10.30.2007

Rameshwaram Soundtrack

Niru made a promising debut with the album ‘Moongil Nila’ which had some beautiful melodies. So, obviously when I heard that he was composing for a Tamil movie, I had high expectations but his first Tamil soundtrack ‘Kalaabha Kaadhalan’ had a below average music. But now Niru has bounced back with a beautiful soundtrack for the movie ‘Rameshwaram’. It has a good variety of melodies and situational songs.

‘Azhagalin Oosai’ starts with a beautiful string section like that of Rahman’s ‘Sonnalum Kaetpathillai’ and soon Niru makes the song his own by using a melody straight out of one of his songs from Moongil Nila album. Niru’s ornamentation of the pleasant melody with beautiful array of instruments striking the right notes at the right places behind the vocals, and his multilayered breezy orchestration in the interludes makes this songs one of the most complete ones in the recent times. Haircharan and Kalyani further romanticize the melody with their silky rendition.

Though highly situational, ‘Elloraiyum’ is instantly catchy with easily identifiable tune and earthy lyrics. Though we talk about innovation and experimentation in songs, there is nothing like the feel that you get when a melody fits to T with a familiar percussive rhythm. And this song has got such a rhythm, though familiar, adds a great energy to the song. ‘Etho Senjapulla’ is total fun with variety of beats, sounds and instruments going together throughout the song creating a feel of its own. Though the melody slips in the charanam, the colorful arrangements make it up.

‘Naan Tharai Nila’ is again a beautiful melody with nice arrangements. Swetha seems to have got some of the best melodies of 2007. She excels again in this song. Niru has used Violin and Veena sounds in a very innovative way in this song. ‘Netrirundhuom’ is Niru’s version of Rahman’s ‘Vidakodu Engal Naadae’. Though it has a very emotional orchestration fitting the theme of the song, O.S.Arun’s rendition makes all the damage. Niru did the same mistake by using O.S.Arun in Moongil Nila. He may be a good classical singer, but his voice simply doesn’t fit in the filmy songs. Fortunately, we have an instrumental version of the song which is very good as O.S.Arun’s vocal parts are replaced by a flute.

‘Rameshwaram’ soundtrack is highly recommended.


Also Visit my new blog dedicated to Background Scores here

My New blog on Background Score

After Illayaraja came into Indian film music, there is quite a lot of awareness about the significance of background score in movies. At least for me it is his background scores that made me to take a deep dip into this interesting art form called scoring background music for films. Those who have read my ramblings about background scores here would now better about how crazy I am about it.

I think still there isn’t enough awareness about this aspect of film making and its significance in films, not just for the common people but sometimes even for the film makers. Rarely Original soundtracks with background score music cues are getting released. Even if it is released, it is heard by only a selected few. Anyway, I can keep cribbing for pages about the poor recognition of background scores in Indian films. Let me stop here.

The purpose of this blog is to share some of the beautiful background score pieces that I heard and enjoyed. Not just from Tamil movies but also from Hindi and English movies and if possible from other language movies too. To make it interesting, I would like to post it like a quiz contest ala conundrumofsonata.blogspot.com where you got to listen to lot of beautiful interludes from Tamil songs and guessed the songs. Similarly here, you will have to guess the movie from the background score pieces. It will be fun. Even if you don’t have much knowledge about the background score pieces, you can land up here to explore and listen to some beautiful music pieces. I know that I may be violating some copyright laws but think of Nayagan’s punch dialogue.

So check out my new blog on background score

http://backgroundscore.blogspot.com

Do drop in your comments and suggestions.

10.27.2007

Sila Nerangalil Soundtrack

Though I always try to keep an eye on all soundtracks of lesser know movies, ‘Sila Nerangalil’ for various reasons, I miss (especially in 2007) to discover soundtracks that deserve to be heard and appreciated. ‘Sila Nerangalil’ is one such soundtrack. It may easily be the most matured music composed by Srikanth Deva so far. Srikanth Deva shows lot of maturity in the melodies, fresh arrangements and variety in the songs of this soundtrack.

With appropriate choice of instruments, high pitched strings, rhythms and a saccharine melody and of course P.Susheela singing after a long time, ‘Pottu Vaitha’ song evokes MSV era of music quite well. The melody though is just above average, gains longevity from Susheela’s voice and rendition. Even now, P.Susheela amazingly sings in a way we remember her singing, say in a song like, ‘Tamizhukkum Amudhendru paer’ (One of my favourite Susheela renditions). These legendary singers effortlessly go beyond the basic tune material of the song, adding their own touches, and make the song their own, a talent which only very few singers now possess.

‘Thirudapatta Nilavae’ starts with familiar tribal beats and chants, but soon before we pass it as a just another song, the hooky rhythm and arrangements with Chinese instruments comes as a pleasant surprise. It sounds refreshing as all these elements are elegantly added to a pathos number but without loosing its feel.

‘Cell Phone’ though is a usual item number, has a very catchy motif running throughout. With just tribal rhythms without heavy percussions and a bit of Arabian stuff thrown in the interludes, it isn’t loud and senseless like most other songs of the genre to which it belongs.

‘Embaavai’ is a very pleasant IRish melody. Pallavi tune sounds a lot like ‘Iniya Nathi Ilaya Nathi’ song from ‘Manasellam’ but surprisingly the charanam turns totally different and becomes more melodious than the pallavi and with beautiful array of instruments filling in appropriately in the interludes; this song turns out very good.

‘Ponguthu’ again travels back to MSV era; to be specific, it is done like a song that Chandhrababu use to sing then. Though it sounds authentic, the tune lacks punch.

‘Sila Nerangalil’ is a very listenable soundtrack. Give it a try.

10.25.2007

Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan - Some more thoughts

In many of his recent movies, especially the Tamil ones, A.R.Rahman composes the tune after the lines are written and that badly shows up in some of his songs. He tries so hard to set the lines to tune and fit it within the basic rhythm pattern looping throughout. This is again evident with the ‘Ellapughazhum’ song from Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan. It starts of well with an identifiable tune, but it slowly looses its flow in the second stanza when he repeats ‘Athai Nee Marakkathey’ or ‘Indrai Ilakkaathey’ which sounds nothing but a filler to fit the rhythm pattern. And in the third stanza, Rahman literally reads few lines with the hooky pattern in the background. But with mastery over layering rhythms and sounds, he covers it up. Often these kinds of variations are mistaken and praised as surprising twists and turns.

Rahman has used a lot of new voice in ‘Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan’. There are no known big names here. But I feel, though ARR introduces many, he is unable to nurture everyone these days. He uses only a few singers often like a Naresh Iyer or a Madhusree or Karthik. Though ARR has been constantly giving songs to singers like Aslam or Chinamyi, I think he could use them more often. Two notable singers in the ATM singers list are Madhumitha and Saindhavi. When I watch their live performances on TV, I wonder why these brilliant singers are under-utilized in Tamil Film music or in Rahman’s music. With right opportunities a Chinamyi or a Madhumitha or a Saindhavi could have easily become ‘Shreya Ghosal’ of Tamil film music. Any song of Madhusree would easily sound much better in a Chinmayi/Madhumitha/Saindhavi’s voice. One more versatile singer who isn’t getting enough opportunities is Maathangi.

In ATM soundtrack, my pick is ‘Valayaptti’. This is one song where Rahman stamp is all over in every instrument used, every layer and every beat of the rhythm. Though it sounds a lot like ‘Kummi Adi’, the interesting parade of different genres of music on a common road of rhythm, sounds so refreshing. Even the interludes are made like a collage of different genres and sounds.

Having understood the conditions in which Rahman would have scored music for this music, I am not complaining or regretting. But I strongly feel that Rahman should stop doing music for such Tamil movies simply for the sake of having a presence in Tamil Film music. He should do only movies in which he gets the time he needs to give his creative best. Having said that I am sure, ‘Sakkarakatti’ soundtrack won’t be much different.


Also Visit my new blog dedicated to Background Scores here

10.22.2007

Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan Soundtrack

A.R.Rahman and Vijay combination after ‘Udaya’ did raise lot expectations but one must be clear about what one can expect from such a combination to happily accept the quality of music delivered. In Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan, Rahman delivers good enough crowd pleasing numbers sprinkling with some of his trademark fresh sounds here and there.

Rahman injects a fresh energy into an otherwise hero-pleasing-his-fans intro song 'Ellapughazhum', with catchy rhythm pattern, rocking guitars, rough vocals and grand orchestration. ‘Pon Magal Vandhaal’ is an interesting rework of the old classic with enough pep in the tune and thump in beats. ‘Madhuraikku Pogathey’ takes us back to ‘Kizhakku Cheemayilae’ times, a simple, earthy and catchy number without usual Rahman mix of e-beats and with bass layers joining only at the end.

‘Merlyn Monroe’ immediately catches our feet with its soft and peppy bass pattern that loops throughout. It is peppy, soft and even melodious at times without any heavy beats. It has been quite a while since Rahman made such not so complicated peppy tracks. ‘Valayappatti’ interestingly swings between a pleasant classical melody and folk music; it seamlessly traverses from one form to the other without meshing it up and giving a fresh sound to the song.

‘Kelamal’ sounded like IR’s ‘Aaghaya vennilaavae’ in parts but otherwise a nice melody but I am surprised by all- techno orchestration for such a melody. It would have sounded much better with some live orchestration. The tune wanders a little and struggles to reach a point in charanam but I hope it will grow on repeated listening.

On the whole, Rahman delivers a hit material.

Some More Thoughts


Also Visit my new blog dedicated to Background Scores here

10.09.2007

377

Moser Baer is definitely up to something. They are doing a great job distributing good quality home videos for a very reasonable price in Indian market. They are buying rights from almost all other small companies which already got the rights of old movies to release the movies in their own brand. They have joined hands with Prakash Raj’s Duet movies to produce 3 Tamil movies which are currently under production. They thought of releasing the home video of ‘Mozhi’ just after one month of the release of the movie and even a release function was held but for some unknown reasons, it got released only after 6 months. Even 6 months is so early for a Tamil movie home video to hit the stands.

But above all, what surprised me the most was their recent release of a Tamil Telefilm 377’ on home video. ‘377’ is a collaborative effort of film institute students. If not for Moser Baer, I would never have got a chance to watch this movie. I was really surprised by the quality of the movie. Though there are some usual technical glitches due to budget limitations, it is a very good thriller better than what Tamil mainstream makers do in the name of thrillers. The topics which this movie touches upon and the way they have visualized them is a rarity even in mainstream cinema.

Plot(No Spoilers): Suddenly lot of teenage guys seem to be missing in the city and the police department transfers all these missing cases to a special investigation department who don’t wear khaakhee’s and have some special powers. Within first few minutes, we (and of course the special police) easily guess who the culprit is and within another 30 minutes or so we guess why is he doing it but the rest of the movie is all about how they confirm their doubts and trap the culprit and find all proper evidence to prove it in the court. This search of the culprit (man/woman) and the reason for disappearance of teenagers leads to quite a shocking revelation.

The screenplay is really tight with a not a frame being wasted. The two main officers involved in the investigation have two different approaches in solving the case. One (an experienced one) strongly believes in instincts and hard-to-believe magical powers and the other (a relatively young new comer) believes in real facts. The totally different way in which two police approach the same case to find the criminal and their little conflicts makes the proceedings interesting. But it is also interesting that both these methods equally contribute to the progress in the case right from finding the culprit and finally catching him with all the evidence. Though the humor is forced in some of the scenes, it works. Background score though little amateurish in the initial scenes, it heightens the impact of the scenes in the latter parts of the movie. While trying to shoot in the natural light, some of the night scenes are so dark, you can’t even see what is happening but otherwise the lighting and camera angles create the right mood and impact that a thriller genre needs. The performances are good, everyone look so casual, natural and convincing in their parts.

If you find ‘377’ in any music store, give it a try.