Achcham Yenbathu Madamaiyada Music Review: Rahmanum Tamziharin Udamaiyada !

‘Avalum naanum’ is a very simple Paavendhar Bharathidasan song set to a very simple and likeable melody. There is a nice 60’s MSV ring when the song begins and then gives way to a more ARR flute section. Vijay Yesudas is someone I really like off late and he does utmost justice to the nice poem. This song too doesn’t follow a traditional pallavi-charanam approach and instead takes somewhat of a 2 part pattern. There is a very moving musical interlude in the middle with an operatic violin section and a sweet flute piece. The tune changes a tad post this, but does not let up one bit on the melody and simplicity. Kudos to ARR, Vijay Y for keeping things very simple and profound respects to Pavendhar for a timeless classic.

Song highpoint – Violin interlude and ‘Avalum naanum narambum yaazhum, poovum manamum’

 

The first thing that strikes you about ‘Thalli pogathey’ is its totally free flowing pattern of music and poetry. The AYM curtain raiser video says that even lyricist Thamarai found it very difficult to grasp this unconventional tune progression at first. It organically describes the symptoms of the hero falling in love. Weather changing, heart beating faster, mind searching for words to describe something, it just goes on and on in free flow and the tease briefly ends at about 2.22 when the main hook line ‘thalli pogathey’ hits you. ADK’s rap kicks in a minute layer and the rest of the chorus is nicely wrapped around it to create a great feel. I could write an essay about just the lyrics of the song, but that is not the goal of this piece. But gems like ‘kasayadi pole mudhugil mele vari vari kavithai’ and ‘yen mudhal mutham…… thamarai veguthe’ keep hitting you constantly. If you are a tamizh loving ARR fan it is sheer poetry, else it is still musical poetry at work.

Song high points – ‘Kasaiyadi …. Vari vari kavidhai’ and the ‘Thalli pogathey’ reveal

 

Raasali’ is a very melodious, inspired and layered take on newly blooming love. I use the word inspired in a very positive sense here as the song has a bunch of healthy lyrical and musical inspirations which it blends to great effect. Very uniquely, the male singer starts off by using a falcon and competing with it on who is ahead. There seems to be a few layers to this. Being a road movie, at the surface it just is a simple speed angle to it. But the actual meaning is, both the hero and heroine competing eagerly to profess their love, which by now is taking full flight. Musically, the song has 2 important inspirations.

The first of them is the beautiful extraction from ‘Valachi varnam’. Not only has ARR chosen a lovely Carnatic composition to blend into his song, he has smartly chosen 2 different parts of the nava raga malika i.e the Kamboji charanam and the famous sree ragam chitta swaram. Not only that, it is way more than a gimmicky fusion and serves as a crisp tone changing interlude at the end of the pallavi.

AYM TracklistThis brings us to the second big inspiration of the track. The 2 charanams are sent in the rhythm pattern of the iconic ‘Muthai thiru’ by Arunagirinathar. The inspiration is very innovatively used, Sathyaprakash sings very comfortably and is at ease with the quality lyrics and the rather difficult pacing of the sandham. Above and beyond fitting to a tough pattern, thamarai excels with quality lyrics like ‘munnil oru kaatrin kali mugathinil pinnil oru pachai kili….’ To beautifully describe the hero’s 2 key passions in life i.e his bike and the girl in his life.

Sasha Tirupathi takes over from the 2nd interlude and though her voice and Hindustani prowess are easily evident, she does struggle a bit with the ‘muthai thiru’ pattern on 2 counts. Her shrill voice puts her at a disadvantage and her unease with tamizh gets accentuated by the tough pacing of the sandham. She just about gets the words right, but a lack of full control over the tamizh emotions is easily evident to a discerning tamizh listener. Still a beautiful, instantly likeable and well sung song with great musical sense, lyrics and rich inspirations.

Song high point – ‘valachi varanam’ interlude with ‘muthai thiru’ transition.

 

Idhu naal varayil’ as someone pointed out has a nice boy band ballad feel to it. It has a nice free flow feel to it. The song talks of the feelings of a pretty boyish guy feeling the beauty of things around him after falling in love for the first time. The central pivot of the song is the concept ‘Idhu varai yedhume ulagail azhagillai endru naan ninaithadai poi aakinaal’ i.e she smashed my feeling so far that nothing in the world is beautiful. Everything else lyrically in the song is an extension of that.  And the trick like in ‘Thalli Pogathey’ is the song takes a good 1 minute to come to the central hook and keeps you on the edge till that. This too neither follows a pallavi-anupallavi pattern nor a typical pop number template and keeps you guessing all the time. Joanita Gandhi makes a brief appearance with her rich vocals too. But all in all this song would be so much lesser without the imposing presence of Adithya Rao.

Song high point – ‘Idhu varai yethume ulagil….’

 

‘Showkali’ is definitely not my kind of song. So I wouldn’t go too much in detail there. It is an interesting rap number with 2 sets of guys going against each other on whether love for bikes or love for girls is more important to their lives. What sets it apart from other typical rap songs is the hyper fast last 30 seconds, which is technically well pulled off, but since the genre by itself is not up my street, I will leave it you to judge it for yourself. It has some good talent involved in Adithya Rao and rappers ADK and Sri Rascol.

Song high point – Last 30 seconds (if you like that kind of stuff)

A very satisfying album in Tamizh for ARR after a rather unsatisfactory 24. He clearly has put his heart and soul into the tracks here and also bought into the director Gautham’s vision and aesthetics. Most of the songs have a very unique song structure and the lyricists Thamarai and Karky(Idhu Naal) have happily come on board by adapting to the innovative structures, yet not a bit compromising with the quality of Tamizh poetry.  The album has some healthy inspirations and roots ranging from Paavendhar Bharathidasan to ‘Valachi varnam’ and ‘Muthai Thiru’. Very laudable and purposefully modernized.

To me personally ‘Showkali’ was the only jar and ‘Idhu Naal’ though very likeable I am skeptical about its longevity. Otherwise all the songs are instantly likeable and very pleasant.

3.5/5 and a smile on my lips for a melodious, soulful and linguistically rich Tamizh outing from ARR and team.

Kabali Music Review: Santhosha Magizhchi !

‘Nee vaa thozha’, in those powerfully asserted words, starts the opening ‘Ulagam Oruvanukka’ song with a very clearly ‘oruvan oruvan mudhalali’(Muthu) inspired beat. The beat slowly also changes to a more ‘maro maro’(Boys) beat, but inspirations aside let us see how the graph of the song proceeds. Sa Na (Short hereafter for Santhosh Narayanan) himself starts the vocals and you do have initial jitters if whether a relatively less experienced singer like him can do justice to the enormous duty of delivering a superstar intro song. The song has a steadily energetic feel to it with good chorus and strong lyrics. The lyrics till the first whistle are pretty straightforward hero worship stuff with a small dose of anti-establishment flavor. The nice Hollywood western type whistle, followed by a slightly awkward ‘Kabali’ chant give way to a totally different ball game though. This is also just the time at which the song clearly says that Kabali has been a cage for long and is released into the nation now (cage- jail possibly????)Continue reading “Kabali Music Review: Santhosha Magizhchi !”

Uttama Villain Music Review: Uttama Veri, Unnadha Theri!

Uttama Villain(UV)’ as a film has been wrapped in a bit of intrigue for sometime now. The initial assumption was that it would be a typical Kamal A-class comedy quickie. But as more and more promotional material is being revealed, it is looking like a much more involving and intriguing enterprise. Also Ulaganayagan’s decision to sign Ghibran for a 3 film deal has left all film buffs puzzled. Granted Ghibran is immensely talented and along with Santhosh Narayanan is one of the few bright hopes for the future of tamil film music. But still, a maniacally perfection obsessed Kamal with immediate access to the IRs, ARRs and SELs of the world signing a young composer upfront for 3 projects tells something. I was personally licking my lips, as Ghibran was coming on the back of a very good Thirumanam Enum Nikaah(TEN) and a great Amara Kaaviyam(AK). I was eager to see how Kamal’s amazing script sense, music sense and knowledge of the language marry Ghibran’s new age instrumentation, novel approach to melody and heavy layering work.

Continue reading “Uttama Villain Music Review: Uttama Veri, Unnadha Theri!”

Picket 43 Movie Review: Hope Prithvi pockets many awards for his services in this Picket

Major Ravi is back with the next outing in his ‘military’ line up of films based on stories set around the lives of men in uniform. I have personally not seen any of his films but have been following his graph closely both in media and through word of mouth sources. It is safe to say that Major is not having a great time with his recent releases. Does he redeem himself with Picket 43? Does it tell a good story within the military backdrop without getting caught into the usual traps of jingoism, melodrama or unrealistic action which a lot of our films suffer from?Continue reading “Picket 43 Movie Review: Hope Prithvi pockets many awards for his services in this Picket”

Jigarthanda Movie Review: Cold Revenge,Sweet Success

Five Star Films ‘Jigarthanda’ is clearly one of the most awaited Tamil films this year. The movie has been under production for some time and the expectations have grown manifold thanks to the individual successes of a lot of key people working in the movie, over the last year or two. Karthik Subbaraj set the bar high for himself with the very novel Pizza. Karunakaran and Bobby Simha, who like Karthik are products of the ‘Nalaya Iyakkunar’ (short film reality contest) ecosystem have done very well both together in ‘Soodhu Kavvum’ and independently with ‘Yamirukka Bayamey’ and ‘Neram’ respectively. The promos and songs of Jigarthanda too were very unique and promising.Continue reading “Jigarthanda Movie Review: Cold Revenge,Sweet Success”

‘Cuckoo’ Music Review: Nest in peace

Cuckoo-Tamil-Movie‘Cuckoo’ is Fox Star Studios’ next Tamil production after ‘Raja Rani’. They have taken measured steps in Tamil and barring the disastrous ‘Vathikuchi’ they have been largely successful too. This time they have put their faith on Raju Murugan an erstwhile assistant of director Lingusamy. The trailer has created a lot of expectations of a wholesome family entertainer involving the love story around 2 visually impaired protagonists and the quirky characters around them. The music released a couple of weeks ago has met with highly favourable reviews. The rising star of tamil film music, Santhosh Narayanan is scaling new peaks with each release. Is Cuckoo another feather in his cap? Let’s analyze.Continue reading “‘Cuckoo’ Music Review: Nest in peace”

Kochadaiiyaan Music Review: Thalai Nimirnthaan (Head Held High)

The album begins on a grand note with ‘Engae Pogudho’ which was launched a few weeks earlier. Rousing, inspiring and majestic are words to describe it. We all know that the Rajni ecosystem learnt the hard way from Baba and Kuselan that you just cannot keep the SPB blessing out of any superstar venture and here as a compensation we are blessed twice over. The rousing arrangement at the outset is an indicator of things to come for the album which has pretty dense orchestration by ARR standards. The song is pretty inspiring and has pretty solid lyrics by the Kaviarasu. It sings of the sky being the limit and there being no boundaries for the hero. It has apt war cry words around victory conch, the sword . The country instrumentation touch post ‘suriyanai undakku’(>1.30) is classy , so is the slightly familiar ARR strains post(2.46) blended well which sound a bit like the charanam ‘katrae po’ of ‘maya maya ‘ from Baba. The lyrics start with a war cry goes on to overcoming obstacles and ends with a note of resurgence. 3.75/5 with Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalali at 5 in the intro song genre.

Kochadaiiyaan Songs Official Track List

Soothing strings welcome you to ‘Medhuvaagathan’. I may have issues with Sadhana Sargam’s pronunciation and nativity, but her god gifted voice is beyond question. It really is a honey soaked vocal gateway to the big boss joining at 1.07. I will not start talking about SPB as it will totally hijack this post. He is not my favorite singer. He is an integral part of my life and more akin to a family member for the gamut of moments and emotions he gives me every day.  But some highlights on this song. The line starting ‘Padai venduma’ at 1.44 where he talks about how the girl effortlessly wins over the warrior, the smile with ‘innum solla mozhiyillaye’ at 4.00 or the outstanding modulations at the end are all champion stuff which the legend achieves every day in his life. Sadhana’s voice is an asset but her struggles with the ‘LAs’ , ‘NAs’ and ‘Zhas’ surely rob a little bit of an otherwise outstanding song. Still a 4/5 on the simple melody duet segment for me. And yes the song has some very high standard lyrics by the Late Valee Sir.

‘ Maatram Ondrudhan’  is fashioned as an anthem of sorts to Rajni fan boys. The tune is pretty simple and catchy. It does have elements from other ARR songs such as the beat pattern similar to ‘Sonnalum Ketpadhillai’ from Kadhal Virus and a little bit of ‘Nenje Yezhu’ hangover I could feel though the songs are pretty different. The important part of the song is the dialogue portion of the superstar and it is a compendium of sorts of the opinions he has been espousing for a long time on issues such as friendship, revenge, patience, wealth and permanent nature of soul. Thalaivar of course has a magnetic voice and you get fangasms in quite a few places such as the start on forgiveness, when he starts of about forgiveness, the attributes of a leader and ofcourse that iconic laugh in the end. Only drawback of the song is a few questionable things on lyrics such as mention of money, ice formation etc which in reality might not have been known in the raja-rani times. So it is impractical but if this is a simple anthem song not featuring in the movie then it’s not a big issue. My high point of the song is the beautiful jathi section that creeps up in the end. Overall a decent tune, some rich arrangement and the magnetic thalaivar make up a 3.25/5.

‘Manappenin Sathiyam’ is cute and has some nice raagas such as Dhwijavanathi and Sahana going for it, but somehow I felt it is a bit of an odd man out in an otherwise grand album. It is a pretty routine ARR composition in terms of achieving new ground. Not too much scope for fancy lyrics but pretty adequate in conveying what it sets out to.  It talks about promises from a bride to the groom during the marriage on purity, values, companionship, child upbringing etc. Sweet voice of the superstar’s wife, but still leaves me somewhat wanting more. 3/5.

Ok this is not by any means a new ragam for the ARR fold. In ‘Idhayam’ you have strains and beat inspirations from Hai rama(Rangeela), Kiliye kiliye(Thenali)  and few more, but Chinmayi and Srinivas just own it in the first half of the song itself. The unconventional rhythm pattern in the beginning is very inventive and Chinmayi just teases the first time she does ‘Idhayam nazhuvi nazhuvi…’ . See this is when magic is created. She absorbs the lyrics and can modulate to give the feeling that the heart is slipping and moving away. That requires a combination of good music, great singing and clear sense of language. This is what I lament most when a non-tamilian sings. It’s so much harder to nail. Though the song abounds in a lot of great lyrics, Srini’s section ‘Poopadhu marandhan kodigal, punnagai marandhadhu minnal, kaaypadhu marandhadhu kaadu, kaviyam marandhadhu yedu’ is brilliant and I won’t dilute even a little by attempting to translate. The lines for the same section in the next charanam too are brilliant. The interlude singing by Chinmayi is clearly out of Thenali but otherwise a very rich song all in all. Want to stop with a 3.75 but am getting generous and pushing a 4/5.

The title song starts with a, what’s so special about it feel. But slowly and steadily ARR’s cheekiness hits you. The clincher in the song is the fusion of traditional percussion with electronic guitar (especially post 1:30 and 2:30). Post 3rd minute ARR has a field day with grand pianos, chorus effects and the electronic stuff. A pretty catchy title song in the end and should do even better with time. A 3.25 for now and it may improve with time. I am left wondering who the singers are in the ensemble. Some sound like Super singer familiars.

‘Manamaganin Sathiyam’ for me is marginally better than the lady version. Haricharan is a bit more of a seasoned voice and brings a tad more meat to the song. Though I do have my concerns over why someone as young as Haricharan for Superstar, it is still not a first. It would pass through fine if it is more of a background track. This is a groom’s list of wedding promises to the bride. It talks of love , fidelity, companionship and support.  This time round I could much easier appreciate the nadaswaram strains though I have difficulties in plotting the exact ragam of the first one (2nd one ends in an easy Sahana). My favourite lines are ‘ovvoru vadham…..’ where he says at ever argument he would happily lose in the end. A 3.25/5 on this one.

Rana’s dream is a routine instrumental version of ‘Engae pogudho’. It is a bit disappointing to me that someone of ARR didn’t try out a totally independent instrumental track and chose to rehash a song in this form. Might not be his decision or choice in the end but it is an opportunity lost on doing a rousing theme. The track is routine and has some decent depth kicking in at about 3:30. 2.5/5 for me as it is a bit below expectations.

The album draws to a close with ‘Karma Veeran’, which sets me thinking a bit. It’s not trailblazing in terms of novelty of tune. It has inspirations from lot of ARR work, especially the song ‘One love’ from the album Tajmahal. Also the ARR sung motivational anthem is no longer as novel a genre as it used to be. But there are lot of nice layers and elements thrown in to revitalize the tune, starting with the opening violins and Rehana’s lines ‘Aagayam Megagangal Pozhiyum Bodhu, Aadhayam keladhu. Thainaadu kakindra ullam endrum thanakkaga vazhadhu’(which means the sky never expects any favors when it showers clouds and a true soldier never lives for himself). ARR sings initially about struggles and the value they have in the larger scheme of things and the ultimate triumph of truth and hard value. ARR’s high point is at 4.13 when he sings the ‘Kozhaigal mannithal’ section where he shows his true vocal strength. Sheer class. The lyrics at the end showing difference between Kadamai veeran and Karma veeran is again really impactful. Still a 3.25/5 at this instant for me and probably will grow more on me.

This is a very successful album overall. Baring a so-so theme track, none of the songs are downers by any stretch. Lyrics are of highest quality and by and large diction too is fine. Orchestration is pretty heavy and this is atypical with ARR. It seems to be done given that it is an animation movie with a worldwide release. Not too much experimentation with singer choices and reliable rendition from the usual suspects.  A rounded off 3.5 to the overall effort.

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Pannaiyarum Padminiyum Movie Review: Slow and Steady Wins the Heart

Pannaiyarum_Padminiyum PosterI had mixed feelings when my friends called me to watch Arun Kumar’s ‘Pannaiyarum Padminiyum’(PP). It was based on one of my favourite short films from the Nalaya Iyakkunar stable. It was one I had watched over and over again and felt very attached to on an emotional level as it touched a cute subject, had a racy script and was peppered with some of the finest acting the script could get.  My worries when the feature film came around was, is this too much of a short film -> feature film wave? Is this wave turning to pure exploitation? Does this script even have enough potential to be developed into a full length movie? Thankfully the movie answers most of these questions in the affirmative.Continue reading “Pannaiyarum Padminiyum Movie Review: Slow and Steady Wins the Heart”

Drishyam Movie Review: Has to be seen to be believed

DrishyamThis time for a change I will give the verdict upfront and keep the BS for later. ‘Drishyam’ is my movie of the year across whatever I have seen in the few languages I track. Please rush to the nearest cinema hall and ensure you catch up with this beauty in all its glory in the big screen.Continue reading “Drishyam Movie Review: Has to be seen to be believed”