Swapnil's Reviews

Mon, 13 Feb 2012


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Sri Surya Movies & A.M.Rathnam return after successful innings of "BOYS" with their latest offering "Enakku 20 Unakku 18". This is their home production as its Jothikrishna's (Rathnam's son) directorial debut. After Boys, the Tamil Film industry is abundant with youth-oriented ideas. E20U18 is no exception. The tagline clearly says 'Strictly for Uth'! Creatively speaking, there's nothing new to offer. It has the same appeal as any other teen-film would have. But when we'r talking of creativity, it does not only restrict to the story or direction or even the cast. It was said somewhere in a news magazine that Jothikrishna was hell-bent on signing Rahman to score the music & A.M.Rathnam had warned him about Rahman's time delays. But Jothikrishna stuck to his will & went ahead. The movie went thru 2 long, interrupted years in the making. Will the movie succeed? Well, we can decide that only after it releases. But what really matters is the music. Last few years, Rahman has faced a lot of criticism & discomfort with Tamil films. Thats the reason why ARR is cautious while choosing his Tamil films. Boys could be marked as a returning vehicle for him & thanks to Rathnam to have faith in Rahman. Rathnam-Rahman combo has worked wonders in the past with 'Mudhalvan' & now 'Boys'. E20U18 is being simultaneously released in Telugu as "Nee manasu nakku telusu". The music is already creating waves, I hear. Afterall, who else can be trusted than Rahman to churn out some great songs which have a universal appeal?

The film has 6 youthful songs & ARR introduces a lot of new talents as usual. The lyrics r handled by the talented Pa.Vijay. After Vairamuthu & Valee, ARR has a good rapport with Pa.Vijay. The cast includes young actors like Tarun, Trisha, Shriya & the ever-dependable Vivek.

Rating: **Mind-blowing; Good; *Average; Cud have been better; Worse

  1. Azhaginna azhagi (Surjo Bhattacharya, Shreya Ghoshal):

    After a long time, Rahman returns to what he's best at- Folk. This song reminds me of old, vintage Rahman stuff like Pudhiya Mannaragl, Karuthamma, Vandicholai, Kizhakku Cheemayile, etc. Typical folk beats, rhythm & rustic percussions. This song introduces the immensely talented Shreya Ghoshal into Rahman's forray. Shreya has already sung many Tamil songs with Illayaraja, Karthikraja, Bhardwaj & a hoard of telugu composers. After listening her in Devdas, I always felt that she should sing for Rahman someday. She has one of the sweetest voices in the industry after Lataji. On the other hand, Surjo sang the tarana form "Thakshak" & if I'm not mistaken, its the same person who sang "Kathakalli" from Parsuram. Its a novel choice to make such singers sing a typical folk song.

    The song has a unique start. For beginners, it may sound like a mess. One wonders what's going on? Its only after reapeated, concentrated hearings that one is able to figure out that he's playing with the rhythm meter. It starts with heavy drums & other folk percussions. There's a constant digital voice going on in the bakground. Rahman utilises the same technique what he used in "Manmadha masam" from PP. He keeps on changing the meter of the song from 2/4 to 6/8. The rhythm is instantly catchy as it has whistles, guitars, nadaswaarams & lots of hard percussions, typical 'kooththu' stuff. It sounds as if a competition is going on between 2 teams. This all has to be Sivamani's inputs. When the beat becomes 2/4 double, it resembles the starting beats of "Madrasa suttippakkum" from May Madham. The beats stop for the main song to commence. Harmony takes its lead to sing a typical jathi "Takathimi takathimi taa". The main rhythm enters with the ooudh piece leading to the vocals. It resembles a lot like the rhythm used for songs like "Dolna" from Parsuram. Dholak & chenda being the main percussion. After a long time, Rahman uses the Ooudh (a string instrument form Middle-East sounding very much like a mandolin or a rabab). He had used this instrument long back in 'Indian'. Surjo starts the song which has typical telugu-sounding words like 'askaava', 'vastaava'. This is because of the film's bilingual nature. The harmonies used in these words r worth an ear. The phrases "panavendaam...nagaivendaam" r instantly catchy & hummable. Shreya repeats the lines. Her voice has been used for both the actresses & hence u'll find double-layered voices. Thru out the song, u'll hear rhythmic permutations & combinations excellently executed by Sivamani. The 1st interlude has soft thavils jamming up with the ooudh. The ooudh piece resembles a lot like the interlude piece of "Lucky lucky" from Ratchakan. Its based on Raga Peelu employing both the gandhars. But again, its got a typical folk appeal. This type of tune was used by Naushad during yesteryears. After the ooudh piece, Rahman jazzes up the melody with a tihaai.The charnams are apt & mostly based on a question-answer situation. Its clear when u see the picturisation. Its between 2 teams- boys & gals. Shreya doesnt get much to sing as most of the lines have been sung by the female harmony together.The male & female harmony stands out in the whole song. Moreover, some may debate about her pronounciations. I m nobody to comment on that as I dont understand a word. But what comes instantly to my mind is the word "Azhagi" which Shreya has pronounced as "aLagi". Its a very minute observation. The tamil listeners cud judge that better. The highlight of the song is the 2nd interlude. I love this typical folk instrument. I think its called the pambai or urumi. It gives a resonating effect with high bass. It had been used in "maanothu mandhayila" from KC & Padaiyappa. The nadaswaram is nostalgic. It reminds of the olden days. I m sure the local public is gonna love this bit. The beat doubles after a while with an amalgam of different percussions. The charnams r same. Shreya's voice in the upper notes becomes very shrill at times. Actually, she should be given more romantic numbers. She was terrific in 'Jism'. But this is just the beginning. She has a long innings to cover. The song as usual has lots of percussions & side-rhythms. Its an instantly catchy song- typically dance-gaana number. But again, I was disappointed with the end. It just ends abruptly. Rahman should have ended it with a tihaai or faded it out. The beat just stops till u come to know that the track has ended. But its a good start for the album.

    Rating: ****

  2. Santhippoma (Unnimenon, Chinmayi, Anupama):

    This i one of the sweetest songs in recent times. Great melody! Typically western-ballad kinds. Chinmayi's becoming a favourite of ARR nowadays. After an excellent rendering of 'Kannathil' & a bit-song 'Please Sir' from Boys, she regales this song with apt emotions & innocence. She's got a different voice-culture, very polished. It wud be great to hear semi-classical or ghazals from her. Unnimenon too joins ARR after a long time. The last time it was "Macha machiniye" from Star. Till now, people used to title him as 'Duplicate Yesudas', but this time they wud be wrong. He sounds so young & different here.

    The song immediately starts with Chinmayi's sweet vocals without any beats. The background has lots of cosmic sounds as if someone's travelling in space. The song has words like 'jupiteril', 'neptune', etc. Someone was complaining about Chinmayi's high-pitch, but after some hearings, becomes normal. The beat starts with techno stuff- heavy bass while Anupama whispers the first 2 lines. Unni humms the lines where there's a cute whistle-kind of a sound. The beats r very peppy with great melody.The lines "mudhal murai kadhal vayam" have come out very well. Whenever Chinmayi sings 'Santhippoma' without the beats with just chords, its amazing. Gradually, the rhythm enters & the song paces up. ARR has used African congos at this time. Bass guitar work is mind-blowing as usual. The 1st interlude has the same humming by female harmony along with the strings. The charnams have tpical recreational words like beaches, icecream, snowball, meeting, dating, coffee, billiards. Its like a conversation between two teens. I love the melody & chords during the lines 'oru spoonai vaiththu icecreamaipathipathi thinnalaam eppada...'. The harmony lead the charnam by "ooaaooaa..." towards the end for the main pallavi. The 2nd interlude has heavely strings section. The changing of chords during 3.35 mins is something very touching. Typically Rahman stuff. The percussions get heavier towards the end to create a climax. The charnam structure is the same.

    After returning to the pallavi once, ARR signs the song with his regular key-change. He lifts the pitch by a note higher like in many of his songs-'Oohlalala', 'Sa ri ga me', 'Humma humma', etc. The strings give beautiful support thru out & the same piece of the 2nd interlude has been used towards the end when the harmony sings. Chinmayi ends the song aptly. Overall, the song is very hummable, & stands in league of many good melodies created by ARR.

    Rating: ****

  3. Kama kama (Anupama, Aparna, Kunal, George, Blaaze):

    This song directly slips in from the 'Boys' arena. Nowadays, ARR is giving lot of stress on Rap & this credit goes to Blaaze. After 'Chori pe chori' & 'Dating', Blaaze has been singing in practically every movie. He even writes the English lyrics. So, its a package deal for Rahman. This song is no diffrent. It follows the tagline 'Strictly for Uth'. The song does not have anything new to offer, but is a peppy, youthful number.

    The song starts with heavy bass & crowds shouting loud. The digital voice keeps counting '1..2..3..4...' thru out in the background. The punchline 'Bling ding-a-ling' is very catchy & something novel. The female harmony repeats the lines & the church bells (also used in 'Secret of Success' & 'khoyi khoyi aankein') follow. The greatest surprise is the voice. Whose voice is it? It instantly resembles that of Shaggy. It cud be George or he must have digitally manipulated the voice to sound a bit like Shaggy. Whatever the case, it sounds great. The entire song is a blend of English-Tamil. Blaaze's voice can be clearly heard in 'Fall in love' while the female voices support. Aparna is a new singer but her voice has been mixed with Anupama. The second time when they repeat the lines 'Fall in love', chords enter with a hevy french-horn+sax kinda instrument. Most of the instruments in this song have been reproduced either digitally or on the keyboards. Again, needless to say, the song has been composed keeping the international standards in mind. The interludes r short & to the point. no specific instrument used. Only focus on percussions. The charnam is very sweet & has melody. The chords progression needs special mention. The song doesnt have a set structure. In the interlude, one can hear a sitar kinda sound(definitely on the keyboards) but thats something very normal with other composers who dont use a lot of live instruments. This piece is losely based on Raga Abheri (Bhimpalasi). The punch lines 'bling ding..' go on which become like an anthem of the album. The song has only 1 charnam & the rest of the time, its just playing with the lyrics & the punch lines. The song is quite peppy & will be a hit among youngsters. It follows the 'Boys' trend. Its become a trademark of ARR to give one such tune in each film these days.

    Rating: *** 1/2

  4. Oru nanban irunthaal (Chinmayi, S.P.Charan, Venkat Prabhu):

    Rahman seems to be favouring Chinmayi a lot. She deserves that. She has a great voice & a very different one indeed. Charan returns after a short stint in 'Boys'. A new find, again...Venkat Prabhu is the son of the popular singer Gangai Amaran.

    The song has a baeutiful start. One of the best preludes composed by ARR in recent times. It has mouth-organ with hawaiin guitars. Like the start of 'Khamosh raat' from Takshak. The immediate follw-up on the keyboards reminds me of Rahman in olden films like 'Kadhal Desam', 'Minsara Kanavu', etc. Its a very sweet melody. The male singer starts the song by humming & faintly u can hear Rahman's voice going 'Eeyoo' in the ambience. Bass guitars compliment the heavy, youthful percussions. Its more of a college rock-band type song. A similar sitar-sounding instrument then plays the melody (like in 'Nahin saamne' from Taal or 'Enthan vaanil' from Kadhal Virus). He layers the sound of the sitar with the piano & the outcome is excellent. The main song starts with Chinmayi's vocals. The male portion has some musical harmonies. The lines 'Nam peyiril...' by the boys sounds great; almost like chanting! The flow from an upper octave to a pause on Shuddha Dhaivat in the lines 'inthu ulagil migapperum ezhai' is mind-blowing. It sound like Ragam Shahana. The 1st interlude has guitars, mouth-organs & then Chinmayi's alaap. The charnams have the male singers sing one-by-one while Chinmayi rounds up to return to the pallavi. In the charnam, the beat singles down putting more emphasis on the melody & lyrics. The last lines of the charnams where all the singers sing, has an amazing chord. Very different from the rest of the song. These r the special moments one treasures from ARR's songs. The 2nd interlude has hard percussions alosng with trumpets. The percussion melows down for a guitar-trumpet conversation. The trumpets give a jazz-like feel. The 2nd charnam is same. The song has aan amzing blend of melody+energy. Its sure to become a rage among teenagers. The song inspite of being youth-oriented, has lots of Carnatic influence at many places. Thru out the song Rahman has tried to create diffrent harmonies for male & female singers. Whenever the female sings in higher octave, the male hamonise in the lower octave. It gives a picture of totality. Overall the song is great & is sure to list in one of the better-composed songs by ARR.

    Rating: ****

  5. Yedho yedho ondru (Karthik, Gopika Poornima):

    This is most romantic number of the album. If u hear the song, it instantly reminds u of 'Udhaya udhaya'; the biggest reason being Raga Charukeshi. Even the treatment & arrangements r similar. I think ARR was disappointed that such a great tune was wasted as the film never saw the day light. Udhaya was a brilliantly composed song- technically & emotionally. Same cud be said here. The song has the passion, feel & the right balance of romance with sensitivity. ARR is fascinated with this Raga I assume. Its also used in 'Blue Light' from WOHE. No other composer has explored this Raga as ARR has. He ropes in his current favourite, Karthik to team up with another upcoming singer, Poornima. She has sung "Poorkalam" from Thenali. That was a beautiful composition & I had liked her voice immensely. She sounds close to Chitra & Sujatha. She was also a part of "Enna enna" from Udhaya. She's got this husky, soft voice which just flows thru ur ears.

    ARR's glides his fingers on the piano to commence the song. The beats r normal as the emphasis is on the melody. Karthik & Poornima begins with a short alaap in the tune of the song. The main song starts. Karthik's vocals in the lines 'aayulreiga neelachcheigirathey' r amazing. His base voice is very much impressive. The halt on Pancham in the lower octave (Mandra saptak) creates a passionate ambience. 'Uyire idhayam...unakke unakke' r the lines of immense energy. The cymbals drift thru with the tympani for the interlude to begin. The most enchanting piece of the violin makes u crave for more. Kalyan is the magical man behind the souful violin. Charukeshi's pensive mood suits the melancholy of the violin. The piano takes over with a change in the melody along with the strings. The charnam is upto the mark. Both the singers excel in rendering this beautiful masterpiece. ARR shifts a bit from Charukeshi in the lines 'Sooriyanai pole..' just to give the song more freedom. After the charnam, both singers sing alternate lines in a faster tempo. First Gopika sings while Karthik remains (harmonises) in the lower octave & vice-versa. Thru out the song, Gopika sings the lines 'Yedho yedho' with different harqats. Thats just magical! The 2nd interlude has the marvellous Strings section (ably executed by Srinivasamurthy) bowing to their violins & cellos. This piece in the beginning resembles a lot like the strings in 'Chale chalo' from Lagaan. It is played in traditional Symphony manner, not adhering strictly to the raga. Again towards the end, Kalyan enters with his violin with church bells in the background which sounds very Irish+Scottish. The most beautiful moment is when he returns to Charukeshi by mildly touching the Komal Dhaivat at the end. Rest of the charnam is same. The addition here, is the violin is constantly playing behind the singers (just as ARR doesnt leave any empty space). This song has many highlights- piano, violin, strings, vocals & ablove all, the arrangement which I dont think any composer other than ARR acn boast of! The strings gather momentum towards the end. The voice-synchronisation in the alaap during the end is Rahman all the way. Full marks! This song is a relief from the usual rock & pop songs that we mostly hear these days. It reassures that Indian Classical music is there to survive! The picturisation compliments the song very well. Jothikrishna has taken pains to create the magical effect by shooting this one song in 95 international locations. Thats quite a thing!

    Rating: *

  6. Asathura (Srinivas, Chitra Sivaraman, Mathangi, George):

    The last song on the album. Nowadays we feel that ARR should compose more number of songs. All his latest films carry only 5-6 songs. Paarthale had 9 beautiful songs while TLOBS was abundant with 10. We can undersatnd the immense pressure he must be going thru. On one hand he has hand-full of Hindi projects & otherside, balancing International assignments. And then, whenever a film gets delayed, the blame is conveniently put on ARR.

    ARR's one-time favourite Srinivas returns after a long gap. These days he's prefering Karthik. Also, Chitra Sivaraman gets her due after Star, Thenali & Boys. She has grown as a singer from participating in MTV Talent Hunt to crooning songs for the Maestro. Mathangi & George just give harmony support in the song. The song starts with catchy rhythm & rockish percussions. From the very start u realise that its a youthful, teen track. Very much in the lines of 'Secret of Success' from Boys. After seeing the trailor, its evident that its a stage-performance with huge crowds. The pecussions used r very different from normal. It has a lot of Daburka. Also one can hear the crowds in the backdrop. The male harmony enters the song by singing the sign line. It has a good harmony, very western. Again ARR has used chromatic progression in the lines 'sanananana...'. Mathangi enters with a brisk alaap with the flute which sounds very Arabian-Lebanese. This kind of arrangements were used in 'September matham' in Alaipayuthey. Chitra main lines 'Maanavare...' r instantly likeable. The quick alaap that Srinivas takes in the lines 'Hooo...paadhilo...', has its moments; mainly bcoz of the excellent harmony. The 1st interlude has Rahman's signature claps & the inimitable flute. No one can beat Naveen's flawless rendition. Thats one of the biggest asset Rahman has! The charnams have a conversational structure with the chorus going 'Oye o..' after each line. But again, they r very short. Just 4 lines...& then Srini returns to the cross lines by taking that alaap in the upper octave. Thru out the song, u'll find different sounding percussions used which create a unique feel. After the 1st charnam, when the singers return to 'Asathura', there's this horse-beat kind of rhythm used. Chitra's 'sanananane..' jugalbandi with Naveens intricate flute embellishments is the highlight. The 2nd interlude is totally percussion-oriented. Give the reigns in Sivamani's court & he goes crazy. While hearing this piece, u can actually visualise the drumsticks flying off in the air! He's another precious asset. The charnams r same. The flutes & chords in the end behind the vocals r amazing. But the highlight has to be the excellently arranged Harmony. In the end Mathangi jamms up with the flute to create a mesmerising effect. The voice & the flute r so weel synchronised that it feels as if 2 intruments r being played simultaneously. Its a difficult task made easy by the sound geniuses- Sridhar & Sivakumar. The song is already an hit with the youth.

    Rating: ****

Overall Album Rating: ****After a long time ARR's soundtarck is said to be doing well down south. Thats just a sign of revival. May he keep giving us surprises & lots of good music as its like a precious herb for music-lovers like us. From whatever I've heard, Kangalal Keithu Sei is sheer magic! I cant get off my ears from 'Ennuyir thozhiye'. Its the one of the best melodies created by ARR.

Hope to get ur feedback as usual...


P.S.: The review is strictly based on personal judgement & does not tend to hurt anybody's feelings or sentiments.


Sorry for the delay...

posted at: 14:51 | permanent link to this entry

Bombay Dreams

Original URL

Finally, the most awaited album of the year is out. What more would you want....19 beautiful tracks! The thirst for songs is finally over, I suppose! But still, I would enjoy his Indian albums more bcoz I can relate to it as I m not used to International genre of music. I hardly listen to any International artist, barring a few. I would still prefer "Mahive" or "Snehidhane", but then its ARR, and it had to be something extraordinary...and it is! I loved the music and the way he has created that International feel to some of his Desi tunes. I dont know how successful is BD out there but I believe Indians will surely appreciate his efforts.

To say, the lyrics of all the songs are nothing but average. Don Black could have done much better. All the performers have donne their job pretty well according to the press reviews, but the real hero of the play is its music and our man has done it in a grand way!!! We must all be thankful to Shekhar Kapur and Andrew Lloyd Webber who have taken such a great effort to introduce a new composer into the global scene.

I quite like the music and it gradually grows on you as ususal. There are some highlights which I would like to bring forth:

Highlights Reasons 1. Bombay Awakes/ Only love I just love it. It has a haunting effect with Raga Shivranjani. Vocals are also good. 2. Bombay Dreams The prelude is excellent with live atmosphere of a Mumbai street created. Rhythm programming is fantastic. 3. How many stars? Beautiful...symphony opera kind of a song. 4. Closer than ever Excellently recreated. 5. Wedding Qawwali Superb...Sukhwinder & ARR have done a good job.

Now lets see at all the tracks in detail. This review would go quite some pages but please read it. Excuse me if too long.

  1. Bombay Awakes: What a way to start an album. It really gives an impression of dawn where everything is yet to to be discovered. Rahman has used Raga Shivranjani as the basic melody and it has been created in symphony where the crescendo builds up after the first melody drops. This piece reminds me of the music which was used in Raj Kapoor's movies by Shankar Jaikishan. Remember "O mere sanam" from Sangam or "O basanti pawan pagal" from Jis Desh mein Ganga Behti hai. You'll find similar chords in these songs. The overall effect is just beautiful. It has that haunting effect and deep passion. The heavy strings and oboe are good and create the desired impact. The same is repeated as a song "Only love" with Preeya's voice and the concluding piece as "Bombay Sleeps".All are excellent symphonies by the "Mozart of Madras". Rating: 8/10

  2. Bombay Dreams: The prelude is too good. All live voices have been captured and blended in a harmonious way to give it a typical Mumbai feel. All the singers have done a good job, especially Dalip Tahil and Preeya Kalidas.The build up of rhythm is also cool. The starting rhythm seems similar to that of "Ni main samajh gayi" from Taal. ARR is in full form singing the sargams and the sudden shift to "Life's never easy" and returning back to the main song is amazing. The female chorus singing the jathis sounds cool in an English song! Rating: 9/10

  3. Like an eagle: It sounds like those old Shammi Kapoor songs with "O o janaa" especially. The female chorus is great and the song is also good. The part where ARR sings the aalap is just excellent. He creates sucha feel with these small things that the whole song becomes memorable. His speciality is that he never leaves any space empty in the songs. The Background is so strong with heavy bass and strings. Raza Jaffrey is a good singer though his hindi is...well lets excuse him! The rhythm is good and is catchy. Rating: 7.5/10

  4. Love's never easy: "Ishq bina..." was one of my favourite tracks from Taal and it was famous globally too. Keeping this in mind, ARR must have decided to reuse this tune. The result has turned out to be fruitful. Raj Ghatak has rendered this song well.The chorus part "O oooo..." is too good. The song's highlight is the last bit (towards 3:45 till the end) where there are only strings and beautiful flute glides and he has produced this piece very well. We must all appreciate this that its very difficult to reuse Indian tunes into International ones as the audience is very varied. Its the talent and imagination with which he has fused the two elements. Good attempt. Rating: 7.5/10

  5. Don't release me: Good vocals by Dalip Tahil. No one knew that he could sing so well. Till now he has only played negative or roles with minimal exposure in Hindi films. He's got a good break. He always had this passion to sing. He used to learn classical music from my grandfather and see today he's gone a long way. I was very happy to hear his voice.The song has good rhythmic patterns and chorus "Na kabhi chhodna". The song has more to say than to sing. Rating: 6.5/10

  6. Happy endings: I like this song only because of Preeya's voice. She has quite a potential to become a full time singer. The only thing I dont like is the way the say "Yaai re", it sounds artificial. The song starts with slow percussions and picks up after a while. The lyrics are funny. It almost seems that a father is narrating a story to a small child about films. Had the lyrics been better, the song would have been a winner. Rating: 6.5/10

  7. Ooh la la: Though the original version is better, one cannot ignore this piece. The song is okay but what is astonishing is the piano interludes with a digital sound. Its too good. The whole melody changes. This is his special quality. Andrew Playfoot's vocals are okay but the song is too short. It has only the mukhda and then the interludes. Rating: 6/10

  8. Shakalaka Baby: A sure shot winner on International pop charts. It has got all the elements which are required for a track to succeed globally: rhythm, pace, techno sound, vocals, lyrics, everything. The highlight is during the beginning of the song when one can hear drones of tanpura..a true fusion! I think he has retained Vasundhara's voice in the beginning. Cool song! Sure to catch up...Rating: 8/10

  9. Are you sure: A videshi song with desi rhythms (14 beats) of "Sona nahin" from "1 2 ka 4. The song is good with claps and the vocals going like "Takita dha" in the beginning. What is more amazing is the rhythm pattern; it goes off beat when they say "famous" (it starts one beat later after completing the 14 beat cycle). The International audience must have never heard such a rhythm pattern. The use of flute is also good. Rating: 7/10

  10. I could live here: Folk tunes at their best! The starting flute piece in Raga Bhairavi gives us a typical Arabian flavour; a deserted feel. The song has no percussions...only in the interludes one can hear 3-4 ghatam beats. The flute work is amazing. ARR didnt Bhairavi didnt get enough of Bhairavi after "Mera rang de basanti chola" from TLOBS: its my favourite song. Short and sweet song. Rating: 7/10

  11. Chhaiyya chhaiyya: Nothing new...only he has remixed the song a bit and programmed it differently. There are cool electric guitar strokes and synth leads through out. This song will remain a landmark in the history of Indian cinema. No wonder Webber was initiated to Rahman after listening to this song. Rating: 7.5/10

  12. How many stars: I agree with the guy who told that this song was similar to the song from "Alladin". Its a fantasy song with an opera kind of a feel. Truly amazing! The build up of crescendos and strings is something I admire. Both the vocalists have done a commendable job. Soft but passionate song. Rating: 8.5/10

  13. Salaam Bombay: Another favourite of mine. Its on the lines of "Yenna solla pogirai" from Kandukondain, especially the strings part. Srinivasamoorthy must be commended for his excellent arrangements. The chorus "Salaam Bombay" is great. The rhythm is also cool. Towards the end, the song comes up to a typical Arabian genre of music. ARR is genuinely inspired from Arabian music. The song begins with the strains of sitar and the chorus and then the rhythm gradually picks up. The rhythm is quite familiar to that of "Kahin aag lage" from Taal. The song changes its scale regularly. All and all a great song. It captures the spirit of Bombay. Rating: 8.5/10

  14. Closer than ever: What can I say...but absolutely divine! This song is too good man. It was my favourite song from Taal and is my favourite song from BD too. The prelude by Hariharan is played on the flute and once the rhythm starts with the tanpura...its magic! The harmony has been changed with the sitar in the background. The lyrics are also decent. It gives me the feeling of the Titanic song and I can actually imagine the actors standing on the top of the ship spreading their hands in the air. In the first interlude there is great work by ARR where he changes the melody. Beautiful glides of the harp. Great...absolutely great! Rating: 9.5/10

  15. Journey home: This is also a great track. The song begins with typical ARR rhythms and goes on to a beautiful melody. Raza has done a good job. The flute pieces are excellent. It is a wanderer's song and it feels like one. The programming is good. ARR sounds great when he sings "Sawariya". He sounds like a classical singer. Good effort and good chords (like what Vijay and Rano like).The chorus at the end is also good. Rating: 8.5/10

  16. Ganesh: Another groovy track after Love Check. Totally rhythm based.Sivamani blossoms in this track showing his skills. This song has a typical sound like at the time of Ganesh immersion. The piece gives a total rustic feel with cymbals, khanjaris, kartals, claps and natural commotion. The piece gains momentum when the strings and chorus enter and ends with a normal tihaai (beat ending 3 times). Rating: 7.5/10

  17. Wedding Qawwali: Great song...great composition....great vocals! The start itself is great when ARR sings "Mubarakaa..." and the rhythm picks pace. Its based on Raga Jog (Nattai) and Madhmad Sarang. In the interlude when ARR sings the sargam, it reminded me of the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Sure, ARR's inspired by him and who is not? The flow of the lyrics is good and thanks to the multi-talented Sukhwinder. ARR has started using North-Indian flavour a lot these days. This shows his diversity and versatality. I love this number and will surely be liked by all Indians. Rating: 9.5/10

So, its finally done and said. Overall 8/10. What do you say guys? Truly, ARR has proved himself once again and his efforts have been worthwhile. It was a bit difficult to write the review...so many tracks (not used to it), diverse music and complicated patterns. Hope it clicks here. I wish him all the luck! Now BD was not enough...that Baba is releasing on the 15th. Double treat!!!Waiting for all other releases of ARR and wish the list goes on & on & on.......

Take Care Bye Swapnil

posted at: 14:51 | permanent link to this entry


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Dear ARR fans,

Here I go again with my review of the much awaited Mani Sir's "Kannathil Muthamittal". I just got my copy today by chance and you know how difficult it is to grab your copies in Mumbai. Anyways, I consider myself lucky as after much possible and impossible search I have it today! I I saw the inlay cover and the pictures are too good and the cinematography seems to be brilliant. I was really hurt by Screen's decision to award SEL & not ARR for Lagaan. DCH was an excellent effort but Lagaan's subject demanded a completely different music keeping in mind its period and commercial value. Rahman was 100% successful in delivering his best which became popular too. How can one compare "Koi kahe" to "Radha kaise na jale" or "O palanhaare"? Anyways we can hope for the best for Filmfare awards. ARR has to win this award to continue his trend of winning awards each year as he has no Tamil hits this year.

If I'm going out of topic. Let me now concentrate on KM's music- Highly experimental but innovative! The only regret I have is that the songs are too short and only 5 in number. Plus there are interludes that are scanty. Instruments are limited in number.

  1. Vellai Pookkal (A.R.Rahman)- Soothing...the start is too good with the guitars just gliding through your years. They create the desired ambience for further listening. Full marks to all the guitarists- Rashid, Rafique, Neil and Kabuli. Then comes our master himself with soft vocals. The basic melody is woven around Raga Hamsadhwani. Rahman has always sung songs in a very high pitch but this song is different. His voice seems absolutely perfect and what a malody. The 2nd interlude has Naveen playing the flute but its too short. Towards the end of the 2nd charanam (anru koovayo vellai kuyilae...), the flute just glides through the middle octave of Hamsadhwani (Ni Pa, Ga Re, Sa Ni...) indicating the voice of a 'koel'. You always crave for more. The charanam starts at a different note but returns to the basic scale. He has done full justice to the song. It does sound as 'deja vu' like "en swasa katre' or 'o venillaa iravanavaa'. One of the best compositions of the album. Rating: 8/10.

  2. Sundari (Hariharan, Sujatha, Srinivasamurthy, Tippu, Karthik, Madhumita)- Now that what I call too many cooks serving the same dish. But the dish is tasty! I think Srinivasamurthy is the strings conductor. He's begun to sing! Madhumita is the small girl Keerthana's voice. She sings well. The song has an Arabic flavour as usual. Hari after a long time sees himself on an ARR cover.Sujatha is as usual at her best! The song is a total innovation: the composition, vocals, interludes...The song has an instant commercial appeal and seems to be a dance number due to haevy percussions used. Ratings: 7 1/2/10.

  3. Kannathil muthamittal (Chinmayi, Jayachandran)- The pick of the album! The song starts with synth waves and minimal percussions. The songs begins with (i dont know actual words) 'nenjil jil jil...kadhal dhil dhil...' by Jayachandran. He has sung that extremely well. The song is based on Raga Kafi (hindustani). With almost all pre-release reports stating that the song is sung by Sadhana Sargam, the final song fell in the hands of a new singer-Chinmayi. Strong potential of becoming a successful singer she has done full justice to the song. She seems to be classically trained. After the first 2 lines the song goes towards Miyan Malhar employing both Nishads(Ni~ Dha Ni Sa).Note ~ means komal swara. The charanam is completely confusing. The Ist interlude contains the flute concentrating on Teevra Madhyam. It almost omits pancham through out, so you feel really deserted. But it returns to Pancham, i.e. the basic scale. Its beautifully done. Really creditable! The song has a catchy rhythm and everytime the lines 'nenjil jil jil' come it catches your attention.To my great surprise I found that my sister who rarely listens to Tamil was also singing those lines. That goes to the Music director's credit. On the whole, my favourie. The song has been repeated on the other side in only Jayachandran's voice. He has really put his heart in the song. The variations he has done are worth mentioning. He sounds so much like Jesudas. Rating: 9 1/2/10.

  4. Signyore (M.Rafique, Noell, Anupama, Swarnalatha)- Another favourite of mine. This is in its true sense a SriLankan folk song. It does sound Goanese but then songs sung on sea-shores are like this. The vocals are great: Anupama returns almost after a long time lapse. So does Noell. Swarnalatha has that husky sensuous appeal. The percussions are very folksy and catchy. Throughout one can hear the strums of spanish and hawain guitars. Again the complaint is that the song is just 3 1/2 mins. There is a good use of side rhythms- credit goes to Sivamani and Raja. Rating: 7 1/2/10.

  5. Vidai kodu engal naadae (M.S.Viswanathan, Balram, Manik Vinayakan, Febi, Rehana)- Truly experimental,full of pathos. Its a great composition, its difficult to create such a sound. It is purely situational. MSV's voice does sound out of place for the preliminary hearings but then you feel that he's the right choice. He has a totally different voice quality. Aptly supported by Balram and Manik Vinayakan (who's he???). According to me the raga seems to be Madhukauns. (Ni~ Sa Ga~ Ma~ Pa Ni~ Sa). It creates a war-like ambience and throughout the song a tension is built. It has more of an after-effects appeal. Both the females sound great with different voice tones. I have started liking this song after 4-5 hearings. The interludes have high bass cello strings played. Rating: 8/10.

So this is KM- completely situaltional and conceptual. After the failure of PP, hope masses like it as it is not meant for a layman. Only a connaisseur may be able to appreciate it. KM has the potential of being a Hit as its a Mani movie and everybody would enjoy the picturizations of the songs. I really liked the songs of "Pammal K Sambantham". Deva has composed some good numbers.

Guys please keep on sending your valuable comments to me so that I can always improve & update my reviews. Nice writing such articles...!

All the best...Amar rahe Rahman!!!

Love Swapnil (Mumbai)

posted at: 14:51 | permanent link to this entry


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Dear Friends,

This is my first attempt to write such an exhaustive critical analysis of film music. I am, as all of u are, a big big fan of ARR since the very beginning and a devoted fan rather! I developed this art to read and write Tamil through his cassettes and songs. I adore the music he gives in Tamil more than in any other language. I am a Mumbaiite and so Tamil cassettes are not easily available here and I went thru this tedious experience of hunting for the PP cassetee. Finally I got fed up and became impatient. I sent a mail to my uncle in Dubai who was supposed to come here for Diwali so that he can bring it with him. He too, after hunting for it got it and he just arrived today. How privileged could I be that I had my own copy of PP in my hands and could not wait to unleast it & hear it. Here it goes:

  1. Manmantha masam (Nithyasree/Shankar)-> Beautifully composed, though experimental, it caught me after 4-5 hearings. The vocals are just perfect and the blend of 2 ragas as well as rhythms (2/4 & 6/8) is something unusual. Good job here. I rate it 7/10.

  2. Neethan en desiya geetham (Balaram/Chitra)-> A new voice and a new talent with a promising future...Balaram! His vocals are like Ravindra Sathe who is a Marathi singer. He has done a good job and Chitra is as usual. This song reminds me of Varaaga (Sangamam) especially the rhythm part. The raga is based on Kalyani and tends to shift to Peelu in the antara. Its a melodious songs on the lines of Mehki mehki (Zubeidaa) and O ri chhori (Lagaan). Rating 7 1/2/10.

  3. Moonrezhutthu (Harini/Karthik)-> So so song. Frankly, I didnt like it. The only good part is the Bulbul Tara. It glides over so smoothly and gives u that typical Arabic feel. Harini's voice sounds rustic and Karthik is ok. Rating 5/10.

  4. Azhage sugama (Srinivas/Sadhana Sargam)-> To me, its the pick of the album. Such a melody! It just flows thru ur hearts. It is similar to Kaiyil midhakkum (Ratchakan) but then u can excuse him for giving such a melodious number. The raga is Jaijaivanti and there are traces of Chhayanat. The vocals...what can I say! Srini is just cool and Sadhana's voice is like mesmerising. Such a sweet voice. The highlight here is the Piano and the Violin. He has used beautiful meends (glides) in the violin. And the chords are simply amazing. Its good to have repeated the song. Rating 9/10.

  5. Nadhirthinna (Rashid Ali/Thubhara)-> Again new voices. How does he find them ??? I have always had this dream to sing for him as I am classically trained. Someday might just hear my voice...kidding! The guitars are amazing and the Chenda pieces by Kesavan are good. Again an Arabic flavour. He seems to be inspired by Arabic music. Rating 7/10.

  6. Adhisayam thirumanam (Sujatha/Kalyani/Sriram N./Sriram P.)-> Naattai, Shahana, Kalyani all in one. The antaras are too good and all the voices are so much in harmony. Only he can handle such intricate vocals where Sujatha sings in the upper notes while Kalyani in the base. Its got an off-beat rhythm of 7 and 5 beats. Rating 7 1/2/10.

  7. Love Check (Sriram/Sivamani)-> Groovy!!! Thats what I can say about this track. Typical ARR fusion of Carnatic rhythms with Western percussions and glad to see Bhavani Shankar playing the pakhawaj for ARR for the first time. He's an awesome player, probably the best pakhawaj player in the country. But ARR could use this instrument more frequently in this track. As far as thavil is considered, we have maestro Palanivel with his magical hands. The different permutations and combinations that are used are simply great. Sivamani delivers his magical best with Sriram saying the Koonakols with ease. Great track after Taal. Rating 8/10.

  8. Paarthale paravasam (Rehana/Febi/Fegi/Ganga/Gopika Poornima)-> Another favourite of mine. Again the vocals are blended beautifully. There is the Flemenco Guitar after every mukhda (Paarthale paravasam...). What I like is the ending where the singer (I cant figure out who???) sings the carnatic taans. She's done a commendabale job. On the whole a good song. Rating 8 1/2/10.

What else can I say...u all will beat me up if I write anything else! Its such an exhaustive one that even I didnt know while I was writing it. ARR is trying out new ways and we should be proud of him as he's the only composer today who experiments with new sounds and music rather than sticking to typical masala filmi music. Waiting for next ARR releases...u know I crave for more and more.

Do reply and give ur valuable comments...Regards...Be loyal to one person!!! Swapnil

posted at: 14:51 | permanent link to this entry


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Almost a year after "Saathiya" & a year-n-half after "Bhagat Singh", Rahman returns to Bollywood with a unique album "Tehzeeb". Tehzeeb is a brain-child of celebrated film-critic & a noted film-maker, Khalid Mohamed; who has previously shown his directorial abilities in "Fiza". After enjoying a job of a film-critic & a script-writer (Zubiedaa, Sardari Begum, etc), Khalid does what he likes the most-Film Direction. "Fiza" might not have created ripples at the box-office but it sure marked the arrival of a different genre of films which was at the juncture of commercialism & art. He has cast a sensible crew of actors including Shabana Azmi, Urmila Matondkar, Arjun Rampal, Diya Mirza, Rishi Kapoor & many more. Tehzeeb talks about a mother-daughter relationship with a tinge of difference. It tells a story of a singer (Shabana) who wants her daughter (Urmila) to follow her footsteps untill routes of destiny cross apart. Tehzeeb is all about manners & discipline & hence one can expect a strong emaotional & sensitive subject from Mohamed. Musically speaking, Khalid has always nurtured a good taste. In Fiza he roped in Anu Malik to score the music, along with Rahman to compose the famous qawwali "Piya Haji Ali". The music of Fiza was a turning-point in Malik's career & another beautiful feather on ARR's cap!

Tehzeeb required a different perspective. It tells the story of a Ghazal singer who changes with time & style. Moreover, the songs had to have a universal appeal since its a commercial film. So, the best person Khalid could think to give justice to the subject was Rahman- the person who has now more than just a universal appeal, perfection personified! Rahman's music connects insatantly to the heart & many would agree. To give it a realistic approach, Khalid chose the Urdu poetry (ghazals) of ancient poets of the 18th Century like Daagh & Momin. Both these poets enjoyed the supreme position in the field of poetry-writing after Ghalib. Apart from these, Javed Akhtar contributes his style to the other songs. Tehzeeb is rich with Urdu shayris & poetry which is rarely found in today's songs. Its a challenge for any composer to tune such beautiful lines. The main point while composing a Ghazal is that the soul should remain with the words (alfaaz) while music is complimentary. The music shouldnt be too complicated or loud in comparison to the lyrics. Now, it was Rahman's job to do justice to the legendary poets along with meeting International standards & making it acceptable for all kinds of audiences to hear. Does Rahman succeed? Well, lets find out...

Tehzeeb has six songs with 3 ghazals & 3 very Bollywood-ish numbers. For your knowledge, a ghazal is a phrase (thought/ idea/ imagination) of just 2 lines/ couplets (could be rhyming). All other forms of poetry can be called as a geet or nazm. For eg. 'Aapko mujhse gila hota na shikwa hota, meri majboori ko gar aapne samjha hota' is a ghazal but 'hansti rahe tu hansti rahe, hayaa ki laali khilti rahe, zulfon ke neeche gardan pe, subah-shaam milti rahe, saundhi si hansi teri khilti rahe, milti rahe' is a geet/ nazm.

Rating: ** Mind-blowing; * Very Good; * Average; Could have been better; * Worse

  1. Na shikwa hota (Sujata Bhattacharya; lyrics- Javed Akhtar):

    Everyone knew that there was one song featuring Shubha Mudgal...even Khalid had mentioned in an interview long back. But when the audio released we found out that all the 3 ghazals are rendered by Sujata Bhattacharya. Shubha Mudgal- ARR would have been a dream combo! There was a huge discussion on that when someone mentioned it was the same Sujata Trivedi who had sung in Thakshak & 1947 Earth. Infact, thats the truth. She's got married to a Bengali. One of my friends is working in a PR company which is doing the media promotion of Tehzeeb. She had the opportunity of being present for the audio release function at Hyatt International. There she met Sujata & she was very tensed. She rehersed this song for 6 times till Khalid got fed up & asked her to perform. It was her first public appearance! Returning to the song, its an another gem added to the list of ARR vintage melodies! The song starts with soft piano, harps & then vocals. The start is immediately likeable. Just chords & vocals...truly mesmerising. What is interesting is when she sings the lines "Meri majboori ko gar aapne, samjha hota". The slide in the word 'aapne' from Pancham(Pa), Teevra Ma, Shuddha Ma, Re & lower Ni is incredible. By the way, the raga is Pahadi with slight touches of Kaamod (the meend from Rishabh to Pancham). The main rendition follows with the rhythm which is set to taal Deepchandi (14 beats). What is interesting in all ghazals is the use of unconventional & contemporary percussions. People would always expect a ghazal with a predominant tabla. But Rahman has to differ. He uses a plethora of instruments to make the song not only different but universal. Even Western audiences can connect with the song without understanding a word. As soon as the rhythm is introduced, one feels a similarity to the song "Jogiya" from TLOBS. It had the same flavour with the same beat. Also one can remember "Nee than en desiya geetham" from PP. The only regret is that he should have used a softer percussion without a continuous beat going on & on. Javed Akhtar's lyrics need a special mention. He brings out the mood of the song very distinctively.

    "Aapko mujhse gila hota na shikwa hota, meri majboori ko gar aapne samjha hota...", ( You would have no complaints or regrets, if you had understood my helplessness. ) The first interlude has ample of solo piano by the maestro himself. How easily he glides from one note to the other...its his signature! Again its similar to the work he's done in the interludes of "Azhage sugama" from PP. But this one is brief. The antras are beautifu, doing justice to the words. "Dard ki yaad mein bhi dard hai, behtar yeh tha, apne zakhmon ka hisaab humne na rakha hota" ( there's pain even in the thought of pain; it would be better if I wouldnt have kept an account of my wounds.)

    What a brilliant thought! Javed Saab excels as usual. After the 1st antra when Sujata returns to the main lines "meri majboori..." she takes a beautiful harqat encompassing a whole octave. Sujata has rendered the song with full emotions...she has a long way to go! The 2nd interlude is quite short with just flute. This is ARR stamp! Naveen's rendition sounds so familiar, one can immediately identify the style. The words of the 2nd antra...

    "Khwaab humne jo dekhe woh sabhi sach hote, sochiye aisa agar hota to kaisa hota" (whatever dreams we've cherished would come true...if this would happen it would be so beautiful).

    The soul of the song lies in the lyrics & the emotions of the singer, both of which get achieved! This is the level of perfection! Its one of the most melodious songs of ARR. He churns out the best melodies with oodles of chords. This song will also find its place among masses. The song's mini (pocket) version is also available in Vijaya's voice. Again a new find! Its a more westernised version of the ghazal. There's no specific rhythm although towards the end its interesting to hear the rhythm returning to the 7 beat meter. its too short to discuss anything. May be its a part of the BGM. Rating- ****

  2. Meherbaan (Asha Bhosle, Sukhwinder; lyrics- Javed Akhtar):

    3---2---1---0...this is how the countdown begins. After "Radha kaise na jale" & "Chori pe chori", Ashaji is back in form with Meherbaan. She's the queen of hearts, especially when she renders such kind of songs. Recently when Ashaji turned 70, someone had asked her favourute composers. Apart from R.D.Burman (naturally), the immediate name was Rahman. Getting appreaciation & admiration from such big legends is the biggest compliment for any musician. the song does not actually belong to the album but its just added to give it a mass-appeal, an 'item number' label. The song starts with tympani & Ashaji's haunting vocals till the percussion becomes heavier. The rhythm is very catchy. Its an instant crowd-puller. He's used an arrangement of digital as well as natural percussions. The flute follows the vocals. As the beat proceeds, there r a lot of digital voices in the background like the cell-phones ringing, a lady saying '3-2-1-0', etc. This just adds to the curiosity of whats gonna follow. Towards the beginning of the song one can her the strumming of the sitar. The main song starts...

    "Meherbaan meherbaan, kyon ho naraaz tum, kyon ho tum badgumaan...", ( dear why are you so upset with me, why do u have so many misconceptions?')

    The mukhda is based on Raga Darbari. In the lines "kyun ho tum badgumaan", the note shifts from Komal Dha to shuddha dha giving it a chromatic nature. Sukhwinder enters with the chants 'meherbaan' which is almost like "Rehnuma' from Udhaya. But that chanting by Sukhwinder is very energetic & gets easily memorised. What is amazing thru out the song is the use of Bass guitars. Its just simply mind-blowing. Rahman is a genius when it comes to arrangements. After the chanting, the song shifts to Raga Bahar employing both the Nishadhs (like it was in "Kannathil muthamittal"). The overall song resembles quite a lot like "Thenmerkku paruva katrae". Then comes the real winner....the magical flute by Naveen. I think Rahman just gives him a free hand & Naveen gets into the groove. He's one of the oldest musicians with ARR! He travels thru a whole journey & galaxy of notes with heavy percussions. Suddenly, the piano glides thru a different set of notes. The melody changes. Normal ARR complication! There's ample support from the strings section (thanx to Srinivasamurthy). I love the lines "labz inkaar ka, lehza ikraar ka" which mean 'words of refusal but with a tone of acceptance". Only Javed saab can write such antithesis! Again, the song does not follow routine mukhda-antra format. After that there's lot of heavy percussions followed by the chanting. Ashaji gives her sensuous feel to the words "Aao bataaun apni har baat main, tumse kar doon bayaan apne jazbaat main". I definitely agree when people say that after RDB, Ashaji has given her best to ARR. She adds her touch by singing 'Mehebaan' with lots of harqats every time. Its only because of Ashaji's immortal vocals & Rahman's ever-dependable arrangement that the song becomes a winner all the way! When you see Urmila dancing & emoting this song on the golden beaches with innovative costumes & choreography, you feel that enough justice has been given to the music. Rating: **** 1/2

  3. Mujhpe toofan (Sujata Bhattacharya; lyrics- Momin Khan Momin):

    Here Khalid has chosen the traditional poetry of one of the greatestUrdu poets of 18th century, Momin Khan. His takkhallus (pen-name) was Momin. Rahman returns to his style of composing & does a marvellous job. This song can be called a s an authentic ghazal- perfect tune, arrangement & style. This song comes in the league of "Snegidhane", "So gaye hain", etc. The song is based on Raga Kirwani. It starts with soft santoor & flutes. This was the music used in the 1st trailors. The rhythm has been set to Taal Deepchandi (14 beats) again but this is much softer & better. Sujata gets an opportunity to explore her talent but musically speaking, she is mediocre in this song as compared to 'Na shikwa hota'. The reason is that she is not clear in many places. When she sings the upper notes, her clarity is lost. The tone is correct but rendering needed more force. Moreover, I felt that compared to other songs, the balancing of this song was not proper. The song has a faint volume thru out & the vocals r not clear. But full marks to the composition. The strings section (violins, cellos, violas) are amazing at providing chords. There are faint claps too (a regular ARR feature). The claps echo during the lines "kar diya apne aane jaane ke...". There's a lot of use of chromatic notes (shuddha & komal Dhaivat and Nishadh simultaneously).

    "Mujhpe toofan uthaaye logon ne, muft baithe-bithaaye logon ne" (people have raised many eyebrows (storm) on me just like that.)

    When she returns to the main lines there's a faint tabla. The 1st interlude mainly has female harmony. The antras are just beautiful with much twist-n-turns in the composition. The 2nd interlude is the highlight. It has pan-flutes, santoor piano & male harmony.

    "Sun ke udti si apni chaahat ki,dono ke hosh udaaye logon ne, bin kahe raaz aaye dilhaani, use kyon kar sunaaye logon ne". (Why did people make us hear so much after listening to our affair?)

    After the 2nd interlude, there's female harmony along with Sujata while singing the main lines. The 3rd interlude is pretty short & has a solo violin.

    "Kya tamasha hai jo na dekhe the, woh tamashe dikhaaye logon ne, kar diya Momin us sanam ko khafa, kya kiya haaye-haaye logon ne". (People made us see & hear things which we had never experienced, they made my beloved & me apart, look what they've done to us!)

    This song is written mainly for lovers whose love was never accepted by the society. Here 'logon' means society. Two lovers who could never meet because of various social reasons & what pain and agony they go thru has been described by Momin here. So the whole song has a sad & tragic feel. Towards the end, one can hear beats of tabla very clearly just to enhance the mood. Rahman has done full justice to depict this pain. What a composition! One of the best composed songs by Rahman in recent times. Rating- **** 1/2

  4. I wanna be free (Anupama, Mathangi; lyrics- Blaaze):

    When u listen to this song after the soothing ghazals, u feel 'where has this song come from?' Seriously, this song has just been added for mass-appeal. This song has been picturised on Namrata Shirodkar (Pukar fame) & its one of the item-numbers in the film (like Sushmita Sen did in Fiza). This is more of an instrumental theme than a song & is much like Spirit of Rangeela (the latter was a masterpiece). Rahman has just used samples & loops here with powerful vocals. The song can be categorised as Trance (Bailamore from Kadhal Virus). The mood & the treatment is similar. Lots of heavy western percussions have been blended with Bass & electric guitars. The only melody instrument in the song is woodwinds. Blaaze contributes to the lyrics which r not more than 2-3 lines "I wanna be free, break the chain....tod de zanjeer". The music sometimes tends to be loud. The singers do justice, adding much punch & force. Mathangi's voice is sweeter while Anupama adds immense power. As I had written for 'Bailamore' that it creates an atmosphere of smoke & adolescence, the same can be said here. R.D.Burman had tried something like this in "dum maro dum" & "aao kash mein kash" from Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The guitar work is splendid especially if u hear the part at around 1.52 mins. The voices have been digittaly manipulated when Mathangi's voice drops from a high note to the lowest note. The music is catchy but it seems odd in such an album. The song has already been criticised by many reviwers. The music forms a crescendo (climax) towrds the end when suddenly the style changes to western classical opera. The heavy percussions stop & melody enters. The lines "Freedom" r the highlight. Almost for a moment u feel u r listening to an International album like 'Bombay Dreams'. These 2 lines r the saving grace. It has come out extemely well. It brings out the character of the song. I wish there was more of this. But alas! it lasts only for 1/2 a minute. The songs returns back to the normal pace. The biggest disappointment is the end. When u get into the groove, it suddenly stops. Its an abrupt end. U wait for more but the song has already passed on. He cud have used a fading effect. But anyways, the rest of the songs cover-up for this one. It'll only be a visual treat to watch this song (as hyped by Khalid & Namrata). This song can easily find its place in discotheques. I think u can press the forward button! Rating- *** (just-about)

  5. Sabaq aisa (Sujata Bhattacharya; lyrics- Dagh Dehlvi):

    Rahman returns to his favourite Raga Bhairavi. In the Simi Garewal interview he had mentioned that one of his favourite composition was "Mera rang de basanti chola" from TLOBS which is also in Bhairavi. When the song starts with typical Western percussions, u feel its just another kinda song & definitely not a ghazal. But u r in for a surprise! Its a traditional ghazal penned by one of the greatest Urdu poets, Dagh. This is Rahman! When Sujata starts to sing the lines "sabaq aisa" u feel nostalgic. The tune is just beautiful with the correct blend of pathos & pain. At one thought u feel tht this song cud have suited Richa Sharma or Shubha Mudgal's voice. Not that Sujata has sung it badly. But its just a feeling. The song has bass, spanish guitars with faded tabla as a support.

    "Sabaq aisa padhaa diya tune, dil se sab kuch bhula diya tune" (You've taught me such a lesson that all memories have been wiped off from my heart) "Betalab jo diya milaa mujhko, begaraz jo diya, diya tune" (I never got anything which I desired/ I always got the unwanted)

    The best part of this song is the arrangement. The 1st interlude has amazing saxophone by Martin. It reminds me of the incredible work done by Kadri in all the songs of 'Duet'. The interesting part of Bhairavi is that it gives the freedom of using all 12 notes. The 1st line of the antras uses Shuddha Gandhar instead of the komal one of Bhairavi. The song gets ample embellishment from the glides of the harp whenever the notes keep changing. The 2nd interlude has the harmony which is exactly similar to that of "Mera rang de" from TLOBS. Also it has resemblance to "Rajiyama" from Baba. The last 2 lines of the song r just incredible.

    "Mujh gunehgaar ko jo baqsh diya, to jahannum ko kya diya tune?" (If u forgive a criminal like me then what have u given to hell?) "Dagh ko kaun denewala tha, jo diya aye khuda diya tune" (who was going to give Dagh such a place, whatever he got has been given by God)

    Whenever Sujata sings 'diya tune', it echoes in our souls. It has been rendered so beautifully! In the end, there's harmony in the base voice supporting Sujata. This song too has a lot of pain & agony. This song is like most ARR songs...it haunts u like anything & slowly grows on u. The more u listen, the more u go deep & get immersed in the song. The song ends with a masterpiece sax rendition. Again, Rahman has given a free hand to Martin & he does so. He excels in creating the right mood. He ends it with a traditional tihaai (3 times) without any percussions just on his sax. And u crave for more. Its one of the best-composed songs. What is credible is that Rahman has not stuck to the usual meter of the song, its free-flowing as & when the emotions spring up. I think Bhairavi has never sounded so fresh & full-of-pathos in any other composer's song. This is the creativity of the maestro. Again, if the percussions were kept a bit softer, one cud hear the lyrics clearly. Rating- **** 1/2

  6. Khoyee khoyee ankhein (Shaan; lyrics- Shad Azimabadi):

    This was the first song to be aired on T.V. & I remember the immediate reactions of all members that it doest not sound Rahman-ish at all. Yes...when I heard the song, I felt the same. But as usual I did not get disappointed as I wanted to listen to the whole song before I cud pass my verdict. That helped. Until I heard the song, I was under the impression that ARR has done a very under-rated stuff. Listen to the whole song on personal headphones & u'll agree. The song is not so bad. In fact its really come out well, especially with Shaan's youthful vocals. This song describes the beauty of a lady with an amalgam of adjectives.

    "Khoyee khoyee ankhein hain, gori gori rangat hai, lambe lambe gesu hain, bholi bholi soorat hai" (lost eyes, fair complexion, long shiny hair, innocent face)

    The song kicks of with heavy bass & synth-waves. The percussion is very westernised & heavy. Shaan enter with syllables like 'Na na nari nari...'. This phrase ensures the youthfulness & pep of the entire song. It will be instantly liked by the younger generation. The guitar work on the alaap "hey...." reminds me of Chandralekha from Thiruda Thiruda. There's good inputs by the strings section thru out the song.

    "Aadhi aadhi chitwan hai, tedhe tedhe abroo hai, neechi neechi nazrein hai, kuch kuch dil mein ulfat hai" (cross glances, crooked eyebrows, dropping eyes, some trust in the heart)

    This song cannot be termed as a ghazal. Shaan has indeed done a great job here. After long a time & sharing name with a crowd of singers (Ghanan ghanan & O humdum) he gets a solo from ARR. He does not let us down a bit. Infact, it seems that this song suits his voice the best. On the orchestration, there r lots of inputs both from percussions & strings department. Sometimes one can hear a santoor-like sound too. Rahman returns to his roots in the interludes by making the arrangement sound very Arabic (like it was in 'Ale ale' from Boys). Its mainly the strings section that contributes to the interludes. Its very encouraging to see such a treatment given to a traditional lyric. Its almost like a pop song! Whenever Shaan stretches his vocals to the upper notes, it fuses lots of energy in the song, yet maintaining the subtleness of romance & poetry. There's only 1 antra which is beautifully composed. In the lines "bhar-bhar aaye na bhala dil, kaise haaye in sheron par, sachchi sachchi baatein hai, ya poori poori haalat hai" he's again used chromatic notes towards the end with the santoor following each note. When he returns to the punch lines "Na na nari nari", the second time there's a descending sound of the church bells. When u see the picturisation, its shot brilliantly where the nuns & Arjun make a cross on their heart with this sound. Its so synchronised. This is a typical Bollywood number but with traditional lyrics. The violins provide a beautiful symphony towards the end along with Shaan's vocals also giving different chord-variations. This is the beauty! The song ends with the alaaps 'hey...na na nari nari' & a cymbal-sound. Truly amazing work. The song has already gained popularity. Another plus point for ARR. Rating- ****

This marks a totally new beginning for Rahman. Composing ghazal aint easy but ARR has proved that he can compose any subject with his magical touch. Tehzeeb provides a galaxy of emotions with wide range of compositions. The album surely grows with every single moment & I m not the only one to advocate this statement!

Overall Rating- ****


P.S.- This review is purely based on personal judgement & does not tend to hurt anyone's feelings. Also...sorry for this delay. I hope u like the review & send in ur valuable comments. As always....its a pleasure writing

posted at: 14:50 | permanent link to this entry


Original URL

Hello friends,

First of all, sincere apologies for such a delay...I just cudnt help it. I got the CD 3 weeks late & then there were time problems. I was too curious to write the review...but didnt want to do it in a hurry! I had to hear each song carefully before beginning to write. Afterall, its the most awaited & publicized album of the year (or shoud I say decade?)

Rahman doesnt let us down even one bit this time. After a series of mediocres like Udhaya, KV, KM, Parsuram, ARR was in a fix! Tamilians had lost faith in his music. Though we had some mind-blowing melodies in Udhaya & KV...they went unnoticed. Rahman's calibre & 'genius at composing' came in the way. Naturally, the public didnt understand the level & depth of the music. But the National Award for Kannathil broke the ground! It won both the Music & Lyrics award. Now, you see how much we miss the ARR-Vairamuthu combo! I think the musical score for Kannathil was soul-stirring. If u've heard the BGM, it was just amazing. There was so much pain & pathos...especially the last scene where Nandita Das leaves Keerthana. God...tears just rolled down!

So now, with BOYS hitting the markets & topping the charts...happy days r here again! ARR has indeed worked hard for the score. The hype was sky-touching but Rahman has delivered. Why not? Afterall, its Shankar-Rahman combo again, which has always given us the best. After listening to Boys, I cud only say "Hats off!!!" It pertains the rock flavour throughout sticking firmly to the boundaries of the script. It has totally a youth-oriented appeal. After a long time one can proudly say to the world that Indian composers can compose too! I somehow feel that Boys should have been a global release for ARR than B'bay Dreams. It has all the elements of global music. B'bay dreams was good...but Boys is mind-boggling! Shankar & the producer, A.M.Rathnam should have done more marketing for the film. I atleast expected the songs or promos to be aired on music channels like M.T.V or Channel V. Many Tamil songs did appear on these channels previously like Kandukondain, Alaipayuthey, KM, etc. The amount of capital they've utilised, it should get a national viewership atleast. But I was satisfied with the packaging & overall look of the album. Star Music has done a good job. The inlay cover has the lyrics of all songs with pictures & a short poetic introduction of all characters. Its very colourful & bright. The sound is good too...with all that 5.1 digital surround (I cudnt find it on my cover...is it there????)

Truly, its really tough for me to write a review of such an album, coz I've never been exposed to hardcore rock or International pop music..as people mentioned earlier that it sounds like Eminem, Backstreet Boys, etc. Nyways, I've tried my best to analyse the songs as per my knowledge & experience. Hope I'll not let u down. Thanx for the unanimous support u've always bestowed upon me.

Rating scale: ** mind-blowing; * good; * average; cud-have-been-better; * poor

  1. GIRLFRIEND (Karthik, Timmy, Tipu):

    Karthik is the hero of the album, getting the maximum songs & doing justice to them too! I think, he's the best discovery by ARR in recent times. The song is very catchy in all the departments, viz. lyrics, tune, rhythm, appeal. After the soundtrack released, people actually say that this song has become an anthem for the youth as it exactly describes the condition of college-going teens. Pa.Vijay handles the lyrics decently (I dont understand a word...but thats what I've heard from others). The song starts with modulated vocals & soon percussions follow. The best part of the album is the electic guitars by Christy. Absolutely stunning! The rhythm is very catchy with hard percussions & has the rock flavour. The song starts with claps & bass guitars accompanying the vocals. The best part is during the lines "inaiya thallathil..." where the melody enters. It reminds me of the song "Pookum malarai" from Udhaya. The support from the accoustic & spanish guitars is amazing. When the song returns to the pallavi, the punch of the rhythm & elec.guitars is groovy. Throughout the lines "Paal pole.." one can hear a fade pan-flutish sound which is very nostalgic. Actually, I m short of adjectives to write this review. What music! The 1st interlude is mainly the elec.guitar. Its very heavy metal kinds, just getting in to the groove. The charnams r pretty short, just 2-3 lines in the same tune. The chord progression is an added asset. These lines gradually lead to the pallavi. Its just the punch of the singers & the youthful lyrics that make this song so wonderful. Able vocal support by Timmy & Tippu. Computerised sounds & modulations can be found in all the songs. The 2nd charnam first starts without any percussions. Rest of the progression is same. Overall the song is apt to the situation & is already a hit! The picturisation is also cool. The songs have already set up an atmosphere before the film's release. This is the director's vision & expertise. Rating: ****

  2. DATING (Vasundhara Das, Blaaze):

    My favourite song...since the day I downloded the bits. It has always attracted my ears because of it novel structure: a rap song with Tamil & English lyrics with a total Indian melody. Its got an instant response. Wow! Finally, Blaaze gets a solo song & not just some lines to rap! When we met Vasundhara & Blaaze at the Mumbai Concert rehersals, they said only one thing about the song...just watch out! Its really worth the wait! Blaaze starts the song without rhythm with the bass & a peculiar sound that seems as if we were in space! Suddenly u get a jerk when the rhythm starts. Its kinda hip-hop pattern. Blaaze starts the prelude "D A T I N G..." & the guitar pattern that follows is exactly a replica of the guitars from "Vellai pookkal" of KM in Kalyani ragam. The melody is purely Indain with shades of Kalyani. Then a series of arguments begin between the girl & the guy. Sometimes the guy asks in Tamil while the other replies in English. Its an interesting blend of both the languages. The way Vasundhara sayss typical Tamil words like 'aiyo...poda...' with an accent sounds really cute. The song somehow reminds me of Aqua's "Barbie girl". The lines "love is not a game" has come out really well. Its hardcore classical, like a taanam. The 1st interlude has the girl & the guy chasing & teasing each other. The charnams r typically Carnatic. The structure is exactly same as in any Kalyani krithi. The languages r used alternately. The song has enough support from the strings section. The 2nd interlude has some wierd alaaps by Kunal..as if purposely done. The charnams r same. Its actually more of a philosophical song; the boy proposing love whereas the girl sticks to friendship. The lines "Friendship enbadhu RAC..." r really cute. Again there's use of pan-fultes in the interludes whereas the guitar progression is continuous throughout. In the end there is additional use of hard percussions & guitars to bulid up a climax. Vasundhara just leaves the song.."Just beat it friend..." Its one of the best compositions in recent times. It needs a great vision to think of a song like this. Usually, western rock or po songs only have a catchy rhythm but these songs have a soulful melody & thats why they have a longer life. Rating: *

  3. BOOM BOOM (Adnan Sami, Sadhana Sargam):

    Another favourite of mine. These r such songs that immediately capture ur attention. A word about the singers- Adnan Sami's debut in Tamil...good attempt. His voice tamil pronounciations sound really cute. What can I say about Sadhana. I think she's the only singer whom ARR has given so much of variety. Listen to 'Snegidhane' & then hear 'Konjum mainakkale'. She's the one who's sung 'Azhage sugama' & "Udhaya' & has also attempted a 'Kadhal vettukili'. Listen to the song 'Anbe idhu nijamdhana' from Rhythm & then 'Oone oone' from Alli Arjuna. Almost all types of songs! This is called versitality. Mainly, her voice suits subtle romantic & ligh songs, but Rahman has giver her all kinds of songs & she's done justice to all. Coming back to the song....its again a very melodious one. Hip-hop, light-hearted melody. Apt for Adnan's voice.The song starts with great percussions...lots of metals used. The rhythm is awesome. It peps up ur mood. The melody includes saxophones & trumpets. Its a genuine party number. Its roots can be traced in old hindi numbers composed by Shankar-Jaikishan or R.D.Burman. The words "Boom boom" r really cute & the way Adnan's sung it. Sadhana handles the Tamil parts. The 2nd time she repeats the lines "Kadhal idhudhaan..." there's beautiful male harmony. The best part is when Adnan goes "Oye hoy oye..." & Sadhana sings "Kootangoochi..." with half-notes. She takes beautiful harqats though. The 1st interlude has mainly sax & trumpets. The charnams cd have been better...atleast when the start is fantastic. Anyways...its just very simple..may be he wanted it like that. I dont know about Adnan's pronounciations but he's done a good job. Sadhana sounds a bit loud in the upper octave...but then its ok. She covers up for the rest. ARR joins for the chants "Boom boom" throughout. Only, if he cud sing more!!! The 2nd interlude has mixed harmonies & then the percussion changes to bongos. That part has come out really well. Charnams r same..no difference...even the order of the singers is same...boy, girl. When the song returns to the pallavi, the singers shift places. Sadhana sings the upper notes, while Adnan does the rest. The end is really interesting. Suddenly, u wonder whats happening? The melody starts changing...typical jazz style with saxophones. At the 1st hearing, u feel its absurd..but then u undersatnd that it must be the situation that has prompted such a drastic change. It looks like some kids stuff...basically circus-types. But its really cute. Its really difficult to keep a balance between melody & rhythm. But then its ARR...& u always expect some decent stuff! Then u have the typical ARR keys changing in the end like in "Humma humma" or "Ooh lalala". This all builds up a crescendo & then leaves u craving for more. This desire is not left unsatisfied, coz there's lots more for the album to offer. Stick on!!!! Rating: **** 1/2

  4. Break the rules (Karthik, George, Kunal, Sunitha, Anupama):

    Looks like ARR has composed this song for Sivamani! Lot of percussions...drums, djembes & other heavy percussions. The song is based on the spirit of teenagers who r carefree, independent & fun-loving. It celebrates the sentiment of youth. Thats why words like "Maaro maaro..., le le salaam..., names of places..., break the rules.." Among the singers, Karthik's voice is most prominent. Others also leave their impact & r mainly young, upcoming singers. Kunal is geeting promoted by ARR of late. He's got a very unique voice. Sunitha is probably Sunitha Sarathy who's done some harmony for ARR films like Love Birds, En swasa katre & recently "Thudu varuma" from Khakka Khakka. She's totally a western singer. Ditto for Anupama. The lyrics by Valee provide enough weight keeping in mind the theme of the film. The song has lot of punch & force...thanx to the singers & Sivamani! The lines "Break the rules" is sung in different ways..sometimes off-beat & sometimes before beat. Thats typically ARR! When the boys sing "Maaro maaro", the female voice sings the same line with lots of energy. Again, electric guitars provide the interludes. What amazed me was when they sing "Break the rules" he's used people's voices (more of kids) which keep on saying "Yeah". This adds to the genuineness of the situation (Shankar has shot this song on the streets of Chennai with huge crowds). This type of arrangement was used in Michael Jackson's song "They dont really care about us". The 1st interlude has the male harmony going "O ya he...." & then Sivamani tries his hands on different percussions. The charanams r again very simple...with girls following the boys. The harmonies r good. Throughout the album, Rahman has stuck to simple tunes rather than complicating them. Coz this album is for the younsters & the appeal has to be universal. The 2nd interlude has terrific guitars by Christy again. He's the soul of the album. In the end, there r lots of rhythmic calculations...handled very carefully by Sivamani. Actually the credit goes to the sound engineers & editors for doing such a great job. 3 cheers to Sivakumar, Sridhar, Aditya Modi, Pravin Mani, Joshua!!! This song has a mass-appeal & is sure to become a hit. Its instantly catchy & attractive. Rating: ****

  5. SECRET OF SUCCESS (Lucky Ali, Vasundhara Das, Blaaze):

    Lucky Ali debuts in ARR's periphery. There was lot of curiosity as many fans wanted Lucky Ali to sing for ARR. Rahman had mentioned in some interview that he liked Lucky's song "Na tum jaano na hum" from Kaho Na Pyar hai. May be this led to giving Lucky his due. He's a good singer...atleast when he gets his kind of songs. To get a song from Rahman & that too in Tamil with such a huge banner is an absolute honour. He's in full form in this song. Vasundhara is at her usualbest; accompanied on rap by the inimitable Blaaze! This is the grand finale song in the movie & it has style, glamour, pep, energy & the right blend of melody+rhythm. The song starts with ususal cosmetic sounds & percussions...followed by the lead vocals. Its a crowd-puller song. So the singers actually involve the audience to repet the words. Its really strange that they say Sa Ri Ga Mey..Pa Dha Ni Say. Its the slang or stylised accent of the youth. The mukhda is definately captivating. With lots of English words it has a global appeal. Again, Rahman utilises the electric guitars to the maxim. Lucky Ali's vocals excel throughout the song. He has put in efforts to get the diction right & putting in the punch. After the dialogue the best part is when the chorus goes "Oho ho ho..." in the upper octaves. Its truly energetic...totally pop-ish. The 2nd time Lucky sings "Sa ri ga mey..", theres a descending progression of church-bells. This is something very unique..that too with the right chords. The overall song is very melodious...specially the lines "Love kaakkilo....". The lines "To be a star.." sound like Britney Spears song "Hit me baby..." or "Oops I did it again!". The 1st interlude has an interesting blend of vocals "we'r the boys" & manjiras. Now this is what I call a true fusion. There is no definite structure of the song...it does not follow the regular pallavi-charnam structure. If u go to see there's only 1 charnam. After returning to the pallavi, there's a rap by Blaaze followed by the alaaps "Oho ho...". These alaaps end with Lucky's lines "vetriyil ragasiyame" & then again the chords change to a higher note. This continues till the whole scene builds a climax. There's use of cymbals & heavy percusssions, also Vasundhara doing a typical western opera kinds. The song ends with a bang leaving only the chords to do the needful. Its one of the best songs in recent times. This album is a winner already! Rating: *

  6. PLEASE SIR (Charan, Kunal, Clinton, Chinmayi):

    I feel that its the best melody I've heard. Agreed, it has a hangover of "Smaiyai" from Kandukondain, but its still a brilliant attempt. Clinton handles the vocal arrangement intelligently. Its a genuine effort of harmony. The song starts with "Please Sir" with different harmonies touching all notes of the octave. There's no rhythm as such, only a digitally modulated voice. Charan gets his chance after Alaipayuthey. He sounds exactly like his father. But he's got only two lines. Throughout the song, the harmony "please sir" continues. The subsequent lines r handled by Clinton & Kunal. If u hear it properly, he's used the panning effect. U'll hear Clinton's voice in one speaker while Kunal's voice will be heard only in the 2nd one. The most promising talent of-late, Chinmayi sings the rest. Her lines r the best. When she's singing, the male harmony continues in the background. A very beautiful harmony indeed! U automatically start to snip ur fingers. She shows her range in those 4 lines. The male harmony takes off from where Chinmayi ended, but this time its off-beat. They return to the main lines on beat & then thats all. The song is too short...one of the bit songs. The remaining part has the bass guitar, humming & then the dialogues "I'm on my knees sir....Please sir". Finally, the lady speaks & the song ends. Brilliant song...I wish this was a full-length one. I loved it...very much like those Western Choir songs. Hope they release other bit songs too! Rating: **** 1/2

  7. ALE ALE (Karthik, Chitra Sivaraman):

    Finally a full song in Tamil! Rahman returns to his roots...composing an Arabic tune. This song reminds me of "Moonrezhutthu" from PP, "Dholna" from Parsuram, "Sundari" from KM. It has a blend of Bhairavi, Keervani & Darbari Kanada (Hindustani). The rhythms r heavily inspired from North-Indain Bhangra (favourite of ARR these days). It has got a North-Indian+Arabic flavour. This is the only romantic song in the album.Karthik proves his mettle again. He's good in all kinds of songs. I just loved his "Sakthi kodu" from Baba. He pairs up with his debut singer Chitra Sivaraman after "Nenthukitten" from Star. She's a great singer too! Very unique voice..husky but sweet at the same time. She's a better version of Anooradha Sriram. The songs starts of with guitars (sounding like rababs). The rhythm catches on with drums first & then dholaks & dhols. The composition as such is nothing novel but the arrangement is fantastic. The string arrangements & harmony r worth hearing. The catch phrase "Ale ale" is sung in different ways, mostly using all chromatic notes. The best part is in the lines "Kaadhal sonna...". The 2nd time Karthik sings it normally but Chitra gives the harmony in both the lower & upper notes. The 1st interlude has guitars & then the female harmony (almost like Italian choir as in the chants of Mudhalvan). Again, the charnams r kept simple. No complications at all. They r very short..4 lines only & return to "Ale ale". The chord progression in the lines "Kaadhal sonna.." is out of the world. The 2nd interlude mainly consists of a wind instrument that sounds like a duduk followed by opera-kind of female harmony. It builds a crescendo with rhythmic alterations. The charnams r same. The phrases "ale ale" r the most catchy ones. The end is splendid. Just listen to the different chords in "Kaadhal sonna...", with the strings first & then the harmony. Its sounds really divine! The exact notes of the strings progression in the upper octave with Komal Re,Ga & Dha is 'Pa Sa Re Ga Re Sa Ni Dha Pa). Simple song but great arrangements. This is what makes the difference. The question is not to compose difficult, but to compose difficult with simplicity! Finally, ARR cuts all barriers & shuts the mouths of criticism. Rating: ****

Overall album Rating: **** 1/2

Now with Boys becoming a huge hit, I cant wait anymore. Where r the albums..."E18U20", "New". "Kangalil Keidhu Sei", "Meenaxi", "Tehzeeb"??? Reportedly, "Tehzeeb" may release by September. So, keep ur fingers crossed. Long Live ARR


P.S.: The review is completely based on personal judgement, does not attempt to hurt anyone's feelings or sentiments & is free from bias. Please send in ur valuable comments...they'r like tonic to me.

posted at: 14:47 | permanent link to this entry


Original URL

Hi there,

Sorry again for the delay. Actually, I just got the CD this week from Vijay. Its not yet out in Mumbai. Its so difficult to trace such albums. But the result is always fruitful!

Talking about Parasuram, as everyone has observed, its a totally commercial album. Very usual stuff, apt to the subject, with less technicalalities. I must say that Udhaya was not a commercial album in its true sense. It had more depth & variety and the compostions were far more satisfying. I am still to find a gem like "Udhaya udhaya...". Mind-blowing composition. Compared to it, Parasuram is very average. Though it has its own moments, it somehow creates a craving for much more! Guys who were saying that Rahman only composes technically confusing tunes which the mass audience cant understand or appreciate, will definitely keep their mouth shut. Parasuram is an attempt to aggravate the front-benchers.

Rating scale:- ** (Mind-blowing), * (v.good), * (average), (could have been better), * (worst)

  1. Dolna (Hariharan, Sujatha):

    Nowadays, ARR has stopped composing beautiful preludes. Many of his recent songs just start off without any music. Eg. 'Enna enna' from Udhaya. Anyways, the song starts with some catchy phrases by Hariharan, "Dhindindara naa..dolna". I wonder what 'dolna' means in Tamil! The rhythm starts along with powerful bass guitars & chorus going 'Ehe...oho..." alternatively. The main song starts with the same tune. The cross-line goes on a higher pitch & you wonder whether its Hariharan? His voice sounds very different in the higher pitch. Dholak & other traditional instruments are added. Sujatha continues to sing from where Hari leaves. Somehow, I didnt like her voice. It sounds to nasal & artificial. This is the end of the pallavi(mukhda). The 1st interlude has the male harmony crooning over with "Haiya...haiya...". Suddenly, there is a break & the pan flute enters with guitars & santoor. The rest of it is totally on the synth. No live instruments. I think there was too much pressure on ARR to compose something very North-Indian in his early stages. He started the trend with Lagaan, Bhagat Singh, Zubeidaa, & now its Tamil films too. Bhangra beats in a Tamil song! This is the first time he's used a typical dhol & it sounds cool. If it were for a Hindi track, it would definitely be a hit. The charanam (antra) r just about ok. Again Hari tries to match up to higher notes. His voice doesnt sound good. Seems he takes great pains to reach there. Same with Sujatha. The chords r good. In the highest part, ARR's used all chromatic notes. This returns to the mukhda. The 2nd interlude too has the same pattern with the harmony. Then there's a very Spanish-kinda music with guitars. It seems like an ad jingle. Again ARR uses modulated sounds from the synth & ends the interlude to give way to the Bhangra beats again. Rest is almost similar. Not a great composition...but as told earlier, great arrangement & programming. This song resembles a lot to 'Dippu kumari' from Baba. But I like that song. It had its own charm & ofcourse it had great vocals by Shankar Mahadevan. A very simple & crowd-appealing song. Lets hope such songs atleast make an impact.

    Rating- *** 1/2

  2. Kadhal vettukili (Sadhana Sargam, Karthik):

    There you go...if the first song wasnt satisfying, quench ur thirst. This song has a bit of everything. First of all, there's a great prelude. The song starts with the pan flutes & then some cool rhtyhm. This has already set the mood...when the mouth-organ (reproduced on the keyboard) leaves you craving for more. The mouth-organ piece has lots of resemblance to the pieces composed by R.D.Burman. If you recollect "Chura liya hai..." or "Jaane jaan...". This style was predominant in the 60's & 70's. Again with the Airtel ad...u find a clone! Sadhana starts the song with lots of pep. She sounds very chirpy & bubbly. Give her any song & she dazzles. The tune is very catchy as it has rhythm in it. Karthik pairs with Sadhana for the first time. Both do a good job. The 1st interlude has someone saying 'thamaine...'(dunno whats that?). It also has pan flutes & the mouth organ piece is amzing as it changes the melody. Sadhana takes a meend (glide) from the upper Sa to the lower one in the first two lines of the charanam, "nee..rajangam...". Karthik follows. The melody changes again & this time, there r lots of chors to support. When they return to the pallavi, Karthik sings in harmony with ditorted notes. It appears to be very confusing..but treat to listen. The second interlude is ARR trademark. Strings running here & there. The progression is so fast, it leaves no time to think where it has gone through. The 2nd charanam just starts & you wonder when the strings got over. If you've noticed, both the charanams have a faint mridangam percussion. Only if you've herad it on a good system, you'll notice. I'm dying to hear mridangam in ARR's songs. D.A.Srinivas is a great player & must be heard quite often. Listen to "Uyirum neeye..." or "Sakhiye nee dhaan..." or "Jiya jale...". Wow, the mridangam sounds divine! Nowadays ARR has started using samples & more artificial percussions. The song ends with the mukda being repeated. In the end he's used a manjira which sonds very nice. Thru out the song, there's no manjira & suddenly in the end u hear that. Its such a small thing to notice, but gives u the maximum pleasure. Overall the song has shaped up well.

    Rating- ****

  3. Chittukuruvi (Swarnalatha, Sriram Parthasarathy, Arjun)

    The most satisfying song in the album! Its birth can be traced from "Udhaya udhaya..." as both the songs have the same melody structure. "Udhaya udhaya..." was based on Raga Charukeshi, whereas this one's based on Raga Nat Bhairav/ Sarasangi (dunno much about Carnatic scales...thats what someone had written). This is a beautiful morning raga and uses all the swaras: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa dha Ni Sa (small caps- komal/ flat notes). Someone told me that this song resembles a lot to an Illayaraja composition. I really dunno..havent heard that. The song starts with a brief duduk piece (the Armenian instrument which was used in 'Rajyama' from Baba) & Swarna enters. She sounds terrific. After a long time you hear her voice. This song seems to be a sensous number & Swarna's voice is just perfect for such songs. She pours in the same emotions as "Hai rama.." from Rangeela. Arjun chants while the tabla-tarang takes off. It gives you a trance-kinda feel. Mind you, Arjun doesnt sing...he just says some words, "neeyum...naanum...thotta...vendum...". Its a great start. The unusual rhythm captivates your attention & then again the pattern slows down when Arjun chants. Swarna sings the sign & cross lines with full feelings. The rhythm mathches well woth the song. The chords accompany almost every line. Sriram Parthasarathy (one of the 4 singers in 'Adhisayam' from PP) enters with confidence. He's really got a different tonal quality. Its apt to the song as it adds to the sensuousness. The 1st interlude has flute/ woodwinds thruout with heavy percussions. The melody tends to shift to Charukeshi at some places. The charanam begins with Swarna. After the 1st two lines, when you carefully listen to the rhythm, it seems as if you r on a fast train. Sriram's lines r interesting. He puts great feelings in his lines when he beautifully swings on the Komal Dha. He puts in his own variations by singing the mukhda a bit high. Listen to the chords in the lines "chittukuruvi...vendume...vendume...". While Swarna's singing the pallavi, Arjun continues to chant. The 2nd interlude has free-style saxophone recital with the tabla-tarang. The charanams r same again. Thruout the song there is a snake-hiss sound which was used in 'Zehreela pyar' from Daud. It gives it a darker feel. The song has turned out very well. The interludes cud have been better. But then, you cant complain always!

    Rating: **** 1/2

  4. Muppadhu nimidam (Unnikrishnan, Sujatha)

    As you pass by each song, they seem to be getting better! This song is a treat to listen...especilly with Unni's magical voice. The song starts with clock's ticking & then slowly the Kanjira enters with the bass guitars. The strings take over & suddenly thavils enter with a bang. Its the same flavour like "Kannodu kanbathellam" from Jeans. Some great playing by the Thavil player (why's the album without any credits...very disappointing). There's some great piano pieces which give you a true fusion picture. Thavils & piano...wow! Thats where the craftsmanship counts. The main songs starts on a low scale by Unni. Sujatha follows. The raga is still not clear. Is it Abheri or Kanada? Well, the song does not pertain to a perfect raga. There are traces of moorsing too. The 1st interlude is typical jazz style, somthing like 'Vaan nila' from Kadhal Virus or 'Hello Mr' from Iruvar. Piano rules. Strings support while the percussion sticks to thavil. The charanam uses both the Nishads (like in the charanams of'Thenmerkku paruva kaatre'). Sujatha shines in this track. May be bcoz of the classical touch. The last line ends with a wonderful jathi 'tak tak tarikatadhum...' with the piano accompanying. Sujatha returns to the pallavi by singing it off-beat sometimes. Thavil is the life of this song. The 2nd interlude is totally Unni's territory. I think, its for the 1st time, Unni sings a hardcore carnatic classical alaap. The piano & strings follow every note. Its interesting to hear the lines 'muppadhu nimidam' with a typical classical accent. The thavil ends with a usual tihaai (3 times) but I feel, it has too much of noise & the charm of the tihaai gets lost. Sujatha too enters abruptly. Again...no change in the charanam pattern. The rhythm doubles at regular intervals. Song ends with solo thavil & the tihaai is beautiful as the piano too tries to create a tihaai. The clocks ticking is heard again & completes a full cycle. The last note played on the piano is the highlight. There r so many things to put in one song. You need a secured & focused mind. A great experience. Full marks to the Thavil player & of course the arrangement.

    Rating- ****

  5. Kathakkali (Bhattacharya, Nithyashree, Mathangi)

    The start promises a lot...beautiful glides on the harp with kartals & manjiras. The rhythm starts with heavy percussions. Bhattacharya takes the lead to sing 'Kathakali'. Who's he now? Atleast Rahman has continued the trend to introduce new singers in almost each album (that keeps my hope to sing). The percussion shifts to Bangla khol (used in Baul sangeet & Robindra sangeet- folk instrument of West Bengal). Bhattacharya improvises with alaaps & sings the punch line. God knows why the lyricist has used words like "Jack & Jill"? Thats the main mukhda. The whole song is based on the evergreen Raga Bhairavi. Nithyashree takes the female lead. Hard percussions r introduced (may be its the same sample of 'Chale chalo' from Lagaan). Nithya sings her typical classical repetoire, while newcomer Mathangi is totally westernised. Mathangi was one of the harmony singers with ARR & Harris. I thinks its a kind of a jugalbandi/ competition between the two heroines. What strikes me is the constant glide of the harp which enhances the song. The 1st interlude has an accordian/ harmonium kinda sound played on the synth. Its gives you an Arabic feel. That reminds of "Moonrezhutthu" from PP & "Mera rang de" from TLOBS. The song is quite similar in content. Bhattacharya stretches his vocal chords for an alaap & begins the charanam. Mathangi shows a lot of promise. She's very polished. Nithyashree's voice irritates sometimes, specially when she sings 'ta ta ta...taramaaten' or 'ka ka ka...kajuraho'. The last line of the charanam by Bhattacharya, 'kadavule..' seems a bit funny. It seems as if he just wanted to return to the pallavi any how! The 2nd interlude is much better with classical jathis by the 2 ladies, 'taiyum taa..'. It brings out the essence of the raga. There's constantly something going on in the background on the percussion side. It must be Sivamani on the drums. Nithya's parts r sometimes harsh to the ears..'Ni ni ni...naadagamata...'. The lyrics r quite funny. The 2 women r fighting over the styles of dances like Kathakali, Kuchhipudi & the male finds himself between sarod, sitar, bulbultara! The harqats by both the singers r fabulous. The charnams have no fixed structure. So there's no smooth flow. But again, the superb chords, arrangements & rhythm save the song. The song ends with glides of harp. The harp used in this song is the western harp. Its not the Indian harp (swaramandal). The song will definitely grow. I hated this song first, but now with regular listening its quite hummable.

    Rating- *** 1/2

Looking at its commercial value, ARR has tried his best to churn out tunes which would appeal to the mass. Taking established singers like Unnikrishnan, Nithyashree & at the same time giving chance to Bhattacharya & Mathangi itself proves its diversity.

But its definitely not the album we were waiting for. The best of the lot is yet to come out. God knows when? Boys, Meenaxi, Tehzeeb, New, E18U20....pretty long list, eh???

For the time being, stick to Udhaya & Parasuram...these r just trailors!!!


posted at: 14:12 | permanent link to this entry

Wed, 25 Mar 2009

Kadhal Virus

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I finally grabbed the CD of KV and must have heard it almost a 100 times. I am very impatient to listen to any ARR soundtrack. Why not? Afterall he stuns everyone by his innovative compositions.

Talking about KV, Kathir has always musically enriched his films...be it "Uzhavan" or "Kadhal Desam" or "Kadhalar Dhinam". The common factor in all these films is undoubtedly, ARR's magical music. I loved "Uzhavan", in fact all his earlier compositions. His style was something very different. Also lyrics by Vaalee compliment his tunes. (I dont understand Tamil...but have gone thru a few translations). The latest offering from this combo is "Kaadhal Virus", a story of youthful love. I must confess that ARR has come out with what was needed at this time in his career. "Paarthale..", "Kannathil", "Baba" were terribly rejected by the audiences and people started talking about ARR losing popularity. Let them listen to KV and judge themselves. ARR really stuns in this album.

I have tried to make my observations about the music. What I like about KV is that the music is balanced. 6 tracks- 3 very melodious, 3- catchy, rhythm-based, mass-appealing. The arrangement of songs on the album is also very appropriate. They have placed all the songs alternatively. One fast and one slow. The result- you dont feel bored of one style. Rahman has really proved his versitality in this album- ranging from hip-hop to semi-classical to trance and to jazz.

Rating scale: -poor, - nothing great, - avg., *- quite good, **- mind-blowing

  1. Ye ye enna achchu (Vasundra Das)- The song starts with catchy vocals by Vasundra.."tana naa tana naa..." progressing to the main song. The rhythm is very catchy complementing the mood of the song. Suddenly you feel you are listening to a Britney Spears number like "Oops...I did it again" or "Hit me baby one more time" or a Mariah Carey track. The song is so much westernized that barring the lyrics, even people from the West can identify with the genre. Its definitely a track to be played in discotheques. Programming by Mohd. Rafee is excellent. There is a tremendous use of vocal modulations done digitally. The highlight is when she sings "Kaadhal virus...", listen to the chords played by the strings. Simply amazing! Also the subtle violin enhances the mood. Percussions are apt. The overall tune is hummable and registers in your mind. There are no specific interludes as such. The importance is given to the song. Good attempt. Sure shot winner! I am sure those who dont like Rahman's music will also like it. Rating: ***1/2

  2. Sonnalum ketpadhillai (Harini, Unnikrishnan)- What can I say? Another classic composition by the Maestro. Beautiful melody...just captivating your soul. The song opens with soft flute with bells and gradually strings and violin take over. It reminds you of the prelude of "Nee than en desiya..." from PP. The best part of the song is the female Harmony. How beautifully he's progessed from one note to other notes, every time increasing the note-progression. The percussion is soft as melody rules. When the rhythm starts after the flute and violin, the strings melody is superb. The song is based on Raga Gaud Sarang and Khammaj. The essence of Gaud Sarang is 'Pa Re Sa...Ga Re Ma Ga' with all shuddha notes, which is clear in the first line 'Sonnallum ketpadhillai kanni manadhu'. It definitely has a Carnatic touch to it.The line reminds me of another beautiful song from Anthimanthaarai, "Sakhiye nee than tunaye" and "thoda thoda" from Indhira. The melody shifts from Gaud Sarang to Khammaj employing the Komal Nishadh. This raga was used in "Nenje nenje" from Ratchakan. Talking about Harini, she absolutely mesmerises you with her sweet voice and improvisations. Good choice Rahman! Unni as usual is at his best giving soft touches to the song. The song has a use of sweet bells thruout.The 1st interlude has the guitars, veena and the flute along with strings. The credit must go to Srinivasamurthy for arranging such a wonderful strings orchestra. Its very heavenly! The charanams are charming too, stretching the vocals on the higher octaves. The halt on Madhyam in 'ulaginil ullatho uyire' is fantastic. Listen carefully to the lines where Harini sings ' yellaam therindhirundum..', there is a use of Thavil-sounding percussion. Its not thavil..but reproduced on electronic percussions. Harini takes a beautiful 'harkat' when she returns to the pallavi encompassing a full octave- 'Re Ga Ma ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa', also singing the pallavi off-beat. The 2nd interludes has moorsing and soft mridangam with the harmonic jathis.The strings in the background are amazing! I love the way Unni returns to the pallavi in the lines 'vanji kodiye...' using chromatic notes- 'Pa Sa Pa ma Ma Ga'. (ma-teevra madhyam). The song ends with harmony singers singing the pallavi and mridangam playing in the background. Sorry...if I bored with such a detailed analysis...but cudnt help it. Beautiful compsition. Rating: *

  3. Vaan nila (Srinivas, Karthik)- Absolute stunner. Attempting Jazz is not something very usual or easy. That too in today's film music. I think the song starts with the Dulcimer for which James Asher is credited. The feel is mind-blowing. The second time it is played it has a touch of Raga Peelu- ' Ma Pa Ga Ma Ga Ma ni Pa ga Sa' (small caps for komal swaras). The song breaks out with Rock-n-Roll kinda rhythm, drums being the core percussion. The song has some really outstanding sax, piano and guitar pieces. Pay attention to the piano/keyboard played in the jazz style thruout the song. Its played free-hand. The main song reminds me of works done by old composers like RD or Shankar-Jaikishen. If you've heard "Aji aisa mauka phir kahan milaga" from An Evening in Paris, you'd agree with me. The charanams are absolutely innovative. You have no clue where the song is proceeding towards. There is a lot of off-beat progression of the song in the charanams durin the lines 'dam..dam..sangeetam...' ARR has attempted jazz in Iruvar in the songs "Vennila" and "Hello Mr.Ehirkitchu". This jaunre has never been used off late. Its a genuine attempt. Both the singers have done justice. For a while you cant distinguish between the two voices. They are so much in-sync. Its very youthful and will surely catch up with regular listening. Rating: ****1/2

  4. Enthan vaanin (SPB, Swarnalatha)- I dont know what to say...but Rahman is bound to cause us Diabetes. His compositions are sooo sweet. We dont mind them either! The starting Aalap by Swarna reminds me of the charanam of "nee than en desiya..." from PP. Listen to both the songs...especially the lines "verum udalaal varum sugaththai..odara paarkiren..." from PP. This song is definitely inspired from "Nahin saamne" from Taal and "Swasame' from Thenali. The style of composing as well as the arrangements. There is a constant use of sitar and santoor when SPB sings "vaazhga vaazhga..." SPB's in full form-delivering his usual best. What a soothing voice he's got! The basic melody is woven around Raga Bihag and has got treaces of Kalyani and Maand. The 1st interlude has the same aalap by Swarna and also a tarana style- "dirana dirana di rana tana". The percussions are again kept soft. Its got a Bombay Dreams hangover like "Closer than ever". Both the charanams are very melodious, Swarna providing the harmony and desired smiles! She's indeed got a smiling voice.Listen to the first line of the first charanam- "venpani nee thoongiya pulveli naan...", there's a duduk piece after this line. (Remember this instrument...used in "Rajyamma" from Baba). The 2nd interlude has sitar, piano and santoor. What is interesting is that the instrument keeps on fading when the other enters. Sitar fads out when piano enters and so does the santoor. The last lines of charanams has a beautiful chord. (Vijay, Rano...specially wud like it). Overall satisfying song. Rating: ****

  5. Baila more (T.R.Simbu, Tippu)- Whats this? At first I cudnt digest the song at all but then slowly started gulping it down. Its a typical Trace-kinda song. I basically dont like Trance. The song cud have been better. First of all, I cudnt undersand what that female was speaking...but got y doubts cleared when someone clarified she was speaking in French-"la mode debarque a chennai". Again, both the voices are undistinguishable. When the lines "azhage..." appear, its clear that ARR has used his favourite raga Panthuvarali (Puriya Dhanashri). This song will definitely find its place in discotheques and fashion shows. Its something what RD attempted with "Dum maro dum". You can literally feel the atmosphere with smoke and dancing lights. The rhythm is stunning. The whole song has digitally programmed vocal and rhythm modulations. Cud be appreciated by the masses. In the end there are strains of heavy Tanpura. May be some like it...but I prefer the softer numbers. Rating: ***

  6. O kaadhale (Mano, Clinton)- Once again, a melodious number...but on a sad note. The song starts with Mano's humming, singing the tune of the pallavi. When the song progresses to the main lines...you seem to be familiar with the rhythm pattern. Its the same used in "Tu hi re" and "Poraale". But then it doesnt stay for long. Its replaced by soft percussions. I love the 1st interlude with the strings and the flute. It gives a very nostalgic feel. Now...a regular ARR twist! The swaramandal (harp) glides thru the notes of Raga Charukeshi giving it a sorrow appeal. It gives us a feeling that two lovers are separated and are longing to see each other. The charanams are too good. The first charanam has soft tabla playing.Its similar to what he did in "Anbe...idhu nijamthaana" from Rhythm. In the charanam he changes the raga to Charukeshi and introduces the tabla. The overall melody is a bit complicated. But only a genius like Rahman can do justice to such songs. Be it any kind of song, he assures they enter our souls and capture our imagination leaving us to nothing but to adore him. The 2nd interlude has stunning vocals by Clinton(sounds so much like ARR). I can recall "Aaja sanwariyaaa..." sung by ARR in Bombay Dreams in the song "The journey home...". The way he sings 'Kaadhale..." is remarkable. Listen to the hymns and chants in the background with oodles of chords. It gives us a feeling that we are standing under a open moon-lit blue sky with stars shining and pouring sweet honey-like musical notes. (See the inlay cover with blue sky and clouds). The song is great with lots of innovations and suprises. Pay attention to the end when the harp just glides thru Charukeshi leaving us craving for more, giving us hope that ARR will return back with the same magic! Oh..its the last track! Beautifully sung by long-lost Mano. He finally arrives, he was seen last on Padaiyappa! Rating: ****1/2

So, this is KV. ARR comes with a vengeance. Forget all the complaints and enjoy this wonderfully-crafted album. Waiting to see the movie with its imaginatively picturised songs. It wud be a treat both for the eyes as well as ears. Overall Rating: ****

Hail ARR...Yeh dil maange More!!!


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry


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After so much of controversy about the delay of the audio of "Baba" and the blame being put on ARR and much more, the audio finally arrives with normal hoopla and excitement. Rajini fans grabbing the tapes like hot cakes and retail outlets flashing boards of 'sold out', the audio was genuinely awaited with all ARR and Rajini fans busy speculating about how the music would turn out and ARR fans worried that it should not be like 'Padiyappa' which would dither ARR's position in the industry. After all its a Rajini album!The response has surely been overwhelming with Rajini fans also being satisfied with the music. ARR's most awaited album 'Bombay Dreams' got a mixed response in India and everybody just praying that this album proves the fact "Rahman losing popularity" wrong. But its been harder for ARR fans last year and this year too with PP and Kannathil getting a below-normal response. (Alli Arjuna is out of question!). TLOBS was a masterpiece but did not get that much attention as it was meant for classes. "Baba", according to me, should be liked by both the masses and classes as it has got those ingredients to satisfy each one's tastes. Baba's music is good and is different from the typical Rajini-style of music. It is youngish, yet fresh and appealing. It is pacy yet melodious. ARR proves himself again that he can churn out good tunes inspite of being under pressure. Actually the slogan "known is a drop...unknown is an ocean" stands absolutely true for ARR. All the songs have some speciality. Lets look at them in detail:

  1. Baba theme- Ekamevadwiyam (Srinivas): The first time I heard this piece, I almost felt I'm in a temple or a divine place. The prelude has cellos and violins playing a haunted tune. And then Srini enters with a base-voice, sounding a bit like Hari. The entire piece looks like pundits chanting a mantra for a holy ritual in a temple. The background work is amazing playing Raag Bhairav; an early morning raag (Sa Re~ Ga Ma Pa Dha~ Ni Sa; ~ means komal swara). After Srini ends, there is a female voice sounding like an opera and temple bells ringing. That bell sound really gives u a holy feeling and it vibrates ur soul. Its a beautiful way to start an album. The only complaint is that its too short. Rating: 8.5/ 10.

  2. Dippu dippu (Shankar Mahadevan): Seems that ARR is seriously inspired by Bhangra beats..."Lagaan" was the beginning, "Pagdi sambhaal" continued the trend, "Wedding qawwali" proved the fact and now this one. It starts with normal vocals in the upper pitch by Shankar singing "Babaaa..." and then it shifts to a symphony kind of music with marching beats and suddenly unexpectedly u hear Bhangra beats with chorus shouting "Aaho!". The song is amazing with regular ARR percussions. After the cross line, its amazing to listen to the downwards progression of the notes by the chorus. The 1st interlude resembles a lot like those Indi-pop Punjabi songs (Jassi's "Dil le gayi kudi...") played on the organ. The antara is good with able support from the strings department. With the strings, it sounds more melodious. The 2nd interlude has rhythmic patterns on drums and its ARR speciality. The 3rd interlude is more soulful with strings just mesmerising u. After the 3rd charanam, the song changes its scale like in most of ARR's fast songs. This song has its origin from "Daud"s Bhangra by Usha Utthup. Overall the song is a pleasant surprise for all ARR and Rajini fans. Rajini must have never got such type of an entry song. A sure-shot winner! Rating: 8/ 10.

  3. Baba kichchu taa (Reena Bhardwaj/ S.P.B): A new talent, again! From where do these singers find their way to ARR, I really wonder. I want to find out how these unknown figures become a subject of attraction once they sing for ARR. But I must confess that ARR knows how to exploit new talents. They suit the song so well that people forget that he/ she is a new singer. Nyways, the song is a sweet melody based on Raag Aabheri (Bhimpalasi). Reena's voice is a mixture of Sadhana+Kavita Paudwal+Sujata Trivedi+Chitra Sivaraman. She's got that innocence in her voice yet an appealing one. She's equally good in lower as well as upper octaves. The song has got a catchy rhythm.S.P.B is at his usual best. S.P.B gets few songs from ARR nowadays, but considering Rajini, he must have givn it to S.P Sir. The first interlude has sweet pan flute-kinda sound joined by Trumpets.The melody is beautiful. Both the charanams belong to Reena and S.P joins only in the cross lines.The charanam has a Cranatic flavour. What a break for Reena! Is she a Tamilian? The 2nd interlude is again rhythm-based with digital sounds and Saxophone joining in later. The song has got good electric guitar support from Rashid Ali and Bass from Keith Peters. Its similar to songs like "Telephone manipol", etc. Rating: 7/10

  4. Maya maya (Karthik/ Sujatha): The song starts with Karthik's vocals and rhythms. Then the main lines enter "Maya maya ellam maya, chaya chaya ellam chaya" with such a force and the rhythm joins in. It is in the 6/8 meter. The pallavi is very attractive and is sure to catch up. Its got that international touch and accent. In the 1st interlude there is beautiful flute glides and one can hear soft tablas. Charanams are soft and melodious. Karthik has done a commendable job. The 2nd interlude is beautiful with flutes. Naveen has played the flute extremely well. The entire melody changes. Sujatha enters...delivers her best and leaves her mark. She is so comfortable with all types of songs. The 2nd charanam is very well-rendered. Its sure to become a hit. The percussions are catchy and very peppy. Rating: 8/ 10.

  5. Rajiyama (Jayachandran): Not a regular ARR-type.You feel u r listening to some other composer like IR. If u've heard Deen Isai Maalai, u'll immediately identify with this song. This is a typical darga-type sugi song which has got traces of a sufi qawwali. The song has essential percussions like duffs, dholak and ektara. What is special of this song is the wind-instrument 'duduk' played by Naveen. This is what I like about ARR...he has always something new to his audience and one learns a lot from his music. Duduk givs u a totally deserted feel to it as if the singer is singing on the hot sand dunes in a desert. The basic melody is based on Bhairavi. It has devotional shades specially in the charanams.The charanam tune is very similar to tunes of Marathi abhangs. Jayachandran has done a good job though he sounds stretched in the upper notes. He sounds exactly like Yesudas. The song reminds me of "Vidai kodu" from Kannathil. It will surely grow after a few listenings. Its surely not typically ARR style but we must encourage him to adopt to different styles of composing. Afterall, he is a versatile composer. Rating: 7.5/ 10.

  6. Sakthi kodu (Karthik): I love this song. Its among the best compositions of ARR off-late. It starts with heavy percussions and then Karthik and chorus vigourously singing "Sakthi kodu". The second time he sings "sakthi kodu", pay attention to the chorus. The melody and chords are different. The entire song is based on Raag Yaman kalyan (Kalyani). The highlight of the song is that it has that vigour and passion in it but is soft and pleading too. Listen to the lines "taayum neeye...uyirum neeye", they are so beautiful.Its a prayer to Goddess Kaali who has shades of anger and hatred for devils but mercy and love for her devotees. This is brought out very well in the song. It is hard-hitting yet soft-spoken. The 1st interlude has guitars and percussions joined by fast string progressions. The chords are wonderful. (Vijay, Rano will definitely like it). After the charanam, the rhythm changes to 5 beats in fast pace with mridangam and cymbals in the background. Its a true devotional song where someone is pleading and asking for something to God and to destroy evil powers. When the rhythm returns to normal and Karthik sings the sign line, there is a beautiful strum of the guitar. This is what amuses me...the song is a devotional song yet there is a use of guitars and strings with modern percussions. Any other composer would have used Indian instruments like tabla, pakhawaj, sitar, veena, but ARR tries to give it a global appeal. The song is excellent though it has got shades of "Nee than en desiya geetam " from PP. Good attempt. Though I dont understand the lyrics, I can figure it out that both Vaalee and Vairamuthu have done a great job. Rating: 9/ 10.

So, lets hope "Baba" creates new waves for Rajini as well as ARR. Its a humble attempt and ARR should be appreciated and congratulated. I saw on indiafm that Saathiya will be releasing in December. Whats this? This movie is getting delayed like hell. Where's Kadhal Virus? Hope it comes out in August. ARR's music is like any narcitic drug...the more u listen...the more u crave and get addicted. He needs to give us a constant doze of his music. What say guys?


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry


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What happens when 2 creative geniuses meet together for a common cause? This has exactly happened in the case of 'Meenaxi: a tale of 3 cities'. Here's a short stint on the birth of the movie.

Immensely popular painter, world renowned personality, M.F.Hussain's 2nd direcorial offering after the not-so-impactful 'Gaja Gamini'. After critics & audiences declared Hussain's inablity to direct & approach towards cinema, Mr.Tayeb Mehta (a famous painter & Hussain's close friend), gave him this novel idea about taking the camera outside the closed sets. Hussain was fascinated about this idea & started thinking seriously. Till then, he was awestruck by his muse, Madhuri Dixit. But this time, he chose the immensely gifted Tabu (though, Susmita Sen was his 1st choice) to portray the role of 3 different personalities captured in different circumstances at different places. At one side, we have Hussain's favourite city, Hyderabad; on the other hand, he chooses the magestic city, Jaisalmer; while the 3rd city falls outside the country's boundaries, the extremely gothic Prague. The film had to be different from all angles. He shortlisted the rest of the cast which comprises of Kunal Kapoor, Raghuvir Yadav, Nadira Babbar, etc. & the cinematography to be handled by the camera-magician, Santosh Sivan. For the music, which was a challenge to reproduce, Hussain's first & last choice was A.R.Rahman. Hussain is known to be abstract in his thoughts & the music alos speaks of the same. 'When you have Rahman & Sivan, anyone can make a good film', exclaimed Hussain saab in an interview. Why not? There were many speculations about how the music would be & we being ARR fans, we were obviously expecxting a lot! The movie did take a long time to come but it has come on right time. When the 1st promos started on T.V., the heavy classical BGM was impressive, to say the least. Rahman has this inherent ability to create a different sound & this album is no exception. I feel, this soundtrack has more of a sound-appeal than anything else. The compositions are simple, yet innovative & the arrangement is 'icing on the cake'! Rahman paints each song with a distinctive touch. He has collaborated with the world's best musicians & the credit must go to Hussain saab to give Rahman the freedom to create his own sound. The main lyricist is Rahat Indori (who works for the 1st time with ARR), Sukhwinder Singh & Mr.Hussain himself. The audio is released on the most reliable label. Sony Music. The packaging is as expected.

For my review, I have chosen to compare the songs with the 5 essential elements of the Universe: Water, Earth, Fire, Sky, Space.. Its not a purposive attempt to compare, but when I heard the songs, I could feel the connection of the music with the elements. The music is eternal & I must confess that this is Rahman's most innovative & experimental efforts. As usual, the music grows on you.

Rating Scale: * * * Mind-blowing

The opening song of the album is as fresh as a blossoming flower. ARR's new discovery, Reena Bharadwaj (from London, also sung 'Baba kichu taa') handles the vocals. Her voice is as fresh & sweet as honey! Truly a befitting song!

The song starts with cosmic sounds (which creates a picture of water bubbles) & female harmony doing the humming. The humming part is quite interesting. Along with the harmony, Rahman fills the ambience with chords, bells & a Mohan Veena-kind of an instrument which just provides meends (glides). It goes up & down alternatively. This adds to the curiosity & keeps us wondering whats next? Reena enters the scene with her innocent voice without rhythm. There's great use of accoustic guitars in this song. The arrangement credit goes to the maestro, John Themis (also worked on 'Dil Se'). The lines 'Yeh rishta kya kehlaata hai?' (what is this relationship called?) become the punch lines of the song. The rhythm is typically a Rajasthani folk one. The picturisation is also done in the sand dunes of Rajasthan. The song is a romantic number. The percussions include dhol, dholak, chendas & nagaaras. Reena's rendition of the word 'Hai' needs a special mention. Its quite innovatively pronounced. Though the song has all the elements of traditional folk, its still very contemporary. Rahman's touch is evident in the lines 'Koi anjaani si cheez meri..." with lots of guitar strums. The creativity comes when ARR uses a synthetic sound (like mobile tones) which sounds like effervescent bubbles. It comes after the lines 'saanson se lipatne lagti hai'. This piece is similar to the flute piece in the 2nd interlude of 'Sainyaa' from Nayak. The following lines 'main dil ke kareeb aa jaati hoon' rather sum up the mukhda with a traditional tihaai beat(3 times). Till here, the song has shades of Raga Bihaag & Bilawal, using all shuddha swaras. The main lines 'Yeh rishta...' uses the notes ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ma Ga Sa (small caps for lower octave notes). As Gulzar once pointed out that Rahman never follows the usual mukhda-antra structure, this song is a perfect example of it. After the main mukhda gets over, ARR shifts the melody. He uses heavy tanpura drones which cast a lingering effect followed by mandolin-banjo pieces. This piece is again typically form Marwar (region in Rajasthjan). When one is enjoying the song smoothly, Rahman suddenly breaks into a surprise. He reproduces the sound of Water. This water enters with the heavy beat of a tympani. God...when u hear it on headphones or on a home-theatre, u almost feel u r in a boat surrounded by water on all sides. For one moment, I almost felt that my tap was leaking!!! Reena haunts us by singing freehand alaaps. That one small meend created by the veena just takes ur breath. Such a small, unnoticable thing creates magic! The entire melody changes from the lines 'Is gumsum jheel ke paani mein'. The raga shifts to Madhyamad Sarang emplyoying Komal nishadh. The entire phrase literally means that in this silent stream, a pearl is dropped, this creates waves & goes on increasing to become a confusing loop. This actually describes the coindition of the woman who's fallen in love. A stranger comes & captures her heart & then she's totally smitten by his presence that her life changes. Rahman tries to capture this feeling with lots of sound effects & chords. The change in the melody exactly explains this situation. The vocals stretch to the upper octave with cympals & tympani to return to to the main melody. One interesting thing hich I noticed was thattowards the end, ARR has used an echo every time after the lines 'Yeh rishta...'. The voice has been digitally manipulated. It gives a very different feel to the song. Like constant waves on the sea-shores which come & go. The rest of the song has the same progression. The lyrics by Rahat Indori are equally good. "Tasveer banaati rehti hoon, main tooti hui awaazon par; ek chehra dhoondti rehti hoon deewaaron kabhi darwaazon par, main apne paas nahin rehti aur door se koi bulaata hai!" (I keep painting pictures on broken, unidentified voices & keep searching for that face on walls & doors, at a time when I dont belong to myself, someone calls me from far lands, what is this relationship called?) The entire song is a case of rhetoric questions. The song ends with an alaap which echoes & lingers in ur mind till its finished. This song has an amazing quality of rich sounds & an excellent rendition by Reena to compliment. ARR truly knows how to extract talent. Thru out the song, I felt I was standing on a sea-shore watching the waves come & go, which transported me to a different world. This is the reason, I feel it connected to the element water. Its got all the qualities like freshness, effervescence, bubbly, etc. Truly, a great effort. Very hummable & simple to rmember. The song cud have been a little longer (why do we always complain?)

Rating: * * 1/2

  1. Chinamma chilakamma (Sukhwinder Singh; lyric: Sukhwinder) Element: EARTH

The next song belongs to the city of Hyderabad. It was promoted as the next 'Chhaiya chhaiya' becoause of ARR-Sukhwinder combo. Well, 'Chhaiya chhaiya' had created history & I feel, such comparisons should not be made. Talking of the song, its an excellent example of fusing traditional folk with contemporary sounds. The song starts with ektara & a flute (which sounds more like whistle). Towards the beginning, the flute starts from a off-scale note & reaches to the desired note (this just adds to the authenticity of the song). Only by hearing this much, u feel u have entered the colourful streets of the historic Hyderabad. The female harmony takes over to sing some Telugu lines "chinamma chilakamma chudu chudu, seethamma buchamma aadu aadu" (chinamma, chilakamma, etc. r names of girls; chudu means speak & aadu means dance). This kind of an attempt was previously made in 'Jiya jale' from Dil se, where ARR has blended Malayalam folk with modern rhythms. The tone of the female harmony is typically folkish. Towards the end, before the percussions enter, there's a heavy entry sound which sounds like a break of the car (its due to the heavy bass guitar). The percussion is very modern but blends well with the mood. Sivamani pumps in some rustic percussions to enhance the feel. The entire mood is of a lush green field, with flowers, birds & butterflies. Sukhwinder enters with the main lines 'Titli daboch lee maine...' with a punch, as usual. His voice has that rustness & power which can lift any song. Though the song is rhythm-oriented, Rahman fills up the song with his usual magical chords, especially in the lines 'zindagi khayal ki tere, hansta hua chaman de de...'. The song is of a care-free nature, not bound to any particular situation. Every time the lines 'chinamma..' appear, one feels joyous & makes our foot tap. The first interlude has a synthetic sound. Its obviously reproduced on the keyboard & digitally manipulated, but it sounds very exciting. It creates an image of a roaming butterfly or a bee wandering around the flowers to collect nectar. The harmony fills the empty gaps, while Sivamani creates excteptional rhythm punches, which r more like folk 'kooththu' rhythm. The antras r simple, maintaining the mood of the song. What is interesting, is where the harmony sings 'rangi rangi'. These lines have so beautifully come out. Thru out the antra there r rhythmic variations going in the backdrop. In this song, the music takes centre stage while the lyrics just follow. The antras r very simple & then, it returns to the cross lines 'zindagi khayal ki...' with usual guitars & chords. The 2nd interlude has the flute with folk-percussions. This piece reminds me a lot of the interlude of 'Konjum mainakkale' from Kandukondain. Its quite similar. The rest of the antra is same. In the end, when Sukhwinder sings the lines 'zindagi khayal ki...', Rahman signs the lines with his usual way. There's a pan-flute kind of a sound which goes around in the background & it creates a sensational feel. It reminds me of ARR's vintage days! The female harmony ends the song & the beats fade off. Why I connect this song to the Earth, is because of its rustic percussions & happy-go-lucky attitude. Thru out the song, ARR has used an echo in the rhythm at particular points which have been given a panning effect (u can hear the echo travelling from one speaker to the other). I always used to picturise this song in an open field or street. But Hussain has shot it in a closed set. May be thats his interpretation. But the song is quite catchy & is another magical offering from the combination.

Rating: * *

  1. Do kadam (Sonu Nigam; lyric: Rahat Indori) Element: SKY/ WIND

The next song is a treat to listen. Its the most comfortable & accepted genre of music that Rahman composes. He's a master of chords & when it comes to string arrangement, nobody can dare to stand near him. He's got a wonderfully talented conductor, Srinivasamurthy. In this song, the string arrangement is credited to the immensely gifted, Rashid Ali (guitarist-singer). The song is composed in uch a way that it makes the listeners go beyond the mundane to a experience a different world altogether. This is one of Sonu's best songs where he pours in all his feelings & emotions. Rahat Indori's imaginitive lyrics need a special mention too. Its written on a personal basis; as if the singer is telling u all the things. Earlier, the movie was titled "Do kadam aur sahi" & hence this song was written at that time. This song is written with respect to Prague which falls beyond the domestic limits. The writer is humbly pursuasing to walk a little more to go to that a new world which is waiting to welcome them.

The chords set the mood of the song while Sonu's magical voice enters the scene. In the background u'll hear tinking bells & other digital sounds. Just listen to the song on personal headphones under a starry sky (like 'My hear will go on' from Titanic). Its divine! The amazing chords create an image of the walking clouds, the bells will seem as wind just pushing these clouds. The main lines 'do kadam...' r sung 4 times in different ways. The percussions enter with beautiful strings, piano & guitars. The percussions r kept soft maintaining the peaceful mood of the song. The song reminds me of 'Vellai pookkal' from Kannathil. The melody covers all the sven shuddha notes. The amabience is enhanced by chimes, bells & guitars. The song is composed in a the same tune; there is no mukhda-antra format. The same tune appears as the mukhda & antra. The best lines, according to me, r 'Dhoop dariyaaon mein hai, phir safar paaon mein hai...'; ARR has stopped at each note distinctly. The first time its on Re, followed by Ga, then Ma & finally climbing to Pa. It seems like an entire journey from Sa to Pa & then completing the cycle by saying 'aao chale hum vahin...' (lets go there). The interlude music has strings (violins, cellos, violas) & french horns with heavy tympani. The rhythm pattern changes. The rest of the tune is same. U can hear a soft flute in the background. It has been digitally given a metal effect. When Sonu repeats the main lines 'do kadam', carefully listen to the 2nd time he sings. There's an amazing chord (totally out of the main melody, its a Teevra/sharp Ma). The strings pattern continues for the rest of the song. In the lines 'kiski awaaz hai sun...', Sonu actually whispers the words in ur ear, while ARR layers his voive in the lines 'chal ke dekhe to zara' by creating a harmonic feel. In the end, when the french horns take the lead, listen to it the 2nd time. Rahman creates a sound of thunder. This is the magic! The song has more of a imaginitive quality. It makes u visualise images in ur mind. ARR had said in an interview that he imagines & visualises landscapes while composing such songs.This is Hussain's job, creatively translated by ARR thru his music. Sonu's rendering is heart-melting. After hearing the song, u can just feel one thing for ARR, why only 2 steps (do kadam), we'r ready to travel an entire lifetime with u!!!

Rating: * * *

  1. Badan dhuan dhuan (Asha Bhosle; lyric: Rahat Indori) Element: FIRE

The song of Prague. This was the song that I immediately liked. First of all, its the perfect kind of song for Ashaji. She's awesome in the song. At a time when other composers opt for Sunidhi Chauhan or Alisha Chinai for sensuous & peppy songs, ARR sticks to the legend of Indian cinema, Ashaji. I think, she finds Rahman the most comfortable & unassuming composer. This is the 4th consecutive album where she appears, after Saathiya, Tehzeeb & Lakeer. The entire mood of the song depicts fire & rage. One can picturise burning flames & clouds of smoke. There r many surprises in this song. ARR collaborates with one of the most versatile world musician, James Asher who has given this song a distinctive stamp of its own. Sivamani handles the percussion department without saying.

The song starts with heavy percussions which set the mood. Kunal Ganjawalla (ARR's current favourite) lends his inmitable voice which really seems interesting. The way its sung makes the song more urban & sophesticated. U can hear banjos & guitars in the background, while the ghungroos compliment the main percussion. Ashaji humms 'dhuan dhuan...' & enters with a force with 'na na na na...'. How does she sing this at 71? The digits can be interchanged! There's an immense use of wind-chimes during these lines. Just before she starts singing, there's an amazing rhythm punch. Its so strong that it almost makes ur feet tempt to dance. The main lines start 'Badan dhuan...' & the way she whispers 'aah' makes u go crazy. The bass guitar in the lines 'sulag raha hai kis liye' is one to watch out for. The beats start. The entire sound reminds me of 'Dil se re', mainly becoz of the same raga Nattai (Jog) & the rhythm execution. Ashaji takes a beautiful taan in the lines 'ruan ruan..' from Ga Pa Ma Sa ni Pa Ma Ga Ma Pa ni Sa (small caps- komal/flat swar). She changes her vocal tone the 2nd time she repeats the mukhda, adding more zing & seduction. The 1st interlude begins with a triangle & then Kunal taking over. The keyboard follows the singer in the framework of the raga (similar to the string progression in 'Chale chalo' from Lagaan; again in the same raga). The most impactful element in the song is the rhythm punches. The antra is more in the jazz mould. It tries to move away fom the boundaries of the raga to create a mood of its own. A lot of chromatic notes have been used. I like the lines 'Mohabbaton ki shaakh par khile to is tarah, judaa na saari umr ho mile to is tarah' (on the branches of love we'll blossom in such a way that we'll never separate in our lives). In the lines 'hawaayein...' ARR fills the ambience with the strings. The last word of the antra 'darmiyaan' stops on a komal gandhar, which eseentially is the character of Nattai. Ashaji returns to the mukhda with a strong bass guitar following her. Suddenly, the percussion changes & u hear dulcimers & banjos along with special wind-effects. These r surely James Asher's inputs. The mood becomes very 'Sufiyana' (like 'Satrangi re'). The raga changes. Kunal sings some alaaps. Ashaji enters with an alaap that changes the entire feel of the song. The shift from the principle raga to Shuddha Basant is so beautifully crafted that it gives u goosepimples! The swaranmandal (harp) glides over the notes of the raga which is quite close to Puriya Dhanashri or Banthuvarali. With the lines 'yeh aanch kaisi aanch hai, pighal rahi hoon main' make u feel as if u'r really burning. Ashaji's versitality is proved here. Till the beginning, she sounded sensuous & seductive where as from here she explores her classical aura. James Asher's grooves r prominent thruout this part. The set-up of this part creates a heavenly effect, very sufi-type. U just flow with the song into a different world. The last line of the 2nd antra 'samaa' stops on a shuddha madhyam returning to the original scale of Nattai. ARR has filled this song with surprises & u feel elated that so many varied moods have been blended beautifully in one song. After she returns to the mukhda, the song comes to its final touches. The opening percussions return while James adds his groovy voice to sum up the song. A pan-flute kind of instruments accompanies in the backdrop. The song paints the images of the gothical Prague & how Tabu's character is different in each city. It falls under the world music category. Truly, a song that will remain in our hearts for long.

Rating: * * *

  1. Noor-un-ala (Qadir-Murtuza Khan; lyric: M.F.Hussain): Element: SPACE

ARR had said in his interview that the qawwali in 'Meenaxi' is one of his special compositions. M.F.Hussain said this too. This is the opening song in the film & has been choreographed in a unique manner by an Italian choreographer. Hussain, for the 1st time, attempts to write the lyrics. The entire synopsis of the song highlights the importance of 'light' in our lives. Thru the song he extends his gratitude to the creator of the Universe for giving us such a wonderful & precious gift which enables us to see the wonderful things He has created on earth. He warns us from the dangers of darkness. Naturally, the song has a lot of sufiism as both Hussain & ARR r inspired from it. Thats how the element Space fits in. Its very eternal & ever-evolving. The song transports us to a world which is only in our imagination beyond the boundaries of earth. He gives chance to the young Qadir & Murtuza Khan (sons of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan) who have also lent their voices in 'Piya Haji Ali' from Fiza & 'Chupke se' from Saathiya.

The song starts with heavy classical alaaps by both the brothers while a constant voice 'noor...noor' goes on in the background. This all is without any rhythm & is held by the bass guitar. The alaaps reach a climax where the typical qawwali beats enter with live claps. Rahman has used a continuous rhythm loop in this song. Thats the only regret I have. The rhythm doesnt change at all till the end. If he had used live percussions like tabla, naubat & dholak, the song would have been enhanced. The main song begins with 'Chaaron taraf...norr-un-ala'. The melody is not based on one particular raga. It has shades of Jog, Gawati & Chhayanat. The punch lines 'noor-un-ala' immediately attract attention. What I like is the line 'yeh roshni kya roshni' where it pauses on the shuddha madhyam & comes down from ma, shuddha ga, komal ga & sa. The song reminds me of the Wedding qawwali of Bombay Dreams. There's no fixed mukhda-antra structure, the song just goes on. The 1st interlude has lots of sargam where ARR experiments with funky sounds to make it more appealing. But, it doesnt seem out of place, it has very well blended with the song. The antras sound like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's famous qawwali 'Allah hoo'. ARR is immensely inspired by this great legend. The 1st antra has some great lyrics like 'parindon se poochha kahan parwaaz hai, khamoshi se poochha kahan awaaz hai; phoolon se patton se, rangon se aayi sadaa' (I asked birds where the flight is, I asked silence, where voice is & then all the flowers, leaves, colours said the same thing that its becuase of the light). The co-ordination between both the singers is amazing. Both their voices seem to blend in one another. The 2nd interlude also has sargams. The antras have been musically enriched with some great chords. The lyrics r a mixture of Urdu, Hindi & Brij bhasha. The 3rd interlude has a harmonium-kind of instrument. The main melody instrument of a qawwali is harmonium. Nowadays, we rarely hear this instrument. ARR had used this in 'Kehna hi kya' from Bombay & 'Pagdi sambhaal' from TLOBS. Both the singers sing fast taans which makes the listener say 'Wah'! In the 3rd antra, the harmonium accompanies the singers. In the lines 'jaankar hoga kya', one singer pauses on the upper sa, while the other takes an alaap from the lower sa to the upper one. The singers return to the mukhda & this time they create a harmony while singing 'noor-un-ala'. The song reaches a crescendo with heavy taans & sargams. The best part is when everything stops, there's a haunting chant of 'noor...noor' which goes on & on. After listening to this, I felt I was in the space amongst the stars, exploring new worldly horizons. Absolutely heaven!!! The sound travels in ur imagination till the end, even after u stop listening to the album. One of the best qawwalis composed in Hindi films recently, though I still love 'Piya Haji Ali'. Hussain has done a commendalble job with the lyrics.

Rating: * * 1/2

  1. Rang hai (Alka Yagnik; lyric: Rahat Indori) Element: ALL ELEMENTS

The most complicated & confusing songs composed by ARR, 'Rang hai' takes times to digest! But once u listen to it for more than, dunno how many times, u realise the beauty of the song. The song has been tactfully composed without any inhibitions. Rahman experiments on full-scale. The song belongs to the 3rd city, Jaisalmer & true to its sense, it has a traditional Rajasthani flavour. This time, world percussionist, Hossam Ramzi takes the conductor's cane. The percussions include a wide variety of instruments from the very-Arabic darbuka, to drums, African congas, bells & rajasthani chimtas. The song celebrates the essence of colour in our lives & hence, I reagrd this song as a melange of all the universe's elements- beginning from the effervescent & transparent colour of water & wind, greenness & brown colour of the earth, the blue skies, to the bright red & yellow colours of fire. Its a complete song. The famous Lebanese singer, Dallinda, too gifts her valuable vocals to the song. I'm sying this again, dont judge the song by its complexity, but hear it in totality; only then u'll be able to appreacite the effort of ARR's music.

Heavy chords enter with the haunting vocals of Dallinda. The entire part resembles to a typical Arabian melody. Soon, rajasthani folk percussions ascend into the scene. This time of percussions were also used in 'Sainya' from Nayak. Alka's soft yet vibrant vocals spreads like colour. I've never liked Alka otherwise, but she sounds amazing with ARR. Many might feel that the tune resembles to many ARR's past songs like 'Khamoshiyan' or 'Taal se taal'. The 2nd time she repeats the lines 'Rang hai..', the ektara creates the beat. A ghatam-like instrument is also used. ARR explores Dallinda's vocal to the fullest. Hossam Ramzi too builds the mood with different percussions. The chorus shouts 'hooooo..' which sounds very Arabic. When the main rhythm enters, many might fell that its overdone or the song looses its essence due to the loud rhythm. Yes, the rhythm is a bit loud, especially when Alka is singing. U have to take pains to hear what she's singing. But, the rhythm is so catchy that it makes u forget eveything else & enjoy the song. Alka & the female chorus sing the main lines. The lyricist has brought out the importance of colour like 'Rang aanch, rang naach hai, rang hai jeevan ang, rang hai...". Colour is like the flames of fire, its like dance & finally its a part of our lives. The last lines 'rang hai rang hai..' r just awesome where ARR uses chromatic notes. By the way, the melody is based on Raga Bhairavi which is considered to be a 12-notes raga. There's no limitation to use specific raga-bound notes. This freedom has been effectively captured by ARR. When we talk of freedom, the piece that follows will keep u gasping for a while. Atleast, I was wondering what was going on. The melody suddenly shifts to a different path. The bagpiper-like instrument goes to a completely different scale. Then when I heard it carefully for umpteen times, I was left spellbound! ARR has used a very old classical concept of 'Moorchhana'. When the Sa of the melody is changed to a different note, a completely new melody is created. Like if u take a song, identify the Sa (starting note) of the song, then take the same song & sing it by increasing each note from Re, Ga, Ma & so on but sticking to the original note. Each time u'll find the melody different. The same theory has been adapted here. When Alka sings the antra, the raga changes. But if u sing the same antra with the original scale, u'll still sing it in Bhairavi. Thats the magic of music! The music has been compared to the varied nature of colour. 'Rangon ki aayi toli, rangon ki laayi doli, rangon ke chhede nagme, rangon ki bol-boli'. The melody is similar to the tune of 'Maahive' from TLOBS. I love the lines 'aaj pyar ki puhaar se seekho pyar ke rang rang hai rang hai'. The tune is so melodious, & to top it all, Rahman fills his usual chords. The melody returns to Bhairavi with 'Rang hai'. The 2nd interlude again belongs to Dallinda. The rhythm pattern changes. Its more soft. Soon, Alka softly enters with the lines 'Kya keh raha hai...sun sun..'. The antras r not similar. This time its more slow, emphasising on the words. This antra delas with the festival of Holi (Phaagun). 'Rut gulaal (red colour used in Holi) hai rang laal hai, man hai mast malang'. The different chords used in the words 'sun...sun', is just mind-blowing. The last alaap by Alka really reminds u of 'Khamoshiyan' from 1 2 ka 4. The song ends with Dallinda's vocals. The song is an entire journey from where we started. After u listen to the song, u figure out the true colours of each song which r so varied & deep yet so blended. The entire album is a treat to hear. Alka gets full points, whereas the composer gets 1 mark more as a pat on his shoulder!

Rating: * * *

  1. Cyclist's rhythm (Sivamani) + 8. Potter's village (Hossam Ramzi):

Both these bonus tracks r instrumentals & more rhythm-based. Like the heavy rhythm oriented 'Beat of passion' from Taal or the groovy 'Love check' from PP. Cyclist's rhythm is the peak of imagination. What can a composer do when he's asked to compose music for such a situtation where the actor is surrounded by cycles which leads to an impromptu dialogue between them. The track begins with genuine cycle bells. They dont sound fake or digitally created. Sivamani must have religiously collected different sounding bells. For a while, u peep out of ur window, if the milkman has come with his cycle! A rhythm is created with these bells. Naveen has been given a free hand to play his flute. The flute has been given a metallic sound. The percussion mainly includes the tympani & the shaker. Cow-bells & ghungroos enter . What amazed me was that ARR has used the sound of a door. At 1.01 mins, u'll hear a sound that seems like a big gate is being opened. This pattern goes on for a while till there's a confusion of too many bells ringing simultaneously. The high point comes when Sivamani takes the stick in his hand to beat the duff. He explores rhythmic options. First he plays in 6/8 meter which sounds like a typical 'kooththu' beat. Very folkish & rural. Like the beats used in 'Ganpati processions'. He then shifts quickly to the 2/4 meter mould. There r lots of whistles & bells. This whole part lifts u up to enjoy & dance. Those who cant dance, atleast tap their feet! Sivamani plays effortlessly & flawlessly & finally u wish u were present to see this magic being created in the closed doors of the studio. ARR excels in each way in the execution of the songs.

The last track is 'Potter's village'. I only wished this track was longer. The track starts with guitars which again give us an Arabic feel. Somehow I feel the resemblance to the song 'Chappa chappa charkha chale' from Maachis composed by Vishal Bhardwaj. That cud be mere coincidence. The entire ambience is created by sound effects which actually give us a pictoral view of a village where clay pots r being made. Different ghatams have been used- steel & clay pots. This track is credited to Hossam Ramzi & John Themis. U can hear an accordian kind of instrument also. The percussions get heavier with darbukas & clay pots. This rhythm continues till the end. Each time a new percussion layer is added. This increases the pace of the track. In the end there's this typical instrument (dunno the name) but it sounds very ethnic. The guitar plays a la Middle East. If u notice clearly, u'll hear a man's voice in the end which almost sounds like a yawn. Just hear it carefully. The track ends very soon, when u still expect some more magic! Both these tracks r not the best instrumental tracks but surely fit the nature of the album which has so much to offer. Both of them r essentially aprt of the BGM. Lets hope the picturisation of all these songs is upto the standard we've expected.

Rating: * *

Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2 (almost close to 5)

P.S: The review is strictly based on personal judgement & does not wish to hurt anyone's personal feelings.

posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry

The Legend of Bhagat Singh

Original URL

Here I am with the popular demand to review the long awaited album of ARR, "The Legend of Bhagat Singh". I must say that ARR has matured in his music not sticking to regular filmi tunes. This is because he is accepting films of different genres: period, romantic, patriotic, experimental, etc. And he has succeeded in all his attempts to create the appropriate feel of the subjects. "1947 Earth", "Lagaan", "Thakshak", "Iruvar", "Kannathil", "Alaipayuthey", "Pukar", have all proved to be masterpieces in their own senses. It also depend a lot on the director: like with Mani its just magical! Lyrics also play a very important role in shaping the whole song. Past works with Javed Akhtar, Gulzar and Majrooh Sultanpuri haas proved that Rahman understands poetry and the nuances of Hindi as well as Urdu literature. Compliments from Gulzarsaab and Lataji confirm this point that Rahman is the best among the new breed of MDs. Why not? After all, dedication and devotion to music finally pays off.

Lets just concentrate on the music of TLOBS for the time being. Another period film with lots of patriotic flavour like "Roja", "Bombay" or "Vande Mataram". I think he gives the best scores for period/patriotic subjects. TLOBS is no exception. When we all had heard that ARR is composing for this film, we knew something new and novel is in store for us. The movie based on the life of the freedom-fighter Bhagat Singh demands a typical period music with Punjabi dialect. The folk music of Rural Punjab was never attempted by ARR in the past. So it was a difficult task for him to create that era and that flavour thru his compositions. Considering the fact that he is very busy with "Bombay Dreams" and a handful of other projects, it would be unfair to say that he has composed this music in haste. Atleast, I dont feel that. The music is very interesting. Each song stands out for itits uniqueness and has something novel to offer. Lets examine them in detail:

  1. Mera rang de basanti chola (Sonu Nigam, Manmohan Waris): Typical Punjabi song with traditional lyrics and minimal orchestration. One must understand the fact that all these songs have minimal instrumentation and a typical rhythm with less improvisations as it is folk-based and folk music is very simple, from the heart. Here the rhythm is like a qawwali. Lyrics play an important role. The song is based on Raga Bhairavi and has been sung well by both the singers. Though first-timer Manmohan Waris sounds a bit not-so-confident types as he sings all the notes very straight (Hans Raj Hans would have been preferred). Sonu as usual is at his best, filling in emotions, providing the variations and showcasing his range. It has a simple rhythm with dholak, dhol, claps and cymbals which give a folk appeal. The interludes are also short and crisp with flute and harmony.The second interlude has the santoor. In the first interlude, the raga structure changes a bit and then returns to the basic melody (like in the 2nd interlude of "Varaaga" from Sangamam). A regular ARR speciality! Overall the song is good and has got all the ingredients of becoming a commercial hit.Lyrics are apt. All the 4 Bhagat Singhs' have this common song and I feel this is the best. The rest of them give u a more Bhangra-Pop kinda feel. Rating: 7/10.

  2. Pagdi sambhal jatta (Sukhwinder Singh, chorus): ARR composing a Bhangra! Quite successful. The song starts with Sukhwinder's beautiful rendition of some sufi doha with beautiful Harmonium in the background. The song suddenly picks up pace with manjiras, cymbals and fast rhythm on the dhol and dholak. Then there are these typical Punjabi words like "tunak tunak", "balle balle", "Harippa" and all. Remember "Lagaan"'s last scene when Deva takes a wicket. The same beats and "harippa" were used. The song has some nice banjo pieces. Interludes are primarily rhythm-oriented. Good attempt. Could be popular among masses. Lets wait and watch for the picturisation. Rating: 6 1/2/10.

  3. Mahive (Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan): Beautiful...simply melodius! The same ARR melody with oodles of chords and string arrangements like "Mehki mehki" from Zubeidaa, "O re chhori" from Lagaan or "Nee than en desiya geetham" from PP. The song starts with Alka's beautiful voice singing "Chirewaaliyan" and vibrophones giving it a support. The song develops a continuous rhythm on the dholak with thaaps. The raga could be the popular folksy Maand (using all shuddha notes). The interludes have fast strings (violins, violas, cellos, flute and keyboards) which give a beautiful effect. Alka has indeed improved a lot and this is why ARR has started using her in most of his Hindi songs. Udit gives an able support with his typical pronounciations. Best song of the album. Just love all ARR melodies! My personal favourite...I cant get enough of it! Rating : 9/10.

  4. Sarfaroshi ki tamanna I & II (Sonu Nigam, Hariharan): Part one is fast with an unusual 6/4 metre (12 beats). Its a marching-type of a song where the words have been sung in double metre. This song was there in the old Bhagat Singh too but this one's completely different. The second version is amazing. Its the slower version in 2/4 metre (8 beats, Keherwa taal). Sonu starts the song with required emotions (Vibrophones provide the chords) and Hari continues the mukhda. The song is based on Raga Des and then partly shifts to a variation of Des: Des Mahlar employing the Komal Gandhar. The slide on Komal Gandhar in the upper octave is beautiful. The first interlude starts with Santoor and Mohan Veena (or Sitar). The raga keeps on shifting to different shades of Des and Jaijaiwanti. The second interlude has the tabla with Santoor and chorus. It gives u a feel of "O palanhaare" from Lagaan. After the 2 nd antara, the pace is increased and the tabla plays the Addha Taal (16 beats) with glides of the swarmandal (Harp) and both Hari and Sonu singing together like singing a jugalbandi.The overall mood of the song is that of Bhakti or devotion. The lyrics are very touchy and quite nicely structured. Good work by Sameer! In the end the rhythm becomes double and there is a very fast strings progression while both the singers sing. The song builds a crescendo towards the end. It would be really exciting to watch the song in the film. It definitely evokes a patriotic appeal and concern for the grievances of the freedom-fighters. Its a song of motherland and sacrifices given by them.It has a Naushad-feel to it if u hear it sincerely. I liked it very much as it has a classical touch. Moreover it is the longest song in the album!No wonder Sonu's expecting a Natioanl award. Truly, he's sung the best! Rating: 9/10.

  5. Desh mere/ Dil se niklegi/ Kasam tumko watan (Sukhwinder Singh, ARR): This is the song that comes on TV and its again a patriotic song. ARR sings only 2 lines through out "Des mere" while Sukhwinder does the rest. The song starts with trumpets and bugle and western percussions. It gives u the feel of the Victorian era with symphony kind of interludes.The antaras are good with the use of both Madhyams together towards the end (chromatic notes). The song is based on raga Shuddha Sarang/ Shyam Kalyan. The other two versions are sad versions sung by Sukhwinder. Good songs but short ones! They could be playing it in the background. The rhythm is similar to the Theme of Lagaan. In the second version there are traces of Shehnaai in the background. Rating: 8 /10.

  6. Shora so pahchaniye (Karthik, Raquib, Sukhwinder): The first promo to be aired...its more like a theme song. No tune, only words said with vigour and energy. Its a chorus song. Must be one of those aggressive patriotic numbers. God knows what the words mean! It ends with elongated "Inqilab Zindabad". Lots of percussions. Very short ( approx 2 mins.)! Rating: 6/10.

  7. Jogiya (Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan): Of late ARR has been composing songs in the 14-beat metre ("Sona nahin" from 1 2 ka 4, "Azhage sugama" from PP). Its the Deepchandi taal. The song starts with the dholak beats and flute building the right ambience of a romantic duet.The flute begins with shades of Yaman Kalyan. Again a melodius number. The main song starts with "Jogiya jogiya..." (there is some other female too!) The melody is based on Raga Chhayanat. It resembles a lot to "Azhage sugama" from PP. The antara is also good with Udit entering at regular intervals. This is also a melody of Punjab-origin, dholak being the principal percussion. The metre is not regular deepchandi but the structure has been changed. We call it the "Wazan" of the beat.It could a marriage song. There is the flute, shehnaai, keyboards and strings. Apt for the situation. Overall the song is hummable. Rating: 7 1/2/10.

Overall Album Rating: 8/10.

So heres it! Detailed review of the album.Hope u agree with me! Do send in ur suggestions and opinions. I got Karthik S (IT)'s mail saying that he wants the review at the earliest. My exams r goin on but then even I couldnt resist the temptation to write this review. 9 beautiful songs and one master creator! I think we r experiencing ARR's best works of late. The other versions of Bhagat Singh with MDs like Anand Raaj Anand and Sardool Sikandar will have a tough time to catch the audience's attention once they have had heard this one. I think, half the battle is already won by Rajkumar Santoshi with powerhouse performers like Ajay Devgan, Sushant Singh, Farida Jalal and above all ARR with other technical crew. Lets wait n watch for BD and other releases. For the time being, enjoy the album!

Amar Rahe Rahman


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry


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Bharathiraja returns after a long time with his directorial venture "Kangalal Kaidhu Sei" (Arrest me with your eyes). The important news is that he teams up with his one-time favourite music composer & our all-time favourite, A.R.Rahman (Isai Puyal Raghuman...as he says!). The last time the two teamed up was 'Taj Mahal' in 1999 which was musically a hit. The speciality of Bharatiraja's music lies in his love & admiration for folk music which was reflected in his previous films. Rahman's major folk tunes were for Bharathiraja's films. Listen to 'Kizhakku cheemayile' or 'Karuthamma' or 'Taj Mahal'; u'll find that Baharathiraja has always explored rich folk traditional tunes of Tamil Nadu. His special choice of singers reiterated the same point- Kunjaramma, T.K.Kala, Shahul Hameed, Sunantha, M.Vasudevan, Mano, S.P.B, Sasirekha, T.L.Maharajan, Sreeram, Kalpana, Arunthathi, Manoj, Chitra, Sumangali, Swarnalatha & others. Rahman-Bharathiraja's greatest magic worked in 'Anthimanthaarai'. Though it was a low-budget film with just 3 songs, Rahman's genius proved again. The song 'Sakhiye' by Unnikrishnan remains one of the best composed Carnatic songs by ARR. Looking back at these musical albums, one agrees that Bharathiraja is one of the few directors who has a musical ear & can extract the best out of a composer. Other such directors being Maniratnam, Subhash Ghai, Rajiv Menon, Shankar.

'Kangalal Kaidhu Sei' came out at such a time when Tamil music had become mundane & monotonous. After the success of 'Boys' every other film was based on youth or adolescence & it had typically youth-oriented music. Rahman's 'E20U18' was no exception either. I remember a poll in some site where they had asked about ARR's future hits which included 'E20..', 'Ayutha ezhuthu', 'New' & 'KKS'. Unfortunately, 'KKS' was the least-voted album. When it came out, everyone felt that its gonna be just another regular ARR album. But, when I heard it, I was the happiest person! I was overjoyed listening to each melody which had a distinct flavour & all those who longed for ARR's 'Vintage' sound, 'KKS' was their end to complain. Truly, this is one of the best albums recently & is a collector's album. All those who cherished 'Roja', 'Bombay', 'Rangeela', 'Thiruda Thiruda' will definitely love this one. Bharathiraja enters the romantic-fiction scene in this film, leaving behind hsi usual folk-based themes. He laeves the bullock-carts running on the raw strets of Tamil Nadu villages & climbs upto BMWs & Mercedes' in foreign locales. This proved to be a boon to ARR. When someone experiments, ARR is the first one to be excited. Rahman has used a lot of young talent in this album as a part of his tradition. One more common factor of Bharathiraja-ARR albums was the prescence of Vairamuthu. This time Bharathiraja gives chance to the young & upcoming lyricist, Pa.Vijay along with Kabilan & Thenmozhi. This film introduces 2 new actors, Priyamani & Vaseegaran. The album kicks off with the traditional Bharathiraja speech (Cud he do without it?).

Rating scale-

* mind-blowing

**** good

*** average

** could have been better

One more medal for ARR-Hari combo! This combo has always worked wonders from day 1...'Tu hi re', 'Nahin samne', 'Suttum vizhi', 'Nilakaigiradhu', 'Chanda re' & many more. This song is like those 'candy-floss', extremely sweet & diabetic. Its a soft, romantic number; rendered beautifully by Hariharan. Its very much like 'Pookum malarai' from Udhaya. The arrangements are soft with less percussions and oodles of chords. The song starts with soft beats along with guitars just as Hari enters the scene with the first 2 lines 'Aruvigal melanokki...'. Throughout the song, Rahman has enhanced the sound with lots of chords following each line. These 2 lines give us an impression of Bilawal (exact notations- Re Ga Pa Sa Ni Pa Ga, Sa Ni Pa Ga, Dha Pa, all shuddha swaras) but the very next lines "ennai ennake.." change the whole perception. The chords change while employing a Komal Dhaivat. Its so beautiful that the whole beauty of a song can be change just by adding a different chord. This is Rahman! After all this, Hari renders the punch lines "Azhagiya Cindrella" while one hears support from the piano in the backdrop. With these lines, one can make out that the lover is comparing his beloved to Cindrella (like a fairy tale)! Again the following lines have changing chord progressions...'ennai enakkethaan...' with a strong bass guitar (like in 'Enswasa katre'). Hari uses a seductive voice in these lines as he goes in the upper pitch and the strings follow. The interlude is harmony based. The female harmony takes centre stage to render the lines "konji konji vandhaal". It cannot be termed as an interlude; its a part of the song. ARR has not followed a typical mukhda-antara pattern (as most of his songs). The antara (charanam) is in the same tune as the opening lines of the song. I would like to highlight a portion in the antara. Listen to the lines "indru varai vaazhnthu mudiththen" & then listen to "ennai thoda aavi silirnththen". The 1st time its in the normal tune but the 2nd time, Hari beautifully slips down to a different note (when I heard it for the 1st time, I though he cracked his voice!). Instead of coming down to shuddha gandhar he slips down to komal gandhar; changing the overall mood of the song. This is the best part about the song. Otherwise, the song would have sounded too monotonous & repetitive. The rest is same. The 2nd interlude starts with the female harmony again but with Hari doing different alaaps in the higher pitch (almost like the line 'Preyasee' in Nahin Saamne from Taal). When he's just about to finish, the heavenly saxophone enters. Rahman has got a personal favouritism for the sax of late ('Sabaq aisa' from Tehzeeb, 'Kama kama' from E20, 'Boom Boom' from Boys). The overall melody is based on western symphony with more influence of jive, ballads & blues. The 2nd antara is again the same. If u go to see, the tune is pretty much ordinary; but Rahman infuses such minor elements which lift up the song to become one of the memorable ones. For a layman, its a very simple tune, only a connaisseur can pay attention to the minute details he's worked on. Truly mesmerising! This song has already captured young hearts & is going to become one of Rahman's best romantic numbers.

Rating: ****1/2

  1. Anaarkali (Karthik, Chitra Sivaraman; lyric by Pa.Vijay):

Rahman's current favourite singer-couple, Karthik & Chitra Sivaraman (Star, Boys & KKS), croon this beautiful song. It is implied since last few years that there will be atleast 1 track by Karthik. He's a good singer (I loved 'Sakthi kodu' from Baba; a young teenager singing such a mature song for Rajnikanth!). This song is very unique both in terms of treatment & flavour. It has a predominantly Hindustani (North-Indian) flavour with a treatment of fusion. The song starts with a duduk-like sound with lots of manjiras, immediately followed by sargams (solfa notes)...'Ga Re Re Sa Sa...'. The sargams r sung in harmony, the interesting part being, they say the same notes while actually singing different ones. The 1st time its 'Ga Re Re Sa Sa, Ni Sa Sa Sa...', 2nd time its 'Pa Ma Ma Ga Ga, Re Ga Ga Ga', & lastly 'Ni Ni Ni Pa Pa, Ma Pa Pa Pa'. He's maintained the same swaras to avoid chaos & confusion. If all the 3 pieces had to sung differently, it wud have sounded like a mess. This is followed by a traditional Hindustani bandish (pallavi), "Jaa jaa re apne mandirawa". Again ARR uses digital modulations to make the sound more techno-fusion. Interestingly, they havent mentioned the singers who've sung this part. The credits go to brother-singer duo Murtuza & Qadir Ghulam (Fiza, Saathiya). The song is based on Rahman's all time favourite raga Bhimpalasi (Abheri). The song has an interesting Qawwali feel, the main percussion being tabla. This is one of the few songs which can boast of fantastic tabla-work. After singing the lines 'jaa jaa re..', the cymbals create entry for the main song to begin, which is dutifully done by Karthik. The song has the interesting word 'Anaarkali', used from History (Prince Salim's girlfriend; extremely beautiful) while describing his beloved as the most beautiful woman on earth (u r the sky & u r my earth). Karthik 's vocals cannot be doubted, he's one of the few singers whose talent has been rightly exploited by ARR. While Karthik is singing, the tabla continues but it has been faded. Chitra Sivaraman, too, gets her due. Immediately, she follows Karthik to render the pallavi. She's becoming one of ARR's regulars (Boys, E20 & KKS in a row). But when she sings, u can hear a crystal clear Tabla. The guitars supporting the lines 'kaadhal kaatru nee naan paaymaram' is very soothing. The 1st interlude marks the return of Rahman in his vintage days. The rhythm is like a typical qawwali with claps (like in 'Kehna hi kya' from Bombay). The guitars take the centre stage for a while, then Naveen's flute take over. The flute is similar to that of the interludes of 'Khamoshiyaan' from 1 2 ka 4. After that one wonders which instrument has ARR used; it sounds so different. After concentrated hearings, it became clear that its a simple case voice modulation. The voice 'Anaarkali' has been digitally modulated. The charanam, quite usually, doesnt follow the Abheri structure. It shifts from the raga to a western feel. The vocal style is also quite westernised. The strings provide ample backbone thruout. But again, when Karthik sings his lines, it returns to Abheri, with the tabla. The best lines come during the end. 'Nadai nadanthu pogayil..' by Karthik is just very nostalgic. And then the surprise...the last word of the charanam 'nee ilakkiyame' uses a flat/ komal dhaivat (not at all close to the main melody). When Karthik returns to the pallavi, u can hear a pan-flutish sound in the background. The composition is first rate with many minute complications. How must he be thinking of all this? The 2nd interlude is the highlight. Though it has the same opening lines 'Jaa jaa re...', its the tabla that makes u go bonkers. If u just close ur eyes & listen, u may mistaken it for Zakir Hussain! But, its our own Neelkanthan whose tabla speaks. U can acually visualise the intense spees of his fingers. The sound of the 'bahya' (left hand of the tabla producing the bass sound) is something to hear. Its accompanied by ghungroos, manjiras & claps. Then it shifts to a western symphony. The 2nd charnam is identical. The song has come out very well in all the departments. Towards the end, while singing the concluding lines of the pallavi, the beats of tha tabla change. It ends with the sargams & 'Jaa jaa re..' which is again digittaly modulated. The duduk ends the song with the manjiras. What a treat! At 1st listening, the song may not impress much, but I advise u to listen to it with great detail.

Rating: *

  1. Ennuir thozhiye (Unnimenon, Chinmayi; lyric by Pa.Vijay):

If I go over the board praising this song, I mean it in every sense & with full confidence. This song deserves every bit of praise. The Rahman magic works wonderfully here. After listening to the song, I was assured that all those who requested ARR to compose like his vintage days, will stop complaining. This song has the 'Roja' sound- the freshness of Roja, the experimental nature of Thiruda thiruda, the uniqueness of Bombay & the simplicity of Pudhiya Mugam. I've rarely heard such a beautiful & sweet song in my entire life. Each line of the song is like a honey-drop. The song opens with ARR's solo piano. The sound of the piano is scintillating. ARR attempts a jazz like treatment while sticking to the roots of the main melody. The song is based on the pentonic Raga Durga (Shuddha Saveri- Sa Re Ma Pa Dha Sa), which is premierly used by Rahman. The strings (cellos & violins) support the piano. The piece goes on for about 30 secs & u already crave for more. Its like an alaap any singer starts before performimg a raga in a classical concert. He sets the mood of the song with his magical fingers. The rhythm is set by the heavy bass guitar accompanied by the accoustic guitars. Unnimenon sings the lines 'Ennuir thozhiye'. Unnimenon's real genius comes out in this song. He comes out of the Yesudas mould to deliver an original. The bass guitar used towards the end of the lines reminds me of the title song of Enswasa Katre. Suddenly, the melody shifts to build a musical crescendo. The piano glides over the notes with the cymbals to create a western symphonic sound, employing totally different notes (Ni Re Ga Ma Ga, Re Ma Ga, Re Ma Ga, Re Sa Sa Pa Pa Re, the underlining denotes the notes of the lower octave). The percussion arrangement is also of a western nature. Unni returns to sing the pallavi in Raga Durga. The composition is very smooth. It explores the essence of the raga. After 2 lines, the song changes (as the previous music changed). The lines r 'Ineeyavale...' which r sung in a higher pitch. The 1st interlude is very unique. For once u feel, how beautiful the violin sounds! But no, its not the violin, its vocals. Chinmayi humms the taanams flawlessly. Its done so baeutifully. The piano follows her, when at times just glides from the upper notes to the lower ones as if a river is flowing. The 1st charanam belongs to Chinmayi. She does a fantastic job. Her voice seems so fresh & calm! The opening lines of the charanam 'Ottrai jadayil..' r very catchy. The beauty lies in the way it has been composed. Listen to the 2nd line 'enathu kalla sirippazhagil...'. It beautifully drops from an upper note to a lower one. Immediately, the very next line picks up from Sa Re, Re Dha, Dha Re(Kattidithe thangam imay paarthathundaa...sign denotes the notes of the higher octave) with the strings. This really pours in the tenderness & subtleness in the song. After the lines 'Oru nanjam undu...' u can hear the violin plucks (another favourite ARR style). Lastly, the charanam ends with a rather cross-treatment of notes like Sa`-Pa-Dha-Ma-Dha-Pa-Ma-Re-Sa (Poo-Poo-en-aasai-theernthathu). Unni returns to the pallavi. The 2nd interlude starts with a moorsing-like sound & then pan-flutes enter (both reproduced electronocally). The pan-flute piece resembles a lot like the 1st interlude of 'Thengizhakku cheemayile' from Kizhakku cheemayile. These types of interludes remind u of golden ARR days. The pan-flutes were a common feature then. There's this percussion with heavy bass (dont know the name) which appears in the 2nd interlude & continues till the end. Its played after every 4 counts. Its the kind of percussion used in 'Chinna chinna aasai' from Roja. Coming back, The 2nd charanam is identically same, only difference is that both the singers distribute their lines. The string arrangement is more evident here. Interestingly, when Chinmayi sings the lines 'Endhan seviyil sinungukiraay', u can hear the pan-flute in the background which does not follow the Durga pattern; instead it uses a shuddha gandhar. U'll have to haer it very carefully. In the end, both the singers sing their parts of the pallavi. Unni wraps up the song by extending the word 'enna enna' in a typical classical finale fashion, i.e. in alaap. This song is an absolute treat to listen. It caught my interest from day 1. It can be listed in ARR's best composed romantic sons ever! Singers+Composition+Arrangement+Emotions+Appeal= Full Marks!

Rating: * (Can I over-rate it???)

  1. Theekkuruvi (Harini, Mukesh, Johnson; lyric by Thenmozhi):

This song can be termed as having the Bharathiraja trademark. Its folkish yet classical. The raw folk numbers in Karuthamma & K.Cheemayile like 'Maanothu mandhayile', 'Ethukku pondatti', 'Ondra rendu', 'Kadu potta', & many more fall in this category. But here Rahman tries to make the sound more appealing to all kinds of audiences. In short, it has a universal appeal. ARR chooses Harini to sing (she's got an extremely sweet voice with a strong classical background) along with 2 newcomers- Mukesh & Johnson. Mukesh is the Mega-Final winner of the popular music talent show called 'Raj Geetham' on Raj T.V. Johnson gets to sing the folk parts whereas Mukesh does the lead singing. The song starts with a fast moorsing-like instrument immediately followed by Johnson's lines. The lines r quite interesting, 'Edhoma edho maadhiri...' which instantly catch ur attention. Johnson has a typical raw folk voice (like Maharajan, M.S.V., Shahul, etc.) & this proves to be an advantage here. Thruout the song, u'll hear temple bells which adds to the ancient/ vintage flavour of the song. After that, u'll really have to lend ur ears close to ur speakers. In the beginning, u'll not understand a word. Its sung so fast., 'thalaival ivathaan sillendru pattaa, kaadhal ivathaan sullunnu suttaa'. Its like those folkmen singing while working or travelling. After these lines, ARR creates an ambience for the song by reproducing wind & wave sounds. Harini begins the song which somewhat seems like a tongue-twister! For others, it may sound wierd. But the melody used is extremely engrossing & captivating. ARR has used a blend of ragas like Hamsadhwani, Shankarabharanam, Arabhi, Kalyani. The chords which he gives in each line r amazing. Its like filling empty spaces. In the last lines 'Theeyinai thee nadhiyinil thaedukiraay thandhiraa', Harini stops at upper Sa & then beautifully decends to the lower Sa with a brisk taanam encompassing all the notes(Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa). Mukesh takes over the rest of the pallavi which is prettymuch the same. The percussions r westernised while the melody is purely Indian. This can be called a true fusion. Everytime, they finish the pallavi, Johnson takes over with the opening lines. The 1st interlude is quite brief, with just a small piece of the flute. It reminds me of the 2nd interlude of 'Vellai pookkal' from Kannathil. The piece tends to shift towards raga Kalyani employing the Teevra Madhyam towards the end. The charanams r equally challenging to sing. The female part is handled very well. Harini's voice has been blended cleverly where she sings the same lines in both upper & lower pitches. In the 1st charanam, Harini sings 2 lines & Mukesh takes over. The lines 'Idayoara moondraam piraye muththam aendhi vaa' employ a Shuddha Madhyam which really enhances the beauty of the song. This is the part where the raga shifts to Shankarabharanam. The 2nd interlude is awesome. After Johnson finishes his lines, ARR uses an electronic Mandolin (previously heard in 'Malargale' from Love Birds). Its quite a short piece but is played with great speed & command. U wish this cud continue for longer! When Mukesh starts the 2nd charanam with an alaap, his voice has been digitally modulated with cuts. Harini sings the rest of the charanam. But the real mgic starts towards the end. While Harini ends the song, ARR layers her alaaps. She begins from the Upper Sa to the lower one, Upper Re to Lower Re & finally to upper Ga. This is called Meend in Hindustani terms. And then, everything stands still when u hear her double-speed taanams. God! she's too good. Its really difficult to take taanams at this speed. U feel like applauding already! Finally, Johnson & Harini attempt a jugalbandi. Johnson sings his lines 'Thalaival ivathaan sillundra pattaa' & then Harini sings the taanams Pa Ni Sa Re` Sa Ni Pa, 3 times. The 'vote of thanks' is done by Naveen's ever-dependable flute. He plays the main tune of the song in his style while the temple bells create a climax & by rounding up with the notes of Hamsadhwani. This song has a typical Kerela flavour & u'll agree when u listen to the song 'Padakaali' from Yoddha. Malayalam folk songs have this speciality of singing in double-speed. Other Kerela-flavour songs composed by Rahman r 'Jiya Jale', 'Anjanam', 'Kuluvaalile', etc. This is definitely one of the best composed songs. Actually, the lyrics r so catchy that even if u dont understand a word, it amuses u to the core. There's a certain degree of anxiety & curuosity of what they r singing. Marvellously composed & arranged. Mukesh sounds fresh (very much like Karthik), Johnson's raw voice suits the mood & there's nothing more to say about Harini. Her singing speaks for her.I wish Rahman had used some traditional Indian percussions like thavil or mridangam. It would have added to the beauty of the song. ARR hasnt used the mridangam since a very long time.

Rating: *

  1. Aaha tamizhamma (Mathangi, Reyhana, Blaaze; lyric by Kabilan):

This song is a shift from the other songs in the album. The other songs r either classical-based or folk or romantic. This is a more youth-oriented, carefree number. It carries the 'Boys' & 'E20' tag. Mathangi is ARR's current favourite among the freshers. Reyhana joins her after a long time. Blaaze (Balaji, as written in Tamil on the cover) doesnt get much to do here but again, its just the association & importance one gets after being with ARR. The song does have a Carnatic base but the treatment is totally of a pop song. The song starts with female harmony 'Booyekku booyekku shock...na na na..."(thats what I can hear) with unique percussions (like banging a dish). Thruout the song, u'll hear digital sounds & samples. The main rhythm is similar to that of 'Shakalaka Baby'. Its very catchy & groovy. The song definitely reminds me of the title song of 'Paarthale Paravasam' with the female harmony singers. The keyboard piece which follows is very innovative. Like the voice-cuts, ARR has cut the sound of the entire keyboard piece rhythmically. This piece, as told by someone, is an old Bharatiyaar song. Rahman has remixed it(he's gonna remix an old Tamil number for the film 'New'). The song has some amusing lyrics like 'Aa..ee...uu..ae...oo' (like teaching small kids). The highlight of the song is definitely the female harmony. There r layers of harmonies going on at the same time. When they return to 'booyekku shock...' there's a clarinet-like instrument going in the back. As ARR's trademark, he leaves no corner untouched! The bass guitar needs special mention. When Mathangi sings her lines, u can hear Blaaze singing some wierd words like 'Kaa..kaa..chaa..chaa'. Mathangi infuses a degree of sensousness in the song. There's no fixed structure of a pallavi-charanam. The lines r alternatively sung by the 2 singers. I love the harmony created in the lines 'mooru moorai nee paarthu'. The chorus part after 'thumbikku koondhalai' which is sung in double speed ('sudathida varuvaa)really catches attention. The song gets ample support from the chords department, especially in the charanams. The 2nd interlude is an extension of the opening keyboard piece with ghungroos & hard percussions(seems a lot like the interlude of 'Thiruvalli keni rani' from Udhaya). The charanams r similar. The harsh voice is Reyhana's while the sweet one is Mathangi's. The entire pallavi is repeated in the end. The female chorus sings only in one tone the last time (without the harmony), as if they're chanting. Blaaze ends the song with his wierd sounding words & giggling sometimes. The same interlude piece is used to conclude the song. But, the song ends very abruptly with a Blaaze's strange voice (as if someone's hit him!). The song is unique for its treatment & appeal. It'll appeal to both classes & masses. I'm sure, the youth is going to like it. If they've appreciated Boys & E20, they'll surely love this. Even if the song doesnt have the standard of a master composition, its charm lies in its simplicity & appeal.

Rating: ****

I'm sure many will agree with my comments (though they've come in very late), I would love to recieve ur feedback as usual. I can proudly put this album in the league of Roja, Bombay, Rangeela, Taal, Jeans, etc.

Overall Rating: * (this is from my heart says!)

P.S.: This review is based on personal judgement & does not intend to hurt anybody's personal feelings.

Long Live The Genius...


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry


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I m hooked to Saathiya as usual. Though I admit, its not as good as the Tamil version but its not that bad too. Initially, one may feel its average or even worse...but guys, give it a chance. I m writing this review coz I wasnt a part of this group when 'Alaipayuthey' released.

  1. 'Saathiya'- All those who say that Sonu has screwed up the song...infact...he's given his best. Hari is good in his own way. May be the voice didnt suit Vivek Oberoi. He needed a much younger voice. He's done a brilliant job. Gulzar, whom I respect a lot, has not let me down. The Tamil lyrics are outstanding but Gulzar has given it a different meaning. He's concentrated on the girl's laughter instead of colours. Its very difficult...I know...being a poet myself, I tell you this. He's still mentioned some colours: 'peeli dhoop pehenke tum...', 'kabhi neele asmaan pe...', 'sabz laal par lete hue...saat rang hain bahar ke...'. Rating: ***

  2. 'Chhalka chhalka re'- is excellent. All the singers,esp. Mahalaxmi, r astounding. Rahman has replaced the Nadhaswaram by Shehnai in the 1st interlude which gives it a North-Indian (marriage) feel. Rating: ***1/2

  3. 'Aye udi udi'- hasnt sunk in much yet...as SP Charan's voice is still echoing in my ears. Somehow the words 'nageela..' dont fit in. Adnan is good but needs to improve on his diction. It seems as if he's singing with a half-open mouth. The original was much much better. Rating: **1/2

  4. 'Chupke se'- I am totally mesmerised by this song...be it the composition or vocals or instrumentation, whatever. Its one of the most beautiful gems of ARR's career. Sadhana once again proves that she can deliver the best (Hindi composers r u listening?) The lyrics r very imaginative. Just think twice...'chupke se...raat ki chaadar tale, chaand ki bhi aahat na ho..raat hi raat chale...farvari ki sardiyon ki dhoop mein...moondi-moondi ankhiyon se dekhna-haath ki aadh se...nimmi-nimmi thand aur aag mein...haule haule Marwa ke raag mein (marwa is a dusk-time raag)...Meer ki baat ho (meer is one of the Urdu shayars like Ghalib and Daag). He's come out with such a beautiful thought! Gulzar was and is the best. Though it takes time to understand his lyrics...as he is a very straigh-forward shayar. He expresses with simple routine words...not like the normal filmi tone. Murtuza & Qadir sound good...again very unclear in diction. The best song! Rating: ****1/2

  5. 'O humdum'/'Mangalyam'- I still like "endrendrum"...Kunal's voice is exactly similar to Clinton's. KK, Shaan dont have much to do. It cud be popular bcoz of the rhythm and the rap. Mangalyam is still better. Rating: ***

  6. 'Menda yaar mila de'- Very complexly composed...a lot of pain and passion. Only Rahman cud have sung it. The beginning sound very much like the start of "jumpalakka" from En swasa katre with the Hawaiin guitars. The rhythm is very sufiana. I can imagine a baba-type of a person singing it. The words impress again..."banjar hai sab banjar hai..."Rahman has crafted the song with much intelligence. Suddenly in between, u can hear shades of Banthuwarali (Puriya Dhanashree) and then again it shifts to Ahir Bhairav. Its definitely a 'Satrangi' kinda song. The strings after the 1st charnam sound like those of "tanhaayee" from DCH. The rhythm sound like "rajyammaa" from Baba. The duff is the prime percussion. Good attempt. Rating: ***1/2

  7. 'Naina milaike'- Another stunner! I just love such kinda songs. It reminds me of old composers like Naushad and O.P.Nayyar. Its a typical mujra-kinda song...like ones from Paakezah or Umrao Jaan. Madhushree is very good when she starts of the song, improvising just on 3-4 notes 'pa ni sa re sa'. The swarmandal glides r amazing. The song is based on light-classical Raag Khamaj, having both Nishadhs. Sadhana is too good with her improvisations.Listen to her whenever she sings "Naina milaike". Everytime it s different. The dholak, tabla r good giving it a typical Bhojpuri feel. The dialect is bhojpuri too. The words r not normal Hindi. This again sounds un-rahmanesque. We r so used to his digital sound that such pure songs go unnoticed. The interludes are predominantly those of Dilruba (sarangi-kind of instrument). Rating: ****

  8. 'Chori pe chori'- again..Ashaji croons the song. Nice to hear Karthik singing in Hindi. I think he's become ARR's fav. The tune is very 'RD'..listen to "piya tu ab to aaja...', or 'duniya mein logon ko...' or 'dum maro dum...'. Especially when u hear her singing 'aha..aa..ahaha...' after the 1st charnam, u'll agree. She used to do such things fro RD's songs. The rap part is amazing. The rhythm is catchy. Sure to be played in the discs. I think this song will become popular among others. ARR has removed the thavil as it wud sound very south-indian. The programming by Pravin Mani is extremely good. ARR has always got support from his technicians and musicians. Rating: ***1/2

I like the album..though after 4-5 hearings. Thats usual Rahman. Listen to the lyrics n try to understand. I m sure u'll stop complaining.


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry


Original URL

Finally, "Udhaya" arrived at a time when we were literally craving for ARR's music. "Saathiya" released on 29th Oct'02...practically 3 months without any new release! Saathiya too had only 2 new songs. Going back to 2002, ARR didnt have a good year...though I feel TLOBS was one of the best-composed albums of his career followed by Kannathil; Baba went away with the wind & Kadhal Virus cud not sustain! Saathiya reassured ARR's position in Bollywood but the on the Tamil front, it was a disaster. Almost from 2000, there were news abt Udhaya's release. It was 2001...2002..."will Udhaya see the day-light?" Speculations abt Udhaya being shelved were at peak, just when sombody confirmed abt its release in the group. Hopes were not lost & then...Udhaya arrived! Udhaya is the surprise package from ARR; not much hype created and no great expectations. But the album has just the right blend of musical flavours and what most of us wanted...ARR's vintage style. Adding to it, its a Vijay film. ARR+Vijay combo for the first time!

Rating Scale: **(Mind-blowing), (Very good), *(average), (cud be better), (worst)

  1. Pookum malarai (Hariharan, kids chorus): The opening song of the album assures that much more is instored for us. The freshness of the tune & arrangements make this number appealing to masses. Hariharan returns to pair up with ARR after a long time. He sounds just perfect. The style of composing is very identical to songs like "Kannai katti" & "Ayirathil"- Iruvar. The song starts with hard beats (sounds like claps) followed by whistling. Not many of ARR's songs had whistles. The whistling with the guitars & bass guitrs sounds cool. Especially the chord-change between 0.30 to 0.38 is awesome. The basic melody is based on raga Pahadi . The rhythm cud have been better as its very monotonous. The song gathers pace with the chorus entering "Chinna chirippu..." with lots of chords changing (many sad notes, what Vijay likes). The 1st interlude has kids singing the harmony "la la la..." followed by a pan-fluteish sound which was used in "Maya maya" from Baba in the 2nd interlude "kaatre poo...". The charanams are kept simple maintaining the mood of the song. The 2nd interlude does not have meat...only some light strings & pianos. The song ends very fast with Hari just improvising the lines like in "Bolo kaun ho..." from Kabhi na Kabhi. If the picturisation is good, its sure to catch up. The tune is very hummable & simple. Beautifully handled & arranged with minimal instrumentation. Rating:-***1/2

  2. Udhaya udhaya (Hariharan, Sadhana Sargam): (pls. excuse me if its too long...cudnt resisit to write!) Now...here comes the winner! My God...what a compostiton! ARR tries a 'Madan Mohan' act by attempting to compose one of the most complicated tunes. If u have heard Madan Mohan's "Bainyan na dharo...", u wud agree with me. Listen to the numerous intricacies in the song. The song is based on the Carnatic Raga Charukeshi (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa dha ni Sa; small caps denote komal/ flat swaras). This raga was not heard since a long time. It was a favourite of Kalyanji-Anandji ("Aur is dil mein.." or "Jab jab teri soorat dekhoon...") & Laxmikant-Pyarelal ("Megha re megha re..."). After a long time Hari & Sadhana team up to create the 'Vennilave' magic. Sadhana starts the song just singing the mukhda with santoor & chords in the background. Hari follows her towards the end with an alaap like what was attempted in "Manmadha masam" (Shankar Mahadevan's entry) from PP. The momentum gathers pace when the beats start. The sound of the best is very unusual (like a clock ticking), but the metre is very common (like "Nenje nenje" from Ratchakan). The song has shades of raga Nattai (Raga Jog- using the komal Gandhar) in the returning lines "kaadhal...kaadhal...". Its interesting to hear the difficult taans (singing fast notes) in lines "kaadhal teendave...". Hari enters with "un paadhi..." and again goes for a beautiful harqat encompassing a full octave of notes. The complication rises when both sing "Unnaale...ennaalum...) singing variations. When they return to the mukhda the percussions like daburka are used which gives it an Arabic feel. The strings slowly set the mood of the 1st interlude with tympany as the main percussion. Kalyan bows his violin to Charukeshi, par excellence. Male harmony enters to make it sound like an opera. The effect is very hard-hitting, the overall effect is serious, amy be the feeling of separation. The strings & harmony build up a crescendo ending with a solo violin playing the notes of the pallavi. The charanams are equally challenging. Again, fast taans are used. It makes it difficult for an ordinary singer to sing. Only trained ones can attempt to render it. In the background there is beautiful accomaniment by the guitars. I love the lines "Eno eneno..." sung by Sadhana. The last portion towards 3.33 to 3.40 is unexpectable. Suddenly the frame shifts from the basic melody to emoploy a different note (teevra madhyam) in the lines "un koondhal irutthil yen..." & again returns to Charukeshi. Truly, ARR excels in the composing front! The 2nd interlude has guitars palyed by Rashid Ali. The fast strumming is what I like. The strings take the charge to build up a climax and end to a complete silence for 2 beats. The 2nd charanam has the same structure except piano creating beautiful moods . Towards the end, when Hari is singing "kaadhal teendave" the piano also swifts along with the vocals. This is just mesmerising! Sadhana ends the song with heavy cymbals in the background. What a composition! Full marks for the treatment, vocals & arrangements. For me, its the pick of the album. Very rare to hear such songs these days. Rating:- *

  3. Thiruvallikeni rani (Sukhvinder, Karthik): This is what a Vijay film wud have...a dance-gaana number. This is a sure-shot winner. Its got the perfect elements of becoming a hit. The song starts with a sufiana-type of rendition by Sukhvinder "Rehnuma..."(meaning Care-taker/ protector in Urdu) with sarangi accompanying. This truly sets the mood for the rest of the song. The rhythm is very innovative- typically speaking, a Scottish kind of rhythm with live claps. The main song starts with Karthik doing the lead vocals. Karthik is the lucky mascot for ARR- every song of his has creatied a mark! Sukhvinder repeats the mukhda in his usual style (something like what he did in "Lucky lucky" from Ratchakan). The punch line "rehnuma..." has been used thru out the song & its got a very catchy feel. There are a number of rhythmic variations in the song, credit goes to Sivamani. The 1st interlude is rhythm-based (like the interludes of "Baba kichchu taa..." from Baba). Finally it ends with a trumpet blowing. The charnams are woven arund the same tune, just that they are sung in a fast manner. What is interesting is when they return to sing the sign line, there are beautiful glides on Sarangi from the lower Sa to the upper one. The 2nd interlude is hardcore sarangi recital, totally classical with ghungroo as the side rhythm. I dont know how cud they forget to mention Sultan Khan's name in the credits. Anyways, a masterpiece rendition. Both the antras belong to Karhik, Sukhvinder just singing "rehnuma...". The rhythm is very cool & that is what makes this song so catchy & lively. It wud be interesting to watch Vijay performing this song. The song ends with impromptu trumpets. One of the best item numbers recently. Rating:- ****

  4. Enna enna (Shankar Mahadevan, Gopika Poornima): ARR returns to his folk elements after a long time. This is another favourite of mine. What is disappointing is the start. No prelude. The song starts abruptly with the female harmony without creatin any impact. There is some marvellous guitar work here. The main percussion used here is the traditional thavil. The mukhda is primarily based on a Question-answer situation. The female harmony asks something & Shankar answers (Sorry if I m mistaken, I dont understand the language...just guessed it). The mukhda is very catchy "kitti mela kitti mela...enna enna..." & Shankar singing "oye...oye...". It has a "Nenthukitten" (Star) hangover though. The chords enter when the melody changes 'poovoadu azhagellam...'. The 1st interlude is awesome. I just love it. Its totally strings-oriented. Its based on Raga Peelu. Its gives you a Naushad-feel ("Jhule mein pavan ki aayi bahar" from Baiju Bawra or "Dukh bhare din beete" from Mother India). Why I am saying this is because Naushad was a master in composing folk tunes. The interlude is quite similar to the one of "Jhula bahon ka.." from Doli sajaake Rakhna. The rhythm doubles as the strings progress adding the dholak, chenda & the duff (from 1.40 onwards). When the rhythm slowers down, the percussion shifts to duffs with mandolin-kind of instrument. This whole piece resembles like the interludes of "Yenna solla pogirai" from Kandukondain or "Ghanan ghanan" from Lagaan. The charnams are worth mentioning. If you hear carefully, the lines "natchaththira poovayellam udalilae soodikitta", the lines consist of all shuddha swaras the 1st time. The 2nd time there is use of komal gandhar & finally "nandavana thaenai aLLi udhattukkuL oLichchikitta" contains komal gandhar, komal dhaivat & komal nishadh (Sa Re, Re ga, ga Ma, Ma Pa, Pa dha, dha ni, ni Sa, Sa Re Sa). These small technicalities make the song special. The female harmony takes over to return to the pallavi. The lines "kaNgaL maela vandhaaada" have some chromatic notes too. The 2nd interlude starts with a santoor-ish sound with kanjiras being added to the percussions. Shankar sings some creative harmony with the bass. The 2nd charanam is a bit different, the first 2 lines are different. Dholak also adds to the percussion section. The 2nd antra is more melodious because of some beautiful string instruments providing melody & harmony to the song. Gopika Poornima takes the lead to sing the last 2 lines. She's one of the principal harmony singers (First solo in "Poorkalam" from Thenali with Srinivas). The song ends with the whole mukhda being repeated with duffs & dholak being doubled. The last portion from 5.00 onwards sounds like the end of "Nilame poru nilame" from Rhythm. Overall the song has turned out excellent. Rating: ****1/2

  5. Anjanam (S.P.B, S.Janaki): With almost everyone reiterating that its the worst ever song composed by ARR, I go to say thats its one of the best attempts to compose something truly different. I dont think, anyone else cud do justice to do such a song. its very unconventional & experimental. Same goes with the singers. May be Janaki's voice has given hope, but she's got this voice quality which no other singer has. Closest to her it cud be Swarnalatha or Minmini. The expressions she gives is amazing. This reminds you of the golden old "Gopala" days.SPB's the right choice too. The song starts with heavy percussions (mainly duff) & then SPB enters with a force. Its a bit different from the regular "Dhapangutha" songs, though he's attempted it on those lines. If the same song wud have been composed by any other MD, I bet the result wud have been worse. You dont figure out the tune when SPB's singing. Suddenly, the rhythm paater changes & you feel you are listening to a traditional Malyalam folk song. The percussions used are iddikku, kanjiras, moorsings, manjiras. Janaki sings the song in her patent style. If you recall the starting Malyalam lines in "Jiya jale", you wud find a resemblance. The mukhda is very catchy. When SPB comes to his front, the rhythm again changes with dholaks creating the tempo. I think he's used the same dholak sample from "Sainyaa pakad bainyaa..."(Nayak). Again when Janaki returns, the rhythm returns to the original. So many minute changes in the initial stages! The 1st interlude reminds me of "Madrasa sutthi paarkkum" from May Madham. The same pan-flutes, bangla khol, kartals are used. It gives you Bengali-folk touch. In the middle of this, you hear a typical whistle & the pattern changes again. Janaki attempts to say it with music. This time its in Telugu "Rangu poosi koyale...". The lines pass thru half notes touching all chromatic notes which keep us thinking "what is going on?" The metre doubles as they return to sing tamil. Listen to Janaki's vocals carefully towards the end. The throw she gives in her voice is amazing (in the lines 'ippoa parichchai yezhudha vandhean uN munnadi...uN munnadi').This is the main charanam. The rhythm shifts to duffs again and the song returns to the pallavi. The 2nd interlude mainly consists of traditional rhythm- the marathi/ konkani dholki (which was used in "Gopala"). Its mainly on percussions & live vocals (bols of the rhythm) which end with a tihaai (3 times). Janaki now sings in Kannada (Antara gange....). The charanam is same. The same pattern is used here, ie., when SPB sings 'uN vetkkam panju mittai poala inikkiradhae...', first he starts to use komal gandhar & after 2 lines, he uses the shuddha gandhar. Listen to it carefully. The songs end with the rhythms fading out & Janaki singing with lots of chord progressions. The song has turned out very well infact. I keep on humming the song. There are so many folk elements in one song. After a long time, we get to hear a true folk number from ARR. Just recall, Uzhavan, Kizhakku Cheemaiyile, Pudhiya Mannargal, Karuthamma, May Madham. Those were the days!!! Rating: ****

Overall Rating: ****

Udhaya comes as a refreshing experience. Though the songs may be less in number, but the amount of variations that have gone in the making are worth it. Waiting for Boys, Meenaxi, E18U20, etc. Long way to go guys!!! Hope u like it...pls send in ur feedback...


posted at: 13:11 | permanent link to this entry

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