"Yogi" Soundtrack

‘Tamizh MA’ happened two years ago and after that there isn’t a single movie soundtrack of Yuvan, which one could call a complete musical feast. There definitely were few gems here and there but overall there weren’t movies that could feed the creative hunger of Yuvan Shankar Raaja. Well now, here it is the soundtrack of ‘Yogi’ that displays what Yuvan Shankar Raaja adds musically to the movie, when he gets genuinely inspired by the script. Yuvan has always delivered for Ameer and he does it again (though the movie is directed by Subrmaniam Siva, screenplay and dialogues are written by Ameer).

The album kick starts with a song where everything is electronic and it sounds quite unusual for a hero introduction song. I usually have lots of problems with such songs of Yuvan where he goes overboard with too many layers and e-sounds, but this song is done with a lot of restraint, each and every layer is catchy and has been added after a lot of thought. A sample for that is rough synth strings or saw motif that keeps looping around in the background which aptly fits in for the roughness of a ruffian that the song exclaims about. The lyrics too are sensible and though sung with a western attitude, it fits well for the toughness that the song requires. While the other version is clouded lesser with e-sounds but with more funky guitars, it is set on a different beat and the voice and lyrics are heard better. It is good that they didn’t name this track as a remix, because it actually is not, it is set to a completely different orchestration and it has to be heard without skipping.

‘Yaarodu Yaaro’ is a neat soulful melody with feel and rhythm reminding the songs of ‘Paruthiveeran’. The song has lengthier interludes with some amazing instrumental pieces and orchestration, especially that vocal harmony in the first interlude is such a heart-felt melody which I would definitely hum accidentally on any day few years later. Snehan beautifully describes the budding love between two extremely different people and sample this line where he describes Yogi falling in love as ‘Ithu Yenna Maayam, Sooriyanil Eeram’. And what can one say about Yuvan’s singing except ‘Nallathor Veenai seithu athai nalam keda puzhuthiyil yerivadhundo’.

With strains of ‘Yaarodu Yaaro’, the melody soon gets an identity of its own with the exquisite Sarangi solo (performed by Ustad Sultan Khan) in ‘Yogi Theme in Sarangi’ playing a very earthy melody sitting firmly on the rhythm of ethnic percussions. Though the template of the song is straight out of ‘Kanaa Kaanum Kaalangal’ (7/g Rainbow colony), there are not many composers who care for such instrumentals in film music these days. And when you think that is the most that you could get from a Tamil film soundtrack, being a fan of such instrumentals, Yuvan serves up with one more theme which again is soulful and addictive. The beat of this theme is interestingly made by embedding a Tavil on synth pads and the strings, flute, Amalraj’s Violin all march one after the other playing beautiful melodies.

The soundtrack’s most entertaining and fun track arrives with ‘Seermevum Koovathiley’ and what a funny way to start the song, no one would think of ‘Seermevum’ and ‘Koovam’ on the same line. Ameer, Snehan (lyricist), Naveen and Jijuba get dirty, real and give a knock out performance in this one. The sound of Chennai Tamizh over years has gained a musicality, which is very evident in this song. With each section song tuned like a popular yester year song, the song should please all the front benchers in the cinema hall. A sure shot winner this one is. Snehan again shines through with his utterly down-to-earth lyrics in the song and can’t wait to watch what they are going to do visually with that Rudhra Thandavam bit at the end of the song.

And with that, Yuvan’s Yogi is 5/5 for me.


"Blue" Soundtrack

I have to admit that I was not expecting much from “Blue” soundtrack. The initial teasers with ‘Blue’ theme and ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ didn’t create any curiosity. So without any expectations, I started listening “Blue”, considering it as just a soundtrack for a massy commercial entertainer. In these movies, Rahman has no limitations on the choice of instruments so to stick period in which it is set in (like a Jodha Akbar), or for which Rahman need not keep a coherent sound and feel throughout the soundtrack (like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na). It is in these kinds of movies Rahman freaks out with his anything-and-everything goes attitude, turns playful and unleashes few more experiments breaking the un-written formulas with which an Indian movie song should be composed. While Rahman has attempted all of these in the music of “Blue”, it isn’t entirely ground breaking but that isn’t a complaint – it is just a formality to say that (and probably cringe later for the same) and a big barrier that an avid A.R.Rahman fan has to break through while listening to every soundtrack of his in those initial days.

So when I broke through that barrier, even ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ sounded genuine, unpretentious, catchy and thoroughly enjoyable. ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ is no doubt an addictive phrase that gets repeated umpteen times throughout the song, but what makes the Kylie Monogue’s (except for the silky voice, there is nothing spectacular about her singing or may be the composition doesn’t demand anything more) part magical is the madly running bass (slap or synth??) lines that impose a heavy pull to keep frivolous melody lines grounded. The song suddenly makes a not so comfortable transition from Kylie’s pop to Sonu Nigam’s Bhangra, and on first listening, it sounded so plaintive, it wasn’t bang on. The tempo of the Bhangra beats should have been higher at the transition point to create a greater impact, I thought. But the realization comes later that this is actually a Bhangra without typical Punjabi dhols and that the song is meant to be in this way because Rahman wants to create a Hip-Bhangra-hop music. The euphoria of Bhangra is kept intact through chorus shouting ‘Hoi’ in rhythm, Sonu’s diction and expression and Punjabi strings but the beats is that of hip-hop. Rahman though entirely doesn’t pull this off, the song as a whole is good fun.

‘Aaj dil’ is colourful cocktail of style and substance, synth and melody. It has got one of the finest layering of synth, e-sounds and acoustic instruments we heard for a while. The best thing is that even without those infinite layers of sounds, the spirit of song is so densely stuffed in its melody itself, which has got a great momentum in it with never ending catchy phrases piling up one after the other. But what those eclectic sound layers bring to the table instantly is the aura, the ambience that the song wants to create. And Oh! Those madly done interludes without any identifiable melodies transport us directly to a dreamy water land. All these synthphonies could easily turn into a cacophony if not done with utmost care but for someone who put together something as magnificent as a ‘Potter’s Village’ this must be a child’s play. But nevertheless such attempts ceaselessly surprise the listeners. Adding to the beauty of already colourful bowl of sounds is the ‘Saayasa’ and a Piano motif sprinkled throughout the song. Shreya Ghosal is unbelievably versatile and extremely irresistible as she makes best use to the seductive range of her voice in this song. And Rahman interestingly makes Sukhwinder singh (who adds classical touches even in a song like this) sing this one and Sonu Nigam sing the ‘Chiggy Wiggy’.

I doubt if there will be a song this year that is more thumping, more addictive, more exuberant, catchier and hookier than ‘Fiqrana’. The song instantly sucks you into its groove and takes us through an exhilarating ride of rhythm and melody, right from the moment the main guitar riff starts to loop around your ears. How does a composer choose a certain sounding guitar? Rahman hits it bang on target with the choice of instrument for that guitar motif that ends each stanza and begins the interlude. The sound of the guitar and the melody played on it are ridiculously funky and hooky. The Rahmantic moment of the song arrives with the melody that swirls around on the lines ‘Jeet-te hain adh adh ka hum’. The song as a whole with it never ending rhythm, completely sweeps you off your feet and makes your heart jump with joy.

When the ‘Blue Theme’ was heard first in the teaser, I thought that Rap bit would instantly bounce off from the very beginning but interestingly there is a prelude to the RAP which is more interesting than the actual theme. The song takes lots of twists and turns with varied rhythms of folk, rap, pop, hip-hop and rock parading one after the other with all of thump. Amidst all the shouting, rapping, Rahman has stuffed a genuine melody (sung by a female vocal) which borders on Sufi. Though it has a pivotal theme (which could be used umpteen times in the background score of the movie whenever heroes complete an action sequence triumphantly), it doesn’t meander by orchestrating the same theme on different ways, it keeps moving on from one portion to another of varied rhythms, tempos and melodies. We will have to wait and see what the piece as a whole add to the visuals on screen.

‘Bhoola Tujhe’ is relatively an underwhelming song of the soundtrack. The main melody in Mukhda is really nice and soulful; it is a melody that I would definitely hum even after having stopped listening to the soundtrack, but it begins to meander in the middle with stretch-the-last-word-of-the-line technique used to make the melody fit into a preset rhythm. The song’s melody and orchestration seems to be derived from the intersection of ‘Do Kadam aur sahi’ and ‘Kahin toh’ but it isn’t as effective as either. Rahman tries too hard to add more soul and feel to the song with a soft bed of symphonic strings running throughout the song, while string section sounds heavily, it can’t help much when the melody playing over is weak.

The moment I heard those shrill hit-hat hits and deep bass in the beginning of ‘Rehnuma’, I thought this is going to be Rahman’s yet another true-to-genre Jazz songs in the lineage of ‘Jaane Tu’ title song and ‘Jillunu oru kaadhal’ title song, but soon as Shreya exquisitely begins to scream ‘Qaatil Ada’, Rahman takes a stunning route to a Rahmanish John Barry Stuff with that yet another additive and funky guitar motif of the soundtrack. Also to move far away from his other Jazz numbers, Rahman goes in for synth pads instead of syncopated acoustic drums that mostly accompanies Jazz songs and there is a delightful dense string section backing throughout. The flashy orchestration adds more attitude, style to the substance that is truly western. Shreya Ghosal and Sonu Nigam sing the lines incredibly without ever sounding like an Indian voice soaked and trained in Indian classical music, they have poured sweat, heart and soul into this song. The crescendos with multi overlapping layers of ‘Rehnuma’ chants, guitar motif and the string section are perfectly placed and are just out of the world (though you wish sound mixing could have been much better – rarest of complaints on a Rahman’s song).

‘Yaar mila tha’ is a song for which we cannot easily attach a genre to, it sounds like one of those early 90’s saccharine melodies with a touch of Rahman’s trademark cuts in flow of the melody, and with a new age rhythm that is part folksy and part hoppy. Adding further to that feel is Udit Narayan’s and Madhusree’s voice and singing. The melody in the Mukhda that perfectly sits on an unusual rhythm makes it an instantly catchy song but it faces the same problems as that of ‘Bhoola Tujhe’. In the antara, Udit starts to sing the lines with a melody that takes a random path with unpredictable pauses, which leaves us wondering where all of this is leading to (I immensely liked the maddening flow that the melody takes in the middle of ‘Behka’ or ‘Vaan nila tharum oli’ songs). Usually when such issues come up Rahman use to give a walking stick to the listeners like say that guitar motif in ‘Rehna Tu’ which was so helpful in initial listening to go through the middle portions where Rahman bothers little about fitting the melody to beats and sings passionately straight from the heart. But here, the rhythm though catchy is repeated endlessly and turns monotonous, so it doesn’t serve the job of a walking stick convincingly. This problem often comes up when Rahman composes melody for already written lines. Why do lyricists write such prose without any setting a definite meter so a composer can fit them easily into a rhythm and melody? Or if the music was composed first, how on earth a composer can come up with a melody that is as zig-zag and random as one in this song’s antara?

Few days before the release of this soundtrack, A.R.Rahman released a note like this

“This is my first film after the Oscars. So expectations are scary. It's important to work with a great team to create great music and we've done that with Blue. What's special about Blue is that it's an underwater adventure. So, it was very exciting to do this score as a composer. It's important that you don't get typecast. It's also important to give the kind of music the film requires and have fun with it! Drown into the music of Blue.”

It seems he was genuinely worried about the post-Oscar expectations of his fans and that was utterly unnecessary with a soundtrack like ‘Blue’. Of course there are some misfires and water is mudded here and there but that doesn’t stop me from drowning into music of Blue.

On a different note, I wondered why there is so much fuss about A.R.Rahman doing music for an action movie. In India, even in an action movie (for which if it truly is, there is no need of songs), the soundtrack is going to be a standard mix of love ballads, duets, a theme song, an item number soundtrack. Blue being an action movie and with a special mention of ‘Music and Background Score – A.R.Rahman’, one thing I eagerly expect is the background score. Let us see if A.R.Rahman could pull a John Powell or a Hans Zimmer with this.


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Aayirathil Oruvan Soundtrack

A folk song, an item song, a soft melody (mostly a duet for romance), a hero introduction and a heroine introduction song, a somber song – any Tamil masala movie soundtrack will easily fall into this template. Even otherwise a hip-hop, a remix, a rap, two soft melodies – one fast paced and the other slow paced, one happy and the other sad will be the template of other kind of entertainers. Amidst such boringly repetitious soundtracks, it is such a revelation to listen to a movie soundtrack that doesn’t fit into any of such regular formulae of songs.

Soundtrack of ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ is one such revelation. It isn’t just that. It is a true movie soundtrack in every sense of the word, because a song from this movie wouldn’t fit into any other movie. In such soundtracks, there always is a danger of over indulgence (especially when it comes from a director like Selvaraghavan) which leads to melodies and song structures that doesn’t strike a chord instantly with casual listeners. Such an indulgence pushed Selvaraghavan to choose a classical symphony to underscore the gangster saga in Pudupettai and me being someone who crosses that area often, I just couldn’t get the intention and connection. Expectedly the score was completely out of synch with the visuals in the movie. But in ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ it seems Selvaraghavan’s indulgence has yielded positive results.

I am talking more about the director than the composer here because I am sure G.V.Prakash Kumar as a composer wouldn’t have ever thought of composing such a soundtrack without a guiding and pushing force like Selvaraghavan.

‘Oh Eesa’ starts off with high techno hip-hop beats and a very ordinary melody line. It picks up momentum as GVP throws in the stolen phrase of very popular ‘Govinda Hari Govinda Venkata Ramanaa Govinda’ melody with a tribal, Arabic and hip-hop mix of rhythms that is intoxicating to the core. With the whole song sounding like a cacophony of e-sounds on first listen, it takes a lot of concentration and effort to unlace the beauty of the melody that flows underneath especially the place where Karthik ‘tham thanathom’ is punchy. In spite of GVP grinding every single voice in his sound machine, Karthik’s exuberant and dramatic singing shines in the fore.

‘Maalai Neram’ is a very casual melody presented without much ado. It is simple and easy on ears and what lifts the whole song to great heights is the abundance of guitar riffs backing the melody throughout. I can’t say when I started listening to this song and when exactly I started liking it. The melody just melts out of Andréa’s solid voice, flows and fills our ears and sits in memory. The simple orchestration maintains the aura of breezy romance throughout and that guitar motif is like the sparkling light emanating from the candle in a romantic dinner. My only grouse is the singing of Andrea in lower octaves, in which she sounds so scary.

The slow paced ‘Un Mela Aasadhaan’ sucks us into its seducing pace and rhythm right away with its instantly likeable melody. Especially the melody in the lines sung by Danush is so catchy and the lethargy with which Danush sings his lines adds to the effect further. The excerpts from ‘Sittar Paadalgal’ are nicely interwoven into the song with each verse getting a respectable melodic treatment. GVP has tweaked the melody borrowed from Yuvan for betterment and has given a much better orchestration than what Yuvan did to ‘Adada Vaa’ in Sarvam.

After reading the director’s note or rant about the 11th and 12th century music, when you read the title as ‘The King Arrives’, you expect some ancient sounds and sure it begins with such but surprisingly it shifts to hard rock guitars and banging drums and one can visualize how brilliant it would look and sound if an ancient Chola king walks up to his throne with this head banging rock music. Can’t wait to watch this music play out in its entirety in the movie.

The scintillating symphony of Rudra Veena welcomes us into the 11th century in ‘Thai Thindra Mannae’. The percussion arrangements with real instruments are brilliant throughout the song. There is so much of attention and detailing that has gone into the selection of percussions for different sections of the song. While ‘Nellaadiya, Solladiya, Villadiya, kallaadiya’ gets Udukkai beat, the increasing pain in next stanza gets a hesitant Tabla rhythm that hits each stroke as an afterthought; the courage of Cholas when expressed as ‘Pulikkodi poritha chola maanthargal elikkari porippathuvo’, it moves on to a more turbulent and bold percussion and alternatively the ecstatic Telugu portions are accompanied by classical Mirudangam and Ghatam. In spite of all these intricacies in musicality, the song belongs completely to Vairamuthu. Vairamuthu brings out the pain of a person (the king) seeing the fall of his Chola dynasty with such poetic beauty and confidence in chaste Tamil.

The bass and brass heavy opening leads to a song of deep and heavy emotions in ‘Pemmanae’. The cry in the very beginning in Bombay Jayshree’s alaap conveys it all. The whole song is set in a lower register registering the deep pain due to which they won’t be able to croon any higher. The feel in the peculiar ancient wind instruments used add to the pain and to authenticity of the period in which the song is set in. Vairamuthu again builds up poetry with chaste Tamil words to express the pinnacle of pain people undergo when they are pushed out of their home land.

‘The Celebration of Life’ is a flute symphony by Naveen who plays a variety of flutes on various layers bringing out utmost sensuous sound out of each and every reed of the flute and blow of air. The aptly arranged percussions bind itself with the flute creating a heavenly aura of celebration of different kind.

The classical version of ‘Thai Thindra Mannae’ is an extended version of the original song. The Yazh (equivalent to Harp) begins the song with a sharp somber sound and it continues to loop throughout the song and when in the climax Vijay Yesudas pours in all his heart and soul to sing the line ‘Yenthan kannin kanneer kazhuva ennodazhum Yaazhae azhaadae’, we understand why the Yazh motif was looping throughout. The song is orchestrated differently this time with lengthy interludes filled with grand string section playing every note evoking the sound of ancient times, choirs and thundering percussions. The extended verses of Vairamuthu are equally effective squeezing more pain out of the situation.

The extremely catchy bass guitar riff leads to a melody in 'Intha Paadhai' that is so unusual in its beginning and continues to be unusual till the end. But once you settle in with the groove and sway with the riff, the melody of the song sinks deep within and it is unbelievably addictive. Adding to the kick is the acoustic guitar solo pieces sprinkled throughout the song. A song that is so light with simple words, simple orchestration and ultra cool singing by G.V.Prakash actually has a hefty thought in its lines penned by Selvaraghavan. I can’t stop listening to this song.

Considering that on an average 100 movies are made in Tamil every year, the soundtrack of ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ is one in 100.


Airtel Super Singer Grand Finale

After so much mokkai by Yugendran, the Airtel Super Singer Grand finale started with divine ‘Isayil Thodangudhamma’ by all female contestants of the show. A very apt beginning.

Ravi opened with ‘Kanmunnae yethanai nilavu’ and quite uncharacteristically he was artificial today. Singing was as always superb especially the whistling at the end was impressive. Renu sang ‘Nenjodu kalandhidu’ and her voice was simply serene today, it was one of her much better performances. She managed the song quite well. Ajesh was a little nervous in the beginning and soon settled down and won hearts with a very expressive and emotional singing. I could see Yuvan being very much impressed with Ajesh’s singing.

Chaya singh Isai Ulagathirkaaga thangal thondai sorry iduppai aattikondirukkirar...

Second Round - Ajesh did a tremendous job with 'Raaja deepamae'. This song has become a must to be sung by one of the singers in the finals of every singing contest and mostly the one who sings this song has won the title. Ajesh?? Let us wait and see. Renu took me by complete surprise today by the confidence with which she sang 'Hairama' song. An unusual song for a singing contest but she did a honey-sweet job. She sounded absolutely sensuous. Ravi poured his heart and soul into 'Kallai mattum kandaal' song. His alaaps were breathtaking.

I am totally confused about whom to vote for.

My Prediction of the winner - Ajesh

And the winner is Ajesh


Valmiki Soundtrack

On Illayaraja's Azhaghar Malai, I wrote "There is nothing here that you haven’t heard before and nothing that you don’t want to hear again". When I myself read the post later, I thought that I can write the same about any new Illayaraja soundtrack.

Raaja laughs out loudly at my statement and comes up with "Valmiki".

Happy Birthday Raaja.

And RRR Contest.


Modhi Vilayadu, Angaadi Theru, Azhagar Malai, Vaamanan

I have been listening to a lot of music in last one week - “Modhi vilayadu”, “Azhagar Malai”, “Angaadi Theru”, “Vaamanan”, “Pokkisham” and after watching the movie a lot of “Pasanga” again.

Azhaghar Malai is a standard Raaja soundtrack with his vintage elements - simple melodies, elegant orchestration and less of synth is a bonus. There is nothing here that you haven’t heard before and nothing that you don’t want to hear again. What I particularly was contemplating while listening to this soundtrack is on Raaja’s use of Bhavatharini’s voice. "Unnai Enakku” is definitely one of those songs in which Bhavatharini’s voice sounds honey sweet, exquisite and everything in her singing is so right.

I always felt about Bhavatharini as a reluctant singer and to some extent she still is. If not for Raaja’s family, she would have never made it into film music and it is so evident from the fact that she has sung only one song outside that is “Thudikindra kaadhal” in ‘Nerukku Ner’ for Deva. Even Gangai Amaran commented that she doesn’t practice enough and about how much Raaja’s family struggles to make her sing. We ourselves saw how much she was struggling while recording a song for ‘Mayilu’. But, she really has come a long way from her ‘Mastaana Mastaana’ days.

“Mayil Pola” from Bharathi, “Ninaithadhum varuvaal” from Amma Paamalai, “Manase Manasae” from Kaathal Jaathi, “Pooveru konum” from Thirvasagam, “Ithu Sangeetha thirunaalo” from Kaadhalukku Mariyaathai and above all “Alai meedhu vilayadum” from Kaadhal Kavithai are my favourite Raaja-Bhavatharini songs.

Given the fact that the music of “Veyil” was such a big hit, I am really surprised why there are two composers G.V.Prakash and Vijay Antony for Vasantha Balan’s “Angaadi Theru”. I am sure G.V.Prakash is not overloaded and if it is a rift between the composer and the director due to so called creative differences, I feel it is too early for G.V.Prakash to get into any of that. But anyway, what is important is that the soundtrack as a whole is interesting with Vijay Antony and G.V.Prakash each contributing one great melody to the soundtrack.

“Aval Appadi ondrum” by Vijay Antony is such a simple melody with restrained orchestration that you start liking the moment you listen to it. “Un Peria sollum” by G.V.prakash is equally beautiful romantic melody that has a lingering longing feel that catches on instantly to a listener and stays on listeners mind long after listening to the song. Vijay Antony’s other song “Yenge Povenao” starts with a lot of promise but ends up predictable and to an extent boring. M.K.Balaji who has participated in most of talent hunt shows in all TV channels has finally got his break in film music. But if a composer is truly impressed by a singer and wants to introduce him then why use him a song that has two male voices which makes it difficult for the listener to distinguish the voices.

“Kadhaigalai pesum” instantly reminded me “Mundhinam paarthaenae” from Vaaranam Aayiram for the reason that here is a song that could sound belonging to a particular era of film music without someone telling the listener that it is made to sound like that. With high quality sound design, clever layering of sounds and instrumentations, the melody of the song walks elegantly on the thin line between old and contemporary sound.

“Modhi Vilayadu” is the soundtrack that I have been listening the most to. To enjoy this soundtrack, first thing one must understand is that, in film music we cannot expect Hariharan to do a ‘Waqt par bolna’. It is music for a Saran film which obviously is going to be a masala entertainer and what we should look forward to is the amount of freshness they bring to same collection of songs that one gets to listen in such movies.

Colonial cousins (Hariharan and Leslie Lewis) have succeeded with flying colours in bringing a fresh and youthful energy to otherwise routine romantic songs (and of course with great help from Vairamuthu). The genuine melody that prevails in each and every song irrespective of its genre and pace, the unique blend of various genres of music, orchestration, layering all make this soundtrack a big winner. A must buy. But contrary to what I thought, Saran hasn’t split up with Bharadwaj; they are again coming together for Saran next movie “Asal” starring Ajith.

I can’t stop humming the lines “Yennai yenna seithai pennae, neram kaalam maranthanae” in ‘Oru Devathai’ song from “Vaamanan”. The emotional depth of the melody in those lines proves what Yuvan Shankar Raja is really capable of.


Pasanga Movie

Do yourself a favour, Go, Watch Pasanga NOW. The wholesome Entertainer of the Year.


Pokkisham Soundtrack

Cheran’s filmography can be easily seen as pre-Autograph and post-Autograph. Post Autograph, whatever he does, whether it is good or bad, there is a certain amount of earnestness, sincerity and passion in it which I like very much. He is now concentrating on every technical aspect of film making like cinematography, casting, and production design to elevate the core emotional impact of his narrative. The one department which indeed got great amount of Cheran’s attention is music, which was there even before Autograph, but in those movies songs were mere fillers but now Cheran treats the songs as a part of the narrative through which he tries to cover an episode of his screenplay.

Cheran gets closer the scripts demands as in 'Pokkisham', there is bangla song interpersed with Tamil lyrics as the male protagonist lives in Calcutta. The female Protagonist Nadira, who is a student of Tamil literature addresses her lover as ‘Seyyul’, ‘Ilakkanam’, ‘Thirukkul’, ‘Natrinai’ (thank god for these lines being sung by a Tamil singer). There are 4 songs that fill the soundtrack using the same melody like a motif expressing the thoughts and emotions of the protagonist in the journey of his life throughout the movie.

Perfectly blending with Cheran’s vision is the composer duo Sabesh-Murali, who with Pokkisham soundtrack proved yet again that with a good amount of push from the director they can come up with songs that would make up a good movie soundtrack (not essentially a hit music album). Lyricist Yuga Bharathi has worked hard to translate chapters of the story into poetry and he has succeeded to a great extent.

The only problem in the soundtrack is the slow songs that are meant to be emotional, sad and make people cry. They are not punchy enough. Just by stretching end note of each and every phrase, a melody cannot evoke sadness. These songs sound more sentimental than sensitive or emotional.

Yet, Pokkisham definitely is a good movie soundtrack, which would appeal better after watching the movie. If the movie is good, people will definitely go back home and put this CD on to relive those moments as they did with Autograph and Thavamai Thavmirundhu.


Live Film Music Concerts

A live music concert is meant for the listeners to experience a piece of music by watching the synergy of the musicians play and singers sing in absolute concentration and dedication to reach a point of divinity through music. A good live performance is one in which the performers are able to take the audience along to that divine point and liberate them into a Nirvana. What a true music lover would want in a concert is so simple, music in its purest form. No laser lights, no background dancers, no anchors, no gimmicks, all we want is music, just music. Though the technicalities or theories of music are tough for someone to master to be able to create, it is fairly simple to enjoy music. Is today’s film music suitable for such live music concerts?

Rarely songs have a live orchestration these days. As the song itself is not being recorded in one take with a live orchestra, the compositions now have become difficult for singers to perform live convincingly. With lot of overdubbing, same voice singing in multiple layers, robotized voices, artificial loops and sounds in songs these days, it is impossible to bring the same effect as we hear in the record on stage. I don’t demean the songs without live orchestration but just that they are not meant for live performances. Music was primarily a performing art and with such film songs where anything and everything goes, it no more is.

But inspite of all this irreproducible orchestration, a singer can make listening to the song a miraculous experience just by singing the song right - Right in diction, right in expression, right in musicality. With almost every such film music concerts happening with minus one tracks and instrumentalist pretending to be playing something, we totally have to rely on a singer who can faithfully reproduce the original composition as it is, with or without improvisations.

These days’ new singers find it easy in the recording studio as there are far too many technologies to cover their mistakes but when it comes to live concerts they fail miserably. Poor breath control, going off-pitch, forgetting the lyrics and insanity in the name of improvising is common these days. The singers who come to sing in talent hunt shows are far better. As that is a platform for proving their caliber, they try hard and make no mistakes. But once they become singers, they don’t have to prove anyone and perform with less concentration and seriousness.

Here are few of the best live music concerts I relish watching



After stupendous success of 'Subramaniyapuram' music, James Vasanthan is back with 'Pasanga' soundtrack. For any composer, or any artist who got huge success with his first attempt, the real acid test is repeating the same amount of success in the immediate next project. I guess James Vasanthan would pass this test with flying colors as the music of 'Pasanga' is sincere and immensely likeable. Though it is too early to form a general opinion on James Vasanthan as a composer, after listening 'Subramaniyapuram' and now 'Pasanga' I could observe that James Vasanthan is a great fan of Illayaraja, listens a lot of rock music, a composer with a lot of restraint and one who cares more about music and less about the sound.

The soundtrack opens with simple and elegant melody in 'Anbalae' rendered by M.Balamurali Krishna. Though his voice sounds geriatric, the singing is soulful. The lengthy pure solo flute and violin interludes have become a rarity these days but in this song the feel-good factor is maintained through such interludes. But, what pulls down the song a bit is the oft-heard rhythm loop.

'Naandhaan gonppanda' is a freaking roller coaster ride from the word go. It instantly reminded me of Raaja's Anjali songs, because of typical zing in the orchestration that is so much like that of Raaja. The rocking interludes, Yuga bharathi's word play, some wild layering of rock and folk beats, the instantly hooky 'Naandhaan goppanda' phrase, brilliantly performance of the kids harmony and one can go and on listing the aspects that make this song work so well.

'Oru vetkam' has everything in it to become the next 'Kangal Irandal'. It is a simple sweet romantic melody with a soft thump that could make anyone swing their body and tap their feet instantly. This time James cleverly goes to Shreya Ghosal and Naresh Iyer and both push the song to the next level with their exquisite rendition. It is commendable that with a template that is so similar to 'Kangal Irandal', James is able to make this song sound interesting and fresh without reminding its predecessor much.

I am glad that I didn't skip the track 'Who's that guy' in haste after listening to the starting guitar riff that sounds like that of 'Adiyae kolluthey'. In such songs, it is bound to happen. Here is an unpretentious genre piece that doesn't have the composer shouting from the roof top about his ability to compose rock music.

Nalla Pasanga.


Y not for Yuvan

There are few things in a Yuvan Shankar Raja soundtrack that could immediately put me off – Hip-hop, non-Tamil singers, Yuvan’s singing and too many layers of sound. I am not against hip hop, but these days there is too much of hip-hop happening in Tamil movie soundtracks and especially in Yuvan’s. So, even when the core melody of the song is good, as it is in all the songs in ‘Sarvam’, it takes time for me to look beyond these obstacles and enjoy them. But, I did overcome and enjoy Sarvam songs.

Yuvan is at his worst these days, when it comes to picking singers for his melodies. He butchers every other good song of his by using a non-Tamil singer. A.R.Rahman did a big mistake by bringing Hindi singers to sing Tamil songs. He continued to do it despite facing a lot of criticisms and despite some singers not improving a wee bit in their pronunciation. Now, Yuvan gets Javed Ali to sing in Tamil even before A.R.Rahman. Yuvan’s singing is equally worse. These composers easily put the blame on the movie director when asked about why they are singing their own compositions. Isn’t that a stupid excuse?

Restraint is one of the important qualities of a great composer. Sometimes Yuvan just doesn’t know where to stop when adding layers to the songs. For example, ‘Sutta Sooriyana’ from Sarvam is meant to be a song packed with power. Yuvan already has a powerful melody but he adds rhythm layers to thicken the song with more power which just makes it louder. This is also done in the name of freshness in the sound of a song, which isn’t mandatory for a song to stay in the minds of a listener. All that is necessary for a listener in a song is a gripping melody. I find the melody in ‘Sutta Sooriyana’ the most powerful and gripping in the soundtrack.

Yuvan is in a middling phase now where he gives just one or two good melodies in every soundtrack and that too butchered by non-Tamil singers (the most reecent being Oru Devathai from Vaamanan, could someone remind Yuvan that a KK or Karthik can sing such Hindustani based numbers equally well without spoiling the language). I am eagerly waiting for Yuvan to be back in form in some worthy projects.

I am not saying this just from music point of view but also as a consumer who buys original CD of every soundtrack. For those who listen by illegal downloads, one or two good songs in enough as they get it for free, but for someone who legally buys paying the hard earned money, I guess it not too much to expect all the songs to be good when buying a CD for Rs.100/-.


Making of a Score - Marudhanayagam Trailer Music

I have been trying to put this down as a post ever since I started this blog.


Super Six

I had written a post about super singer getting too stretched out and boring this time, as we already know who the winner is going to be. But with the way things are going now, though this season seems to be stretched too long, it definitely isn’t as boring as it was when it all started. With the help of the voice trainer Ananth Vaidyanathan (who has done Voice Engineering in some European university) almost all the singers who are still in contention has improved leaps and bounds.

Finally, Prasanna is out, which is something I was looking forward to happen in next one or two rounds. Without a doubt, Prasanna is the best performer in the show, but unlike Hindi singing reality shows; here the focus is clearly on finding a voice for playback singing. I really don’t know what Indian Idol was all about; singing was the last thing that mattered to anyone in that show. Anyway coming back to Prasanna, the major problem with him was imitation. He doesn’t imitate just the style of singing or expressions of the original but also the voice, which is not good for a playback singer. Uniqueness is the key here.

I like the tie-breaker sessions where the singers are tested on how fast and well they are able to imitate a phrase of melody. In this era, where a singer is supposed to record a song is few hours and sometimes few minutes, it is important to have high absorbing power and that comes only to those who have done enough practice and who have got enough training in music. That was clearly evident in the tie-breaker session between Vijay and Prasanna. And finally now Ragini Sri, Ranjani, Renu, Ravi, Ajeesh and Vijay are super six contestants.

Ragini Sri – She has turned completely different after re-entering the show through wild card round. As Srinivas said, she is versatile but there are far too many limitations in her voice, singing and in general her attitude. She is totally unfit for light film music. The smoothness in singing a melody and the dynamics are totally missing in her singing. Her rendition of ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’ just shouts out the weaknesses that are there in her voice and singing. But she performed ‘Magic journey’ beautifully in the last round. In the western round there was nothing great about her ‘Unakkena naan’ performance, though I was amazed by her attempt at being a soprano by singing a classic western piece. Though definitely she has a career in music, how far she would be successful in a film music career is a big question mark. I guess she will be out in next one or two rounds.

Renu – She is Ms.Lack of Confidene. She has got a beautiful voice, but for her voice, there wasn’t a single performance of her which made me to say ‘Wow’ (But oh, I admired her ‘Entha poovilum vaasam undu’ performance). She just passes through with her sugar sweet voice. She has a lot to learn. Her breath control or breath management is pathetic and that greatly affects the flow of the melodies that she sings. Though Srinivas has been warning her and asking her to liberate and try different styles of singing, she just plays it safe with singing songs that she is very comfortable with. This strategy is not going to work for long as the competition is very tough now. She will also be leaving the competition in next few rounds, but Srinivas shouldn’t try too hard to retain her just because her voice is sweet. And I still can’t believe that Srinivas told that Renu could be next Shreya Ghosal, which was really too much. Shreya Ghosal is what she is today not just because of her sweet voice. If that is the only factor then Bela shende should be singing as many songs as Shreya Ghosal.

Vijay – I am not a big fan of Vijay’s voice. The quality of his singing depends on the type of song he sings. Vijay’s performance has become as inconsistent as that of Ragini Sri. I feel he is probably the next one to be out of the competition, though his ‘Strawberry kannae’ rendition seems to be quite interesting in the next live orchestra round (It is interesting to note that for a live orchestra round, most of the songs chosen were that of A.R.Rahman).

Ranjani is one singer whom I am expecting to be singing in films soon, irrespective of whether she wins the title or not. She has got a very unique and bold voice and she is the most confident singer in the show. In last few rounds, she proved how versatile she is. Right from the folk round, in which she sang a non-film folk song before Anuradha Sriram. It was such a brilliant rendition, that I nodded my head when Anuradha Sriram told that with this singing, she could be the Airtel Super Singer. In the classical round, though she was not spot selected on day one, she was brilliant in non-film classical round; she was the only singer who sounded thoroughly professional in that round. She followed that with a bombastic performance in western round with pure jazz title song from ‘Jillendru oru Kaadhal’ and the most recent ‘Yaaro yaarodi’ in relationship round shows how well she studies each song that she attempts to sing. Ranjani is definitely in my top 3 list.

Ajeesh has finally opened up his voice and is truly brilliant when it comes to classical based songs. His ‘Amma yendralaikaatha’ rendition was truly divine. Even ‘Kaatukuiyilu manasukkulae’ was good with apt expressions, attitude and throw in the voice. Among the male contestants, I like his voice the most. He also tires to improvise a lot on the spot, which is a good quality to be a playback singer. But sadly, Ajeesh is not so comfortable with western songs and that was evident when he sang the ‘Girl friend’ song. Ajeesh also has the chance to win the title, if he doesn’t repeat the mistakes he did in western round. He can definitely give a tough competition to Ravi.

Ravi is all-in-all Azhaghu raja of the contest. Give him any song, any genre he would study the song and sing it with utmost sincerity and bring out the song perfect to the last detail. His only problem is that he seems to be little over-confident now and also as Unnikrishnan keeps telling him, he has an annoying ‘Yae’ sound where he has to have more of ‘Aaa’ sound in his singing. Ranjani and Ajeesh will give a tough competition to him and he shouldn’t take them lightly anymore.

I would be deeply disappointed if Ranjani, Ajeesh or Ravi gets eliminated before Renu or Ragini Sri or Vijay. I wish to see a round where all the six contestants are taken to a recording studio, taught a new composition (could be done by Srinivas himself) and record the song with all the three judges being around and judging their performances. As it is very clear, that we are in search of a good playback singer, it is important to see how they perform in a studio, recording a new song that they have never heard before.


On The Loop

Siru Thoduthalilae (Laadam - Dharan)

‘Siru Thoduthalilae’ is a beautiful melody with a breezy orchestration. You feel like flying while listening to the song. For the most part, there are no any percussion beats; it just sails through with backing chords and bass lines. Dharan has rightfully gone for a matured female voice (Bombay Jayshree) this time, because I felt his earlier melodies weren’t carried through well by new female voices. This is one of those rare songs which I could listen on and on. The instrumental version of 'Siru Thoduthaliae' is heavenly. It is such a delightful track where Naveen just freaks out by using variety of flutes with lots of additional layers and improvisations on the main melody. The first thing that hit me when I heard Laadam CD is its sound quality. Never before a Dharan’s soundtrack sounded so high in quality and the reason is Late H.Sridhar who has done the mixing and mastering.

Poovinai (Aanandha Thaandavam - G.V.Prakash)

‘Poovinai Thirandhu’ is one of those rare gems where everything goes beyond just being right. After ‘Dhaiyarae’ from Vellithirai, GVP gives an Irish spin to an Indian melody that aptly elevates the beauty of Vairamuthu’s poetry. The theme piece based on the melody of ‘Poovinai’ suggests the entire narrative arc of the movie. It starts with a grand piano playing the melody which then pleasingly moves on to a flute and a sudden turn happens with turbulent percussion storming the beauty of the melody which turns smoothness of the melody on the flute into a soul shattering shiver.

Kaatrilae Vaasamae (Yaavarum Nalam - Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy)

‘Kaatrilae Vaasamae’ starts of like a vintage SEL melody but with somewhat artificially forced techno beats. It then surprisingly turns into a vintage Raaja with beats on Tabla. And when the transformation happen with Chitra going 'Anbae', the song as a whole reaches a pinnacle of emotional beauty and Chitra’s exquisite vocals adds to the feel. Considering that the movie is a bilingual it is interesting that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy chose to keep up the south Indian feel in the melody.

Lesa Parakkudhu (Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu - Selvaganesh)

The beauty of 'Lesa Parakkudhu' is not just in its melody and singers, but also in the usage of real percussions like Ghatam, Thavil and Ganjira (all by V.Uma Shankar) throughout. The rhythm pattern is complex and brilliant. Yet, the song, true to its starting lines, is so light (Lesa) on ears. Chinmayi has become the ever re-inventing singer, she sounds so vulnerable and innocent in this song and Karthik's smooth rendition complements hers. The orchestration done mostly with real instrumental adds an earthy ambience around the sweet melody, and Stephen Devassy plays his way through with instinctive Piano pieces that gorgeously decorates the main melody.

Pada Pada (Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu - Selvaganesh)

It is one of those simple, no fuss melodies that just flows right. Karthik really performs (not just sings) his songs well these days and especially when it comes to these kinds of songs, where the hero sings about the ecstasy of finding his soul mate, Karthik is at his best. There is nothing great about the song, yet a listener can instantly fall in love with it as it sounds right, so right in every aspect, that you cannot skip or ignore.

Uyiril Yedho (Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu - Selvaganesh)

It has been a while since we heard such a song where there are no unnecessary layers of ornamentation, where there is just a Piano backing throughout, where the prominence is given for the melody and the emotions it simply invokes. Haricharan just sails through beautifully on this melodious voyage. This is the best song of the soundtrack without a doubt. I haven't seen the movie and so eager to watch how this song has been used in the movie.

Vizhi Moodi (Ayan - Harris Jeyaraj)

Ayan is yet another Harris Jeyaraj soundtrack and it is so sad that when you say that, it tends to sound negative these days. With no Jeeva and Gautam Menon by his side, Harris Jeyaraj has to seriously think about his strategy, which seems to be not working anymore. But, ‘Vizhi Moodi’ is a very good. Again Karthik just melts with the melody in this song. The easy sing-along melody (though sounds heavily inspired by one of vintage Raaja melodies of 80s) is infectious and with trademark minimal orchestration Harris Jeyaraj pulls it through effectively.

Pudhidhai Mannil (Isaikaatru - Mohammed Rizwan)

Long back I wrote about Tamil pop. The situation hasn't changed much since. Tamil pop is still struggling to make its mark in the market. When I was in Chennai, there used to be a big hoarding for the album 'Isaikaatru' in Vadapalni with Vairamuthu standing in the middle with two other guys. Two years later, last Month, I found the CD of 'Isaikaatru' in Landmark. The album (composed by Mohammed Rizwan) is pretty good with easily accessible melodies and the one which I liked most is 'Pudhidhai Mannil'. A song that sings about hope and optimism is interestingly given a mellow musical shape. It is so leisurely paced like a lullaby and orchestrated like that of a classical Ghazal. That makes the singer Prasanna's job quite tough, he has to walk on a delicate path between sounding firm and yet soft and Prasanna walks through it quite brilliantly.

Paavayae Nee (Saaral - Gopakumar)

The album Saaral opens with the melodious drizzle of 'Paavayae Nee'. It is a typical soft romantic ballad with a predictable orchestration. But Unnikrishnan elevates the source melody material into great heights with his own classical touches throughout. Not so often, we put a song in the repeat mode just for the singer; I did it with this song. But the album that starts with such a promise turns highly disappointing with other songs.

Siragugal (Sarvam - Yuvan Shankar Raja)

In spite of heavy orchestration (done along the lines of Yegiri Kudhithaen from Boys), loud beats, horrendous Tamil diction by Javed Ali and Madhusree, the typical Yuvan melody does the trick and puts the song on the play list. I especially like the way the melody slides down with the line 'Unnai Unnai Thaandi chella koja dhooram' which almost becomes a recurring motif of the song.


Rahman, Resul Pookutty, Gulzar




All my life I had a choice between hate and love. I chose love and I am here.


Illayaraja Vs A.R.Rahman

I was reading this beautiful piece written by Vignesh on Illayaraja’s ‘Maarugo Maarugo’ song from Vetri Vizha and I headed to comment section and this is what I read as one of the comments,

Dear Vicky,

Long time ago, I used to play the flute in light music troupes in chennai, though I have been fully focussed on practising carnatic music lately.

I wanted to listen to the music of the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" today to see why it's being talked about so much. I searched and listened to it online.

It left me with a bad aftertaste. I just felt like cleansing my ears, body and soul by listening to some Raaja music and landed in your blog.

Thanks for the wonderful analysis, sound clips. You (and Raaja) made my day.

with love,

I really haven’t taken such comments that have no constructive purpose seriously and till this date I have never read or been in a single constructive argument or debate when it comes to Raaja vs. Rahman. I don’t understand the mind of some people, who call them to be an Illayaraja fan and who talk more about A.R.Rahman and how bad his music is than about how great Illayaraja’s music is. I don’t understand what is their real problem with Rahman, is it the music itself, or its popularity.

Irrespective of who is the composer, Music has one single purpose. Is it so difficult to understand the oneness of music? And who can better teach you the oneness of music than Illayaraja, who has covered every possible genre of music in his repertoire and yet makes us feel that it is all music, just Raaja’s music? I guess if you are a fan of Illayaraja, and if you have really understood his music and its purpose, it is so simple to accept and appreciate anybody else’s music. If not, then you fail Illayaraja, his music hasn’t educated you enough. (In this particular case I am so devastated that he who commented about the music doesn’t know what background score in a movie is meant for, and he calls himself Raaja fan)

I get as exhilarated by that worldly interlude in ‘Dil Gira Daftan’ from Rahman’s Delhi-6 as I get in the thundering coda of ‘Om Shivo hum’ from Raaja’s ‘Naan Kadavul’. The kind of music in the songs that I compare here has nothing in common in its sound and yet the purpose is the same. Illayaraja is a way and A.R.Rahman is another way to attain a musical Nirvana. Everybody has the right to choose his own way but the one who foul talk about the other ways is no different from those extremists who in the name of religion, do things which their religion itself doesn’t preach.

I don’t believe in religion but I believe in a God and in the same way I believe in music and I take the best of both to pave my own way to reach its purpose. I am both a devotee of Illayaraja and a Rahmaniac and I find it perfectly normal and rational to be so. And some call it incomprehensible and eccentric? I don’t know how to answer them because they never really explained to me why they feel so.

When A.R.Rahman wave was spreading all over India, everyone told that A.R.Rahman’s popularity is not because he is a genius or he has any talent but because he borrows heavily from western music but it is the westerners who now say that they have never heard a music score like that of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ before. And so where did Rahman borrow all this long? Nobody seems to be talking about this.

And what is this cry about Illayaraja deserving many International Awards and not A.R.Rahman? These are utterly ridiculous arguments. Oscar or Golden Globe is not given to greatest music composed by the greatest music composer of all time from a country. Why can’t we be practical and realistic about these awards? Raaja is contended in whatever he does in Indian films and if he gets a chance he will definitely do it right in an international movie too, I believe in it more than any other so called Raaja fan. And do you mean you want Illayaraja to win an Oscar for his background score in ‘Naan Kadavul’ to prove that he is the best background score composer in, the country? An Illayaraja doesn’t want that because he has no intention to go global or is in no contention with any Rahmans out there to prove his genius. Now if both Illayaraja and A.R.Rahman were nominated for their respective scores in ‘Naan Kadavul’ (though Raaja has slightly overdone it in Naan Kadavul) and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and if I say A.R.Rahman deserves it, then I can be crucified. But that is not the case here. I feel Illayaraja is one of the best in the world when it comes to composing background score. When I wrote this, I was just trying to understand the impact of the music in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and explain it to others who are interested and who otherwise would easily oversee it. I was trying to illustrate the life that Rahman’s vibrant music brought to a movie like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

In this year, even if Thomas Newman wins it in the Best Original Score category, I wouldn’t be disappointed because I have totally fallen in love with his score for ‘Wall-E’. I felt its impact while watching the movie. I have heard only the audio of Alexandre Desplat’s score for ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ and I loved what I heard but I don’t know how well it serves its purpose in the movie. A great music needn’t always be a great background score.

And I can go on and on, I think it is best to conclude this piece with this video


Director's Composer

In film music business, for a music composer to have a long standing career, a good working relationship and successful track record with a movie director is vital. Instead of presenting the huge list of successful director composer duos who made it big, I can make it vivid by quoting one composer who couldn't make it big inspite of being most talented than most of the composers in Tamil Film music today. Karthik Raja. This man has immense talent and potential. Inspite of some brilliant soundtracks, he couldn't sustain simply because he has not continuously and consistently delivered good music with one particular movie director. In Tamil Film Music, year 2008 has seen most number of popular director composer break ups. But none of the break-ups worried (as much as I would have worried if Balumahendra broke up with Illayaraja) me, because the directors have gone either to a better composer or to a composer at par.

The biggest surprise is Charan picking Colonial Cousins (Hariharan and Leslie Lewis) for his next ‘Modhi Vilayaadu’ over Bharadwaj. From what little I heard in television interviews, it sounds interesting. Together, Charan and Bharadwaj (and Vairamuthu) gave some beautiful melodies and one hit kuthu or item number was an inevitable in their soundtracks and sadly that is what they would be popularly remembered for. I am sure Colonial Cousins would bring a totally different sound to Charan’s (occasionally intelligent) masala entertainment.

More than Selvaraghavan it is an opportunity for G.V.Prakash, as he is going to replace Yuvan Shankar Raja’s sound and music in a Selvaraghavan movie. I always felt that Selvaraghavan interferes too much in the making of his movie’s music (and probably why Yuvan had to plagiarize for some of the songs and background score), and extracts the best from the composer. I hope he does that with G.V.Prakash too (without pushing him to plagiarize). G.V.Prakash became a routine masala movie composer doing one kuthu song, one peppy song, one pathos song, two romantic melodies after Veyil. Now he gets an opportunity to compose music for a movie director who knows how to carry the story forward with music and songs. I hope he utilizes this opportunity and reach the next level. Another important aspect in a Selvaraghavan movie is background score, and infact all Selva + Yuvan’s background score were released in a separate CD after the release of the movie. G.V.Prakash who already has shown some promise in this area as he has been doing and including at least one instrumental theme music in most of his soundtracks (recent one being from Aanadha Thaandavam - that serene flute playing the beautiful melody of Poovinai on a happy note which after a bit of turbulent rhythms turns trembling and shivering, conveys almost the entire narrative arc of the movie), would definitely have to work hard for background score of a Selvaraghavan movie as the visuals in his movies demands so much drama from its music. I am eagerly waiting for ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ soundtrack, to know how much of Selvaraghavan is there in his movie’s music.

According to me, Gautam Menon is at no loss because of Harris Jeyaraj’s decision to not work with him again. Harris Jeyaraj gave his best is Gautam’s movies, but those are the songs that would have worked in any other movie equally well. After Ameer’s controversial remarks about A.R.Rahman working only in high budget commercial movies, here he is working with a upcoming movie director’s, the budget of which could be well below what Rahman usually takes as fee for his music. (It is little puzzling that Rahman who now says that he wants to work only in such independent cinema like Slumdog Millionaire and not in big budget Hollywood movies where he will not have creative freedom does exactly the opposite when it comes to picking the movies in Tamil). I am really anxious about ‘Chennayil Oru Mazhaikaalam’ soundtrack as Rahman returns of youthful love story in Tamil after quite a while (I hope he doesn’t use his songs from Jaane Tu).

I don’t know if I have to say it as break-up, but though they worked together in just two films, the movie’s music and especially the kuthu songs were one of the prime reasons that drew the crowd to theatres to watch the movie and thereby making both the movies a big hit. I am talking about Sundar C.Babu and Mysskin. By watching recent interviews I came to know how much Mysskin hates to have songs in his movies (and that is evident from the way he picturised the song Manasukkul in Anjathey) to an extent that he has chopped even two of Illayaraja’s song from his forthcoming movie ‘Nandhalala’. When it comes to Illayaraja, it is not the director who has a say, Raaja does what he feels like doing. And that clearly shows in ‘Nandhalala’, but still the simplicity and less complicated approach of Mysskin towards his screenplay is evident in Raaja’s compositions also. I am really looking forward for the background score of the movie also. Mysskin is also a director, who gives good importance to background score, and he even included the main music themes in the soundtrack CD of ‘Chithiram Pesudhadi’ and ‘Anjathey’ but this time it isn’t there in ‘Nandhalaala’. I hope they release a separate CD with the background score after the release of the movie.



In Delhi-6 soundtrack, Rahman shows us the beauty of simple melodies, elegance of eclectic orchestration, gives us hookiest of the hooks to help us understand his experiments, takes us to a newer musical zones and much much more.

The beginning of 'Arziyan' was surprising with simple Tabla beats and natural harmonium pieces, because Rahman has the tendency to make such songs with thick layers of orchestration stuffed with synth bass, strings, sometimes e-sounds, and even the Tabla would sound a little harder and heavy in such songs. But I always wanted such a simple tune just simply presented without Rahman's usual ornamentation, and in this song, for those initial 2 minutes, the serene melody on contrasting vocals of Javed Ali and Kailash Kher was intoxicating to listen. Rahman soon returns to his usual elements of adding layers but thankfully it doesn't burden the simplistic beauty of the melody as it normally would, and the lighter feel and touch of divinity prevails till the end. A song lasting for almost 9 minutes without much of variations in tempo or deviations in its structure, could easily get tedious after a point but Rahman cleverly makes it more accessible by bringing in the 'Maula' hook at regular and right intervals. It is one of those hooks that I can listen to on and on non-stop for a whole day.

The opening alaap which later turns out to be the main motif of the song, the rhythm on Congo drums (the percussion instrument that became the most clichéd sound in Indian film songs long back, sounds so fresh and strangely befitting in the context of this song) and beautiful accordion solo pieces sprinkled throughout (performed by Rahman himself) in 'Masakkali' takes us on a liberating journey into the old world. The intentional casualness, the dynamics and attitude in the singing of Mohit Chauhan, adds charm to the melody. The highpoint of the song of course is 'Udiyon na' that appears twice in the song where the additional folksy percussion layer, the singing and Prasoon's musical word play make the listeners jump with joy. There is no single instrument or sound which is not used or heard before, but by the way he puts them all into one homogenous layer backing the beautiful melody, Rahman once again reminds us what the term 'Rahman sound' actually means.

'Delhi hai mere yaar' is catchy from the word go and yet it is an unconventional anthem for Delhi. It is unconventional in its pace for a song that wants to be an anthem. But the love for the place has been cleverly conveyed with one funky and hooky phrase after another. There is Tanvi's 'Delhi hai mere yaar' which is the main motif (why Rahman always puts Tanvi's voice in some sound machine), there is bass heavy Blaaze's hook, there is a French hook (which instantly reminds us of the song Jhoom le from Ghajini) and all these come one after the other in different order and finally Tanvi's bit turn victorious taking the pride of slightly getting modified and sounding heroic with trombones and timpani backing it.

Nothing prepares you in a song that starts so light with soft beats, for the shocker of a sound that is about to start in the most unexpected beat of the rhythm. I am talking about the way Rahman starts 'Rehna Tu' on the softest registers of his voice, which sucks your attention instantly into the song. After a very strong beginning with a very identifiable and hummable melody the song slips into a very innate melodic zone which sounds as if Rahman just sang the song instantly after seeing the lyrics, with whatever melody that came to his mind. And being quite aware of the fact that these lines may put off the casual listeners, a guitar motif is brought in, and that fills for any possible gaps that fall in between the unpredictable journey of the melody. Even if a listener initially travels into the song holding on to this motif, he/she will soon recover and be able to travel through the main melody without its help. In spite of being so experimental, it is this concern that Rahman has on his listeneres that makes him a composer that he is today.

Rahman says 'Come with me, I will take you to a place where you haven't been before' with the song 'Dil Gira Daftan'. The contrasting pace of the gorgeous main melody and the addictive guitar motif that loops (it was repeatedly playing in my mind for one whole day) throughout the song, the eclectic interlude (Celtic, Irish folk, Chinese, western classical and Indian strings put together to create an alternate musical universe around you) and the softness in the Ash King's voice all takes us on a exhilarating romantic ride. And Chinmayi's counterpoint is another pinch of beauty and brilliance. As in 'Rehna Tu', here too the melody sounds very innate and spontaneously developed but development and movements between phrases sounds more organic and measured.

'Hey Kala Kala' is the funkiest song of the soundtrack with lots of catchy hooks sprinkled at right spots throughout the song. While Karthik and Naresh Iyer enthusiastically croon for most part of the song, it is Srinivas and Bony Chakrabarthy who leave their impression with their breathless singing towards the end of the song. In 'Noor' Rahman provides an apt celestial aura around Prasoon Joshi's poetry. I don't know how much of A.R.Rahman is there in other songs but they add variety to the soundtrack and raise our expectations on the movie. With 'Bhor Bhyae', Shreya Ghosal proves once again why she is a legend in the making. 'Ghendha Phool' is extremely charming folk song that gets a techno twist. The devotional 'Aarti' to Delhi-6 is what 'Ik Onkaar' was to Rang De Basanti.

At the end, Rahman makes us exclaim - What a beginning!!


Jai Ho Rahman

3 Oscar Nominations for A.R.Rahman. Original Score, Jai Ho and O Saya. Pleasantly Surprised. Way to Go Rahman.

Why Rahman deserves it for Slumdog Millionaire Score?



The song ‘Mella Oorndhu oorundhu’ that sounds like a simple kids rhyme on surface (ofcourse the song seems to be backing a kid’s journey in search of something) is so intricately orchestrated with amazing vocal harmonies, keys, consistently running guitar strains and bass lines. Raaja usually just freaks out in his interludes and goes out far from main melody, but it is pleasantly surprising to see him playing with so much restraint on a brief guitar motif that appears on different instruments with little variations in the ludes and this brevity and restraint works so beautifully for this simple sounding intricately woven song.

With the movie titled ‘Nandhalaala’, how could you not have a song with abundant flute pieces in it and who can use flute in its true sound in the songs better than our Raaja. ‘Onnakunnu’ begins with a flute piece and ends with a flute piece but what Raaja does with it in between is something we haven’t heard much or atleast I don’t remember listening much. The flute at times follows the main melody backing the lead vocals (smoothly rendered by K.J.Yesudas), sometimes it takes its own route and travels all the way around to reach back to the main melody, sometimes it just fills in the space between the lines and sometimes it is louder than the main melody, sometimes it is there and yet it is not there leaving just a haunting presence felt from behind. For a song that sings a lot about companion, and a companion of love, there can’t be a better substitute than a flute and a Raaja’s melody on it which serves as the perfect companion for the main melody and remains as its soul till the end.

If only the song ‘Thalaattu’ as a whole could have evoked the same feel as the flute piece that starts off the song (that sounds like a derivative of the flute piece from the classic Nayagan theme) it would have a much greater impact on the listener. Not to mean that the song is bad, but something is missing, and the melody doesn’t hit us with the emotion like say a ‘Kannil Paarvai’ did in Naan Kadavul. Ofcourse, Raaja’s voice and singing naturally has that pinch of sadness and added to that the instrumental pieces in the interludes and that appears along the vocal parts are indeed emotive, just that all just don’t fall right together to have a greater effect on listeners. May be the situation demands such a sound which is less sentimental and which gets more sensitive and meaning when it becomes rightfully functional in the narrative. I am not going to arrive at any conclusion until I watch the movie.

I can’t stop listening to ‘Kai Veesi’ song which is catchy from the word go. The effervescent melody that just doesn’t sit easily on the rhythm, the omnipresent keys and strings, the ambient flute ludes, all sum up to an entertaining musical journey. For the kind of atmosphere that the song tries to paint, it is set in a surprisingly slower tempo but for it the feel in the melody and its unpredictable flow manages to compensate. And talking about the flow, it is amazing how the flow of the melody is as unpredictable and yet as beautiful as the nature that the song exclaims about.

‘Oru vaandu kootamae’ has an instantly relatable melody in the beginning, with right amount of innocence and casualness but the grip fades in the later parts. The interludes hugely deviate from the main feel of the song, which may be because Raaja wanted to match the music with situation in which the song was going to be placed in the movie, but with the song being excluded from the movie, we won’t get to know the real intention behind those deviating interludes.

The gypsy song ‘Elilae Elilae’ with strong vocals of Saroja Ammal is an effective piece of music, but it is difficult to understand the intended emotion.


Playlist 2008

Aada Vandha nokkam (Uliyin Oosai)
Aagayam Kaanamal (Sadhu Miranda)
Aavaram Poo (Poo)
Aavaram Poovukkum (Arai En 305il Kadavul)
Aazhiyilae (Dhaam Dhoom)
Adiyae En Vannakili (Thozha)
Adiyae Kolluthey (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Aganthayil (Uliyin Oosai)
Anal Mele (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Anbe en Anbe (Dhaam Dhoom)
Anjala (Vaaranam aayiram)
Dheena (Poo)
Dost Badaa Dost (Saroja)
En Kadhalae (Pudichirukku)
Idayathai Kaanom (Chakravyuham)
Ippavae Ippavae (Raaman Thedia Seethai)
Kaadhal Siluvayil (Subramaniyapuram)
Kallai Irundhaen (Uliyin Oosai)
Kallai Mattum Kandal (Dasavatharam)
Kanavilae (Nepali)
Kandaen Kandaen (Pirivom Santhipom)
Kangal Irandaal (Subramaniyapuram)
Kannanukku yenna vaendum (Dhanam)
Kannil Vandhadhum (Vazhthukkal)
Kathala Kannalae (Anjathey)
Kattilikku Mattumdhaana (Dhanam)
Maaman Yengirukkan (Poo)
Manasukkul (Anjathey)
Marudhaani (Sakkarakatti)
Mazhai Nindra Pinbum (Raaman Thedia Seethai)
Mukunda (Dasavatharam)
Mundhinam (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Naan Varainthu Vaitha (Jayamkondan)
Needhaana Needhaana (Sadhu Miranda)
Nenjukkul pidhidum (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Pulargindra Pozhudhu (Uilyin Oosai)
Saaral (Kuselan)
Solladi (Kaadhalil Vizhundhaen)
Taxi Taxi (Sakkarakatti)
Thaen Thaen (Kuruvi)
Thendralukku nee (Arai En 305il Kadavul)
Thozhiya (Kaadhalil Vizhundhaen)
Ummela aasapattu (Vazhthukkal)
Uyirilae (Vellithirai)
Vallamai Tharayo (Vallamai Tharayo)
Venmegam (Yaaradi nee mohini)
Yele (Sakkarakatti)
Yen Anbae (Sathyam)
Yen unnidam (Chakravyuham)
Yengeyo paartha (Yaaradi nee mohini)


Naan Kadavul Music

Om Raaja Om, Om Raaja Om
Raaja Naamam Bhaje hum, Bhaje hum

Listened to ‘Naan Kadavul’ songs atleast 50 times and still Listening.


YMMA 2008 Goes To

After so much contemplation and about how to pick the winners, here is presenting the YMMA 2008

Nominees in Best Soundtrack and Composer Category are

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

And YMMA for Best Soundtrack and Composer goes to

.::$ Uliyin Oosai – Illayaraja AND Vaaranam Aayiram – Harris Jeyaraj $::.

Nominees in Best Singer (Male) Category are

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)

And YMMA for Best Singer (Male) goes to

.::$ Sriram Parthasarathy (Aganthayil Aaduvathaa – Uliyin Oosai) $::.

Nominees in Best Singer (Female) Category are

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)

And YMMA for Best Singer (Female) goes to

.::$ Chinmayi (Aavaram Poo – Poo) $::.

Nominees in Best Background Score Category are

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

And YMMA for Best Background Score goes to

.::$ Sundar C.Babu (Anjathey) $::.

Nominees in Best Lyrics Category are

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)

And YMMA for Best Lyrics goes to

.::$ Thamarai (Vaaranam Aaayiram) $::.