YMMA 2008

Part - 1

After watching so many singing talent hunt shows on Television, I have a fair idea about how to choose the best among the given singers. It is the diction, expression and perfection, voice quality and the uniqueness that the voice adds to the songs are those that matter when it comes to singing. And with this in mind, I picked those final nominees but from among those nominees, picking one is again a tough job.

Sriram Parthasarathy for his Uliyin Oosai song is an obvious choice who exactly fulfills all the above mentioned criteria. Singing a song which was originally sung by S.P.B and excelling in his own style is no child’s play and Hariharan has done exactly that with his calming and soothing rendition of the romantic lullaby in ‘Venmegam’ song. Shankar Mahadevan has this ability to beautifully bring out the intended emotions in all ranges and he does it so perfectly in ‘Kaadhal Siluvayil’ song. Listen to him being mellow and subdued as he sings ‘Avaludaiya karpanayai’ and scream and cry as he burst out with ‘Uyir urugum podhu’. Though each singer would be able to fulfill all the criteria I mentioned above, it is the dynamics in the singing and the little touches they add to make the song their own, makes all the difference. It is for this dynamics I chose Haricharan (for Kannil Vanthadhum) and Naresh Iyer (for Uyirilae). Haricharan’s voice culture naturally suits for such somber numbers and he carries the minimally orchestrated ‘Kannil vandhadhum’ song with just his voice. Naresh Iyer’s Uyirilae is much better than Chitra’s ‘Vizhiyilae’, the vulnerability in his voice adds to the longing feel in the song. Tippu is one of the most expressive singers we have today and he oozes romanticism in ‘Solladi’.

Sudha Raghunathan surprised me with her amazing ease and control in singing ‘Anal Mele’ in non-carnatic style. Chinmayi beautifully captures Maari’s longing in her sweet voice for ‘Avaram Poo’ song. Sainthavi has the cutest of voices among the current lot. Her rendition of ‘Yen Unnidam’ song adds to the breeziness of the song. Kalyani has a unique sweetness in her voice and style of singing which is beautifully used in the song ‘Mazhai Nindra’. I also love her Tamil diction. Sadhana Sargam has come a long way from her ‘Snehithanae’ days in Tamil diction and though it is not yet perfect, her rendition made ‘Mukunda’ melody sound sweeter and lighter. And I always get mesmerized when I listen Shreya Ghosal exquisitely crooning the lines ‘Kamatchi kovil munnae’ or ‘Mundhaanai kadhavukullae’ in ‘Aavaram poovukkum’.

A background score piece may be musically good but it will stick to one’s mind and its impact will last only if the visual material is worthy of the background score piece. Uliyin Oosai has some beautiful background score pieces and I heard them while watching the video clips from the movie on YouTube. Yuvan Shankar Raja’s background score for Saroja is just right and neat. Anjathey had a very impressive background score throughout the movie, though there were some moments where the Good Vs Evil theme was overused. But overall a very intriguing background score by Sundar C.Babu. I am surprised by James Vasanthan’s understanding of the use of background score in movies. The recurrent themes are used aptly in the movie, though there were some melodramatic cues towards the end of the movie.

The toughest category for me is Lyrics. According to me, for song lyrics to register in the minds of a listener it should have something special in it and that something may be beautiful stream of meaningful lines falling one after the other in rhyme, simple words conveying deep thoughts, an innovative word play, or an innovative analogy. There is a mix of all these qualities in the nominees I picked for this category. So, I am highly confused.

YMMA 2008 Winners will be announced tomorrow.

.::Wish you all a peaceful New Year::.


YMMA 2008

I always have wondered about how a jury after short listing the nominees in each category, picks just one particular nominee as the winner. To me, all those that made it to the final nominations are winners and deserve the award equally. So, to understand how, I decided to give away the award myself for Tamil Film Music in 2008, where I am the only jury. I named it YMMA – Your Musically Music Awards. I picked the nominations. And how I arrived at these final nominations is a separate highly debatable story. But for now, let us just concentrate on my thought process behind picking the final winners from these nominees. To be honest, 1 week after posting the nominations in this blog, I am still not sure about whom should I pick as the final winner and on what basis should I pick.

I also have this big confusion about how a jury picks one movie as the best movie of the year and director of some other movie as the best director. And similarly according to me, while I pick a soundtrack as best of the year, I can’t pick composer of some other soundtrack as the best composer. That is why Best Soundtrack and Composer are clubbed as a single category in YMMA.

If one looks at the list of composers who have won the Best Music Director national award, most of the time, they would have won for the soundtracks that has classical based songs that reflects the culture and tradition of the country(ofcourse A.R.Rahman who has won the maximum so far is an exception here). So, those who think classical music as the best form of music and consider only those who are able to create good classical numbers as the best composers, they would pick ‘Uliyin Oosai’ as the winner.

If I have to go in for a long journey in a car, and if I was left with just these 5 soundtracks CD’s, the first one I would pick to listen is definitely ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’. It is so easy and light on ears, simple breezy melodies with no complex sounds or rhythms. If a jury wants the songs to be simple, instantly catchy and reach to a wide range of audience in today’s times where the attention span of a person on anything is too short, then ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ soundtrack would be his choice.

If you read carefully, the category is named Best “Soundtrack” which implies that it is music for a movie and not a private music album. A soundtrack is meant to serve a purpose in the movie, take the story forward and ofcourse it should sound good. The music should exactly match with the situations in the script. A good movie soundtrack is one which you want to listen to immediately after watching the movie to relive the moments from the movie. The one soundtrack among the nominees that would fit this description perfectly is ‘Subramaniyapuram’.

Then sometimes a new comer, who shows immense potential to make it big, is chosen as a winner, to encourage him to do more such good work. If a jury decides that as the criteria, then award would easily go to S.S.Kumaran for ‘Poo’.

Also, sometimes award is given to an Unsung, who maintained a high quality work almost throughout his career, but somehow hasn’t got due recognition yet. In that case, award would go to Karthik Raja for composing an eclectic mix of songs with right punch for ‘Chakravyuham’ soundtrack.

To be continued


YMMA 2008 Nomination

Best Soundtrack and Composer

Uliyin Oosai - Illayaraja
Vaaranam Aayiram – Harris Jeyaraj
Subramaniyapuram – James Vasanthan
Poo – S.S.Kumaran
Chakra Vyuham – Karthik Raja

Best Singer (Male)

Sriram Parthasarathy (Aganthayil Aaduvatha - Uliyin Oosai)
Shankar Mahadevan (Kaadhal Siluvayil - Subramaniyapuram)
Hariharan (Venmegam – Yaaradi Nee Mohini)
Haricharan (Kannil Vandhadhum - Vazhthukkal)
Naresh Iyer (Uyirilae – Vellithirai)
Tippu (Solladi – Kaadhalil Vizhunthaen)

Best Singer (Female)

Sudha Ragunathan (Anal Mele – Vaaranam Aayiram)
Sainthavi (Yen Unnidam – Chakra Vyuham)
Chinmayi (Aavaram Poo – Poo)
Kalyani (Mazhai Nindra Pinbum – Raaman Thedia Seethai)
Sadhana Sargam (Mukunda – Dasavathaaram)
Shreya Ghosal (Aavaram Poovukkum - Arai En 305il Kadavul)

Best Background Score

Uliyin Oosai - Illayaraja
Subramaniyapuram – James Vasanthan
Saroja – Yuvan Shankar Raja
Anjathey – Sundar C.Babu

Best Lyrics

Na.Muthukumar (Aavaram Poo - Poo)
Thamarai (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Vaali (Kallai Mattum Kandaal, Mukunda – Dasavathaaram)
Mu.Metha (Pulargindra Pozhudhu – Uliyin Oosai)
Yugabharathi (Kandaen Kandaen – Pirivom Santhipom)

* From Soundtracks of the movies released in 2008.


Rahman on music Piracy

Can't Agree More


Airtel Super Singer 2008 - Stephen Devassy

The dull ‘Airtel Super singer 2008’ bounced back with this week’s Unplugged round. The singers sang melodies with the backing of Piano, performed by Stephen Devassy. What an amazing musician. He is the man behind the orchestration of most of recent Vidhyasagar songs. Listen to the beautiful instrumental album ‘Romanz A’ composed by Stephen Devassy. Stephen’s piano with some amazing vocal performance by the contestants was really goose bumpy to watch. The judges Srinivas, Sujatha and Unnikrishnan also gave beautiful performances with Stephen.

Coming to the elimination this week, it is disappointing to see Arvind being eliminated. I like Arvind’s singing and voice; he has always been a neat performer who doesn’t mess up with the musicality in the name of performing. But that exactly turned out to be his disadvantage. And ofcourse, he isn’t versatile like others. But when singers like Aruna (worst in the present lot according to me) who performed so badly in this round, can stay, why not Arvind? And just because she won some other contest, and she is a good classical singer, how long they are going to retain Ragini Sree, even though she lacks every single quality that a film music singer should have.

Prasanna is a wholesome entertainer, give him any song, he tries to do complete justice to it, though it still has to be seen if he can pull some classical songs that has lot of musical intricacies. Prasanna is one who will sail through the final round. Rohit, a Raajamaniac has a different and deep voice and he sang ‘Kaalai Nera Kaatrae’ beautifully in unplugged round. His best performance so far definitely is the ‘Vathikuchi’ song. Renu definitely has a beautiful voice, but she strains a lot to sing in higher pitches and there is breath control problem also. I didn’t actually like her ‘Munbe Vaa’ performance. Vijay, a Rahmaniac, is versatility personified. He is able to sing all styles of songs with complete conviction, but don’t know how will he approach a pure classical number. I saw him struggling to get the notes right in the grooming session with Sriram Parthasarathy. Anyway, I couldn’t predict how far he could go.

Santosh has cleverly managed with his choice of songs to reach till this round; there is nothing special about his voice or singing according to me. He managed to maintain the emotions of ‘Oh Vannila’ song in unplugged round but musically it was a below par performance. Ranjani is very confident in whatever she sings and she is definitely on my top 3 list. ‘Kannalanae’ rendition in Unplugged round with lot of improvisations was very good but her ‘Muthu Mani maalai’ performance in the duet round is her best so far, according to me. She has a great voice presence and she easily sings in all ranges. If she chooses the right songs; she definitely can reach the top 3. Ajeesh, an ardent Hariharan fan, which is evident from his singing, is a technically sound singer and is versatile enough. His ‘Thoda Thoda’ rendition was superb though he couldn’t match up to SPB’s emotions in the original. He is surely on my Top 3. And Ravi’s ‘Thendrale’ performance was overtly expressive in unplugged round, though he hit every note right. And as I already told, Ravi has that extra edge and professionalism in his singing and most probably he is going to be the winner.


Airtel Super Singer 2008 - Ravi

It is very clear that Ravi is going to win Airtel Super Singer 2008 Title. His performance in the medley round was simply mind blowing. From the very beginning of the contest, when he sang ‘Pen ondru Kandaen’ song along with Prasanna, I was pretty sure about Ravi winning the title and his yesterday’s performance reassures it again and the judge Srinivas himself told that openly in yesterday’s episode.

Ravi already has won the SS Music Launch Pad singing contest and I still remember Ravi’s brilliant rendition of ‘Veyilodu Vilayadi’ song in the finals of that contest. Ravi’s voice in Yuvan’s music will be an interesting combination. Let us wait and watch.

Airtel Super singer 2008 is not so interesting this time mainly because there is no any competition and we know who is going to be the winner. All the other contestants though have very good voice quality, is not as consistent in their performances as Ravi. But Deepshika’s exit was surprising. I was expecting Ragini Sri to leave. Though Ragini Sri has classical music knowledge and training, none of her performances so far was at par.


My Wish Came True

The moment I came to know that I am going to be in Europe, the first thing that came to my mind was that in this short period of travel, I should catch at least one classical music concert. But once I landed in Europe, I almost had forgotten about it due to various reasons. My joy had no bounds when I found that there is going to be a concert by Netherlands Philharmonic orchestra on that very day in Amsterdam, which is 1.5 hours journey from where I was staying. But I was skeptical if I would get the ticket for the concert. As I reached The Concertgebouw in time, I was in for a total surprise that though all the tickets were sold out, they had tickets reserved for people under 27 years of age and that too for just 10 Euros, whereas an ordinary ticket is priced at around 30 – 40 Euros. Only after entering the hall, I realised the reason for the discount, the average age of the audience was 50. The discount was for promoting the classical music among youngsters in Europe who rarely turn up for such concerts.

I was always fascinated by the concept of live concerts. There is something special about watching a musician play or a singer sing a beautiful piece of music with their heart; soul and energy live in front of you. The frequency, the vibration, the ecstasy and enthusiasm that both the performer and a listener get out of it is something to be experienced to be believed. It is so amazing to look at the synergy of the mind, body and soul come together in front of your eyes and once you become one with the performer and loose yourself in that meeting point, you are in absolute Nirvana, you feel weightless, sitting on a higher plane where no mortals and materials exists, it is purely divine.

And further when you see 100 musicians play a piece of music perfectly in harmony and in synch, creating the crests and troughs of emotions that the original composer intended to convey through the piece of music - well you can’t stop getting philosophical about the whole thing that just unfolds as you see it. You tend to pinch yourself to check if this is indeed real. I did when I finally got to watch what I dreamt for more than 7 years. My words may sound too exaggerated and overtly emotional but it is indeed true. We don’t get to watch western classical concerts in south India often. As far as I remember I know that Zubin Mehtha once performed with his orchestra in Chennai Music Academy for which I couldn’t go.

From whatever I observed in the concert, I was thinking about how for some simple practical reasons, the very form and structure of the western classical music have evolved. A symphony or a piano or violin concerto stretches for minimum 30 minutes. I guess the fast-slow-fast movement structure came to continuously engage the audience with the piece of music. Because the change in tempo, the dramatic twists and turns indeed help the listeners to not fall asleep. Surprisingly I did feel drowsy for a while in between. And after every movement which lasts for about 8 to 10 minutes or maybe more, the conductor gives a few seconds break for the audience to settle down and get ready for the next movement.

As in those times, there were no records, people always come to listen to a new piece, and so it is tough for a composer to convince and make the audience sit and pay attention to a music which they have never heard before and so to establish a connection with the audience and to make the melody sit on their head as they leave the hall, I guess the concept of themes and thematic developments, the harmony playing the same melody on various permutation and combination by the different instrument sections of the orchestra might have evolved. The very fact that these big halls had no microphones (and even now the hall in which I saw the concert had no microphones or artificial amplifications of sound, it was pure acoustic sound that reverberated through the walls of the hall and there was a gigantic structure behind the main podium which I guess is devised for naturally amplifying the sound and throwing it to the audience all over the hall) might me the reason for having multiple number of same instruments in a symphony orchestra. I am just guessing from what I observed, I may be totally wrong.

When I went to the same hall for another concert, I got a seat close to the podium and I was able to see the musicians very closely as they play some of the most complex piece of music. They totally are in a different plane with utmost concentration, as they keep one eye on the notes and the other on the conductor’s signals. It was amazing to see very closely how conductor interacts with the orchestra; I could see that the rhythm, energy and emotions of the piece of music being played is in perfect synch with the body language, facial expressions and hand movements of the conductor.

I can go on and on. On the whole, I can say it was an unforgettable experience. I wish I could see in this lifetime, one such performance by Illayaraja conducting his symphony in Chennai. That would be a day to live for.

Some of the unforgettable concerts that I have seen (either live or on DVD)

1. Yanni Live at Acropolis
2. Yanni – The Tribute
3. Illayaraja – Andrum Indrum Endrum
4. Rahman’s Dubai Concert (One of the earliest)
5. Rahman’s concert at LA
6. Indian Ocean at Music Academy, Chennai
7. Sonu Nigam’s Rafi Resurrected in London
8. Karajan’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Concert



In Rahman’s recent Tamil soundtrack ‘Sakkarakatti’, there is this song ‘I miss u da’, where Rahman tries to bend the rules, break convention on how not just a Indian film song but any song should sound, but the song is just that, it just bends the sound but not the music. It is one of the classic examples where there is more of Rahman’s sound than Rahman’s music.

Some of the very deeply emotive and soul stirring melodic phrases are in “Ghajini” soundtrack like those hums, hoons and hymns of Sonu Nigam throughout the extremely catchy ‘Guzairsh’, which on surface sounds like a routine love ballad with a familiar repetitive rhythm. It is Sonu’s soothing interruptions that take the song a notch higher with its emotional content. Though Kavitha Baliga’s operatic interlude sounds like an after thought, it is rare to find a Rahman song with such a simple sounding interlude that creates an aural ambience around the listener.

Equally soothing is Shreya’s humming in Kaise Mujhe with which she starts her part of the song, after Benny quite uncomfortably wanders through a tedious melody that has more silence in between phrases which sounds more manufactured than naturally fallen, so as to bring out the effect and emotion in the melody fabricated around those silences in between. But inspite of a very unconventional flow of the melody, with some touching phrases of melody and with the clever and an aurally alluring orchestration (which is more so evident in its blissful instrumental version) Rahman manages to convince at least those for whom a song need not be instantly hooky.

Bekha is unarguably THE song of the soundtrack where Karthik seems to have had a blast singing it. The attitude, expression and rendition of Karthik is mind blowing in this song, just listen to the way he casually rounds off those rough western notes in a sweet classical way. Rahman goes a little further from where he left in ‘September Maatham’ from Alaipayuthey (or ‘Chori pe chori’ from Saathiya) in writing unconventional melodies that makes lyricists go mad in finding words to fit the tune. The song sounds as if all those complex phrases of melody and counter saxophone pieces just flew instinctively out of Rahman’s mind when he went into the same euphoric and romantic mood in which the character in the movie is when he sings this song.

The sound heavy ‘Aye Bachchu’ is an enjoyable Rahman cliché with abundant layers, e-sounds and loops and head banging rocking guitars and percussions. Once the song gains momentum with ‘Jhoom le’, it refuses to stop and make us swing with its rhythm. Coming to ‘Latto’, by using Shreya Ghosal, with the addictive ‘Yaar Yaar’ hook and the interesting vocal harmonies in the interludes, Rahman sold it to me. When you put these two songs on your noise canceling headphones, you are in a unique Rahman’s sound universe where each sound makes some sense and doesn’t add up as a cacophony.

To continue from where I left in the beginning,

When Rahman’s sound is almost in balance with Rahman’s music, we get a soundtrack like Ghajini. Sometimes while doing so, Rahman asks too much from his listeners, he takes them too far a place where they are so uncomfortable, not because they don’t like the place but because they haven’t been there before. But indeed by Rahman standards, it isn’t an extremely unconventional or path breaking soundtrack, it is just (just is just because it is Rahman) an enjoyable and a vibrant soundtrack apt for a commercial movie like Ghajini and the one that has its highs and lows and those who want to like it will like it for those highs, patiently waiting in those few lows for the next following high. And I am one of them.


Jai Ho - Ghajini

and GHAJINI Rocks


Yuvvraaj Soundtrack

People often say that Rahman’s music grow on multiple listening. Even I had this opinion, but ‘Yuvvraaj’ music made me realize how rubbish that statement is. The time one takes to understand and appreciate the music depends solely on person’s music sensibilities and the level of concentration one pays to the music while listening. With so many distractions around, the attention span of people in common has obviously come down. Over a period of time, we tend to become so dumb and want everything to be spoon-fed, we want everything quick and instant and my negative reaction to ‘Yuvvraaj’ music is a danger signal to my deteriorating concentration when it comes to listening music. I couldn’t appreciate ‘Yuvvraaj’ music on first listening, because I wasn’t listening at all, I was just hearing. That is not Rahman’s fault. For all the relentless work that Rahman puts in to give us a new music listening experience, he asks us very little in return, concentration and if we are incapable of that, at least a little patience for the songs to sink in. Though I lack concentration, I alteast had the patience and didn’t jump into any conclusion on first listening.

Rahman’s music in general or Rahman’s music in ‘Yuvvraaj’ specifically, isn’t as complex as everyone claims it to be. The 5th Beethoven Symphony that punctuates the introduction speech of Salman Khan in ‘Main Hoon Yuvvraaj’ actually misleads a listener. There is symphonic grandeur throughout the soundtrack and to strike a balance between the classical roots and modernism there is also the typical synthphony of Rahman. Ofcourse there are lot of layers of sounds which may make it sound complex. But, in music, it is not the sound that adds to the complexity, it is the layering of melodies or as they put it, it is the counter melodies that one should consider to determine the complexity of a song. In that sense, there are no such complex counter melodies here. Also, Rahman has totally avoided acoustic percussions and has used catchy synth rhythm loops to make it sound simple and easy for listening. But it is in the flow of the melody and the structure of the songs where Rahman doesn’t compromise.

Rahman has always defied the conventional structure of Indian movie songs, and it is not a big surprise that no song in Yuvvraaj sounds conventional in its structure. Phrase after phrase, the melody makes unexpected twists and turns and that is why I wasn’t able to get the overall beauty of the song on first listening. ‘Mastam’ is one of the most euphoric songs that we would get to listen in this year and yet because of the unpredictable flow of melody I found it difficult to comprehend initially. It keeps flowing without giving us a breathing space for the just-heard phrase of melody to sink in. But I must admit that the melody of ‘Aaye jhee baanke aaye’ line made me instantly and involuntarily sway my head left and right. The collective euphoria of the sound of Gluzar’s word play, Irish rhythm, the taps, claps, harmonica, strings, and choir makes oneself feel lighter and brings a smile on one’s face. This is the first song of the soundtrack to become my favorite.

‘Tu meri dost’ is intricately layered with brilliant and appropriate usage of acoustic instruments. Though there is a constantly looping e-beat and lot of e-sounds and looping layers, the core emotion of the song is carried through by strings, the piano that peeps in and flute that flows in at most appropriate moments. Like say, when Rahman ends his line with ‘nisa nisa sari sari’, the flute that takes off, Harp that slides through all its strings and the piano chords that starts and continues to accompany the vocal that follows, sounds scintillating. The way Shreya hits the low with the words ‘gungunathi hai’ and ‘mila thi hai’ and that distant cry of Shreya going ‘Awaaz hoon main’ at the end of the song are heavenly.

Surprisingly, the prelude of ‘Tu Muskura’ starts with the same cello piece that we just heard in the interlude of ‘Tu Meri Dost’ and later to our surprise, it indeed is the main melody of the song. Rahman being aware of the fact that the melody in the following stanza is a little disconnected from the main melody tries to connect the stanzas with an interlude that hints the vocal melody of the following line, on strings and so when soon Alka starts to sing the line, it doesn’t sound odd or disjointed. And when Alka repeats the same melody again along with the same interlude piece played on strings in tandem, our ears become quite comfortable with the melody. And after when Javed Ali takes it off from where Alka Yagnik left to the main melody, our ears feel at home. It is these cheating techniques that make Rahman’s songs work quite magnificently. ‘Tu muskara’ then leads to a stunning climax with Alka singing the main melody as a counter melody to Javed Ali’s classical alaap and the strings playing a totally different melody perfectly in harmony with both the vocal parts.

When ‘Tu meri dost’ borrows the main melody of ‘Tu muskura’, and gives its melody in return, when ‘Manmohini Morey’ slips into the deeply moving cello version of ‘Tu muskura’ melody, one gets to understand how thematically structured and linked the songs are, by which the songs beautifully borrow melodies from each other to fill in their interludes. Not for nothing, ‘The Soundtrack’ has been written on the front cover of the lyrics booklet that comes with the CD. It is a movie soundtrack in which music leaves open ended for the visuals to take it further and complete.

‘Zindagi’ is Rahman’s beautiful tribute to M.S.Vishwanathan. Srinivas’s exquisite rendition and the natural serenity in his voice further elevate the melody that was always destined to sound divine. The backing strings and solo cello pieces are so intrinsically woven with the lead melody, and it perfectly echoes the pain as in and along with Srinivas’s vocals. The melody sits up conveniently on soft guitar strumming and soft beats. The beats will make people who may otherwise feel the melody tedious, long and boring to sit up and settle with it.

When we listen to a song for the first time, we don’t begin to like the song from its very first note. We listen and as it flows, there comes a takeoff point, where we start to like the song. Every song has its takeoff point. In ‘Dil Ka Rishtha’, which starts with the catchy main piano theme which we heard in the promos of the movie, the takeoff point comes much later when the lines that start in lower octave with ‘Dil Dil hain Dil Dil’ suddenly moves to a higher ‘Jaane de’ with immense passion and aggression. I cannot express in the words the kind of exhilaration this ‘Jaane de’ gives to me. After the song finds its takeoff point, one realizes that this is one such song, where every note and every beat fall beautifully in place. The most innovative and refreshing element of the song is that the western choir instead of singing their melodies in some strange language sings them in ‘Sa ri ga ma pa da ni sa’. When Rahman gets exhausted playing with all possible permutations and combinations of many melodic themes of the song, he takes up everything to an exhilarating climax moment where ‘door dilse nehin hai hum door’ melody takes its most grandest form leaving a listener in awe of the song’s overall grandeur, structure, the fusion and the emotional impact.

After the storming ‘Dil Ka Rishtha’, Rahman baths us in a sweet gentle drizzle of Indian classical music in ‘Manmohini Morey’. It instantly catches a listener with its extremely catchy rhythm loop, the hooky ‘Thom Thom Thana na’, the soft strings, the soothing vocals of Vijay Prakash and the rendition that walks on a thin line between heavy classical and lighter filmy feel.

Shano Shano is an ultra cool disco song that traverses through different set of melodies and grooves and hits it right with the main Shano hook line. The remix version by Krishna Chetan is equally good.

The day I bought ‘Yuvvraaj’ CD, unexpectedly I had to travel 400 Kms in a very uncomfortable means of transport and I can’t think of surviving that journey without ‘Yuvvraaj’ music. Rahman helped me in reaching the destination through a scintillating musical journey in ‘Yuvvraaj’. Only a person in love can understand how it feels to be in a Romantic mood, and only a Rahmaniac can understand how it feels to be in a Rahmantic mood. Rahmantic is the mood which a Rahmaniac gets into when a new Rahman album releases and especially when it turns out to be as beautiful as ‘Yuvvraaj’. I don’t know if it is will become a classic, but by seeing everyone having different list of favourite songs covering all the songs in the soundtrack, which is an earlier indication of a soundtrack that has the potential of becoming a timeless classic. But for now, let us immerse ourselves in this musical downpour of Rahman.


Abhiyum Naanum Soundtrack

Radha Mohan, Vairamuthu and Vidhyasagar have gone the ‘Mozhi’ way in composing the soundtrack of ‘Abhiyum Naanum’. With the incidents in the script as inspiration, Vairamuthu has written poetry and Vidhyasagar have composed notes to elevate the beauty of words. In this approach the music is totally dependent on the musicality of words in the poetry. In Mozhi everything fell in place perfectly. Somehow, the same magic doesn’t happen in ‘Abhiyum Naanum’. The choice of Kailash Kher and the Punjabi intrusions are also puzzling.

But after one or two repeated listening, and after understanding that this is a soundtrack that has songs that takes the story forward, I am convinced and I love this soundtrack. The melodies are very pleasant. A movie soundtrack has to be like this. These songs cannot find place in any other movie. Prakash Raj’s philosophical introductory speech (written by Viji I guess) before each song is interesting. This is a kind of soundtrack which one would want to listen to immediately after watching the movie for reliving the experience.

And a special mention to Prakash Raj and to Duet Music for making the CD package so interesting to convince a buyer feel that it is worth every single penny and sure it is.





Illayaraja's Italy Concert

I was so ecstatic when I accidentally found the video CD of Illayaraja’s Italy Live in Concert in Landmark. It is released by Best Audios. Earlier Agi Music released an audio CD of the same concert. But after watching the video I was extremely disappointed and the reasons are many. Best Audios has done a worst job in making this VCD.

The VCD doesn’t have the entire concert. They have edited out the Mood Kapi (Instrumental Version of Sangathil Paadatha Kavithai), Ilangathu Veesuthae, Aasaya Kaathula, Janani Janani songs. In the audio CD released earlier we heard two versions of 3 in 1 piece, one the vocal version sung by Illayaraja and the other one is the orchestral version. Here in an attempt to try something different, they have edited the video in such a way that after Illayaraja sings each line of the melody, the orchestral version of the same line is shown and it terribly hams the flow of the beautiful piece. The highlight of the concert, the performance of vocal jathis and the rhythm patterns at the end of the ‘Veetukku Vetukku’ song end in a halfway. I guess the coverage itself was poorly done with limited number of cameras and that explains the poor video quality. The only consolation is the instrumental version of ‘Azhaghu Malar Aada’ song which was beautifully orchestrated and performed. But I don’t know why this piece wasn’t there in the audio CD released by Agi Music.

The person who cut the VCD sure have seen a lot of international concert videos, so he intermittently cuts to the behind the scene footages, as the concert is going on. But it is done in such a poor and stupid way that the question, ‘Why this happens to everything that comes with the name Illayaraja?’ Why the hell they didn’t include all those other pieces, at least 30 minutes of the concert is missing in the VCD. From what I see, there was a lot of additional video material of that of the rehearsal sessions in Chennai, Illayaraja’s travel in Italy, were available.

They could have easily made a high quality DVD with the complete concert, and could have added special behind the features and interviews of the performers and it would have become a sort of a collector’s edition. Does Illayaraja really know that this kind of a poor VCD of the concert is going to be released? I still don’t understand why Illayaraja is so bad in promoting and pushing his music to reach much more people. We still don’t know what stops any audio company from getting the audio rights of Illayaraja’s Jaya TV concert and releasing it as a DVD. Why Raaja is so undervalued when it comes to commercial viability?



It is easy to find whether a soundtrack is really worth listening after you listen to it once. I casually listened to ‘Poo’ soundtrack few times while at work and I really didn’t pay much attention to the music, it was just playing on my ears. But a week after I found myself humming the melody of ‘Avaram Poo’ and ofcourse one cannot forget the instantly catchy ‘Cho Cho maari’ so easily after listening once. That is how good music gets into our mind even if we don’t really take any effort to concentrate and listen.

S.S.Kumaran’s debut effort is folk solid and promising. When it comes to composing songs for kids, I admire Vishal Bharadwaj a lot; S.S.Kumaran comes close of Vishal in ‘Cho Cho maari’. I think after Illayaraja’s ‘Damakku Damakku’ from Azhaghi, we have a real kiddie’s song. The immensely likeable hook line and a brilliant rendition of the kids should make this song an instant favourite of anyone who listens to it.

It is so refreshing to listen to Harini in a folksy romantic melody. She has rendered ‘Mamaan Yengirukka’ with right diction, emotion and openness in her voice. And Harini is the highpoint of this song and it is a very clever choice by the composer. While ‘Dheena’ has loud percussive male portions sung with right zing by Shankar Mahadevan and a soft and soothing female portions aptly accompanied by rustic flute.

By the time we reach ‘Dheena’ song, we get to understand the composer’s style and approach towards orchestrating a song. S.S.Kumaran does tend to provide a very dense orchestration with lot of instruments and layers though these beautiful melodies would definitely have worked even with minimal orchestration. But I should admit, that these aesthetically added layers of instruments indeed add a lot of colour, energy and aural richness to the songs.

Chinmayi’s serene vocal opens ‘Avaram Poo’ and as the melody unfolds in her expressive cum voice it goes on to prove a point that after A.R.Rahman it is S.S.Kumaran who has used Chinmayi’s voice aptly well. ‘Paasa Mozhi’ inspite of being a very nice melody suffers hugely because of S.S.Kuraman’s singing. Periya Karuppu Thevar’s ‘Sivagasi Rathiyae’ starts with a nice punch and sustains it throughout. It is a neat folksy kuthu number.

S.S.Kumaran’s Poo is a fresh fragrant bouquet of melodies.


Illayaraja with CBSO

I saw the Sonu Nigam’s breathtaking concert ‘An Evening in London – Rafi Resurrected’ on Sony TV. Mohammed Rafi’s classics were performed with the backing of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. More about the concert later but while watching it, I thought how it would be if Raaja’s songs were performed with the backing of such a symphony orchestra. For Sonu Nigam’s concert they had to arrange the songs differently for the orchestra but for Raaja’s song, one need not add or remove anything from the song, it is enough it they just play the song in the way Raaja has arranged it. I believe there must be many songs eligible for such a concert and everybody would have their own list of songs but here is the list of songs that came to my mind immediately (not considering ‘Music Messiah’, ‘How to Name it’, ‘Nothing but Wind’ and ‘Thirvasakam’ here)

1. Sundari Kannal (Thalapathi)
2. Adi Rakkamma (Thalapathi)
3. Maalayil yaaro (Chathriyan)
4. Thendral Vandhu (Avathaaram)
5. Oru Naal Antha Oru Naal (Devadai)
6. Sangeetha Megam (Udhaya Geetham)
7. Ram Hey ram (Hey Ram)
8. Sempoovae Poovae (Sirai Chaalai)
9. Poonkathave thaal thiravai (Nizhalgal)
10. Captain Prabhakaran Title Score (we need a separate concert for his background scores)

The exhilaration I had when I was sitting in the middle of 10000+ crowd clapping after the orchestra finished playing the second interlude of the ‘Sundari’ song from Thalapthi in Illayaraja’s ‘Andrum Indrum Endrum’ concert is one of those unforgettable moments of my life. Be blessed by watching this video if you are cursed of not being one among those 10000+.


Raaja Experience

Vicky tagged me with five questions on ‘Raaja and Me’ and here are my answers

The moment that introduced you to Raaja

I don’t remember exactly. But as far as memory goes, it is while watching the movie ‘Chinna Thambi’. The local cable network use to illegally play newly released movies and on day they played ‘Chinna Thambi’. I instantly got hooked to ‘Thooliyilae Aada vantha vaanaththu min vizhakkae’ from ‘Chinna Thambi’. ‘Chinna thambi’ was one of the most favorite soundtracks during my childhood days.

One moment where Raaja’s music directly/indirectly influenced my life

When I read the actual verses of the poem ‘Nirpadhuvae Nadappadhuvae’ of Bharathiyar after listening Raaja’s musical interpretation of the same.

Other language favorites

Not listened many of his songs in other languages. Ones that instantly comes to mind are

Tamil – Sundari Kannal Oru sethi (Thalapthi)
Telugu – Chirugaali (Mallepuvvu)
Malayalam – Poo kunguma poo (Rasathanthram)
Kannada – Aah Dinagalu Theme music

One rare song of IR that one shouldn’t miss

Yele – Karuvelam Pookal

Currently humming

Raasavae Unnai vidamaattaen (Aranmanai Kili)

And herewith I am tagging Karthik, Zero, Guru, Kumar


Rahman's Thunder again

Takes me back to 'Thiruda Thiruda' days of exhilaration.


Vaaranam Aayiram

Harris Jeyaraj indeed reserves his best for Gautam Menon. Harris + Gautam Menon + Thamarai have another big winner in “Vaaranam Aayiram”.


A Journey with Illayaraja

My journey with Illayaraja has been very uneven unlike that of with A.R.Rahman. I followed Rahman’s music from his very first soundtrack and I have heard and listened to 90% of what Rahman has composed so far, but I am sure that though I have heard 80% of Raaja’s works, I have listened to only 20% of them. No one told me that Rahman’s music is great; I heard it first and I myself found it great. I was always told that Raaja’s music is great, even before I could listen and understand them to form an opinion myself. So, the goodness of Raaja’s music was taken for granted and more attention was paid only to the ear shattering and ground breaking soundtracks that Rahman kept dishing out one after the other. Rahman stormed into my life and I searched for and found all possible ways to get a listen to newly releasing Rahman soundtrack, but this kind of an urge and a mad following wasn’t there in me for Illayaraja’s music.

Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai

I had just given my 10th standard board exams and my parents took me to one of our relatives (quite wealthy) house and the first sound I heard as we entered the house was the ‘Kolusu’ sound in ‘Ennai Thalaatta Varuvaala’ song from ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ (KM). They had a very high quality sound system and I hadn’t seen or heard music from such high quality audio system till then. The vivid sound and the serene melody completely blew my mind. I found myself transported to a different world (I get goose bumps even know as I think of that moment). That was the day when I became conscious that here is the great Illayaraja’s musical storm hitting me

But soon I had forgotten about the song and much later I again stumbled upon the song, when my uncle rented a VCR player and video cassette of ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ and played it in our house. I instantly liked all the songs of the movie. I still remember how I kept switching TV channels on every Friday evening to listen to at least one song from ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’. ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ is the very first Raaja soundtrack, which came out with lot of synth in its orchestration, and the very first one that instantly appealed and attracted a generation that was totally immersed in Rahman.

Till now I have seen ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ at least 25 times. 5 times for the movie as a whole, 10 times for Illayaraja’s songs and 10 times for Illayaraja’s background score. I remember reading Kumudam Weekly’s review on ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ and the reviewer had mentioned that Raaja’s background score with three big percussion strokes conveyed the complete shock and surprise of all characters in the climax scene. Those lines of the reviewer introduced me to what it being called ‘Background Score’ in movies. And I wanted to check the movie once again to see what actually those three master percussion strokes of Raaja have done to the visuals. But it wasn’t so easy to catch a movie at our will then, so I had almost forgotten about it.

In Sun TV there was a program called ‘Climax’, in which they show only the climax scene from the movies. In that show, I again saw the climax of ‘Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai’ and that is when all that enlightening about background score happened and I understood how music can elevate the emotional impact of the scene and how big a master our maestro is in this business. And that lead me all the way to become a crazy fan of background scores and also to this.

Kaadhal Kavithai

That was the first phase of my journey with Raaja’s music but then after that I returned to Rahman again. One day I saw a movie’s trailer on TV in which a romantic piano piece was playing in the background as the camera moved along the sparkling lights of oil lamps in a temple. And at the end of the trailer I found that it is the trailer of the yet to be released movie ‘Kaadhal Kavithai’. By that time, I had my own Philips tape recorder and decided to buy the cassette, just to listen to that romantic Piano piece once again. ‘Kaadhal Kavithai’ is the first soundtrack of Illayaraja that I owned and so it is easily the soundtrack of Raaja that I heard the most number of times in my life.

‘Kaadhal Kavithai’ is so close to my heart because it was the first Raaja soundtrack that I had complete access for listening at my will. ‘Kadhal Kavithai’ was truly a mind blowing soundtrack and even now I remember each and every word of the lyrics of all the songs, each and every interlude of the song. ‘Thakthom’ was something I never expected from Raaja, a path breaking sensuous number. ‘Diana Diana’ is a calm soother that gives me Goosebumps even now. Hariharan (a favourite of Raaja in those times) was at his soothing best in the song. But my all time personal favourite from the soundtrack is cute little ‘Alai Meethu’. Exquisite vocal harmonies, string section, the serene melody and innocent voice of Bhavatharini - ‘Alai Meethu’ could well be a separate chapter in the textbook of melody making and orchestration. To sum it up, ‘Kaadhal Kavithai’ is one of those Raaja’s complete soundtracks and a stunning one at that which aggravated my interest and drew me closer to Raaja’s earlier works. (I have been having a great time listening to this soundtrack again repeatedly for past one week as if it has released just now.)

After ‘KK’, again for sometime, I didn’t meet Raaja, by which I don’t mean that we never met; we met but parted after exchanging few formal pleasantries. Most of the movies telecasted on TV then, had Raaja’s music, so we were always in touch, just that I wasn’t as crazy as I was with KM or KK soundtrack. Even if I was, I had no access to all those 70’s and 80’s songs which I fell in love with by repeatedly watching them on TV.

Rhythm Boss

The next big meeting with Raaja happened after I moved to Trichy. It was when I visited the ‘Rhythm Boss’ music shop in Trichy, which was in Chathiram Bus stand then (now it is near Central bus stand). ‘Rhythm Boss’ does music recording service. They had a huge music collection and a very well maintained catalogue, listing all the soundtracks available for recording (I was searching one such shop in Salem but there were none). Immediately, I listed down Raaja’s songs that I badly wanted to own for a very long time, to record them in a T60 cassette. As I was having a cassette player, I always felt very lazy to fast forward the songs, so I decided to record the songs that I would never ever want to fast forward while listening to the cassette.

I still remember the songs I recorded in that cassette (which I have lost a longtime back). ‘Kanmani Anbodu Kaadhalan’, ‘Paadariyaen padippariyaen’, ‘Manathil urudhi vendum (Sindhu Bhairavi)’, ‘Oh Butterfly’, ‘Nalam vaazha ennalum’, ‘Ellorum sollum paattu’, ‘Amma endralaikkatha’, ‘Ithu oru ponmaalai pozhudhu’, ‘Enna Saththam intha neram’ and ‘Yetheytho ennam valarthaen’. Even now when I listen to ‘Paadariyaen’ song, at the end of the song I involuntarily start singing ‘Manathil Uruthi vendum’ as it was the song recorded next to ‘Paadariyaen’ in that cassette. I was listening to the recorded cassette and realised how much I love and always have loved Raaja’s music even without being aware of it. Except for ‘Manathil Uruthi vendum’, I don’t remember when I first heard the other songs and when I started liking them and I cannot pinpoint the moment when exactly those songs became my all time favorites, my choices came from some part of my brain in which these songs have been kept safe for a very long time.

How to Name it

In Jaya TV, there is a program called ‘Kaalai Malar’ telecasted from 7-9 A.M. In the end credits of that show, they always play one instrumental music piece (I guess, still they play it) which I liked so much. Once when I visited ‘Rhythm Boss’ the same track was playing there also. I asked them which movie this music is from. They told that it is from Illayaraja’s non-film album ‘How to Name it’. I can’t really explain in words about how much the ‘How to Name it’ album enhanced my music sensibilities and broadened my music tastes. It made me a sucker for orchestral music and I guess that even reflects in the music in me. It sounded totally new. It gave me an experience that I never had before. I didn’t understand any technicalities of it, didn’t know who is Bach or how great the fusion that Raaja has attempted in the album. To me it was the simple beauty of the melody and the harmony that did something to me which I couldn’t decipher then. I listened, I listened, I listened and I am still listening. It just sounded so magical and transported me to a different world.

Then much later I bought ‘Nothing but Wind’ also and got mesmerized by it. Both these albums opened doors to a whole new musical universe called ‘Western Classical’. With ‘I met Bach in his house’ and ‘I love you Mozart’, I came to know that Mozart and Bach are western classical music composers who lived and composed music centuries ago. (But in Trichy I couldn’t find any western classical recordings. Much later after getting a job and moving to Chennai, the first ever CD I bought is Mozart’s symphony 25, 28, 29 and 35. And my journey with Western classical music started then).


Bharathi is another masterstroke of Raaja that engulfed me and brought me back to Raaja’s music. The ‘Nirpadhuvae’ and ‘Mayil Pola’ songs that were playing repeatedly on all TV channels initially attracted me. Long after movie left the theatres, I went and bought ‘Bharathi’ cassette. It was also the time when I got my own Walkman. (When I was in Trichy, every weekend I use to travel to Salem by Bus and the travel time was so boring. So, I bought a Walkman to listen to music while traveling in the bus). I still remember that one night, in which I listened to ‘Bharathi’ repeatedly for complete 3.5 hours of journey from Salem to Trichy. I loved the simplicity of the melodies in the songs. The divine ‘Ninai Charanadainthen’ and the exhilarating ‘Ethilum Ingu’ – I thought “Ah! Ennama Potirukkanya!” I still wonder why Raaja didn’t get National award for his music in this movie, especially when the movie itself had fetched awards in many other categories.

The music of ‘Bharathi’ got me into Bharathiyar’s poems. Bought a pocket book of Bharathiyar Poems and first thing I did was reading ‘Nirpathuvae’ song. I read the poem and I was bewildered and stunned by the way Raaja had composed a beautiful melody for a poem, which on paper looks to be not having a pinch of musicality in it. And Bharathiyaar’s poems and Raaja’s music made me a composer, not that I sat before a keyboard writing notes under each word of the poem, but at least I could fit each song into a rhythm and I could think of a melody for the words – it was more like a ‘Vaipattu’ which people instantly sing in villages. Sang them and recorded in a cassette (god knows where that cassette is now), but those melodies are still fresh in my mind which I guess may never see the sound of the day. Following that the soundtracks of Raaja that I heard most are ‘July Ganapathy’, ‘Vishwa Thulasi’ and ‘Virumaandi’.

After buying a Philips 5-in-1 player, I burnt an mp3 CD in ‘Rhythm Boss’ with 20 complete soundtracks of Raaja. And finally Raaja stayed with me and he was always there, ready for me to meet whenever I wanted to. That CD with 20 Raaja soundtracks is one of most played and most wanted in my room. As my classmates gather in my hostel room to prepare for the cycle tests or semester exams, Raaja served a pleasant background score throughout the night from that CD. One of the main things that my college friends still recollect when I meet them now is listening to Raaja’s songs all the night in my room.

Thiruvasakam in Symphony

And ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ and the final crescendo in ‘Polla Vinayaen’ hard nailed one of the most important truths in my mind and the truth is that ‘Raaja’s music takes its listeners very close to Divinity’. I still remember the kind of an electric shock or something that started passing through all my nerves in the body for a split second, and the tears that welled out of my eyes as ‘Hail Hail’ choir slips into ‘Namachivaaya Vazhgha’ in that final crescendo. No more words on ‘Thiruvasakam’, because after listening to it, I sincerely thought and still think ‘I am just Man, Imperfect lowly, How can I write on, something holy’ and that too as holy as this one.

Then there was a phase in which I expected only great music from Illayaraja. Anything less than great was considered as bad by me and so outright rejected and as a result ended up missing many good songs and soundtracks of Raaja that came after that. My thoughts on ‘Maayakannadi’ and ‘Athu Oru Kanaa Kaalam’ soundtrack would explain about my expectations better. Though both of them definitely had lot of goods in its music, just because it didn’t match up to the greats of Raaja’s music, I got disappointed. Now this year after ‘Kangalum Kavipaduthey’, ‘Uliyin Oosai’ and ‘Dhanam’, my passion for Raaja’s music has resurrected again and I have begun to realize all that I have missed by expecting sky high from each and every soundtrack of Raaja. Now I am starting again, starting with the soundtracks of Raaja from 2001 to 2008 and I have covered only 10% of them. God knows whether I will be able to listen to the complete works of Raaja in this lifetime.

And there are many other incidents like this and small episodes in my journey with Raaja which I have missed here due to my laziness.

Like every other Raaja fan, even I have something to say about what Raaja should do from now on

1. He should work more on non-film instrumental albums and less on movies. If at all he works on movies, he should make sure that the movie’s script and the director is worthy of his music.
2. It is high time he starts working on a compilation of his background scores.
3. Should hire a better sound engineer to mix his songs. It is surprising to see such an inconsistent sound quality in Raaja’s soundtracks. (Listen a song from Dhanam and from Cheeni Kum or Mumbai Express one after the other)
4. Should release his first symphony that he recorded with London Royal Philharmonic orchestra and compose and release more such works.
5. I want to see Raaja recording a symphony in Chennai with Rahman’s yet to be started K.M Symphony orchestra and if possible wish to see a live performance of the same too.


Ey Aa O !

Bought the DVD of the cultural show called ‘Ey Aa o’ – a show by Paul and Vel. The DVD was recently released by A.R.Rahman. It is a very unique show (conducted all over China) in which the diversity of Indian culture was exhibited through the different forms of Indian music like carnatic and Hindustani classical, bangla, Rajasthani and Tamil folk. The highlight of the show is the item they did with Tamil folk instrument ‘Parai’. The synergy, enthusiasm and the electrifying energy with which they performed should be seen to be believed. The song composed for famous verses of ‘Thirukkural’ covering multiple genres of music is another novel attempt and this song ended the colorful show on a good high note. Even other items were good but were too long to sustain the interest of a listener. There is a lot of intercuts to behind the scenes footage in the video with the music from the concert continuing to play in the background. They could have avoided such cuts as it was very distracting after a point. The audio and video quality of the DVD is very good.

Going by the statistics at least 60 unique visitors have listened to all the interludes but only 3 gave answers. I don’t know what to infer from this.

Waiting to grab the CD of S.S.Kuraman’s ‘Poo’ Soundtrack. Is there any website where we can pay (in INR) and legally download the new Tamil soundtracks?

‘Agam’ – one of the six winning bands of Rahman’s ‘Ooh La La La’ show, has posted 6 of their soothing numbers in their blog. I like all of them.

Finally A.R.Rahman has decided to release his next private album 11 years after ‘Vande Mataram’. And as always my expectations are sky high.

I just can’t believe the glorifying reviews of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. I liked Vikas Swarup’s Q&A but there was too much bollywood masala in it, especially towards the end. I am sure that they would have changed a lot of things for the movie. Going by the praises in all the reviews, it seems that Rahman’s score for this movie has hit the bull’s eye. Here is another soundtrack to the long list of Rahman soundtracks (Yuvaraj, Ghajini, Delhi 6, Sultan, and Chennayil Oru Mazhaikaalam) to lookout for.

Vidathu Karuppu’ is now available for online viewing and downloading and a zillion thanks to Rajshri pictures. ‘Vidhathu Karuppu’ is light years ahead of anything that Indian Television or at least Tamil television has seen till date. The genius of Indira Soundarajan (writer) and Naga (director) in ‘Vidathu Karuppu’ is unparalleled. The series with its concept and philosophy had a huge impact on me and so was one of the prime reasons for me being an agnostic now. I am also eagerly waiting for ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ series being directed by Naga for Kalaignar TV which is still under production.

Airtel Super Singer 2008 is little dull overall. But I enjoyed last week’s grooming sessions; especially Sriram Parthasarathy’s composition was beautiful and it was interesting to see him enthusiastically teaching the nuances of the song to the contestants. ‘Ungalil Yaar Aduththa Prabhudeva’ hits a new low in Star Vijay TV’s series of reality shows.

Listening to ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ (finding extremely difficult to get out of it), How to Name it, Nothing but Wind and Wall-E Original Soundtrack (Thomas Newman). After listening to the samples, I decided to stay away from Raaja’s ‘Manikantan Geet Mala’.


Ludes - Answers

These ludes are from

1 - Athu Oru Kanaa Kaalam - Kili thattu
2 - Cheeni Kum - Baatein Hawa
3 - En Mana Vaanil - Muthu Muthu Penukkoru
4 - Kaathal Saathi - Manasae Manasae
5 - Kamarajar - Senthamizh Naadennum
6 - Madhu - Kaetkavillayo
7 - Pithamagan - Kodi Yethi veipom
8 - Solla Marantha Kathai - Kattula thalai aattura
9 - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - Salasalakkum kaatrae
10 - Vishwa Thulasi - En Manamae


Ludes of Illayaraja

A quiz on Ludes of Illayaraja. Guess the songs. To make it easier or rather tougher (based on how seriously one follows Illayaraja’s music), all the songs are from movies released on or after year 2001.

1 -

2 -

3 -

4 -

5 -

6 -

7 -

8 -

9 -

10 -

Answers will be posted on 13-09-2008



Adi Thozhi Adi Thozhi (Thendral)
Unnai Charanadainthen (Thavamai Thavamirunthu)
Unnai Charanadainthen (Thavamai Thavamirunthu)
Mulai Thirugum (Kanaa Kanden)
Summa Kedantha (Thambi)
Alaigalin Osaigal (Rameshwaram)
Yen swasathil (Jerry)
Naana Ithu Naana (Vattaram)
Mazhai Nindra Pinbum (Raaman Thedia Seethai)

Few days back, I was listening ‘Hare Ram (Telugu)’ soundtrack and though I was listening to the songs casually without paying much attention, a silky voice infectiously rendering the hippy ‘Naa Na Naana na na na’ phrase in the starting of the song ‘Yakhudha zara’ suddenly caught my attention and the voice sounded familiar too. The CD inlay spelled the name of the voice as
“K A L Y A N I”. And now you know why I listed those songs.

When I heard her first in ‘Adi Thozhi’ (Thendral), I got very much impressed by her sweet, silky and exquisitely expressive voice. Infact my admiration for her skyrocketed when I saw her performing unplugged in quarter finals of A.R.Rahman’s Ooh la la la (She is the lead singer of the band Route 10). Though her band didn’t make it through to the finals, the way she sang the band’s original composition and the ‘Nee Paartha Parvaikku’ remix still lingers in my ears. It is no wonder that she has given voice for some of the best melodies that have reached my ears in past few years. Rarely do I listen to songs for its singer as I did for Kalyani’s voice.

Though I am happy that she gets best of the melodies to sing, I think our composers can use her more often. I don’t really agree with the general opinion that today’s singers lack uniqueness in their voice. A serious music listener can easily realize that there are as many different voices as it was two decades before. Sainthavi, Shwetha, Chinmayi, Mathangi, Madhumitha, Mahathi are the names that immediately come to my mind, when I think of distinct voices. When our composers - who are incorrigible when it comes to choice of singers, are busy teaching Tamil to singers like Madhusree (those who can never get the Tamil diction right) in name of freshness, this bloody bad phase of good Tamil singers will continue in the Tamil Film music scene.


Subramaniyapuram Soundtrack

When I posted this, many asked me to listen to the songs of ‘Subramaniyapuram’. Even before writing that post, I had listened to Subramaniyapuram soundtrack but nothing stuck with me on first few listening, not even ‘Kangal Irandal’. I now wonder why I didn’t like them when I listened to it then because now I like it and I like it very much. And the reason is not just the music.

The first song I liked was not ‘Kangal Irandal’ but it was ‘Kaadhal Siluvayil’. The emotional quotient in the melody was so high which is further enhanced by Shankar Mahadevan’s heartfelt singing. As I was listening and I was beginning to like, an amateur orchestration with oddly sounding trumpet piece in the second interlude was totally out of place, and I switched to the next track. But the montage for which this song plays as a background score made it the most endearing song of the soundtrack.

My problem with ‘Kangal Irandal’ was the singers. Instead of sounding fresh, they sounded little odd initially and again the strings in the second interlude reminded me of a Rahman’s piece and as the strings were played on keyboard it sounded too amateurish to my ears. It affected the smooth flow of the melody. But when I saw the visuals of the song in which the rhythm of the montage is exactly matched with the rhythm of the song, I started liking it more. And the then annoying strings in the second interlude beautifully fit the tension that builds as Samuthirakani walks suspiciously towards Sruthi when she is speaking with Jai and the soothing choir that ends this piece makes us feel as relieved as Jai and Sruthi after a brief romantic thrill.

‘Madurai kulunga’ sounded authentic and good when I heard first time, but it sounded more meaningful when I saw that so much happens within this song in the movie. Again, the sudden shifts to strings in the interlude fit to T for Jai’s ecstasy who finally finds his girl in the festival crowd.

Kudos to Sasikumar and James Vasanthan for making a befitting movie soundtrack in days when movie soundtracks hardly have music that is unique to a movie - any song composed (by any composer, sometimes) for any situation from any movie can be used for any other situation in any other movie.



Listen this.

To put in Vadivelu style, Raaja – “Only you possible”.

Thanks to Emjay for posting the clip.


Raaja - A State of Mind

Rock, Jazz, fusion, world, hip-hop, folk, new age, pop, Indian classical, western classical, orchestral - In an urge to understand and appreciate various forms of music, I try and find the best in each of the aforementioned genres of music and listen to it. But sometimes I just get stuck with Illayaraja and think that listening to all those various forms of music is all but a waste of time. In times like these, Illayaraja (music) becomes a state of my mind and I say to myself, “Just listen to one genre of music - ‘Illayaraja’ and that is enough for this lifetime.” I often get into such a mindset and it takes a really fantabulous music of some other composer to shake me out of it. I guess I am not alone.


Dhanam Soundtrack

Kangalum Kavipaduthey, Uliyin Oosai and now Dhanam! Illayaraja is in fine form. The soundtrack is rich with Raaja’s typical melodies, amazing instrumental pieces in preludes and interludes, beautiful bass lines and catchy rhythms. The soundtrack is worth buying just for ‘Kannanukku Yenna Vendum’ song.

I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack except for the song ‘Ulagam Kidakuthu’. From when did Raaja included staves for samples in his score sheet? The first interlude of this song has the same melody sample that we hear in Citibank ad in raaga.com (earlier we heard the same in Yuvan’s Pudupettai) and that is not the only reason why I skip this song.


Saroja Soundtrack

Heard Saroja Soundtrack once. Waiting to listen Yuvan’s next.


Rock On Soundtrack

Sticking to a particular genre of music means a lot of restrictions for a composer, especially for the Indian film music composers. With same set of instruments accompanying the melody, the overall sound of the songs will remain the same. The composer has no choice but to try different ways of arrangement, different rhythms and choosing different tempos to break the monotony so that each song work. But this will make them concentrate more on the music and melody part of the song than the sound part of it. With genre pieces, a composer cannot escape by replacing a guitar with Veena in a rock arrangement and cheat the listeners in name of fusion. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy has not cheated us by playing around but has given us one of very few Indian film soundtracks that stick to a particular genre of music, i.e., Rock, in ‘Rock On’.

Listening ‘Rock On’ soundtrack, made me to think about the lack of pure genre pieces in Indian Film movie soundtracks. When most of our films still don’t conform to one particular genre, why should the music be? The makers want the film to be seen by audiences of all ages and by making a genre piece, one cannot satisfy all kind of audience. ‘Rock On’ could be the first soundtrack (Some say ‘Paanch’ soundtrack, which I haven’t heard) I heard that has songs strictly conforming to one particular genre of music that doesn’t belong to India.

Indian film music as we know is an amalgamation of 100s of genres of music from all parts of the world. With such a colorful mix of genres, Indian Film music has become a genre in itself. But no matter what genre our Indian composer picks for the song, the sound of the borrowed genre is mostly restricted to the orchestration and backing arrangements and mostly the melody gets the Indian touch.

I haven’t heard much of pure Rock music. But Wiki says that Rock music is a genre of popular music with a prominent vocal melody, accompanied by electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums. The western way of writing a melody for vocals, is to leave the notes orphaned (as told by Illayaraja), unlike Indian classical music, where there is lot of wavering and linking happens of and between the notes. In ‘Rock On’, I don’t see any such technique being used in any of the songs.

An Indian film song comes out of great amount of collaboration between lyricist and the composer. The music is bend to fit the lyrics and lyrics is modified to fit into a tune and it is a combined evolving process wherein which they find a balance between the two. So, obviously when a composer makes music particular to a genre, the language plays an important role in overall sound of the song. Lyrics by Javed Akthar fit so perfectly into the sound of Rock music, so much so that you can take out the Hindi lyrics and put English words in the songs, without changing a note in the melody and yet a non-Indian would find it as a true rock song.

With the melody remaining purely western and with arrangements strictly restricted to the rules of the genre, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s ‘Rock On’ is one great soundtrack that hits bull’s eyes with its guts, riffs and rhythms.


Sakkarakatti and not cho chweet review

I can easily understand why some of them are angry about my views on ‘Sakkarakatti’ music, because I have found myself in their position so many times before when I read a review, highlighting only the negatives and understating the positives on a movie or a music which I love. Though there are positives to talk, some people get upset more by the negatives, because according to them what they feel lacking in, is the most important aspects they look for and so they find that overshadowing other good things that can be talked about.

There are definitely good things to say about 'Sakkarakatti'. I never said anywhere in my post that I didn’t like the soundtrack. I like it. But when my overall feeling about a soundtrack is disappointing, I chose to highlight what didn’t work for me than what little that works. And naturally, one doesn’t spend much time talking about what they don’t like. But I also think that I have become lazier these days, as one see can that even on those soundtracks which I liked very much, I have written comparatively lesser words.

I am not against Rahman or his music, I don’t deliberately criticize any composer or his compositions, and I only register what I sincerely feel. Talking about length, my thoughts on 'Ada' and 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' were detailed enough I believe. I criticize Rahman, because I care. I sincerely care and carve for his music. I am sure that I won’t remember this soundtrack for a long time; it will not stand the test of time. If one is a true fan of a composer and his music, he/she will not understate the composer by declaring his lesser works as his greatest. And that is what I did.

Ameer has his own arrogant way to put his view points. But if you take all those arrogance away, there is a truth hidden in his statement. That is that Rahman is doing only movies with commercial interests. It is little too selfish to ask Rahman to come down a little bit to become approachable by new wave Tamil directors but these guys can give him greater challenges and help him in pushing the envelope of movie soundtracks further.

At the end, I have only one question. Is ‘Sakkarakatti’ music, the greatest ever that Rahman could have given for the movie? If your answer is yes, I wonder if you really remember or know what Rahman is really capable of and definitely I respect Rahman and his music more than you do.


Ameer in Saroja Audio Launch

A.R. Rahman is an Isai Puyal. He has created a sensation all through out the world, through his music. Now, he is not in this venue, but still, I have a question to be asked to him.

"He is composing music only for films with commercial interests. Why hasnt he composed for films which have a deep subject ?. He has composed music for K. Balachander with 40 years of experience, Bharathiraaja with 30 years of experience. why hasnt he composed music for Directors like me ?. Whats the reason for him not to consider ourselves as a Director?"

This is exactly what I was trying to ask in my post on Sakkarakatti music.


Sakkarakatti Soundtrack

‘God Father’, ‘Jillunu Oru Kaadhal’, ‘Sivaji’, ‘Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan’ in Tamil, ‘Guru’, ‘Jodha Akbar’, ‘Ada’, ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa’ in Hindi were Rahman’s works in recent past and with that you know the kind of comparison I draw in here. I too agree that it is unfair to compare chalk and cheese as the kind of movies Rahman chose to do in Hindi and Tamil were totally different. But my problem is mainly with Rahman’s choice of movies and then comes the quality of music. No doubt all the aforementioned Tamil soundtracks were big hits but Um… Forget it. Coming to ‘Sakkarakatti’

We have another sure-shot winner from Rahman in ‘Sakkarakatti’ soundtrack which is full of Rahman clichés. He kills a Tamil song again by using Madhusree; he explores Chinmayi’s voice further in a song, the template of which is one of the weirdest experimentations of Rahman in recent past, uses two of his already released Hindi tracks from ‘Meenaxi’, composes a ultra cool number with Blaaze’s rapping in between and it has a single word repeated twice as its hooky phrase.

‘Yelae’ is the most interesting song of the soundtrack. An instantly catchy guitar riff and a flamboyant violin running across wildly in conversation with the vocals, harmonica bits, the musicality of the word ‘Yelae’ and the amount of casualness it brings to the mood of the song, the cool singing of Krish and Naresh Iyer all put together makes ‘Yelae’ an easy stand out of this soundtrack.

The one good thing about listening to ‘Sakkarakatti’ is that it made me to revisit the soundtrack of ‘Meenaxi’. ‘Meenaxi’ is so special to me because it was the first ever soundtrack CD I bought after buying Philips 5 in 1 player. Aah… What an experience it was. It was a real stunning soundtrack of Rahman and not so surprisingly it still is.

What I expect from Rahman is such a complete soundtrack, which Rahman once use to dish out movie after movie in Tamil.

To Muneer: The soundtrack has two already heard songs, one weird number ‘I miss u da’ which I am sure will soon be forgotten, another mediocre melody ‘Marudhaani’ (with some great interludes and humming parts) but with Madhusree, one cool and peppy number, one great song ‘Yelae’ and with this mix, I am little hesitant to call it a great soundtrack on the whole. But I like the soundtrack.


Uliyin Oosai

I am listening to Illayaraja’s ‘Uliyin Oosai’ songs for past one week or so. It is an absolutely delightful soundtrack with classical and semi classical melodies. Though the orchestration and overall sound of one or two songs is at odds with others and the period of the movie, the chaste Tamil lyrics and Raaja’s vintage orchestration make us forget the initial discomfort that we get from the alienating sound. It also made me to revisit the songs of ‘Ivan’ and ‘Pon Megalai’, the songs from the soundtrack which I often hum or listen in my mind though I don’t hear the actual audio frequently.

Mean while, Kumar, Vignesh and Emjay write some interesting articles about Raaja’s music in their blogs. Each and every post of them is educating and a pleasure reading. But while there are many blogs like these which tries to decode Raaja’s compositions from 80’s and to some extent from 90’s, I couldn’t find many (or any) such blogs or such write-ups in blogosphere on Raaja’s latest works. Aren’t Raaja’s recent works worthy enough to write about? Or is it that there still is so much to dig and learn from Raaja’s earlier compositions that the hard code Raaja fan bloggers tend to write mostly about them?

With soundtracks of Mayil, Naan Kadavul, Nandhalala and Dhanam, Illayaraja has an interesting lineup this year. Eagerly waiting for each one of them.


The Boring Goodness

‘Boring Goodness’ is how I would like to describe the music that has come out so far in Tamil films in 2008. There were many good songs with good melodies but very few of them have that extra something that would make the song stand the testimony of time. There weren’t many songs that blew my mind. I don’t know why I feel so. May be these days I don’t give a serious ear to Tamil film music. I don’t buy and listen to every other Tamil film soundtrack that comes out, which I used to do before. But here are my picks from whatever I listened to so far in 2008, which I may want to listen decades down the line

1. Yen Unnidam (Chakra Vyuham)
2. En Idhayathai Kaanom (Chakra vyuham)
3. Aagayam Kaanamal (Saadhu Miranda)
4. Vallamai Tharayo (Vallamai Tharayo)
5. Uyirilae (Vellithirai)
6. Venmegam (Yaaradi Nee Mohini)
7. Kanden Kanden (Pirivom Santhipom)
8. Manasukkul (Anjathey)
9. Aavaram Poovukkum (Arai En 305il Kadavul)
10. Aganthayil Aaduvathaa (Uliyin Oosai)


Reliance Mobile Vijay Awards 2008

While there are a bunch of award shows happening for Hindi Cinema throughout the year, there isn’t many for Tamil Cinema. Filmfare awards for South Indian Cinema and Tamilnadu state awards have lost their sheen and credibility long back. So, when ‘Vijay awards’ was commenced last year, I was more than happy. Last year it was kind of a tribute to 75 years of Tamil cinema, where they honored legends in all categories but from this year it is like any other award show recognizing the best of the talents for the movies released in the previous year.

There were 4 pre-cursor shows on Vijay Awards since one month before the actual awards were announced (on every Sunday afternoon 2 P.M), anchored by Gopinath, where popular film technicians, actors, jury members and selected audiences had a healthy discussion and debate about various aspects of Tamil cinema in 2007.

If you have seen this year’s telecast of Vijay Awards show (showing the making of the statue, red carpet interviews, nominations), the intention is pretty evident, which is to make ‘Vijay Awards’ as one of iconic recognition, a award which a film personality would want to proudly add in his profile. Two decades down the line, when an actor is introduced before an interview, they should add that he has won X number of ‘Vijay Awards’ for Best actor. ‘Vijay Awards’ wants to reach that status. And from the way this year’s award show was organized and conducted, I am sure that will happen.

Vijay TV has a very good rapport with Tamil film fraternity and that will definitely help them to go a long way from here. Vijay Awards is very well balanced with both popularity and talent being recognized and praised equally.

The show was well attended by the film fraternity. Yugi Sethu was a decent host for the show, though most of his word play and humor fell flat. Except for Krish’s, performances by dumb actresses and by Neha Basin were bad. The stage backdrop was good but the lighting was over done with too many colors.

Coming to Awards,

The jury includes Cartoonist Madan, Yugi Sethu, Lissy Priyadarshan and Director Baghyaraj. From the winners, it is very clear that Madan was dominant among the four, because if you have been watching Madan’s Thirai Paarvai regularly, you could easily guess the winners. From the nominations, it is clear that quite a lot of analysis and evaluation was done before finalizing on the nominees in each category. Paruthiveeran, Mozhi, Polladhavan, Katradhu Tamizh, Chennai – 600028 and Sivaji bagged most of the nominations both in technical and non technical categories. Kalloori was seriously overlooked except for a nomination for Hemalatha who played the role of Kayal in the movie. But they made sure that awards are evenly distributed among the best movies of 2007.

I was searching for a site where I could find the complete list of nominees and winners in Vijay TV and I couldn’t find any, not even in Balaji’s blog, so here it is

Best Dance Choreography

1. Ajay - Jalsa pannungada (Chennai – 600028)
2. Brinda - Unakkul naane (Pachaikili Muthucharam)
3. Dinesh - Vasantha mullai (Pokkiri)
4. Lawrence - Thee thee (Sivaji)
5. Raju Sundaram - June ponal (Unnalae Unnalae)

Winner - Dinesh for Vasantha mulai (Pokkiri)

Varied Nominations. I don’t know what the jury were really looking for, but nice picks.

Best Stunt Direction

1. Pepsi Vijayan - Pokiri
2. Kanal kannan - Deepavali
3. Peter hain - Sivaji
4. Rambo Rajkumar - Polladhavan
5. William wong - Billa

Winner - Rambo Rajkumar (Polladhavan)

Yet to see Polladhavan but have heard so many people raving about the climax fight sequence and so, I think award has gone to the right hands.

Best Art Direction

1. Jackson - Paruthiveeran
2. Kathir - Pokkiri
3. Milan - Billa
4. Saikumar - Polladhvan
5. Thotta tharani - Sivaji

Winner - Thotta tharani (Sivaji)

The Obvious.

Best Editing

1. Antony - Sivaji
2. Kasi Vishwanathan - Mozhi
3. B.Lenin - Chennai 28
4. Raja Mohammad - Paruthiveeran
5. Sreekar prasad - Katradhu Tamizh

Winner - Sreekar prasad (Katradhu Tamizh)

Katradhu Tamizh was technically brilliant. Sreekar Prasad deserves it. But congrats to Raja Mohammad for winning the coveted national award for Paruthiveeran.

Best Cinematography

1. K.V. Anand - Sivaji
2. Kathir - Katradhu tamizh
3. Nirav shah - Billa
4. Ramji - Paruthiveeran
5. Velraj - Polladhavan

Winner – Velraj (Polladhavan)

K.V.Anand and Nirav Shah are ruled out for obvious reasons. Though Ramji’s cinematography was great, it was overtly yellowish. Kathir did a great job in Katradhu Tamizh. And I think Velraj was chosen for shooting the movie is many real locations mostly under natural source of lighting.

Best Lyricist

1. Na.Muthukumar - Sivaji (Ballelakka)
2. Rohini - Unakkul naane (Pachaikili Muthucharam)
3. Snehan - Paruthiveeran (Ariyaatha vayasu)
4. Vaali – Chennai – 600028 (Yaaro)
5. Vairamuthu - Kaatrin mozhi (Mozhi)

Winner – Na.Muthukuar (Sivaji)

Though my choice would be Vairamuthu for Onbathu rooba nottu or Mozhi, I am okay with Na.Muthukumar winning the award, but I couldn’t digest the fact that he won it for ‘Ballelakka’ from Sivaji as Na.Muthukumar himself has written much more meaningful songs in Katradhu Tamizh. And what is so great about Rohini’s words in Unakkul Naane?

Best Playback Singer (Female)

1. Chinmaye (Sahana - Sivaji)
2. Sowmya rao (Unn siripinil – Pachaikili Muthucharam)
3. Neha basin (Paesugiraen – Satham Podathey)
4. Akkam pakkam (Sadhana - Kireedom)
5. Madhumitha (Nee nadhaswaram - Azhaghiya Tamizh Magan)

Winner – Neha basin (Paesugiraen – Satham Podathey)

Neha Basin is a strange choice. Mine would obviously go to Chinmaye. Surprised to see Madhumitha getting a nomination, a well deserved one though. And ‘Un Siripinil’ from Pachaikili Muthucharam was not sung by Sowmya Rao, it is by Gauthami Rao.

Best Playback singer (Male)

1. S.P.Balasubramaniam (Yaaro – Chennai 600028)
2. Balram (Kaatrin Mozhi - Mozhi)
3. Haricharan (Arabu naadae – Thottal Poo Malarum)
4. Krish(June ponaal – Unnalae Unnalae)
5. Udit Narayan (Sahana - Udit Narayanan)

Winner – Krish (June ponaal – Unnalae Unnalae)

Udit Narayan???!!! Lol…
Balram for Mozhi, Rahul for ‘Para Para Pattampoochi’, Srinivas for ‘Maghaliyil kulichu paaru’ are in my list. It is really a tough category to pick just one name.

Best Supporting actor (Female)

1. Hemalatha (Kalloori)
2. Khusbhoo (Periyar)
3. Sujatha (Paruthiveeran)
4. Swarnamalya (Mozhi)
5. Nadhiya (Thamirabharani)

Winner – Sujatha (Paruthiveeran)

Best supporting actor (Male)

1. M.S.Baskar (Mozhi)
2. Murali (Polladhavan)
3. Prakash Raj (Mozhi)
4. Raj kiran (Kireedom)
5. Saravanan (Paruthiveeran)

Winner – Prakash Raj (Mozhi)

As Prakash Raj himself told, M.S.Baskar is a better choice. If you have seen Madan’s Thirai Paarvai on Mozhi, you will now how much Madan got impressed by the choice of Prakash Raj for Viji character and his casual performance and hence the award.

Best Villain

1. Kalabhavan mani (Vel)
2. Kishore (Polladhavan)
3. Milind soman (Pachaikili)
4. Pokkiri (Prakash raj)
5. Suman (Sivaji)

Winner - Kishore (Polladhavan)

Do we really need this category?

Best Dialogue writer

1. Ameer - Paruthiveeran
2. R.Madhavan, Seeman - Evano oruvan
3. Ram - Katradhu tamizh
4. Venkat Prabhu – Chennai 600028
5. Viji - Mozhi

Winner - Viji (Mozhi)

Right choice.

Best Actor Debut (Female)

1. Andrea (Pachaikili Muthucharam)
2. Anjali (Katradhu Tamizh)
3. Banu (Thamirabharani)
4. Tanisha (Unnalae Unnalae
5. Vijayalakshmi (Chennai 600028)

Winner – Anjali (Katradhu Tamizh)

It looks like that jury members have really struggled to make up the list with 5 nominees for this category.

Best Actor Debut (Male)

1. Aathi (Mirugam)
2. Akhil (kalloori)
3. Karthi (Paruthiveeran)
4. Siva (Chennai 600028)
5. Vinay (Unnalae unnalae)

Winner – Karthi (Paruthiveeran)


Best Music Director

1. Harris (Unnalae Unnalae)
2. G.V.Prakash (Kireedom)
3. A.R.Rahman (Sivaji)
4. Vidhyasagar (Mozhi)
5. Yuvan Shankar raja (Paruthiveeran)

Winner – A.R.Rahman (Sivaji)

My choice would be Vidhyasagar for Mozhi and Yuvan Shankar Raja for Katradhu Tamizh. And why there isn’t a category for best background score? Madan is one critic who doesn’t forget to talk about background score of the movies which he reviews in Vijay TV’s Thirai Paarvai, yet I don’t know why he didn’t recommend including a category for background score.

Award for Contribution to Tamil Cinema

Film News Aanandhan was honored for his contribution to Tamil Cinema for his passion towards cinema. He was also awarded a cash prize of one lakh rupees. The AV shown for introducing Aanandhan was nicely done.

Find of the year

1. Cinematographer Kathir (Katradhu Tamizh)
2. Director Ram (Katradhu tamizh)
3. Lyricist Rohini (Pachaikili Muthucharam)
4. Director Venkat Prabhu (Chennai 600028)
5. Director Vetrimaran (Polladhavan)

Winner - Director Venkat Prabhu (Chennai 600028)

Though the execution of Chennai 600028 was brilliant, I am still skeptical about Venkat Prabhu’s ability. I will have to wait for ‘Saroja’ to really form an opinion on Venkat Prabhu as a director.

Best Film

1. Paruthiveeran
2. Mozhi
3. Chennai - 28
4. Pallikoodam
5. Polladhavan

Winner – Paruthiveeran

I don’t know what made the jury to choose ‘Pallikoodam’ over a ‘Kallori’ or a ‘Katradhu Tamizh’. But anyways, the winner was always going to be ‘Paruthiveeran’.

Best Director

1. Ameer - Paruthiveeran
2. Radha mohan - Mozhi
3. Ram - Katradhu Tamizh
4. Venkat Prabhu - Chennai 28
5. Vetri maran - Polladhavan

Winner – Vetri Maran (Polladhavan)

This definitely came as a surprise. Though I haven’t seen Polladhavan yet, I thought Ameer would win it. I always had this doubt about how a jury selects someone else as best director instead of the director of the movie which is being chosen as the best movie of the year.

Best Actress

1. Asin - Pokkiri
3. Bhavana - Deepavali
3. Jyothika - Mozhi
4. Padma priya - Mirugam
5. Priya mani - Paruthiveeran

Winner – Priya Mani (Paruthiveeran)

Another obvious choice and recently she bagged the national award too. But Yugi Sethu unnecessarily embarrassed Priya Mani on stage, by asking her on the reason for choosing to act in a glamorous role in ‘Malaikottai’ immediately after ‘Paruthiveeran’. Right question in a wrong place.

Best Actor

1. Danush - Polladhavan
2. Jeeva - Katradhu Tamizh
3. Madhavan - Evano Oruvan
4. Sathyaraj - Onbathu rooba nottu
5. Sathyaraj - Periyar

Winner – Satyaraj (Onbathu Rooba nottu)

While reviewing the movie ‘Onbathu rooba nottu’, Madan interviewed Satyaraj and asked him about which role was tough to play or which character he feels proud of - ‘Periyar’ or playing ‘Madhava padaiyachi’? Satyrajar gave a diplomatic answer. But Madan told that playing Madhava padaiyachi is Satyaraj’s biggest achievement as to act in the role of Periyar there are lot of reference material which can help for and as Satyaraj himself has a very good knowledge about Periyar’s life, it wouldn’t be tough for him to play the role of Periyar but the same cannot be said about the role of ‘Madhavar padaiyachi’ in Onbathu rooba nottu.

Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan award for Excellent in Indian Cinema went to Maniratnam. Again, the AV on Maniratnam was really done well especially the slide show of behind-the-scene pictures of all Maniratnam movies was great.

The award for Best Comedian went to Vadivelu for Marudhamalai. And the best crew award went to the crew of Chennai 600028. I still don’t know the criteria for choosing the winners in this category. I don’t know the nominees in these two categories as I missed to watch these parts of the show.

In the categories in which people selected the winners by voting, Rajini is the favourite hero for Sivaji, Nayantara is the favourite heroine for Billa, Prabhudeva is the favourite director for Pokkiri and favourite film is not Sivaji, it is ‘Pokkiri’. Vijay got Entertainer of the year award; Surya was selected as the Icon of the year by ad agencies.