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Viceroy's House
Album Cover Art
Composed and Produced by:
A.R. Rahman

Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Matt Dunkley

Performed by:
The Chamber Orchestra of London
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(March 3rd, 2017)
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The score-only album is a regular international release, the download option (MP3 and lossless) available three months prior to the June 9th, 2017 release date for the identical CD. Additional songs from the film are available for download on a separate product in India.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you do not doubt A.R. Rahman's ability to record a lovely and heartfelt merging of Western orchestra and Indian instrumentation and vocals for a highly lyrical and accessibly dramatic experience.

Avoid it... on the score-only album if you seek the credits' song interpolation of the score's main themes or on screen if you expect Rahman's music to be applied with satisfying consistency of presence in context.
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WRITTEN 2/24/18
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Viceroy's House: (A.R. Rahman) Any student of history can testify that the British royally botched the creation of many of the 20th century's national formations, among their empire's dying colonial sins being the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 during their efforts to extricate themselves from the subcontinent. Several feature films have been made about the larger scope of the event's political posturing and the consequent suffering due to the largest migration in modern human history as Muslims departed India for Pakistan. Writer and director Gurinder Chadha's 2017 film, Viceroy's House, alternately known as Partition: 1947 in India (but banned in Pakistan), studies the era through the perspective of the final Viceroy of India, his family, and his residential servants. A love story that develops between two of the servants, one Hindu and the other Muslim, anchors the heart of the movie while the Viceroy and his wife and daughter struggle to balance their desire to help of the people of the nation with political pressures from Winston Churchill and the British government. Despite several notable performances by the international cast, Viceroy's House struggles when it attempts, in its second half, to depict a tale larger than the characters is establishes early on. That said, the plot supplies as much of a Hollywood ending as possible, confronting a divisive political environment today with old-fashioned mush. There was minor controversy involving the extent to which the story pushes the theory that the British drew the boundaries of Pakistan simply as a buffer against the Soviets. The film wasn't a particular success critically or financially, but it did offer foremost Indian composer Allahrakka (A.R.) Rahman the opportunity to further develop his dramatic chops on screen. A pop sensation and student of classical music, Rahman initially resisted involvement with Viceroy's House; he had promised himself never to work on any film about the partition. But upon seeing the movie, he acquiesced, and in part because the production was backed by Europeans, he cemented the director's notion that the timeless love story element of the movie would require a heavily Western-influenced score.

Rahman, of course, is no stranger to powerhouse orchestral music, but he remains better known as the Hans Zimmer equivalent in contemporary India, his soundtrack endeavors popularized by dance songs and other electronically-inclined mainstream recordings. The widely acclaimed but overrated score for Slumdog Millionaire opened the door for a variety of international projects for Rahman, and he continues to find topics well served by his knack for fusing Western orchestral traditions and Indian instrumentation and vocals. His techniques are a perfect match for the needs of Viceroy's House, and he responds with a dramatic and engaging score that highlights the best of his trademark applications. Built upon a London orchestral ensemble, the composer supplies regional woodwinds, led by a bansuri flute, and sarangi fiddle, tabla percussion, the expected sitar, dulcimer, and a few other contributors in addition to male and female vocalizations ethnically matched with specific cultures throughout the work. His use of male voice for the Muslim component and female voice for the Hindu alternative is highly symbolic and effective, even if those gender identities don't happen to match the religions of the two lovers. Rahman's layering of vocals is always adept, and listeners familiar with his highly overachieving music for Couples Retreat will recognize related applications in an admittedly different genre here. Also figuring into the equation is a tastefully mixed synthetic layering to the bass region at times, offering resounding depth without sounding out of place in a historical drama. Finally, solo cello and violin frequently represent the British aspect. Not surprisingly, Rahman remains faithful to four themes throughout Viceroy's House, the highly lyrical score only deviating into non-descript passages of suspense a few times, notably during the "Classified" cue as the British plans are exposed. While the score on album is consistently melodic and engaging, it must be noted that the placement of the music in the film is haphazard at best, portions of Rahman's score simply unused or diminished in the mix. The international album runs for only less than 45 minutes, and viewers of the movie will note that almost all of the conversational scenes sadly lack any musical accompaniment, lengthy passages existing without any score at all.

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Average: 3.66 Stars
***** 18 5 Stars
**** 23 4 Stars
*** 14 3 Stars
** 7 2 Stars
* 4 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Total Time: 44:26
• 1. Viceroy's House (2:39)
• 2. Displacement (2:36)
• 3. Swearing In (2:34)
• 4. Jinnah Meets Mountbatten (1:21)
• 5. Limerence (1:39)
• 6. Gandhi (1:09)
• 7. Pamela and Alia Bond (1:24)
• 8. Dickie is the Man (3:06)
• 9. Two Broken Hearts (3:13)
• 10. Ahimsa (2:46)
• 11. The Partition (3:59)
• 12. Classified (2:18)
• 13. The Birth of Two Nations (3:29)
• 14. Exodus (4:04)
• 15. Jeet Finds Alia (3:03)
• 16. The Cost of Freedom (5:07)

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The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2018, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Viceroy's House are Copyright © 2017, Filmtrax/BFD and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 2/24/18 (and not updated significantly since).
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