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 AndrĂ©a’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.