Reuniting with Konkona after Death in the Gunj, composer Sagar Desai gives us insight into scoring for ‘The Mirror’ from Lust Stories 2
Sagar Desai is the musical virtuoso behind the spellbinding sounds of Konkona Sen Sharma’s film ‘The Mirror’ in the Netflix anthology Lust Stories 2. Desai has found himself amidst immense praise as Konkona’s film is lauded for flawlessly weaving together the tapestry of class and desire, leaving you breathless and yearning for more. The story delves deep into the enigmatic relationship between two women.
But it’s Desai’s musical wizardry that sets the stage ablaze, as his compositions amplify the dichotomy of social classes and hidden yearnings. With an uncanny sensitivity and an exquisite understanding of human emotions, Desai’s melodies become the secret language of the characters. But ‘The Mirror’ is just one of the many feathers in Desai’s illustrious cap. He has to his credit some notable works including ‘Zwigato,’ ‘Qala’, ‘Guilty Minds,’ ‘Mai,’ ‘Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi,’ ‘Ankhon Dekhi’ and ‘A Death in the Gunj,’ amongst others.
He tells us about the film and his experience. “Konkona is an extraordinary writer and director, and working with her on A Death in the Gunj was one of the best experiences of my life. Her characters are always complex and her storytelling is always multi-dimensional. She has extremely sharp perception, and clarity of thought. Working on The Mirror, surprisingly, was difficult for me, and us.
It took us a while to figure out the right approach. It could not be comedy, it could not be serious, it could not be emotional, it had to have a certain lightness of being, it straddles a very fine line. It had to be mischievous, and sensual. We arrived at the sitar and the banjo finally. The sitar was bringing that sensuality. The plucking and poking sound of the instrument really worked in bringing out all of the above. In addition, the banjo gave the proceedings a certain playfulness. It was a long journey even though its technically a short film, it felt like a feature.”
Talking about the experience of setting a film to music, he adds, “Scoring for film is always magical for me. When I first started working in this field, I was mesmerised by how certain notes and moods can affect a visual. From lifting up a grand vista, to codifying a character’s inner feelings and thoughts. Film score music is the glue which binds a film together, the force which moves the story forward, it can be the narrator of the film and it can be a character who is not on the screen.
Over the years, I’ve noticed how the score I create can actually help me understand the characters and the story better, before it even touches the audience’s eyes and ears. Taking all the above into consideration, it becomes apparent that just like music can affect the visual, the visual affects the music equally.”