Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General, Music - General

Million Dollar Arm


Been listening to this OST and have listened to all the tracks at least half a dozen times.

And then this evening, I took my baseball crazy 10 year old son to watch the movie. Couldn’t have been a more perfect evening to take him out to watch a baseball movie, because tomorrow is his first baseball league game of the season (and this is the first ever season he is playing). So imagine the excitement! He knew the movie had something to do with baseball and India, as he had seen the promos, but he was totally sucked in once he started watching the movie. That’s when I felt, as a father, how important it was for me to take him to the movie – if not for anything else, to make him connect with his roots in a way, only a movie of this kind could do.

When we walked out of the movie, he told me that this movie is similar to 42 (The Jackie Robinson story) – just that there were two Jackie Robinsons. I felt happy to hear how he drew the parallel (in the most appropriate way) without we having to explain anything to each other.

Now to the movie…

The movie is spectacularly everything you would expect in a sports movie. A struggling sports agent looking for that one success and when he takes up a challenge, all odds are stacked up against him. He overcomes them one by one, while romancing an affable, quiesce, nonchalant, next door girl, who makes him get to know his human side, which eventually helps him succeed. That’s it. The only difference and the big difference here is the ‘challenge’ itself. “Finding a pitcher from India…”

Fortunately, the Indian stereotypes were not too many in the movie and if & when they were there, they were subtly played with enough humor to present them to an American audience, who otherwise is expected to have an exotic image of India. But, we are in 2014 and not anywhere in future, so I guess, one shouldn’t be surprised with the filmmakers’ intent to continue to work around the Indian stereotypes that are of exotic nature.

Jon Hamm was a great choice for JB. He played the role to perfection. So did Lake Bell, Alan Arkin and Aasif Mandvi, although I am not sure, why Mandvi’s character had to be an Indian character. The kids – Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal and the Indian coach Pitobash were all perfect in their roles. There were a couple of cheesy sequences (prayer scene, yoga scene, etc.) – but they were not too many to actually stand out, but probably enough to draw  some attention from the critics, who are otherwise waiting to malign a movie which tries to pit multiple cultures against one another.

AR Rahman’s music actually turned out to the biggest surprise for me. His OST was almost like a constant pillar throughout the movie. Every sequence had something for Rahman to make it his and he has done it with some ease. Be it the ‘Bobbleheads’ cue used for the opening Disney logo unveiling or ‘Thirakkadha’ used during end credits, every bit of his music actually made a large impression on me while watching the movie. An impression larger than what it made while listening to them on my Digital player. I was particularly thrilled and literally was standing with some goosebumps, when I noticed that more than 75% of the audience were sitting and listening to the song, as ‘Unborn Children’ (Thirakkadha) started playing towards the end and the credits started rolling. Rarely do I see this happen.

I walked out of the theater with a crack of a smile on my face and with a fatherly sense of pride for two reasons:

1) Son said he wanted to stay through to listen to all the songs

2) He was ready to come home and get his glove & ball ready to start playing in his room (it was 9:30 PM)