elements and Mykill Miers (anyone guess where this variation of a name originated from?) that typifies the timespace and the NYC location.
The Namesake is a varied collection that accompanies this film and its moments of time. The spread of music and songs flow throughout this soundtrack wonderfully. With its visitation of cultures and countries India and USA) via the music of the places and their time, The Namesake OMPS (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) not only is an essential part of the film, but it is also an interesting play away from the film as well.