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/-.


டகிள் பாட்சா said...

என்னா தல

எதுக்கு காசு கொடுத்து யுவன் பாட்டை வாங்கி மன்ஸூ கஷ்டப்படறே! இதெல்லாம் பூட்ட கேஸ். யாராவது இனிமே புதுசா வருவான். கவலைப்படாதே!

Surya said...

I don't know what's wrong with you. I accept the fact that he uses non-tamil singers who butcher the language and Yuvan's voice is not good.

But for that sake, you can't dismiss him as easily as you have written.

With Rahman not concentrating in tamil films, Raja doing selected films, whom do you think is filling the gap?
Harris is becoming monotonously boring and he has never experimented.

Think of Yuvan's experimentations in Paruthi veeran, Ram, KPKP. He keeps coming out with beautiful compositions.

Though I am not a Rahmaniac, I love Rahman's songs. But I couldnot listen to Yuvvraj songs for more than twice, which you had complimented sky-high. I find simple and cute songs of Yuvan to be more enjoyable.
Well, opinion differs.

You had never reviewed Yuvan's albums like Saroja, KPKP and Sarvam which have good experimental tracks.
Good luck

ச. சிவராம் குமார் said...

Agreed Suresh..
But i think fresh voices like Javed Ali shud be welcome.
i'm still wondering y this trend was not there in 50s to 70s.
Alas! we cud have had a Rafi tamil song.

Suresh Kumar said...

Surya - If I am dismissing Yuvan outright I wouldn't be buying each and every soundtrack CD by paying 100s...

I like Yuvan's melodies and in the very first paragraph i have explained what stands as obstacles to enjoy them wholeheartedly... I don't know i couldn't digest this non-tamil singers singing tamil songs... be it yuvan or rahman.. my stance is the same...

Reviewing doesn't mean that i like the soundtrack.. and not reviewing doesn't mean i didn't like it...

Suresh Kumar said...

Sivakumar - how great a singer may be in his musical abilities... language is equally important when it comes to film music...

Vinith said...

At last the much awaited article is out :)

Agree with many of your points. For a HC music fan (and a HC fan of Yuvan) like me, it is really irritating when the divine like melodies are mercilessly killed by non-tamil singers.

As I clearly said in my review, it's high time that Yuvan realizes that singer selection is very much important to make an album even more successful.

I'm not against Yuvan's singing. But definitely he is not the best for all types of singing. If you see, yEdhedo from pattiyal was very good in his voices. I don't know if you liked it. I liked his voice in it.

Yuvan must have received feedbacks about using non tamil singers. But still he is "Adamant" (I'm very much guilty for using this word for my Yuvan) in choosing the same.

I can list out the no of songs spoiled by pathetic singer selection:

Siragugal, Katrukkulle from Sarvam, Oru Kal from SMS, Oru Devadhai and Yedho Seigirai from Vamanan.

All these five melodies are priceless compositions.

About Yuvan's phase - He is in fine form. Except SMS, the rest three albums this year are really good. Sarvam on the top followed by Vamanan.

Vinith said...


Hope you read my comment on singers for Yogi.

Snehan and Ameer have rendered their voice.

endha latchanathula irukka povudhu'nu theriyala...lol

Naani said...

I fully agree with u abt hindi singers down south..
see my post http://musicandmyth.blogspot.com/2009/04/non-telugu-singers.html

Mano said...

nice comment, but i won't agree with everything you said.

First, I would say, that Yuvan is currently in excellent form, his latest albums, excluding SMS, which perhaps had 3 good numbers, had really stunnung melodies, which make the albums worth buying. IMO, he is even, since, ARR is spending more and more time with Bolly- and Hollywood, the best and most versatile music composer in current Tamil film industry, Harris becoming boring with his tested, tried and known monotonous "chartbusters"! I'm so happy, that at least Yuvan keeps experimenting (think about works like "7G Rainbow Colony", "Raam", "Nandha" or, IMO his best work ever, "Katrathu Thamizh", who else is capable of such music, HJ or Srikanth Deva?). His works is, even now, nothing short of spectacular. (It's actually a pity, he doesn't get the recognition, he really deserves!)

My only complaint is, as you said, the selection of the singers. We have fantastic singers her down South, no need of Hindi and other Non-Tamil singers. (It's been a long time, since we heard our Karthik or even Haricharan, Yuvan's regular, singing a Yuvan song, sadly!) This is my only wish, Yuvan shouldn't spoil his brilliant compositions with singers, who can't speak Tamil properly. But I will, nonetheless listen to his songs, because I want to listen to masterpieces!

About Yuvan's singing: It's unfair to say, his singing is generally bad. His voice and singing doesn't suit some songs (most songs!), but "Yedhedho" from Pattiyal, "Pogadhe" from Deepavali, "Oru Naalil" from Pudhupettai or "Innum Oru Iravu" from Katrathu Thamizh were really perfect in his voice, can't imagine any other singer singing these songs.

And finally, Vinith,
Ameer has already sung a song and it was, of course, for Yuvan, "Sarigamapadani" from Paruthi Veeran. And you forgot another "important" probable "spoil-singer", it is heroine of Muthirai, Manjari Phadnis, who has reportedly sung a song for that film.

Anonymous said...


I came to your blog when i searched for javed ali and tamil songs. I beg to differ from all of the comments. It is commendable that Javed ali has rendered tamizh so well. I am saying this from a unbiased view of hearing his "Chinnanjirusuga" from kungupa poovum konjupuraavum. I did not know that this was a non-tamil singer until i searched for the singer's name and his bio. He pronounces "zha" correctly. the song sounds rural. The only part i found after deeply looking for some flaws is "pulle" is kind of said differently from how it would be said in rural tamizh. Bela Shinde is also quite good (unlike olden days where you could know that Latha or Asha is singing a tamizh song). Whether the music director should use non-tamil singers or not is a different question. And i agree there are other singers who butcher tamil words royally. But Javed ali is not one - if he has sung other songs where he butchers - do post about it.

- Shree [yet another tamil music listener]