February 21 2019
Befittingly creepy
02 November 2017

In a year that has already seen a multi-language blockbuster, the sequel of Baahubali, and will later witness another biggie in the form of the Rajnikanth starrer 2.0, comes this smaller league horror-themed trilingual, The House Next Door (Avalin Tamil, Gruham in Telugu) starring Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah. The music for the movie has been composed by Girishh Gopalakrishnan in all three languages and marks his Bollywood debut. Barring one song, the short soundtrack has the same tunes across the three versions.

The tune that differs between Hindi and Tamil (Telugu features the same tune as Tamil) is the only one that digresses from the movie’s central theme. While I find the romantic composition more imaginative in Tamil, ‘O Mere Sanam’ is a pleasantly engaging listen. The soundscape is a familiar one, but Shakeel Azmi’s neatly written lines and Benny Dayal’s fantastic singing (have always maintained that the man’s skill at rendering melodic tracks is highly under used) make it worthwhile. The rest of the soundtrack is dark, in keeping with the plot. ‘Ye Waqt Maut Ka Hai’ is aggressive in conveying the darkness, with dramatic interludes and menacing vocals from Suraj Jagan and Shilpa Natarajan.

It is in the other two tracks however that Gopalakrishnan manages to creep you out. In ‘Xiao Xiao Ma’ the composer seemingly draws inspiration from the opening verse of ‘Morning Mood’ from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt. But with the changed time signature (from 6/8 to 7/8) and the sinister undertone, Gopalakrishnan does a brilliant conversion of the happy, hopeful melody into a spooky lullaby. Accentuating the effect is the singing by Chen-Yu Maglin (who also wrote the Chinese lyrics) and Poorna M. ‘The House Next Door Theme’ is short but incredibly effective, thanks largely to the splendid strings section of the F.A.M.E.’s Macedonia Symphonic Orchestra that dominates the orchestral piece. This one is a competent soundtrack where the composer’s work shines through in the more thematic pieces.



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