Features, Music February 24, 2011 By Timothy Gunatilaka

ar 2 A.R. Rahman How do you even begin to write music for something as devastating as the amputation scene in 127 Hours?
I actually had to watch it almost forty times. [After] the first four or five times, you start getting immune to it and start looking at how it affects you emotionally. Of course, every time you hear the bone-breaking sounds, you close your eyes and it almost feels like your bone is breaking. Metaphorically, I feel, every one of us has in life a choice that sometimes comes to that level [so] you want to capture that feeling…. When you look at the whole movie, what it stands for, what it conveys, [that scene] is just a tiny part of it — which is a very important part — because the movie is so brilliantly done by Danny.

Because there’s just one person shown in most of the film and because there’s such little dialogue, did you feel a greater responsibility in driving the story and developing the characters through music?
It was scary when you just realize that there’s nothing else in the movie. Usually, it tends to [come from] great acting, but [here] it was all about scoring, silence, sound effects, and textures. It is so precious, such a great platform for any composer to do music for a movie like this because it is heard, it is felt, and it has to do its job. In this case, we were careful, but we enjoyed it.

The music of Slumdog Millionaire was so defined by the culture of Mumbai. For this film, did you feel similar cultural constraints? Was it a challenge trying to capture the landscape of Utah or America?
The whole world has become multi-cultural. I’m from India but I’ve been watching Hollywood films for the past thirty, thirty-five years.

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