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+.