Imagine, if you could watch a film whose story and mood was narrated through live music. Seems like a innovative artistic experiment? Well, it’s not. The tradition of composing live music scores to movies is a late 19th century tradition that came with the era of silent films and gradually died with the coming of the talkies and superior technological know-how for sound in cinema. However the good news is that this tradition is being seeing a revival with “Shiraz: A Romance of India”; a 1928 silent black and white film that will tour four cities in India, with a specially commissioned live music score, early next month. This event is all set to be an iconic one in this year’s cultural calendar. It is one of the few surviving Indian-British-German productions made and entirely shot in India that has been recently restored for viewing but also because the music of the film will be played by multi-Grammy nominated composer and musician Anoushka Shankar and an orchestral ensemble that includes Indian and western instruments.
Shiraz tells the love story of the 17th century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal and we can only imagine that such a poetic theme complemented by the music of Shankar; who trained under her father the sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar from the age of four, one can be assured that this event will be no less than surreal. This early Indian film-with a surprisingly erotic kiss made by pioneers of Indian cinema like Himansu Rai and Niranjan Pal will come to life through a variety of instruments like the sitar, flute, harmonium, cello, piano and clarinet is sure to be a an exquisite experience for modern viewers.
Shiraz which has been the initiative of the British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive had its premiere at the Archive Gala of the 61st BFI London Film Festival on October 14th this year. According to this report by the Asian Culture Vulture, Shiraz brought “out a variety of orchestration to suit the visuals and the scenes with much depth, so as to give it a rich texture with subtleness and finesse.”
We wouldn’t miss this rare experience of old world cinematic mastery combined contemporary musical brilliance and nor should you-so book your tickets soon!
Dates and Venues:
1st November, Hyderabad
3rd November, Kolkata
4th November, New Delhi
5th November, Mumbai
Ticket Price: 300-1200 INR
For more details about the event and to book tickets click here.
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