Jess/Parker - The songs are pretty integral to the film. The thing works on several different levels - and one of them is the very authentic sound of the songs and how they fit into the retelling of the Sita story. Interestingly enough I think pretty much all of them are on a single mp3 album you can download from Amazon for $7.99. Something I've been meaning to do - but never would have without having seen the film.
When I first heard about the story I had a pretty similar reaction to the earlier posts - wouldn't you want to work out the licensing issues first and make the film second? I think that's a fair point. In a purely pragmatic world that likely would have been the path followed - but then we probably wouldn't have this movie around. It's not the approach I'd suggest if I met someone working on a film. But once you have a great piece of very enjoyable art completed it's a shame that more people can't see it.
To me the part that sucks most is that everyone seems likely to lose out given the upfront cost structure to license the music in this case. Nina Paley, potential fans of the film, potential new fans of the music and the "rights" owners.