Sound Assignment

Sound Assignment Words: 479

CS8119 Midterm Assignment – Sound This essay is based on the opening title sequence of “Slumdog Millionaire (2008)”. Throughout the scene, the filmmaker uses the soundtrack titled “O Saya” by A. R. Rahman and M. I. A, which focuses heavily on orchestra and moves at a fast pace. The scene was started with a group of children, who lives in slum of Mumbai, playing baseball and screaming, anticipating the main character, Jamal, to catch the ball. Audience would have expected the continuation of the song to signal Jamal’s ability to catch the ball.

However, the sound of the airplane gradually became louder which indicates that the airplane is getting closer to Jamal. This signalled distraction on Jamal and thus his failure in catching the ball. Audience may get disappointed upon their anticipation to see his success in catching it. Thus, the use of sounds can set a viewer’s mood. When the police came and the children started to run, the rhythm and tempo of drum beats speed up. This shows simultaneous sound as high tempo would mean that the children are running.

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It also creates some excitement for the audience at the start of the chase. As the chase goes on, drum beat continues at same tempo. However, for different places, different sound mix could be heard. For instance, when they ran pass the drain, there is the sound of water and when they ran through the slum market, sound of plastic bottles could be heard. In this scene, the lyrics of soundtrack may seem as though the children were mocking the police for their inability to catch them in such a big slum area.

This can be supported by the actions done by Jamal and his brother at the end. The whole image of slum also shows that slum was much bigger than the police can control. Drum beats at that point in time disappeared because there were no scenes of chasing. In another shot, Jamal accidentally hit the window panel of a white Mercedes car with a “thud” sound, followed by a short dialogue. Such sound effect was used to emphasize the action on screen. Towards the end of the scene, the soundtrack came to an abrupt stop when Jamal and his brother met their mum.

There is then dialogue between the brothers and their mum as well as the policeman which shows an indication of the end of the chase. The very last part shows synchronous sound where the policeman screamed, showing that he is frustrated as he failed to catch the children. To conclude, there is a combination of dialogue, music and sound effects which blends in smoothly in this scene. Without these manipulations of sounds, the film would be less interesting and less impactful. Video link: http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=r0Fg3sJdC0s&feature=related

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