1.20.2009

Nandhalaala


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.

9 comments:

Randy Furco said...

keep bloggin!

Vinith said...

Mysskin has done injustice to Raaja's songs :(

This is what I can feel. Kai Veesi being excluded is intolerable... :(
I love this number more than Vaandu koottame...

Aakarsh said...

A brilliant album.

Good review, but You could have added a summary paragraph.

Suresh Kumar said...

Aakarsh - Thanks. Frankly I didn't know how to summarize my thoughts, so just left it like that. Probably after watching I will be able to.

Muthuvel said...

Having watched the japanese movie 'Kikijuro' on which this movie is supposedly inspired from, I could see where the songs fit in, including the Gypsy number.

Wasn't too excited about 'Naan Kadavul', but this one is a winner all the way, Raaja has gone for simple heartwarming melodies that would suit the movie. The grandfatherly affection that seem to stem out of each track is something only a man of this genius, stature and age can bring in.

Suresh Kumar said...

Muthuvel - I am surprised that you aren't excited with 'Naan Kadavul' music.

And I heard that this is based on a japanese movie. I still have hopes all the songs will be even more appearling after watching the movie...

But btw ND and NK... I prefer NK...

Muthuvel said...

NK didn't excite me cos I was expecting a sort of Pithamagan II in it. That kind of divine force. But i didn't get that sort of feel with NK, but that's my opinion anyway. But with Nandhalala... it connected with me emotionally much better than NK. The way Raaja has carefully underplayed his trademark classical brilliance and Orchestral richness to create a simple heartwarming soundtrack that talks to the heart more than the mind. i.e... i don't know that is the correct word to put in, but it had a sort of grandfatherly affection i thot, a mature, downplayed restraint , still with all love and warmth locked inside.

Anyway.. to each his own :)

Emjay said...

Good review, Suresh.

What an album, Nandhalala is.. The greatest part is Raaja has come out of the synth-stuff that I always thought wasn't his core strength.

I really like the simplicity of "Mella Oorndhu Oorndhu" song, I can think of "Aanandha kuyilin paattu" immediately. The vocal chorus somehow reminds me of "Nil Nil Nil"!!

Suresh Kumar said...

Emjay - True. The restraint in the orchestration and simplicity of 'Mella oorndhu' is amazing. 'Nil Nil Nil' - Is that the one sung by Uma Ramanan and Raaja... couldn't exactly recollect the chorus portions of that songs.. will check that one...