12.26.2006

Rewind - Tamil Film Music 2006

Tamil Film Music in the year 2006 was not so overwhelming. On the whole, it is pretty evident that the dearth of freshness and experiments in music is mainly because of the lack of good movies and scripts. And that is why our composers still mostly dish out the formula music for movies. The one most important thing to be noted in 2006 is the arrival of some promising new composers.

Illayaraja didn’t have many releases in 2006. The only one which I could remember is Madhu apart from Udhayam 2006. Songs “Intha Ulagil” and “Kaetkavillayo” are typical IR melodies. More than the songs, I heard the title music of the movie, which is an orchestral version of “Kaetkavillayo” song which I think, is a small gift of IR to his fans this year. But I didn’t completely miss him as I liked and enjoyed listening IR’s songs in “Rasathanthram” (Malayalam) and Shiva 2006(Hindi). But Illayaraja has quite a few interesting releases next year like Cheran’s Mayakkannadi, Bala's Naan Kadavul, Dhanam, and Ajantha (for which he has composed different tunes for same song in different languages) and not to forget the non-film album 'Moods of IR' which is releasing soon.

A.R.Rahman, while rocking the whole nation with “Rang De Basanti”, made a pretty descent come back to Tamil with “Sillunu Oru Kadhal”. I like almost all the songs with “New York Nagaram” being the pick which has a soothing orchestration and cool singing by Rahman and not to leave behind the beautiful lines penned by Vaali. Munbe Vaa’s innovative background music, the catchy leitmotif in Machakari, the melodious ‘Yaar Idhu’ bit sung by Aslam in Maaricham, the cute bass guitar parts and tribal interludes in Majaa, the typical Rahmanish folk fusion in Kummi Adi are other memorable aspects of this soundtrack. And of course, we had very average “Varalaaru”. Next year we have more releases from Rahman, the most eagerly awaited “Sivaji”, “Sakkarakatti”, “Hara” (Animation film) and “Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan”. For sure, all are going to be formula soundtracks. For god’s sake, I want Rahman to do the same magic that he does with his Hindi soundtracks these days, in Tamil too. Hope our directors give sufficient time for Rahman to do that.

Yuvan Shankar Raja was highly experimental in some of the albums and at the same time very predictable and boring at the others. Though he went overboard with symphonic pieces in “Pudupettai” which doesn’t fit in well as a background score for the movie, the songs were refreshing and great. “Oru Naalil” is an all time classic of Yuvan. Even now I get goose bumps when I recollect the violin piece from the second interlude of the song. “Variya” is how the dappanguthu songs should be made, (Yuvan proves to be a smart stealer of music in this track). Dramatic “Neruppu”, hip-hopish “Pul pesam” adds to the variety of the soundtrack. Yuvan surprised us yet again with a colorful Broadway musical kind of sound in “Azhagai Irukkiradhu Bhayamai Irukkiradhu”. The good thing about this soundtrack is that though it has situational songs, they are catchy even as stand alone tracks and we like the songs even better after watching the movie. “Oram Po Naina” is my pick of the album. Pattiyal is a formula Vishnu+Yuvan soundtrack with all necessary ingredients in a perfect mix. Vallavan is a commercial winner with nothing new in it. “Loosu Penne” and “Vallava” songs are the two still lingering songs from this soundtrack. Yuvan is exploring different kinds of remixes and as a result we got to hear the beautiful “Kadhal Vandhiruchu” song yet again with modern beats. There is nothing much to say about ‘K.D.’ or ‘Thimuru’. “Paruthi Veeran’ is another very good soundtrack from Ameer + Yuvan combo. It has got right mix of cinematic songs and authentic folk songs. Yuvan has added his own touch to the songs without missing the nativity in its overall sound. Simple lyrics, minimal orchestration and catchy folk rhythms are the main strengths of the songs. I feel Yuvan with all his talents can stop lifting tunes and also he can stop remixing the old songs in a way he does know and try something differently. There is a pretty interesting lineup for Yuvan next year, “Chennai 600028”, Vasanth’s “Satham Podathey”, Vishnu’s next and Selva Raghavan’s “Ithu Maalai Neraththu Mayakkam”.

Harris Jeyaraj did it again with Gautam in Vettaiyadu Vilayadu. No matter, how blatantly he copies tunes of others; Harris knows how to package the songs differently and make it sound appealing. Though “Uyirilae” has serious “Hum hain Iss Pal” hangover, it is my favourite song, it has got a beautiful orchestration all through with singers giving their best, making it a very pleasing romantic number. Equal credit goes to Thamari for penning some cute lines in this song. In the same way, “Neruppae” is very peppy and energetic. Mr.Harris, I am still waiting for something completely original from you. “Unnalae Unnalae” is mediocre except for few surprises here and there. Hope the upcoming “Pachaikili Muthucharam” will have some originality.

Vidhyasagar doesn’t make much noise in 2006 in a sense that he didn’t give hits like Chandramukhhi but surprised us with all-melody soundtracks like “Thambi”. Among his 2006 releases, “Thambi” and “Sivapathigaram” stand out. He proves that he is a king of melodies with songs like “Sudum Nilavu”, “Summa kidantha” and “En kangal” from Thambi and “Attrai thingal” and “Sithirayil Enna Varum” from Sivapathigaram. Also he brought back the forgotten earthy village folk numbers and my favourite is “Mannarkudi” and also there is a note-worthy symphonic orchestral backing for Bharathidasan poem in Sivapathigaram. “Thendral” is a gem of a classical song that he composed for the movie “Pasa Kiligal” with beautiful rendition by Madhu balakrishnan. Much expected music for K.Balachander’s “Poi” turned out to be a big disappointment. I am eagerly waiting for his “Mozhi” soundtrack as I was hooked to one song that I heard in the trailer.

Karthik Raja did throw in some surprises this year with soundtracks like “Naalai” and “Manadhodu Mazhaikaalam”. Few souls like me still have lot of faith and expectations on him. The soundtracks of “Naalai” and “MM” have great melodies and good variety of songs. I like almost all the songs in both the soundtracks. “Solla Varthaigal” from Mercury Pookal is one song which I was madly listening to again and again few months back. It is a great melody with typical KR touches in tune, rhythm and orchestration. Right now, he is busy remixing his father’s tunes, hope he comes back soon and does something note-worthy in films too.

Vijay Antony is one composer who completely proved me wrong on whom I had a different initial impression. This year he bowled me over with two of his melodies. “Nenjam kootil” from Dishyum and “Roja poovin” from Iruvar Mattum (By 2) are very refreshing, original melodies with every aspect of the song falling in place. Vijay doesn’t sound like anybody else, he has his own style and his own group of singers and that makes him one of the promising entries to Tamil film music. The entire soundtrack of ‘Iruvar Mattum’ is a melodious treat. Though the same song appears three times in the soundtrack with different lyrics, we can’t skip any because of the beauty of the melody and the poetry of Vairamuthu. Hope Vijay comes up with more of such soundtracks in future.

Bharadwaj is another composer who has a good sense of melody but couldn’t compose any because of the kind of films he is doing. “Thaiya tha” is one nice melody he gave us this year in “Thiruttu Payalae”. “Poi solla poraen” was also somewhat different from what he has done so far. More than the songs, I was surprised by the quality of background score he has written for the movie. “Thiruttu Payalae” can be said as his best background score so far. I think we can remove the Saran+Bharadwaj from the list of best composer-director combo. The quality of music from this combo is going down gradually in every other movie, the recent one being Vattaram.

Joshua Sridhar after taking a break for almost a year came back in 2006 with “Uyir”. Though there was too much of 90’s Rahman sound, I liked “Kann Simittum”, “Aanum Pennum” and “Kannae Kadhal Nilamae” songs from Uyir. Especially Aanum pennum was too good and Kannae Kadhal has lot of variations in the song. I liked the carnatic touches he gave to the songs by suitably placing the alaaps of Mahathi. “Aran” has two good melodies Mugilae and Pooncholai but again Joshua’s biggest problem is its Rahman sound. I better not write about his latest “Chennai Kadhal”, it is his worst soundtrack so far. Joshua has to seriously think of trying something original.

Among others, Ramesh Vinayakam another talented but yet-to-get-hold-on-a-position composer came up with one beautiful melody “Yen Swaasathil” in Jerry. I like little things in his compositions like the way the starting of male part overlap with the stretched ending note of the female part as you can listen almost at the end of this song. Ramesh always does some new things like this. Earlier I liked a chorus part in the interludes of “Vizhigalin Aruginil” song in which chorus is multi layered with one overlapping on the other with a time lag. Sabesh - Murali could not repeat Thavamai Thavamirundhu magic this year. They came up with a rousing background score for the trailer of “Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi” and also ‘Asai Kanavae’ song was a good one with 60’s sound.

We have the sound engineer D.Imman, who continues to compose utterly bad songs for Arjun and Sundar.C movies. Even he managed to come up two good melodies in Thiruvilayadal. Vizhigalil has a very catchy whistling piece and overall the song is good. Also “Kannukkul Yetho” is good with “Kadhalae Swasam” touches. Except for some good songs here and there, he didn’t compose a satisfactory soundtrack as a whole since “Kadhalae Swasam”. Devi Sri Prasad as usual remade his Telugu tunes for ‘Unakkum Enakkum’. I like the Telugu version though. It is a real pity that Bhavatharini’s Amirdham audio was not released. It had a couple of very good melodies with the picks being “Nenje Nenje Yen Thithikkirai” and “Kadhalae Ennai Kadhalithathu”. No one knows what she did in the recently released movie ‘Ilakkanam’. There is nothing worth mentioning about Srikanth Deva.

Newbies – There were a couple of new composers who made a promising debut this year, and the good thing about them is each one is trying hard to establish their own identity in music. Dharan’s “Unnai Kandanae” from Parijatham was one of the best melodies of the year and even all the other songs were hummable. Sundar C.Babu’s soundtrack for “Chithiram Pesudhadi” though lacked the technical finesse, had variety with a couple of good melodies and who can forget “Valameenu” song. Paul J’s music in “Kizhakku kadarkarai Salai” was very unique. The tune, orchestration, lyrics and as a whole “Kanja Penne” sounds different. But my favourite is melodious “Yeno Ithu Yeno”. I haven’t heard his “Thalaimagan” soundtrack. Finally we have G.V.Prakash making his entry with Veyil. It is a good soundtrack with mix of good melodies like “Uruguthey” and “Kadhal Neruppin” and folk songs. Though he follows the path of Rahman, we have to give him some time to see whether he can establish his own path in music. Also G.V.Prakash has done a good job in background score too.

I might have missed some composers or soundtracks which was not intentional. I have written about everything that I heard in the last one year.

12.15.2006

Unnalae Unnalae Soundtrack

The soundtrack of “Unnalae Unnalae” is neither good nor bad. Harris Jeyaraj should seriously think about trying something new.

Except for the Synth horn piece with which the song starts, “June Pona” song has nothing new. The beats, guitar usage, chorus, the way the song is sung and the overall format of the song are exactly the same as “Manjal Veyil” song. I think, even the tune is in the same meter. But the tune is okay and what makes it worth listening is the new voice Krish, a good find. Btw, is it a pathos song? “Hello Miss” has interesting rhythms and surprising twists and turns. I like songs with few surprises here and there. But I have the heard-before feel, may be the beats are similar to that of “Shakalaka baby”.

When I first the heard the starting horn bit of the song “Vaigasi Nilavae”, I was afraid whether Harris would go to an extent of directly ripping of Vangelis Chariot of Fire. But thank god, it stops within the first few seconds of the song. The song throws in some surprises in the middle by changing rhythm to Tabla from e-beats and the disjointed second interlude with string arrangement is also nice but as the melody itself falls flat, the song as a whole doesn’t impress.

I am tired of these club beats and bass guitar in Harris’s song, the guitar strumming is the only savior of the song “Muthal Naal”, though we have heard it many times before. The tune as such is very good but as it proceeds to charanam, the tune lacks the same pep and catch it initially had. “Ilamai Ullasam” is a short and sweet song with a casual peppy tune and nice vocal harmony and arrangements. I didn’t like the main tune of the song “Unnalae Unnalae” until Harini slipped in to sing it with her own classical touches. But that’s about it. The song as a whole doesn’t hold our attention.

12.09.2006

Oscars again

Three of Rahman's Songs Chan Chan from Water, Khalbali from Rang De Basanti, Lukka Chuppi from Rang De Basanti are in the short list of 56 songs among which 5 is going to make it to Oscar nomination for Best Original Song category.

Among the three songs, Chan Chan is a real gem rendered beautifully by sukhwinder singh. One of the all time best of Rahman with minimal instruments. I really think it would be difficult to win an Oscar but atleast if we get a nomination, the song will be performed live on Oscar night which would be a great feet forward in the international career of A.R.Rahman. Let us wait and see. Here is the complete list of selected songs.

12.08.2006

Busy...

These days i am not able to write much due to hectic work. Actually I was trying to write my opinion on Salaam-E-Ishq album but couldn't dedicate time for it. Anyway, just to keep my blog going, I will post some interesting videos from You tube. Watching videos in Youtube has become a good time pass. And here is the stunning trailer of Marudhanayaagam (though most of them would have seen it by this time).

11.20.2006

Paruthiveeran Soundtrack

I think a lot of village based Tamil films are going to get released in near future. After Veyyil and Sivapathigaram, here is “Paruthiveeran” which is also a village based movie. Paruthiveeran set in a village of Madurai has got a soundtrack that would be apt for the movie than stand alone audio. There are totally 6 songs in which three of them are Yuvan’s kind of folk melodies and the other three folk songs are very authentic to the place in which the movie is set in. It is pretty clear that though it is a village based movie, Yuvan has tried hard to bring a new sound in the first three songs, be it in the minimal orchestration or the catchy tune or song structure or the choice of rhythm and percussions and the use of synth, Yuvan has done a commendable job in bringing native flavour and also giving it a new colour.

Yuvan should be lauded for the choice of singers. Illayaraja is just apt for “Ariyatha Vayasu” and he sounds very enthusiastic whenever he sings for Yuvan. Krishnaraj who sung some of the hits of Deva in the late 90’s is back in “Ayyayyo”. He is always good in folk songs be it “Thanjavooru Manneduthu” or “Eechi Elumuchi (the only song he sung for A.R.Rahman), he has been doing a great job but somehow didn’t get the recognition he deserved. Madhumitha started her singing career with Yuvan’s “Kalli Adi kalli’ from Nanda. She is one of the rare talents who are under utilized in Tamil film music. She could easily have done justice to any Tamil song that Shreya Ghosal has sung so far. Listen to her sweet voice in “Sa ri ga ma”.

In 80’s, when Illayaraja was composing for village based movies, no movie director cared for the authenticity in the sound of the music, they just wanted a hit song and that is why Illayaraja was able to do folk songs that is both authentic and catchy. But now directors prefer the raw sound of the folk songs and they want it as it is. Even Illayaraja did a song like this in “Devadai” and more recently in “Virumandi”. I don’t think he did this kind of folk songs in 80’s. You can also see other directors using such raw folk songs in “Veyyil” and “Sivapathigaram”. So we can’t blame composers for this, infact I don’t consider these songs as their own compositions. Actually, these songs are really catchy, just their format and the sound stops it from reaching a wider audience. But what a composer can do, with all these restrictions is that he can bring new melodies and new rhythms for such songs and that would bring some difference otherwise often heard folk songs like how IR did in so many songs, one which comes to my mind immediately is “Oththa Rooba Tharaen”.

11.18.2006

Guru Soundtrack

Those who have come here to search for a review on Guru soundtrack, you guys can actually listen to my opinion on Guru soundtrack here.

11.16.2006

Chennai Kadhal Soundtrack

Vikraman for the second time comes out of his in-house composers like S.A.Rajkumar and Sirpi but not wholeheartedly. His first break-up happened when Rahman scored for Puthiya Mannargal. Though it was not Rahman’s best, it had one of my all time favourite preludes in a Rahman song in “Eduda Antha Sooriya Melam”. Other than that Vikraman made even Rahman to compose tunes in S.A.Rajkumar way. “Chennai Kadhal” also falls in the same category; the combination with Joshua Sridhar just doesn’t work. This could be Joshua’s first bad soundtrack.

Vikraman seems to have interfered a lot in Joshua’s work. Almost all the songs have forgettable tunes. Earlier in Kadhal, Uyir and Aran, I didn’t complain about his composition sounding very Rahmanish, because it sounded very good but in this album, it goes to unbearable limits especially in the song “Silu Silukkum” which is a poor imitation of Rahman’s “Eguri Kudhithaen” from Boys. I thought may be just the first two lines sounds the same, but when I heard the two interludes, I thought Joshua disappointed big time in this song.

I think Vikraman asked S.A.Rajkumar to compose tune for the song “Thimirae” and asked Joshua to setup modern arrangements for the tune. It is that bad. It is high time, Joshua stops writing theme music for every other movie, the way he uses the title ‘Chennai Kadhal’ in the theme tune with techno-sounds and beats in the background is as bad as it can get. “Enjoy Ithu Irubathu” is a typical hero introduction song with insane Tanglish lyrics also it has Blaaze’s rap. “Salladai Salladai” and “Rendamjaamam” are typical Vikraman style of folks songs and has nothing much to offer, you can easily press the skip button for these two songs, you won’t miss anything. Rhythm and tune of “Angel angel Kannil pattadhu” sounds very much like “Chumma Chumma” song from Charlie Chaplin movie.

On the whole, it is a soundtrack you can stay away from.

11.07.2006

Guru Fever Catches up

So, finally Sony BMG has launched the Guru album without actually releasing the audio. This is a strange trend that is catching up but sure enough to create more hype and expectations. They is no information about the release date of the actual audio uet. But the event spill little beans about the movie and the music. Catch the spilled beans here and here. From what A.R.Rahman says, Gujarati-turkish, north indian, symphonic opera stuffs to expect in the album, it sure must be an unique soundtrack like that of Iruvar. And here is the track details of the album

1. Barso Re – Shreya Ghoshal & Uday Mazumdar

It is good to see Shreya again in ARR's composition as ARR don't chooses her often and from the 15 secs clip of the song here, it sure sounds like a good song with catchy beats which mayl go down well with the masses.

2. Tere Bina – AR Rahman, Chinmayee, Additional Voices – Murtaza, Qadir

It is great to see Chinmayee in the credits. I hope this time she has got something more to do in this song than she did in Mangal Pandey. And one can never guess the kind of track from Murtaza and Qadir in the credits, because these duo sang in 'Theekuruvi' also which has nothing to do with hindustani alaaps.

3. Ek Lo Ek Muft – Bappi Lahiri, Chitra Additional Voices – Tanvi, Saloni,
Boney, Jaidev


After Rang De Basanti, ARR uses Chitra again for a title track of the movie. This time too in an odd combination with Bappi Lahiri.

4. Baazi Laga – Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Swetha, Bhargavee Additional
Programming – Pravin
Mani


Pravin Mani and Ranjit Barot are back with A.R.Rahman.

5. Mayya – Maryem Toller, Chinmayee, Keerthi Programming & Additional
Arrangements Ranjit
Barot


Here is the song sung by the Toronto based singer and I think this is the song which ARR hums in the video clip. Humming sounds catchy on the very first especially the way he ended is too good.

6. Ey Hairathe – Hariharan, Alka Yagnik Additional Voices – AR Rahman, Aslam
Mohammed


Even Hariharan has not sung many song for ARR in the recent past and here he is again and we have Alka Yagnik, a regular in ARR's albums.

7. Jaage Hain – Chitra , AR Rahman and Madras Choral Group

So this is the song about which he said Symphonic opera stuff. Let us see.

2006 started with a bang for A.R.Rahman with the release of Rang De Basanti (which was the most successful album of ARR in recent past) and i hope it ends in the same way with Guru.

Can't wait for the audio.

11.04.2006

Iruvar Background Score

Here is a detailed write-up on background score of Iruvar by A.R.Rahman, that I wrote for forumhub magazine. The write-up also includes high quality audio samples. It is one of my favourite scores.

Hello World

As I said in my previous post, Finally I have started an audio blog and posted one of my compositions in it. Hello World is the title of the track. It runs for just 100 seconds. Do listen to the track here and let me know your opinion.

11.03.2006

Blogswara - Ver.2

Blogswara, a unique attempt on blogosphere, has just released the Version 2 of it. I really liked the first album and was eagerly waiting for the next release. Considering the constraints, the quality achieved in each of the songs is admirable. This opinion of mine on the songs may be harsh at times but I hope the people involved in creating the music will take it in the right sense. By this time they would have got bored of all accolades and praises and what they really want is an honest and real feedback with a neutral view, which will help them to improve further. Having tried composing music myself (composed just one piece of 2 minutes length so far which I will post sometime soon in my blog), I know how difficult it is to write even a few seconds of music.

Mallu flavour is not just in the language but also in the sweet vocals of Preethy and the tune of “Ente Manasilum”. I liked the way the Keralite beats are mixed with Nadhaswaram like instrument. It gives a unique sound. The rhythm and the strings passage in the background are good.

Hey Mera Dil” is my pick of the album. Beauty is simplicity and this song proves it again. The song starts beautifully with two violins one of higher and the other on lower octave playing the same tune. It is very unique to hear a Hindi song with a carnatic based tune on Violin in the start. The chords on piano all through the song punctuate the vocals with right emotions. The song devoid of any rhythm backing and simple orchestration just elevates the romantic feel of the song. Kudos to Pradip and Swathi for their expressive rendition of the song.

Hai Junoon” could well be a Himesh’s next hit number. It sounds very Bollywoodish with thumping beats, synth sounds, guitar riffs and rough and tough singing. Nice layering and arrangements all through the song.

Melle Melle” song instantly reminded me “Enna Idhu Enna Idhu” song composed by Bharadwaj for the movie Rojavanam. The tune almost has the same feel. But if you forget the sounds-like feel it is very enjoyable track with a semi classical tune layered with modern beats. The knocking song that is repeated through out the song is just perfect for the lyrics and is perfectly in synch with the rhythm of the song. The “Vazhvu Selikka” Jo gives yet another impressive performance and so is Vidyu.

Ooyaladunni” has got an Enigma kind of starting but soon becomes familiar, too slow, repetitive and boring. Basically, I think it is the mixing where the song misses its flavour, especially the voice which carries the main tune is too low. The rhythm is different for such a slow melody. This song could be an example for how the beauty of the song can be hampered by poor mixing especially there is too much usage of wind chimes sound which is too loud too.

Thoduvanam” is a song where the music doesn’t reflect what lyrics intended to say. Actually I liked the tune in the starting of the song. The lyrics are good but for a song with optimism as theme, frequent change in rhythm patterns doesn’t really work. "Ennachu" song is good. I liked the charanam better than the pallavi and especially the bass lines are very good in the charanam.

Anyway, here is saluting Blogswara for their unique effort. I wish they come up with more classic stuff in future offerings.

11.02.2006

Villager, Visionary, Winner

Finally, the most awaited promo of the year has come out. From the promo of 'Guru', it seems the movie has a serious Iruvar hang over. May be because of lot of stages, speeches, mikes, period look and crowd noises. The background score of the teaser travels with the feel of the visuals starting with a rustic rhythms to a grand heroic theme. It doesn't say when the audio is going to be released though it says the movie will out in December which means the audio may hit the market anytime this month. Take a look at the trailer here

10.31.2006

Kaaka Kaaka and Gautam Menon

I got a chance to watch the overseas DVD version of Kaaka Kaaka which has commentary of Gautam Menon. Though I have seen lot of English movies with the commentaries of directors, it was a new experience to watch a Tamil movie like that and I really enjoyed it. As far as I know no other Indian director has done that before. In a recent interview on some 24X7 news channel, while asked about Tamil cinema, Gautam Menon replied, “Go International” and though that doesn’t show up in the quality of the content in his movies, it shows up in something else like such DVD releases which go Hollywood way.

My immediate thought after watching the DVD was that the commentary could have been in Tamil. Not that Gautam’s English was bad but just to avoid the odd factor in watching a Tamil movie with an English commentary. Mostly he was praising one of the cast or crew for every other scene and talked about the technicalities involved in each scene especially he praised Editor Antony a lot. He said a lot about how he shot exactly the way he had written the scenes in paper.

If you want to know why such a horrible character called Pandiya (Jeevan) was conceived, you can watch this DVD. All the explanations he gives in Pandia’s scenes about how he wanted the character to be and what was the intention of having each scene involving him clearly tell us what went wrong in Gautam’s script. Thank God, Gautam took out the love angle between Maya and Pandiya; it would have made things even worse. I should laud Gautam for being very frank and honest at some places when he says about how badly he executed some of the scenes, for example the Maya love proposing scene. Of course, there is an alternate climax and the reasons for choosing the one that is there now.

Though, I don’t think it was a great movie, I liked the sweet love story between Maya and Anbu Selvan, and it is one of those rare movies where we love the lovers and their love. From his commentary, it was evident that Gautam has put in a lot of effort in making this movie and I really like his intentions to go international and it would be better if his real intentions get converted into reality well with a good script. For now eagerly waiting for the release of “Pachaikili Muthucharam” which Gautam said is a bound script initially written for Kamal Haasan.

Sivapathigaram Music

Vidhyasagar was out of music scene for sometime in this year and made a strong come back with surprising all melody soundtrack for Thambi. And now he is at it again with “Sivapathigaram”. Karu Palaniappan and Vidhyasagar combo is the next in the long queue of Tamil movie and music directors’ combo which triumphs with every other soundtrack. I would like to call this a good soundtrack than a good music album.

Parthiban Kanavu had one of my favourite folk songs “Vadi Machiniyae”. The same combo comes up with authentic folk numbers in this soundtrack. The traditional rhythms, melody, Urumi melam, strings, flute, the vocals, lyrics are all so earthy and rustic which we heard only in Illayaraja’s folk numbers before. Good melodies come so easily to Vidhyasagar and so are the folk numbers. By saying folk numbers, I didn’t mean the dappanguthu numbers; it is literally traditional folk numbers. After a long time it was Vidhyasagar who came up with an authentic folk number “Putham Pudhu Pattu Vandha Thandavakonae”. In my opinion, it is one of the master pieces of his in the lines of “Malarae Mounamaa”. Everything fell in place in that song. Similarly, there is a song in this album which instantly made me go crazy. Interesting lyrics and catchy beats makes “Mannarkudi” song instantly likeable. In the second interlude when the percussions lead us to the Shehnai theme bit, it just pushes up our energy level. Equally good are the other situational folk numbers which brings the shots from some Bharathiraja’s movies to our mind.

One more USP of the album is the choice of the singers. He has used some real folk singers which add to the authenticity of the song. Besides, in the romantic melodies, we have got Swarnalatha and Sujatha two rare talents whom almost every other composer has forgot. Though Swarnalatha struggles at higher ranges, she has a magnetic voice and her expressions are too good in “Chithirayil” song. Sujatha in lower ranges is equally great in “Attrai Thingal”. No need to mention about the beautiful orchestration and haunting melodies in both the duets. Sainthavi is one new talent who has got great potential to make it big. I think it is again Vidhyasagar who uses her regularly. Listen for her voice in “Poranthiruchu Kaalam”. T.K.Kala, a regular in Rahman's folk numbers is here again leaving quite an impression in a folk song.

There are two other songs which add to the variety in the sound track. “Kalloori” though sounds pretty ordinary, has got nice melodic lines in between. Vidhyasagar has been often trying to do something in the symphony format (tried to some extent in Chandramukhhi background score) but his symphonic style of orchestration is meaningful, brilliant and befitting for the Bharathidasan song “Kolaivaalai Edada”.

The lyrics by Pa.Vijay and Yugabharathy for this movie prove that there is no point in blaming the lyricists for the insanity of the lyrics in Tamil songs. On the whole, this album with its variety and earthy sounds must be an appropriate soundtrack for the movie.

10.17.2006

CDs, DVDs, Books

Finally, Aamir Khan seems to have convinced with the deal to release the DVD of Lagaan in Indian. Hope the DVD has some additional features other than just the movie, subtitles, scene selections etc., I mean the wait would be worth if they include the “Chale Chalo – The Making of Lagaan” documentary film directed by Satyajit Bhatkal which even won the national award for best documentary. I already have read the book on making of Lagaan which is as entertaining as the movie.

Rahman after revolutionizing the sound of Indian film music now tries to do the same with the financial rights of the music done for movies. I feel it is a step in right direction. More than anything else, my happiness is because Rahman would now have sufficient time to do non-film music albums.

After six months, I have read a new book called “Like the Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho. It is a compilation of articles and short stories written by him in various magazines. I would say it as a blog of Paulo Coelho in print. Though contents become repetitive after a point, it is enlightening and entertaining all through as any other PC book.

K.M.Radhakrishnan has become one of my favourite composers. He scores primarily for Telugu movies. His recent album “Maya Bazaar” though has got the feel good elements of his music is not as great as his previous “Godavari” or “Anand” album. And I still wonder why Aditya music didn’t release the audio of “Godavari” outside Andhra. May be quality doesn’t sell.

Tamil film music is going through a bad phase now, except for one or two songs, no recent Tamil film album is worth listening. I would prefer Hindi version of “Shiva” to “Udhayam 2006”, it really sounds horrible, I mean the lyrics. The new comer Paul.J has done a great job in “Yenno Ithu Yenno” song from ECR. The other two songs that I liked are “Kanja Pennae” and “Oru Kodi”. D.Imman after continuously doing dappanguthu numbers for Arjun and Sundar.C movies has found some time to come up with two good melodies “Vizhigalil” and “Kannukul” in Thiruvilayadal. The new singer Rajesh Krishnan does an impressive job in “Idhu Kadhal Kadhal” song from Vattaram (music by Bharadwaj). The other song which I really liked very much is “Ovvoru Pillayum”. The lyrics and the rendition of Mukesh make this song special. Mukesh has already sung “Theekuruvi” song in “Kangalal Kaithi Sei”. I have seen and admired Mukesh singing Seergali Govindarajan’s classic “Ullathil Naalla Ullam” from Karnan.

10.16.2006

Da Vinci Code Movie

Most of the Hollywood movies are adapted from novels. But the question is how many really succeed in satisfying the viewers those who have read the book and those who haven’t read it equally. I think that is the biggest challenge when you adapt movies from novels. Great novels are not always the best sellers. It is safe when the movie is based on a great novel because only after watching the movie most of them would know about the novel and then would go and read it. If the book is the best seller then the makers are really in high pressure to meet the sky high expectations and one need not mention the difficulty if it is a novel like Da Vinci Code which is beyond just a best seller which had facts and conspiracy theories leading to lot of controversies and people are still discussing the questions the book rose.

Personally, as I was not an avid reader, I didn’t get a chance of watch movies that are based on novels that I read and liked. “Memoirs of Geisha” was the first movie that I saw based on the novel which I have read. I have read “Da Vinci Code” and I was sure that the movie is not going to make it. “Da Vinci Code” is not an ideal novel to make a movie on. If you make a movie on a biography, there are parts which you can skip to compress the content and present the novel comprehensively on screen without actually loosing the essence of the book. But with a novel like “DVC” where every single incident, every single line of verse, every single twist, every single character, every single conversation is important for what is going to happen, coming up with a convincing screenplay out of it is a next to impossible task.


Why I didn’t like the movie?

Casting of Lead characters, both Tom Hanks and Andrey Tautou doesn’t look like how imagined the characters of Robert Langdon and Sophie or neither it seems they look like how most of the readers imagined their characters. My Robert Langdon didn’t have those long hairs and a dull face, he is a charismatic personality whose mere presence fills the place with the aura of brilliance and intelligence and there is no trace of any of this in the face of Tom Hanks. To my surprise, he looks so less involved in the movie all through. Sophie on the other side is also the same, look for her blank expressions in most of the scenes. For example, when Tom finds that the jumbled words are actually, Leonardo Da Vinci and The Mona Lisa, look for the way Sophie says, “Professor, the Mona Lisa is here” like a kid saying the mugged-up dialogue in a school drama. Her persona or her performance lacks the strong, stubborn and courageous look and feel that the Sophie character demands.

Unlike the novel, Robert Langdon was kind of sidelined giving more importance to Sophie as the other characters most often say in the movie that she is the last descendant of Jesus Christ. Robert Langdon’s genius and his adventures are not explored fully; instead the movie gives more importance to the emotional journey of Sophie. It may be intentional because the whole novel is about how sacred feminine has been suppressed all these years. I never thought Sophie as the central character while reading the novel, though actually she is. Each reader has his own way of interpreting a story which doesn’t mean the story is not clear, it is clear to each one in their own way. It is just that my interpretation of the whole story doesn’t match with that of the makers.

The most fascinating aspect of the novel is not just what happens next but also how it happens. The movie just captures what-happens-next part of it and leaves behind how-it-happens part which makes us not to admire when Robert Langdon finds something to proceed to the next step in their quest. There is so much of thought involved before solving each riddle or puzzle or the anagrams but Robert Langdon seems to get everything in a flash of a second in the movie

For example, there is so much of detailing, debate, conversation and digging into the history involved before they find that the words engraved in the key is actually the address of the Swiss bank and who can forget the detailed explanation about Phi and how it relates to the mathematical precision of everything that exists in the world. In front of the Mona Lisa painting in Louvre museum, Robert Langdon has pages and pages of theories to explain. The interesting conversation between Leigh Teabing, Sophie and Langdon in the plane for solving the Cryptex and the way they arrive at So-phi as the final solution for the Cryptex are missing in the movie.

I know that in the medium of cinema all these lengthy conversations are not possible. But that is why I said the Da Vinci Code is not an ideal novel for making a movie. No movie can give us the same excitement, chill, thrill and suspense which the novel gave us but unfortunately that is what most of the readers of the book expect from the movie. This is also one of the reasons why I felt Robert Langdon character was sidelined and looked less interesting. Explanations of all these facts about theories, history, secret connections by Langdon made us wonder about Langdon’s knowledge in history. When each time Langdon arrives at a solution for each problem by linking all these strange facts made us wonder his acumen. But the audience doesn’t get this kind of amazement and wonderment by looking at Langdon in the movie.

Why I like the movie?

The movie gave a chance to me to visit all those places described in the book. It is more vivid for me now and I would really enjoy reading the book next time. The history and the present are well blended in the visuals through special effects. I liked the way the words appear bright when Tom thinks of all possible combinations of words from the anagram. Especially explanation of the last supper painting was so clear which even a layman can understand. I think it is only at this place, the theories, the facts and the history are verbally discussed by the characters, of course it is crucial as it reveals the truth about Mary Magdalene and I like the way this long conversations is blended well within this frame-turner (like page-turner for novels) without boring the audience. To compensate for the inappropriate cast for lead characters, the cast and their performance for supporting characters like Leigh Teabing, Aringarosa, Fache and above all Silas are extremely believable and convincing. Being aware of the constraints that the medium of cinema has in bringing the novel to life on screen, the adapted screenplay is actually good. They have covered all the major happenings in the novel and within the given time it drives the point home clearly and cleverly.

I stayed away from the movie after reading all negative reviews but I am happy that I watched the movie finally. Though it is not completely convincing, it is a must watch for all those who cherished reading “Da Vinci Code” and who are aware that the movie will not be like the novel.


10.11.2006

Umrao Jaan Soundtrack

Bollywood is in remake fever giving new sound and colour to yesteryear classics. After the soundtrack of “Don” which faced a lot of harsh criticisms for the music not matching the quality of the original, here comes the sound track of J.P.Dutta’s “Umrao Jaan” with music by Anu Malik and poetry by Javed Akthar . I am happy that I haven’t heard the sound track of the original version, which makes me to listen to the album without any prejudices and expectations. Even if I had heard it, I would never compare it with the original. My high expectation on the album is only because of the Dutta-Malik combination who gave us some worthy soundtracks like “Border” and “Refugee”.

Classics and Nostalgia

No matter how great is the music in the new version; it cannot and will not match the class or standards the original version has set. It is mainly because, it is not just the quality of music which makes us love those old songs so much, there is something more to it, it is the nostalgia of yours attached to each of the songs, which a new soundtrack can never give you. Whenever I listen to “Kaatra En Vaasal (Paigham from Lakeer in Hindi)” song from the Tamil movie soundtrack “Rhythm”, it immediately will remind me of my first day in college, because at that time, it was the newly released A.R.Rahman album and I was listening to it repeatedly while traveling to the college. If they remake the movie “Rhythm” and even if A.R.Rahman scores a better music for the same movie, I would still prefer the music of the original version as it reminds me some of the best episodes of my life but it doesn’t mean that the music of the new version is any lesser good than that of the original version.

New Sound

Also I don’t understand what the big fuss about the new sound is, what matters is the new melody. We people these days look for innovation in sound and rhythm more than the main melody in the song. It is pretty simple, music has to please your soul, relax your mind with fresh melodies and this album has got just that. I am not against new sounds but it is not mandatory for me, what I look in a song is a pleasing melody and only next comes everything else. People would call the music boring and outdated, even if Naushad comes with a “Mughal-E-Azam” in this era. That is the extent to which we have got used to this often misinterpreted term “the new sound”.

Music of Umrao Jaan

Considering the nature of the movie, Anu Malik has concentrated on main melody than innovative orchestration or sounds, like we use to listen in A.R.Rahman’s scores for period films. You cannot listen to a heavy bass line in a mujra (as you can listen in Rahman’s mujra Mein Vaari from Mangal Pandey) of Anu’s score for Umrao Jaan. Anu restricts himself to the style of music and instruments that is authentic to the period and that only adds simplicity and in turn beauty to the score. The songs are situational and are written suiting the various moods and emotions of a courtesan. Strings flowing like a river stream sounding her inner emotions - Sarangi giving the exact sound of the period and adds the sound of various emotions like love, longing and loneliness - Sitar pieces are like plucking the heart strings - tabla beating out with rhythm of Umrao Jaan’s heart - flute flourishing like fresh breathe of her embracing Nawabs in the court – Chal Chal sounds tracing the legs of her and all put together creates the perfect aura of each and every song.

I read in Anu’s interview that Javed Akthar insisted to write the lyrics first for which he had to compose tunes. It is quite a toll task considering the nature of such poems, the music has to complement the beauty of the words in poem and yet find its own beauty in its melody. It is a kind of perfect blend of the beauty of the words in the poem and the melody which can deliver a soul stirring number that also befits the situation in the movie. Anu Malik seems to have struck a right chord in doing that convincingly though not perfectly. The songs are slow, takes it own time to buildup, has got often heard Naushad style of subdued orchestration, nothing new in sounds or overall format but what makes it pleasant and appealing is the simple melody. Alka Yagnik is the voice of new Umrao Jaan, quite a surprising choice but she has done justice to the compositions. I am not going to single out a song as all the songs sound equally good to my ears. This album may not be for everyone, not that it has complex classical compositions but its pace and similar orchestration in all the songs may test one’s patience. Yet the album is a perfect companion for one’s loneliness.

May be Ismail Darbar would have done a better job giving new sounds and complex orchestrations by interweaving western classical elements with pure Indian classical melodies, but it is not about who should have done it and how it should have been, we can only judge the songs for what it is. I am not saying that the soundtrack is great but it is not bad either, Infact very good.
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10.09.2006

Blogging with Mouthshut

Movies
If Only
Woh Lamhe

Soundtracks
Dor
Jaan-E-Mann


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10.04.2006

United 93

Have you ever thought about what you were doing at your place when something disastrous was going on in some other part of the world? On 9/11 when it happened, I was sitting cool in my college hostel watching a Tamil movie in KTV. Suddenly when one of the guys switched to the news channel we saw smokes coming out of the targets and we didn’t realize how biggest a disaster was happening at that time and thought it as a fire accident and switched back to KTV. But what if you could see simultaneously what was happening at the same time (i.e., when I was watching movie in KTV) inside those planes that hit the targets. A lot was happening in two other planes one targeted on Pentagon and the other on the White House. “United 93” is one of hardest hitting, real (literally) life docu-drama that brings those moments of chaos in Air control offices and also in the United 93 plane which was hijacked to hit White house, almost exactly like how it happened on that day.

It is quite usual in Hollywood to make movies based on real life incidents and disasters. We had movies like a romantic epic ‘Titanic’ which conceived the accident with a love story in the fore and making the accident as a backdrop. Before, if I were asked about my favourite among the Hollywood movies made, based on real life incidents, my immediate reply would have been Spielberg’s ‘Schindler’s List’ but not anymore. These movies visualized the real incident as authentic as possible but nothing can come near to what Paul Greengrass has achieved in “United 93”. It is really real. The happenings on United 93 are written as authentically as possible based on the information got from the Black box.

There are no newly married couples, no two passengers who fall in love after getting into United 93 and trying to help each other to escape from the situation, no father trying to save his son, no kid trying to save its puppy, no hero fighting with the villains to save the plane and no usual clichés anywhere in the movie. It is just the event; the incident itself is the anti-hero of the movie. You can very well understand the intention of the director not to give importance to any single character from the very first scene of the movie. The passengers who are going to board United 93 flight talk to their relatives and pals over phone and no conversation is given importance and you just hear a lot of noise as like how you would hear those conversations when you were sitting there in the lobby as one of the passenger and even the visuals are the random shots of all the passengers on how one would have a quick look at his co-passengers and this totality remains till the end.

We know what happened, we know the ending, and we know it is going to happen but as the movie races towards the end, out heart beats faster and tense creeps into our mind like those passengers on board and it yearns for the safe landing of the flight. Never before while watching a movie, I have said ‘Oh! My God’ as many times as I said while watching this movie. Even the villain, the hijackers are the not the villains here because they earn equal and sometimes much more sympathy of ours than the passengers get. Their constant prayers to God, their constant dilemma about the intention of their actions, their fear, trembling and one of them saying final goodbye to his wife over phone are as human as no villain can be in a movie. Yet they do what they have been ordered to do. What hell on the earth would have prepared a human mind to blindly follow someone’s instruction and do something like this on the cost of his own life?

More than the happenings in the plane, the chaos in the air control offices in the land is captured authentically with some of the officers playing themselves. It takes a little time to understand at least for a non-American like me who is who and what they all are doing over there, and though initially technical jargons of the officers puts you off, we will slowly get used to the terms and indulge ourselves in the proceedings and that is where the success of the screenplay lies which maintains a right balance between raw real facts and human side of it. Paul Greengrass please take a bow for capturing the things with much sensitivity and yet without hurting any of the victims of the tragedy.

“United 93” is an experience not to be missed.

9.19.2006

Mozart Meets India (again)

Tamil Maiyam who produced ‘Thiruvasakam by Illayaraja’ has come up with yet another album of East meets west genre titled ‘Mozart meets India’. I had no expectations on this album but the concept of placing the ragas as it is with a symphony backing just made me curious to buy it. Illayaraja has done a lot like this before. Who can forget his ‘How to Name It’ and ‘Nothing but Wind’? The songs orchestrated by Jesurajan sound almost similar to that of IR’s style, format and structure of orchestration in HTNI and NBW. But I have got no complaints; Jesurajan has done a commendable job in fusing the two forms of music with both of the form following its own grammar.

The harmony in the songs is so beautiful, pleasant and relaxing to a large extent. May be the chosen ragas itself has got these qualities in it but the orchestral music running behind is written in a subtle and a modest way that it doesn’t distract the flow and the melody of the carnatic ragas played in the fore, which I feel is a no easy task to achieve. Predominantly the string section of the orchestra is used giving a breezy feel to all the songs and occasionally other instruments like oboe, French horn, clarinet, celesta peeps in. This is also where the problem arises as they sound like being added on compulsion as to show that a whole symphony orchestra is there playing in the background along with the strings. But the choirs are added perfectly in blend with the rest of ensemble.

Tracks like “Mystic Meanderings” and “Yathum Oorae” goes a little modern with the use of e-beats, acoustic drums and Piano, involving less of the orchestra. “Yathum Oorae” with Kadri Gopalnath on Sax sounds like how a fusion of Kenny G’s Sax and Yanni’s keys would sound if they play carnatic music. The tracks with vocals like Bombay Jayshree and O.S. Arun sounds really interesting as if the singers by mistake have entered a symphonic concert hall instead of a Carnatic katcheri Sabha. There is an emotional depth in the performance of both Bombay Jayshree and O.S. Arun which adds to the divinity and beauty of the tracks involving their vocals. It would really be great watching our classical singers sitting in the middle of a symphony orchestra performing those complex ragas in synch with the orchestral music.

Usually in Carnatic concerts, singers just have to concentrate on their own sruthi, rhythm and improvisations but not (to a large extent) on how well their rendition goes in synch with the Gatam, mirudangam or Violin that is playing along, but here the synergy and harmony with the orchestra is equally important. If at all they perform these pieces alive, (which didn’t happen as they announced earlier) it would really be interesting to watch. The tracks each with Violin, Veena and Sitar as the lead playing some beautiful ragas are also equally good. The one with Sitar named ‘Hymn to Silence’ has a serious Naushad sound to it may be because of the Hindustani connection.

On the whole, it definitely is a very good album to listen but I won’t agree if either Tamil Maiyam or anyone involved in the project claim this work to be the first of its kind in India. Mozart meets India (again). I heard that the intention of the album is to present Indian classical music in a globally understandable form. Who cares whether it reaches global audience or not? I feel so satisfied and relaxed when I listen to this album and that matters more than anything else. I listen to the album at least once in a day for the kind of calmness and peace it injects in my soul.

For a far more in-depth technical review on the album, I recommend this article.

9.16.2006

Veyil Music - Cool

Factors like Shankar production and music being composed by A.R.Rahman’s nephew G.V. Prakash Kumar are enough to create expectations on the soundtrack of ‘Veyyil’. More than meeting our expectations, I think album meets the needs of the movie well as a soundtrack. It has got a mix of good melodies and earthy folk numbers that should work well with the film than being a hit material. Though there are no ground breaking numbers which it not required for a movie of this kind, they are good and from the quality of the songs I feel G.V. Prakash is here to stay. It is good that the music doesn’t sound like a newcomers work, there is finesse in the orchestration and arrangements and ofcoure Rahman’s influence is there but not to a large unbearable extent. Na.Muthukumar’s lyrics give life to the music.

“Veyilodu Velaiayadu” has got some earthy and catchy beats and some unusual singers like Frankom, Jessie gift and Tipu for a folk song. The good thing is that there are not too many layers in the background; just the vocals and percussion carry the song all through. The song sets the right mood for the rest to follow. “Uruguthey” is one of the most simple and beautiful romantic melodies in the recent past. With just Dholaks and a bass guitar in the background, the song rides primarily on the soulful tune and expressive singing by Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Ghosal. Interludes are beautifully arranged with beautiful Guitar, flute, Sarangi and sitar pieces.

“Ooranthotathilae” is another earthy folk number. The tune is catchy and the lyrics are funny but the rhythm reminds of lot of other songs. Rahman’s touch is more in this song in terms of arrangement especially the Guitar usage. Yet I don’t think no body had used Harmonica in the way it has been used in this type of song so far. And Sriram’s voice adds to the sounds-like factor of the song. Contrary to “Uruguthey”, “Kadhal Neruppin” is full of synth stuff with interesting sound loops and layers in the background. It is another good melody with Rahman kind of foot tapping western bits sandwiched between melodious parts. Karthik and Chinmayi have done a fine job in the song.

“Iraivanai” is a short and sweet situational melody sung beautifully by Prashanthi (I think she is daughter of Malayasia Vasudevan). “Sethvadam” is another short sober song sung by Manicka Vinayagam. And next is an authentic street folk number similar to the one we heard in Virumandi but this is not composed by GVP. A very interesting number with lot of twists and turns in rhythm and mood. It is good that directors choose to have such songs on their soundtrack without which we don’t often get a chance to listen to such songs often.

9.12.2006

Sillunu Oru Kadhal

Year 2006 seem to be the year of disappointments, especially the movies that comes with so much hype and hoopla failed to impress all kind of target audience. “Pudupettai” had a classic first half, but self indulgence of Selvaraghavan spoiled the second half and it neither was called a crap or a classic which Selvaraghavan aimed and expected the movie to be? Then came much expected “Imsai Arasan 23m Pulikesi”. which in spite of being made as socio-historic-satirical comedy in a different way, couldn’t impress all kind of audience. Gautam Menon’s ‘Vettaiyadu Vilayadu’ was a disappointment considering that it was expected to be a (so called) masterpiece by KK fans and as a quite different movie from KK by Kamal fans as we have Kamal Haasan as hero but it is more of a Gautam movie that Kamal’s and it failed to satisfy either. Though it worked partly up until the first half, second half went haywire. These aren’t as bad as a movie which we are going to talk about now, it is just that they didn’t meet our expectations.

Here comes ‘Sillunu Oru Kadhal’ which is the biggest disappointments of this year. At least the other three movies were genuine attempts in which makers have tried hard to do something different in Tamil cinema but this one though it tries to be poetic and romantic all through it turns out to be none of what it expected to be. Instead it turns out to be a fashion show of Surya, Jyothika and Bhoomika with various colorful costumes and hair styles. Krishna has got an interesting plot but his execution and screenplay which is made to fit in all commercial ingredients spoiled the novelty in the theme. The movie is all about a wife who comes to know about her husband’s past love from his personal diary. The only wish of her husband is to live with his ex-ladylove at least for one day in his life. And what will happen when a wife decides to make such a wish of her husband’s to come true?

Nothing much really happens in the first half, it is filled with unnecessary comedy scenes of Vadivelu which evokes yawn than laughter. Though it starts quite interestingly with Surya and Jyothika getting married without any interest, it soon shifts to their life after 6 years in Mumbai. It would have been better it Krishna had few interesting scenes to show how their relationship got better and how they started loving each other so much. The story doesn’t really take off in the first half, and for good or bad Jyothika finds Surya’s personal diary too late in the movie. Second half is even worse (except for Santhanam’s usual witty one-liners) with the Surya and Bhoomika love portrayed in an even more unconvincing way. The basic flaw in the movie is that though it deals with two deep love of Surya at two different times, both are shown in a shallow and unconvincing way and as the screenplay is pivoted around these two love stories, it fails miserably.

R.D.Rajasekhar and Antony does their usual job well and it helps the movie look technically sound and savvy. A.R.Rahman’s background score is as bad as the movie. Though the songs are good, it is simply wasted. In spite of a bad screenplay, Surya gives a neat performance. See for a mix of shock, surprise, fear, embarrassment all at once in his face when he sees Bhoomika in his house after six years. Jyothika is OK. Bhoomika is weakest character in the movie and so is her performance.

The couple who looks like made-for-each-other in their real life marriage photos lacks chemistry on screen in this movie and that is the (lack of) power of the screenplay of Krishna. Sillunu Oru Kadhal – NIL.

9.05.2006

Don Soundtrack

When Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (SEL), Javed Akthar and Farhan Akthar join hands for a score, the output has always been something new and interesting. The expectations are higher than normal now as their latest venture is a remake of a yesteryear Amitabh classic ‘Don’. The composers has to walk on a tight rope as their compositions should satisfy the modern and sophisticated look of the movie and in turn the music listeners of now and yet retain the nostalgic sound of 70’s to please the oldies. SEL have successfully managed to do that. The sophistication is there just in the orchestration and arrangements but the tune of all the songs has got the same old sound. Even the most techno sounding title track is done like this.

I am not going to compare the soundtrack with the original which I feel is a waste of time and unnecessary. So my opinion is purely based on how well these songs would gel as a soundtrack with the movie. From the look and feel of the movie (in trailers) the songs would surely be an apt score for the movie. It seems Farhan has asked SEL not to use any live instruments. All the songs have heavy thumping beats and lot of techno sounds added to it. But these layering of sounds are done with such finesse that they don’t sound noisy and make us feel irritated. SEL has added notes to even these synth sounds thereby changing the sound of just a sound into sound of music.

“Kaike Paan Banaraswala” shines mainly because of Udit’s brilliant singing in a local dialect with lot of expressions. SEL manages to strike a balance between old and new sound by shifting between the Dholak’s and e-beats for the rhythm. Especially the dholak’s played when Udit sings ‘Kaike’ cannot be replaced by any modern beat with the same effect. “Yeh Mera Dil” is a sample of how remixes should be done by just replacing the instruments in the original with appropriate modern synth sounds and e-beats. Good thing about the song is that they have retained the strings that run in the background of the song which is the soul for such songs made in those times. Sunidhi has done a good job but I would still prefer Ashaji. She still has got that pep in her voice.

“Maurya Re” takes time to grow. The loud percussions and chorus brings alive the aura of Ganesh pooja. Shankar Mahadevan does a neat job in singing this number. I liked the usage of Mandolin and the tune played with it in this song which adds a fresh sound to the song. “Aaj Ki Raat” is an interesting song in the album in a way that it is not a remix of some old song but yet it sounds like an old song. The tune, rhythm and the way chorus sings ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ are all typical 70’s stuff. Even though the sounds and layers are modern they are arranged in such a way that it has this RDB sound.

The title track ‘Main Hoon Don’ has this strong Matrix and James Bond sound in it perfectly underscoring the visual inspirations of the movie. A very enjoyable track with all right elements put in for a hero introduction song. The remix version of the song adds more pep and zing to the already rocking song. “Don Theme” is another energetic track with same tune and feel as the title track in different form interwoven with some popular dialogues uttered by Don.

This is not a soundtrack for those who like SEL for their compositions like ‘Kitni Baatein’ or ‘Kaisi Ha yeh’ but for those who like their peppy dance numbers like ‘Koi Kahe’ and ‘It’s the time to disco’. It is more of an album for your feet than to your heart and an album that provides the apt and necessary sound for the movie as a soundtrack.

9.02.2006

Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu

I am not a big fan of ‘Kaaka Kaaka’, it is good accepted, but I feel that it is one of the most overrated movies. I don’t think it would have been a big hit, if Surya wasn’t there. Surya was so refreshing to watch in a police character. But I didn’t have much expectation on ‘Vettiayadu Vilayadu’. But the presence of Kamal Haasan and interesting premise of tracing out a killer based on incidents happened in Keeranur and New York made me curious. So, I went to the movie on the second day itself and while watching the movie, the interview of Gautam (One of the most straight from the heart and honest ever from a movie director) to Hindu magazine and his words about the movie started running in my mind.

Plot in Gautam’s words

The cop-versus-killer cat-and-mouse game, leads to the same problem as in 'Kaakha Kaakha,' when the cop's personal life gets involved and affected in the course of the investigation. The classic serial killer mystery in the mould of 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'Seven' soon gives away to a full-fledged commercial action film as the cop and the mystery killer go tit-for-tat, says Gautham.

The main problems of the movie are those bold words in the previous paragraph. One of the major problems of KK is its weak villain and so is of VV. I felt the characterization of the villain was a major drawback of Kaaka Kaaka. A hero’s character becomes strong only when the villain’s is stronger. The intentions of the psycho killers in this movie are kiddish. Just because of villain saying like, “killing was like Smoking for me, I was trying hard to stop it” doesn’t make his actions convincing. And what make it even more boring are their predictable tricks to escape from the police. As the character is weak, no matter how hard Balaji tries to perform well, his character loses the appeal.

All went well when nothing gets personal between the hero and villain but everything falls flat in the second half when it goes to a tit-for-tat mode. Kamal realises it too late in the movie when he says, “It is getting personal”, after they kill and hang up one of the associates of Kamal in the Adyar Bridge (again KK hang over). And the worst happens when the villains kidnap Jyothika to take revenge. Also Gautam looses his eye for small details in the second half. Though his intention of pasting the posters of “Hannibal” and “Psycho” movies make some sense considering that the villains are psycho killers, I don’t know when how these guys were so cool and had time to do all these decorations to their room as they were running from one state to another to escape from the police. Instead, it would have been more appropriate if those movie posters were shown shinning in their residence in New York.

It is very clear that Gautam has got confused how to end the movie, he started to make a great psycho thriller cum a cop story but ended up doing a hi-tech Gilli. The words ‘full fledged commercial film’ crossed my mind when the “Neruppae” (well choreographed though) song came at a crucial point disturbing the pace of the movie. Also unnecessarily lot of large than life stunt sequences are there which hampers the quality of the movie further. And Gautam himself accepts all these as he said

From your earlier film, you have to go five notches higher. Especially with Kamal, I would have loved to do something like a Nayagan, which is an all-time favourite film, don't know how "commercial" it was, but it was a complete film. I didn't do that. I didn't have that kind of time. So, I thought let me make commercial film

From the way he has executed the first half of the movie, I strongly believe Gautam sure have potentials to make a great movie one day, but as he said, he may not have got enough time to make VV as one. Unlike the villains, Kamal and Jyothika’s characters are well etched out. I liked the way the story unfolds in a leisurely pace without any logical flaws. Though it seems the clues are so obvious to trace the killers and it happens too fast, the way it has been presented realistically makes it appealing. Gautam always does these romantic parts well. The matured love story of Kamal and Jyothika is so pleasant and refreshing to watch to an extent that we don’t mind the main plot of the movie getting interrupted by their conversation. Unlike KK, the conversations are so natural and realistic in this movie, especially those between Kamal and Jyothika.

There are some cute one-liners here and there and in one of the scenes Gautam mocks himself through Jyothika’s character saying ‘Yenna Maniratnam padathula vara madhiri aaramikkiranga?’ That was exactly what every one of us would have thought after Kamal asks Jyothika “Yaen (Why?)”. Also Gautam brings a connection between KK and VV by making Kamal’s first love story and its ending like how the love story started and ended in KK. There by if he makes a trilogy, sure he can show this episode as a link between the movies. It would have been better, if Gautam had kept the suspense about the killers till the end. The mind and instinct game was more interesting than boring chasing sequences in the second half. When the villains and their intentions are revealed so suddenly, I was shocked and thought how he is going to proceed from here. And yes, that is what exactly Gautam also would have thought while writing the script.

Here is what Gautam said about first half,

It is realistic. First half is very real, bang on... I've not compromised at all. He's not allowed to take a gun. He has to find out what happened from the local cop there. He walks with the other cop and suggests what they could do... So, it's a sort of an unofficial investigation

Technically the movie is superior. Ravi Verman has done a brilliant job in using right tones and different camera angles to capture the various moods of this thriller. The murder and rap scenes are very gory and authentic. I don’t know why people complaint about this. May be it is not suitable for children and women but that is how it has to be shown when you have the villains as psycho killers. Well done. As always Anthony is there to give a stylish look to the film by his flashy editing. I liked the way the visuals are cut to show the flashing past memories in Kamal’s mind while he is traveling to New York. They have used color grading in quite a lot of places to get authentic mood and look and it gels well with the scenes at most of the places. There is a chasing sequence in the second half where Kamal in a jeep chases a villain on a bike, it happens in early morning 4.30. It is clear that the chasing sequence has been shot in day time and the color grading is done to make it look like 4.30 am. But they missed to watch that there would not be so much traffic in the Tidel park road at 4.30 am. Background score is good in parts.

It is a treat to watch Kamal is such a role giving a subtle performance. So is Jyothika. She has improved a lot. Kamilini just looks pretty and has nothing much to do. Prakash Raj has got minimal screen time but made his presence felt. So, finally here is what Gautam says about the movie and I perfectly agree with him.

It is a good film...nothing else. No problem if they call it another 'Kaakha... Kaakha.' That is a good film. It made for good viewing, good value for money. This is definitely that. It's got good songs, it's got Kamal Hassan. I wanted to go one step beyond that... which im not sure

9.01.2006

Pithamagan Background Score

Here is a detailed write-up on background score of Pithamagan by Maestro Illayaraja that I wrote for forumhub magazine. The write-up also includes high quality audio samples. It is one of my all time favourite scores.

8.25.2006

Woh Lamhe Soundtrack

I think this is the first time I am buying a movie soundtrack not because of the composer but for the production house and the actors in the movie. I was very much impressed by the performance of Shiney Ahuja and Kanaga Ranaut in “Gangster”. The songs in Gangster are excellent and are well placed in the movie which enhances the impact of the song on the listeners. All the movies from Bhatt productions have got great romantic songs, though they blatantly copy and use the songs without giving any credits to the original makers. They do select some great melodies from Pakistani and Arabic pop music which we Indian music listener’s may miss otherwise.

How To Rate the album: I am and almost everyone is aware that not all the songs are original in this soundtrack so I am not going to waste my time and space complaining the makers for doing so and it turn giving a low rating. Let us treat it as just another album where you have songs that we haven’t heard before and so relatively for us they are original. I am not going to give any credit for the beauty of the melodies in the song to any single composer except for the one composed by Roop Kumar Rathod. So all the curse and praise is for whomever it may concern. But at least this time, on the back of the album cover they have differentiated the songs that are not originally composed by Pritam from that he has composed by putting a note like ”Music arranged by Pritam” which means it is just arranged and orchestrated by Pritam and not originally composed by him.

The album starts on a happy energetic note with “Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai”. The guitar riffs give a casual and energetic tone to the song. A strange and unique vocal harmony singing in some strange language sounds good and adds a new flavour to the song. Kay Kay’s expressive rendition is the life and soul of the song. This is the only song in the album where there is no use of instruments like violins, piano or flute to evoke romanticism which makes it peppy and more easily appealing to all kind of listeners. Instead the tune itself carries the necessary mood and along with a perfect rhythm and beats the song is instantly catchy number of the lot. What I like most about the tune is that the notes just casually fall in right place one after the other. As always the remix version of the song has nothing much to offer except for loud thumping beats added to pep up the track and make it more suitable for playing in pubs.

“Chal Chale” is sung by none other than James who sung the most expressive and emotive song “Bheegi” in Gangster. After hearing Bheegi, I thought this song is way too simple for his caliber and even it doesn’t suit his voice, his so very expressive voice needs song of more emotional depth in tune or may be he should have sung in a softer note. I am not saying that this song is bad, but someone else with a softer voice could have sung this one. Other than that, the song is good with a beautiful tune. The song starts beautifully with Guitar pieces and harmonica with strong strings backing. The violins enter the album in this song but thankfully not in a clichéd way. The strings backing the vocals in the fore are so good and even the string pieces in the interludes are very catchy. I liked the usage of Harmonica; it adds some freshness to the song.

It is as though the lyrics “To jo Nahin to kuch bhi nahin hai” indicating the strings like how a love song feel without strings in it, strings has been used a plenty in this song. Infact, this song has got all the clichés I have listed which was not there in previous songs like loud violins, flute, piano and Dholaks in it. But what makes this song click in spite of the clichéd orchestration is its soulful tune. Just listen to the tune when it is played in Piano. The flute and the way it leads to the main tune played on piano in the prelude are beautiful. Glenn John does a good job in rendering this Ghazal with right feel. The orchestration in the interludes clearly indicates the work of Pritam in its arrangement.

”So Jaaon Main” is my pick of the album. Composed by the singer Roop Kumar Rathod, everything is just so beautiful and perfect in this song. The orchestration is so soothing and pleasant and carries the melody like how a breeze carries a flying leaf on its path. Pouring in enough passion and pain in the song is Shreya Ghosal’s voice. I am tired of praising her again and again; she is already on her way to become a legend soon. I like the rhythm of the song very much; it is very difficult to think of such different rhythms for melodies like this. There is another version of the song sung by Kunal Ganjwala. Please don’t skip this version thinking that it is the same song being repeated. Kunal’s voice and his rendition is yet another treat to listen to.

The start of song with acoustic guitar instantly reminded me a song from Gangster but as the humming starts song “Bin Tera” starts to take stand on its own. Acoustic and bass Guitar is beautifully used throughout the song which has got a minimal orchestration otherwise. The soulful tune and the soothing orchestration are pleasant and romantic.

Go for it. Bhatts keep up their promise yet again.

8.18.2006

8.17.2006

Jillunu Oru Kadhal Soundtrack

Be it the bhangra in Rang De Basanti, Telugu folk in God father and Tamil folk from JOK soundtrack, it is evident that ARR has designed a template to give a unique touch to such songs with traditional flavour. Take the traditional percussion beats to the background; add e-beats loop that is perfectly in synch with the rhythm of the traditional percussions, balance the sound of both in such a way that we don’t miss the local flavour and yet it sounds trendy with the e-beats, use bass guitar and add a bass line that runs throughout the song, and if it is a Tamil folk make Nadhaswaram the main lead among the accompanying instruments, use it in interludes playing main and sub theme of the song, add Morsing here and there, and finally compose the main vocal tune that is close to nativity of the song. With this mixture in right proportions, we get a song with local flavour that is instantly catchy and with what we call a Rahman sound in it. And one such song in this album is “Kummi Adi”. It is an instantly catchy situational song (which is very rare these days). Even though ARR has this fixed template for such songs, I was amazed by the way he comes with some new sounds in each and every song. In this song a synth beat that sounds exactly like a Thavil beat is fused so well with Thavil beats that we don’t really know when it actually started and blended with the live percussion. This can be heard easily in the climax of the song where the tempo of percussion beats gradually reaches the top. Also Rahman touch is there even in small parts of the song like the way the words ‘kummi Adi” is sung like “kummi aadi (not adi)”. It is one of the main catchy elements of the song. The lively and energetic marriage ambience is well brought out in the song by using male and female chorus doing little things here and there. Also all the singers especially Swarnalatha have done a good job in this song. Naresh Iyer is one of the luckiest singers of the lot who gets songs of all different genres to prove his versatility from A.R.Rahman and he utilizes the opportunity quite well.

In one of the audio release functions, Shankar (director) said, ARR’s song is like a black forest cake with lot of tasty layers in it. A single bite of the cake with all layers together will be as delicious as it can get. Though all songs of ARR are a black forest cake, I felt “Munbe Vaa” song can be a perfect sample for the analogy. Like delicious red cherries which fill the space between two layers of cake, the song starts with a beautiful melody played on some keyboard or electronic gadget which sounds like Santoor which later becomes main layer in the background. The main melody of the song is very soothing and soft like a spongy soft chocolate cake. As the main melody and the lead layer in the background blend in a perfect harmony and when we are about to eat the cake thinking that the cake can’t get any more delicious, ARR introduces soft beats in the background and also adds chocolate cream to the already delicious arrangement through soft strings. ARR decks another cake layer and another with all the ingredients along with a surprise addition of dry fruits and nuts in the form of tabla and Thavil beats making the cake a little crunchy. Choco chips are sprinkled on the top of each layer in the form of “Rangoli” chorus part. It is a very soothing interlude sung well by chorus singers. Then there is this mixture of wine and honey that is poured from the top which flows to all parts of the cake in the form of Shreya Ghosal and Naresh Iyer’s voice. Both elevate the melody with their sweet voice and expressive singing. At times, I felt there is too much cream which covers the main cake part of the song, may be a little correction in the sound mixing table would have made it better. But who cares, the cake is so tasty and you can eat a lot of it continuously without getting bored.

Maza Maza is the song that I instantly liked while listening to the album for the first time. ARR has done such sexy sensual numbers before, but each had a different theme and unique approach to it. He gave a divine sound to such number in “Hai Rama”, not just by lyrics but even the way flute and percussions were used clearly sounds the fire theme in “Ayyo pathikichu”, though “Thazhuvudhu” wasn’t a classic it had lot of innovative rhythms flowing all through the song and now we have “Maza Maza” with tribal chanting and beats dominating in the background giving a violent sound to sex. Lot of instruments and sounds comes in and fades all through the song giving an unsettling sound (as the emotions) till the end. The most emotive part of the song is when a same note is plucked four times giving a lazy and exhausted sound when the all other sounds in the song come to a pause. Beautiful sitar bit in the interludes surprisingly adds a new flavour to the song. For such songs, expression and rendition of vocalists must be great enough. Shreya Ghosal and SPB.Charan do a great job.

There is always a complaint about ARR’s music that it always takes a lot of time to grow. Though I don’t entire buy this complaint about ARR, I do believe that one have to listen to his songs at least three or four times for the transition from “It is average. I like this song” opinion to “Hey it is great, I am crazy about this song” to happen. Though I may not have the ability to come to a final opinion on a song on the first hearing itself, I would be able predict whether the song has any scope to grow. One such song in JOK is “Machakkari”. It had this catchy recurring theme flowing in the background all through the song which I liked very much initially. The main tune of the song immediately reminded me “En jodi Manjakuruvi” song from “Vikram” but one cannot say it is a copy. The tune has a similar sound and feel and that is about it. So, when did I become crazy about this song? When I heard the recurring theme hidden in some unexpected places being played on so many instruments in parallel, when I realized the magic and beauty of this theme as we don’t get bored of this theme being used so many times and in so many forms again and again all through the song (I wonder even if ARR had ever used a single tune this much times repetitively in a single song), when I started to like beautiful vocal harmony (arranged by Clinton) in the interludes, when I heard the complex bass lines, when I heard and realized how a not so innovative rhythm or beat may sound great in synch with a melody that gels so well with it, when I noticed the solo humming of Shankar ‘Oh ho oh’ running in the background and finally when I thought that there is so much to dig in what initially sounded like an average song.

My pick of the album is “Newyork nagaram”. It is a very soulful melody done with a sophisticated orchestration. The best thing about the song is that even with so much of layers, beats, sounds and instruments; it has a soothing and calming effect on the listeners. Rahman does a great job in singing this song with just enough emotions. The vocal harmonies are used well. Vaali’s lyrics are so simple and poetic. The blend of the lyrics and the tune is so amazing that we can’t figure whether song was tuned for already written lyrics or lyrics was penned for the composed tune. What better instrument than Saxophone can sound solitude? The most soothing effect comes when silken female vocals sing the song in harmony. Of course initial guitar strumming is misleading but it gives a pretty good start and the song also ends with it. The deliberate lightness in the song sounds like someone though in pain for being lonely away from his beloved, gets some peace and happiness in this form of sadness.

Maricham is the weird song of the lot with techno trance feel to it with ARR’s defining glass breaking sounds. The song sure takes time to grow on us. Initially I couldn’t understand even a single word in the lyrics completely but later when I understood it, I was bowled over by the way it has been set to tune. This song is an addition to the long list of ARR songs with unpredictable twists and turns in it. Caralisa (a regular in SEL’s music) gets her first song with A.R.Rahman. Her voice and rendition fits well to the genre of this song. The male part is very melodious. Mohammed Aslam has a good voice. This is the first time I got to hear his voice clearly in Rahman’s song. By the way, what is Teajomayam?

Jillunu Oru Kadhal Rahman surprises us by choosing a genre (pure old age Jazz) rarely used in Tamil for the title track of this movie. The catchy notes on the words “jillendru oru kadhal” form the main theme of the song. Finally, Tanvi gets to sing a solo song for ARR. She does a great job. She has gone to all possible range of her voice. As ARR sticks to authentic jazz feel in the song, we get to hear less of ARR sound in it. The song with its funny tune and lyrics sets a funny tone to the movie as well when played in the trailer.

Though not his best, it is a must buy A.R.Rahman soundtrack which has got a variety and immensely entertaining songs.

7.26.2006

Leftovers

When I write movie or music review, i either post it here in this blog or in a website called Mouthshut.com where i have been writing for past 3 years, but mostly i post it in both. Oflate, I left without posting some of the reviews in my blog which I posted in MS. So here are the links to those reviews

Music Reviews

Omkara
Kailasa
Movie Reviews

Parijatham (Tamil)
Final Destination
Navarasa (Tamil)
Brokback Mountain
Antarmahal (Bengali)

7.24.2006

By 2 Soundtrack

Vijay Antony is one composer whom I underrated intially after listening to his songs from “Sukran”. I liked “Suppose” and “India” song from that movie and really hated his remix of “Thulluvatho Ilamai” song. As he was heavily using synthesizers and loops, I was in an impression that he sure could delivery peppy tunes that will turn into instant hits but not melodies that would stay longer in our minds. But I changed my opinion when I heard his best melody till date “Nenjan Kootil” in Dishyum. Infact I liked all other songs from this movie. From his songs, it is pretty evident that he is trying to create a unique sound of his own in his music.

Here comes a soundtrack for a movie “By 2” with just two characters. It is a very interesting all-melody-songs album which is rare in Tamil film music these days. He has come out of his own sound to give some soulful melodies. There is no heavy synth stuff or strange singing like we heard in “Dailamo” or “Suppose” song. Melody and orchestration is given prime importance. I should say Vijay has used this opportunity well. The album has got 6 songs. All the songs are penned by Vairamuthu.

“En Kaalgal” is a neat melody for heroine singing about herself with nature. The tune, the rhythm, the bass, flute and strings in the interlude all are in typical Illayaraja style or to be more specific, it sounds like “Intha Ulagil Naan” song from “Madhu”. I am just saying this as a compliment and all these together make a good song. It has a very easy melody and neat orchestration.

“Azhaga Azhaga” is a sensuous melody with all right elements in it perfectly delivering the ambience and the feel of song. The woodwinds, the kind of percussions used for rhythm and some ambient sounds all give a dense forest feel. The melody as such is very good. The strings are put to good usage in the interludes. Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam have done a great job in giving a right feel to the melody. Vairamuthu’s interesting word play is another catchy element of the song.

“Unnai Partha”, “Poovin Madiyil” and “Rojavin Poovin” all have same tune. It seems to be the theme song of the movie. It is a great melody with impressive orchestration. The starting and ending flute pieces are just so haunting ones that will instantly stick to our mind and it is going to stay for so long. The strings in the background along with the vocal melody evoke a great feel all through the song. I would have been happier if there were three different orchestrations for the song fitting the mood of the situation. The song could have been a bit longer in length. All the three songs have different lyrics fitting different situations in the movie. Not always I pay attention to the lyrics but I did for all these 3 songs. Vairamuthu has come up with something interesting again.

“Nenjil Enna” song is by a guest composer S.P.Venkatesh. It is also a nice melody but has got a home-made feel.

7.05.2006

A.R.Rahman's World Space Signature Tune

A.R.Rahman's Signature tune for World Space is a simple and elegant piece. With beautiful free flowing notes on Piano, it sure will be popular as Airtel Theme. Hope it serves the purpose of World Space Radio too. In the way piece is orchestrated and actually the tune itself reminds me Karthik Raja's theme music for "Kudaikkul Mazhai". What do you say? You can listen to the World Space theme music here

Also check out this well designed new website for A.R.Rahman

6.23.2006

Guru

Yet another (kind of) spoiler on Mani's Guru. But an interesting read. here

6.17.2006

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna Music - Kuch Kushi Kuch Gham

Considering the hype Karan Johar use to create for his movies and its music, there is no surprise about that the expectations are so high for the music of “KANK (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)”. I liked “Kal Ho Naa Ho” soundtrack very much though whether it is an award material is a debatable issue. It was not only a chartbuster album but also a winner of two national awards. SEL (Shankar – Ehsaan – Loy) won best music director and Sonu Nigam won a deserving best playback singer award for singing the title track. Also the comparison of KANK with KHNH music is inevitable. So what is the music of KANK, a winning and also an award material? Let us see..

The product can’t be called an outright SEL product. From the sound of the music, it is pretty evident that Karan Johar has interfered a lot into the work of SEL. As Karan Johar claimed he has ventured into a new area with this movie, he could also have allowed SEL to try something fresh in music. The music sounds more Karan Joharish than SEL’s. For trademark SEL stuff we have to wait for “Don” soundtrack. The problem with the soundtrack is that it has a serious KHNH hangover. The two main melodies (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Tumsi Dekho Naa) of the soundtrack are definitely pleasant and soothing for our ears with soft strings and piano pieces but they are heavily inspired by the title track of Kal Ho Naa Ho. Especially the tune of “Tumsi” song is exactly the tune of “Har pal yahaan” lines from KHNH song. Also the songs get boring in the midway. Also the beats are so ordinary and clichéd. “Where’s the party tonight” is a sequel of “It’s the time to disco”. “Rock n Roll Soniye” is a mix of “pretty woman” and “Maahi ve” songs. I don’t know when I am going to listen to a remix like Rahman’s “Taal Se Taal” or Adnan’s “Hai Rama” and “Sun Zaraa”. The “Mitwa Revisited” is pretty ordinary. The flow and rhythm of the melody doesn’t gel with the rhythm and tempo of clubby beats in it. “Farewell Trance” has nothing interesting to offer. I don’t know why they went for a trance version of the melodies. Lounge mix would have been better or they could have done an orchestral version of melodies like how they did in “Kal Ho Naa Ho”. The trance beats doesn’t sound well along with the melodies on piano.

The likeable parts of the album are actually in the dance numbers “Where’s the party Tonight” and “Rock n Roll Soniye”. SEL always makes their dance numbers highly energetic that will instantly makes us to shake our body and tap our foot on the floor and they have done it perfectly well in these two songs. The variations and shifts to various genre of the music in these two songs are pretty interesting. “Mitwa” is a kind of song that SEL haven’t done so far. It is the only song that is fresh in all aspects. Though it has got a Pakistani pop feel to it (mainly because of Shafqat Amanat Ali’s voice and singing), guitar pieces and Shankar’s alaaps are all trademark SEL stuff.

Finally, the verdict is that if you haven’t heard “Kal Ho Naa Ho”, then probably this album may excite you. Award? I would be surprised if SEL gets even nominated for this score in any of the bollywood awards next year. Winner? Who knows, the album may become a massive hit after the release of the movie (of course because of the Khan factor).