EXCLUSIVE: Joker score producer Sam Slater talks about his work in The Railway Men, creator Shiv Rawail, and more

Sam Slater sat down with Pinkvilla to talk about what went behind creating music for Netflix series The Railway Men, read whole interview here.

Updated on Nov 29, 2023  |  01:27 PM IST |  139.9K
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Sam Slater

Sam Slater is known for his work in multiple movies and series like Joker, Chernobyl, Mother!, and more. He has won a Grammy Award for his work in the Joaquin Phoenix starrer movie. In an interview with Pinkvilla, Sam sat down to discuss what went behind his new work in the Netflix series The Railway Men. He has spoken about the inspiration, the work that went behind it, and also about the creator Shiv Rawail. 

What went behind creating music for such a heartbreaking series? 

It's very challenging to make music for something real. Yeah. I think that the first thing to know is that while the story itself is potentially, you know, it's not a documentary. It's a real tragedy in which many, many people died and in which many people's lives were ruined, changed, and forever altered. I was really attracted to this story when the script came through. Shiv had managed to write a story that was full of hope, and that hope threaded through a very real tragedy. And so, I learned a lot.  I tried to read as much about the history as I possibly could. 

You have worked for Chernobyl which deals with a similar tragedy as The Railway Men, were there any challenges you faced?

Well, I mean, there's emotional challenges, yeah. I think making a comedy is probably easier work for the soul. I think the comparisons with Chernobyl sort of start and stop with the fact that it was an industrial disaster. I think ultimately the way in which the Railway Man tells the story is far, far more of a thriller. It's more, um, there's more energy in the narrative. Chernobyl is 100 percent about the disaster and about the political context. While those things, I think, are important and well addressed within The Railway Men, Shiv chose to tell the narrative through the stories of these four main characters.


The challenge had much more to do with how to bring energy, life, and, you know, love and all of these amazing emotions into these characters and squeeze them through. It's a very complex and tragic story.

Do you have any memorable moments with the creator, Shiv Rawail?

You know there's lots of different things, but I think ultimately, like, you know, there was a feeling when we finished episode one that was quite lovely. It's the story of the explosion rather than the story of, and less to do with, the story of the railway men. You know, so episode one, when we finished that, you know, there was this feeling like we'd completed this challenge, and now we're going to move into the story of these other characters.

I can remember watching the first episode with my collaborator and teammate over here, who was called Jakob Vasak, and he's a great composer from Austria.  And we watched it, and we were like, This is pretty good; you know, we were really happy with it. And Shiv was really happy, and we were all really excited to get on to telling the story of the Railway Men afterward.


Which episode was the most challenging?

The first episode always takes the longest because you're establishing so much. We wrote the whole first episode musically once and then realized that it was going to be more of a thriller. And they re-edited it, and we re-wrote the whole first episode. And then when episode two came around, that's very normal, to be clear. You know you're part of a team of people who are learning. You're learning what you're making. You know, you film a lot of things. You write a script, and you film a lot of things. But what you get back is, you know, a puzzle that needs arranging. The first episode took a very long time, but it was worth it. You know, by the end of it, you've established a sound world and a way of telling a story, and then everything else is much quicker.


About The Railway Men

The Netflix series focuses on the Bhopal Gas tragedy and how four railway men leave everything just to save people in difficult times. The miniseries stars R. Madhavan, Kay Kay Menon, Divyenndu, and Babil Khan. It is currently in the Top 10 on Netflix (Global) whereas it is the No. 1 show in India. 

ALSO READ: Did you know The Railway Men and Chernobyl have one thing in common? Director Shiv Rawail REVEALS connection

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About The Author
Ruchi Chandrawanshi
Ruchi Chandrawanshi
Content Manager - Hollywood

Entertainment journalist who is also a cinephile. With over 4 years of experience in the industry, Ruchi brings her



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