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.