“All these experiences and memories were re-awakened the first time I read Shakila’s script. What struck me initially was her clever use of imagery in an un-chronological order”. Kuljit Bhamra
Kuljit Bhamra’s original and passionate soundtrack for The Winter of Love left many wanting more from this versatile composer. Since creating the highly original soundtrack, Kuljit has gone on to create music for prestigious shows and films.
The soundtrack for The Winter of Love is due for release on Keda Records.
Here, Kuljit give a personal account of creating the music for The Winter of Love.
“Writing the score and recording the music for the film was a memorable and rewarding experience for me – one that will forever remain fresh in my mind – for two reasons. Firstly, much of the filming took place in my hometown Southall at locations that I used to frequent as a young teenager.
Devil’s Tunnel (as we used to call it) ran under the Southall rail track, creating a pedestrian link between Park Avenue and the old Quaker Oats factory. I remember daring my childhood mates to cycle to the end of the long, cold, damp, dark passage and return. We would congregate at the entrance for hours exchanging idle gossip and daring each other- anything to distract us from actually taking up the spine-chilling challenge. Not one of us did.
I lived in Park Avenue with my family at number 49A from 1968 to 2000. Next door is to the entrance gates to Southall Park. I walked through the park daily on my way to school, and remember passing park benches where those old men gathered and drank from their bottles in brown paper bags whilst playing cards amongst the twitchy pigeons. These very locations are picturised in the film.
In addition, many scenes were shot on location in my recording studio complex and old storage building – which I now live in with my children, having spent five years renovating and rebuilding it.
The second reason is that I was thrilled when the director/writer Shakila Taranum Maan presented me with a script that had nothing to do with Bhangra, Bollywood or any other cliché /comic representations of British Asian culture. I was pleased that having already produced over 2000 bhangra and Punjabi dance tracks, I had met someone who was confident that I could do her ‘serious’ film justice. (I also believed that I could).
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a strong fascination with life – and therefore death. As a teenager, I secretly listened to funeral music and melancholic songs. I sneaked down to our living room after my parents had fallen asleep and enjoyed entering ‘the dark side’ with my headphones firmly on. As a result, my passion for life grew stronger over the years. I decided to live life to the full and began recording the dance music that many people know me for now.
Growing up in Southall, I noticed how many Indian customs, traditions and beliefs fought to find their place in British culture. I watched as questions regarding race, colour and women’s rights came to the forefront of people’s thinking.
All these experiences and memories were re-awakened the first time I read Shakila’s script. What struck me initially was her clever use of imagery in an un-chronological order. I was reminded that ‘time’ itself is a human invention. The ‘past’ does not actually exist in reality, but instead is a concoction of justifications, images and memories threaded together by the mind.
I decided to use lesser-known sounds from rare instruments to portray the necessary emotions in the music score. I searched and found players of little known instruments including the Sarangi, Santoor, Tar-Shehnai and Berimbao (musical bow and arrow from Africa). I felt that the use of these beautiful, yet unusual sounds would transport the viewer to all those places of unanswered questions, analysis, joy, sadness, melancholy and sleepless nights that I experienced as a youth, and that we all encounter at some times in our life.
For me personally, the whole process was an exciting, beautiful and spiritually rewarding trip back to ‘the dark side’”.
Originally published in the About Film Blog.