The Bollywood film "Devdas" has found a prominent place in a survey by prestigious British film magazine Sight & Sound on "best music in film".
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" has been described by well-known French director Patrice Chereau as his favourite musical of all times.
Giving his reason for selecting "Devdas" over other international favourites like "The Godfather" and "Psycho", Chereau tells Sight & Sound: "My favourite original score is the one in the film 'Devdas' because it is one of extraordinary vitality.
"I can listen to it up to 10 times back to back, with all the images of the film returning to me. I lift up myself from my armchair and dance in my office hoping that the neighbours across the street are not at their window."
Chereau himself has made the haunting period film "Queen Margot" as well as the sexually charged "Intimacy".
The latest triumph for "Devdas" delights its creator.
Says Bhansali: "The music getting recognition out West is a special triumph for me and composer Ismail Durbar, background scorer Monty and my lyricist Nusrat Badr.
"All of us had worked so hard to create that special quality of sound in 'Devdas' which was at once classical and contemporary, Bengali and yet universal. The music of 'Devdas' took two years of my life.
"I flew down alone to Kolkata to research various music pieces. But finally when the soundtrack released, the sales were disappointing. People said the music in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' was better. I accepted that in all humility, though when the 'Hum Dil...' score had come out, lots of people had found that disappointing.
"I feel 10 years down the line the 'Devdas' soundtrack will get its due...For the music of 'Devdas' to get a mention in such a classy poll in Sight & Sound is no mean achievement."
Interestingly, Monty, who did the background score in "Devdas", returns in Bhansali's new film to do the same. "Black", ready for release in mid-December, has no songs!
Laughs Bhansali. "Did I feel lost without songs? No. Because I've used the background score as songs. The emotional scenes are choreographed in a way that they will sing to the audience. I agree, for me who lives and breathes Hindi film music, doing a song-less film was almost unthinkable.
"But I feel songs are becoming increasingly cumbersome to Hindi cinema. We can't keep thrusting them into every genre. Also, the standard of music in an average film is appalling. I'd rather use songs according to what I'm making. They fitted fabulously into 'Devdas'. They had no place in 'Black'. What Monty has done with the background score is incredible."
Incidentally, the lone Indian director to be quizzed by Sight & Sound is Santosh Sivan, who cites Milos Forman's "Amadeus" and Andrei Tarkovsky's "Stalker" as his favourite musicals.