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Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain by Benjamin Wallfisch (Review)

posted Apr 1, 2015, 9:18 PM by Kaya Savas

Benjamin Wallfisch has consistently proven his abilities as not only an amazing thematic writer, but someone who can craft wonderful soundscapes with the orchestra. His work as an orchestrator is impressive, but I absolutely love his writing. Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is another shining example of how Wallfisch can craft emotional melodies that hook the listener straight to the narrative. And in Bhopal's case even make you look past any problems with the film itself.

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is a film that focuses on the Bhopal gas plant disaster. The film follows different points of view of people as it leads up to the disaster. It can be argued that the film is trying too hard to blend the lines between documentary and fiction, and of course that results in some melodrama. That can’t be avoided, but luckily when the music is on its own the emotions never feel forced and it results in a fantastic narrative. I love how Wallfisch maintains the tone throughout the score, and yet is able to shift from reflective, to somber, to tragic, to threatening quite gracefully. He uses some ethnic flourishes but appropriately as emotional and character touches instead of just saying “Hey, this film takes place in India!”. In any other hands this score could have been a sappy overwritten mess, but Wallfisch adds a chilling realism through it. The end result is a somber reflection on a terrible event of human history.

Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is a wonderful exercise in light-handed emotions from Benjamin Wallfisch. By going a more gentle and somber approach by placing focus on humanity versus the disaster of the event, we get a score that easily speaks to us. Never heavy-handed in its emotional resonance minus a few melodramatic moments, the score resonates wonderfully. It has to deal with dark moments, but by the end there is a shining light that carries the audience on an emotional wave that keep us in sync with the film's story. Wallfisch is a great talent, and Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain further establishes him as such.