Thomas Newman calls upon local flavor for his score to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” the sleeper indie hit this spring among the NPR crowd. The film is about a group of seven British retirees that get more than they bargained for when they head off to
for a stay at what they think will be the luxurious Marigold Hotel. Although the hotel turns out to be less than their expectations, all of them are transformed by the cultural immersion of being in Jaipur. India
Newman became known in the late 1990s and early 2000s for his quirky scores for projects like Sam Mendes’ film “American Beauty” and the HBO program “Six Feet Under.” The music used tuned percussion and sparse arrangements to create a melodic, yet uneasy, shifty sound. Here, Newman uses Indian vocalists and instrumentalists, as well as strings and rock guitar, in often highly charged tracks. The music befits the uplifting and positive spirit of the story. I’m not enough of an expert to know if it’s authentic Indian, but it captures the flavor of India—or at least, what I would expect it to be!