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.


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.


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.



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).