Mai ri mai is an enchanting combination of Swanand Kirkire’s lovely lines and immersive melody by Hitesh. Kalpana Patowary rules the item’ish Bhookamp, and Hitesh adds distinctive funk to drown the bawdiness! Neeti Mohan’s Kachhuva has better lilt, with a riot of funky sounds. Of the two traditional songs curated by Rahul Vohra and produced by Chinmay Harshe and Hitesh, Baisaa treats Gazi Khan Barna’s engrossing vocals with great care, and a gradually increasing pace. In Hichki, they go places, with a fusion sound that adds a brilliant mod layer over a Rajasthani melody. Parched’s soundtrack is earthy and contextual.

Keywords: Parched, Hitesh Sonik

Listen to the songs:

Suman Sridhar’s retro-style opener to Mona Darling rides on her splendid singing, with an awesome hook. The song shifts mood suddenly with a wonderfully waltz’y—and Ilayaraja’ish!—tone, led by Shreya Ghoshal, even as Sonu Nigam swoops-in in full style. Kunal Ganjawala offers the 3rd shift with a lovely Broadway-style flamboyant ending. Vaat disu de too is a lot Ilayaraja-like, with a jaunty rhythm, a lovely folk melody, and particularly incredible interludes. The Marathi folk base is deeply ingrained in Gondhal, but where the composers leave their mark is in the spectacular symphonic interludes! In fact, the overlap of both genres is mesmerizing! Ever wondered how the Marathi version of the Jewish song Hava Nagila may sound? Listen to Bring it on! It’s Vakulabharanam’ish raaga base is total fun, with a manic rhythm and a more manic hook! But trust Ajay and Atul to top this song with an even more insane number in the form of Dolby walya! In what is most likely to usurp the place of Sairat’s Jhingat, Dolby walya throbs with an addictive energy and sudden bursts in the name of hooks! Nagesh Morwekar rocks the show with his funky rendition! Composers Ajay-Atul in outstanding form, yet again!

Keywords: Ajay-Atul, Jaundya Na Balasaheb, Ajay Gogavale, Atul Gogavale, 200, #200

Listen to the songs:

You know what I mean is a perfect sequel to Socha hai and Pichle saat dinon mein. Farhan’s gruffy vocals is almost manageable and those energetic guitars rule. In a more indulgent melody like Manzar naya, Farhan’s voice seems woefully inadequate, though the trio’s tune sails through effortlessly. Jaago, a soul-sister to Rock On’s title song, pales in comparison, but Sheldon D’Silva’s bass and the drums make it tolerable. Shraddha Kapoor has a superb run through the soundtrack! Udja re is a stunning, U2-style rock melody, with Shraddha admirably handling the rock shenanigans. Tere mere dil is even better, the trio’s mellow start beautifully soaring with Shraddha’s vocals along and the vibrant musicscape. Oddly enough, Woh jahaan, where Shraddha joins Farhan, is the one where she—and he, of course—sounds most tentative, though the composers have a fantastic tune playing confidently. Ishq mastana is Mirzya-style, with a hypnotic Ahir Bhairav’ish tune that Shankar and Digvijay Singh Pariyar handle brilliantly. Hio kiw (Chalo chalo), the Khasi-Hindi song that closes the soundtrack is a pulsating package, with superb vocals by Usha Uthup, Kit Shangpliang and Pynsuklin Syiemiong, with brilliant guitaring all through. Despite Farhan’ish vocal shortcomings, the trio keeps Rock On 2 rocking.

Keywords: Rock On 2, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, 200, #200

Listen to the songs:

Agarotulla (Pathivaayi Njan) and Prema pusene (Kaalam Kettu Poyi) gain from better voices (compared to Shabareesh Varma) of Naresh Iyer and Karthik, respectively – the tunes remain pleasant and nice. Ninna leni (Chinna chinna), in Karthik’s accomplished voice, acquires an extra polish. Rajesh’s pièce de résistance continues to be Malare… here, Evare – absolutely gorgeous! Gopi’s opener is the strictly-middling Bang bang, but his impressive Telugu form surfaces in the spritely Ennosarlu, wonderfully sung by Sachin Warrier. In the Rockaankuthu-equivalent, Evadu evadu, Gopi skillfully Telugufies what was essentially a Tamil kuthu, picking strands from the foot-tapping original. Good, likeable mix.

Keywords: Premam, Premam Telugu, Rajesh Murugesan, Gopi Sundar, Gopi Sunder

Listen to the songs:

Listen to Premam in Malayalam, on Saavn.

Thennal nilavinte is good old Shaan-Vineeth magic, given how tuned-in the duo is, with each other’s musical sensibilities. The melody, with a gorgeous violin backdrop, is immersive, and superbly sung by Vineet and Aparna Balamurali. The parody’ish tone of Nakkile prakkukal is accentuated by Mano’s exaggerated style of singing and just about passes muster. Oronnoronnayi sees Shaan struggle with the pitch of the parts he is singing and even the situational, flashy tune has better music than tune. The participative song, Jam thakida, that invited lyrics from viewers, is simple, catchy fun. Thennal nilavinte outshines everything in Oru Muthassi Gadha.

Keywords: Oru Muthassi Gadha, Shaan Rahman

Listen to the songs on Saavn.

Listen to the Jam thakida:

Sunday September 18, 2016

Hitman – September 17, 2016

Originally published in The Hindu.

Virinja poonkurunne – Guppy (Malayalam – Vishnu Vijay)
Flautist Vishnu Vijay’s most recent ticket to fame was playing flute for Maya nadhi and Vaanam paarthen in Kabali, for Santhosh Narayanan. His composing debut in Guppy is strongly thematic and the song that stands out in the soundtrack is the short one that Vishnu himself sings. It’s highly reminiscent of Prashant Pillai’s score in Amen, a similar streak of quirkiness that is instantly appealing.

Satrangi re – Wrong Side Raju (Gujarati – Sachin-Jigar)
The young musical duo, Sachin Sanghvi and Jigar Saraiya (better known as Sachin-Jigar) have already composed music for a Gujarati film (Bey Yaar). Wrong Side Raju, their second, has music that runs on a similar vein – largely region-agnostic, likeable music that may work equally well in Hindi too. That factor is compounded by singers like Arijit Singh who further tone down the regional identity of the music. Satrangi re, then, works effortlessly – feathery melody, accentuated by brief French phrases by Dawn Cordo!

Aakupachhani chandamaamalaa – Jyo Achyutananda (Telugu – Sri Kalyanaramana)
This name changing business may be running in the family. His talented brother happens to be Maragadhamani in Tamil, M.M.Keeravani in Telugu and M.M.Kreem in Hindi. Younger brother started as Kalyani Malik, became Kalyan Koduri, moved to Kalyani Koduri and has finally renamed himself as Sri Kalyanaramana! But his music has been consistently engaging and inventive. Aakupachhani chandamaamalaa is no different, with its buoyant sound and tune that is easy-on-the-ears, handled beautifully by Karthik and Ramya.

Hota hai – Mirzya (Hindi – Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has always been fantastic with his music sense, going by his film’s soundtracks, right from his debut, in Aks. After 2 films with A R Rahman (Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6), he moved to Shankar Ehsaan Loy in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and now Mirzya. The trio produce a mind-boggling score for the film, offering an incredibly inventive range. Hota hai is the soundtrack’s goosebumps-inducing highlight! Nooran Sisters ace the singing incredibly, while the trio builds a hypnotic sound around what is a beautifully folk’ish tune.

Senjittaley – Remo (Tamil – Anirudh)
Anirudh continues to the purveyor of catchphrases for the Tamil youth mired in meme-culture. His latest contribution is a new meaning for ‘Senjiduven’ – what was once used to denote, ‘I will finish you’ (made popular recently by Dhanush in Maari), is now being used to denote ‘falling’ in love. The music is heady and very-Anirudh – catchy hooks (the ‘Enakku nee’ hook is easy ammunition for roadside romeos, unfortunately) and an ambient melange of music.

Get set go ready has an energetic sound, seemingly tweaked to showcase the best dancing moves of the debutant hero. Chandan Shetty’s vocals are spot-on. Priya priya and Mamaseetha are trademark Thaman materials – simple, almost droning melodies with repetitive phrases that, by the songs’ end, become earworms! Rahul Nambiar and Karthik handle these songs with flair. Thaman uses his favorite kuthu rhythm in Selfie and the result is predictably catchy. Sampige too is templatized catchiness, delivering the goods while it’s on. Jaguar is minimum-guarantee Thaman – good, likeable music, though given the person it is launching, it’s surprisingly low-key.

Keywords: Jaguar, Thaman S, SS Thaman

Listen to the songs:

Pesu pesu is as good as it comes, from Vidyasagar. With a whiff of Charukesi raaga, the melody gains from Balram’s fantastic vocals, ably supported by Indulekha Warrier. The veena backdrop and the anupallavi-to-charanam bridge are particularly inventive. If D.Imman’s Tharumaru thakkaali soru is modern and funky, Vidyasagar’s Tharumaru is old-school with a vengeance – a rocking kuthu, led by director Dharani (who had a successful association with Vidyasagar) and Tippu. Vidyasagar closes the soundtrack with the pulsating Mayamalavagowlai-based theme, Uchathula Sivanda. Composer Vidyasagar’s form is in-sync with current commercial requirements – it’s a mystery why he’s out of circulation!

Keywords: Vidyasagar, Uchathula Shiva

Listen to the songs on DooPaaDoo.

Vaazhkai oru ottagam‘s piano-sturt and gorgeous strings are trademark K. The piano-strut and splendid violins combo strikes even better Imsai rani, with the melody being even more engaging, thanks also to Karthik’s fantastic vocals! Yogi Sekar’s short Elandha pazham is K’s deviously interesting ode to My Favourite Things! Vaadagai veedu addresses everyday existential issues in a Chandrababu’ish retro musical style, while Jananie’s humming-led Kaarmegakuzhalil is scintillating! 108 thenga and Polambing song‘s quirky swagger is interesting. Gandhi thatha‘s hip-hop and Yaaro petha by Anthony Daasan are the soundtrack’s most conventional, by K’s exacting standards. Aandavan Kattalai’s music has a wacky appeal.

Keywords: Composer K, K, Aandavan Kattalai

Listen to the songs:

Vaadi vaadi is Ghibran’s pulsating ode to classic rock, though Rajan Chelliah’s Tamil diction is considerably fangled. Texas pogiren takes things a notch higher! The singer, ‘Narrow Smith’ apes the high-pitched heavy-metal vocal style and sounds insanely innovative since he is singing in Tamil, including, ‘Aaathaaa, Maariaatha kaapaathu’, while making a child cry inconsolably! In Poda, Ghibran lets loose a manic energy in the name of music – it’s mighty fresh, though. RJ Balaji amps up his RJ-style speech 10x, and delivers catchy rap amidst recurring ‘Poda’. After a head-spinning electric guitar phrase, the song also segues into catchy folk percussion! Gun inbam is no different, as a melange – powered by Emcee Jesz’s rap, led by Sharanya Gopinath’s superb vocals that include a hauntingly lovely Kerala-style alaap, and ending in frenzied kuthu! Ro ro roshini is the soundtrack’s most conventional, with a grand, captivating sound. The soundtrack’s only melody is Pogadhe, where Rajan Chelliah’s diction grates again, but he makes it up with soaring vocals, aided by Ghibran’s gorgeous jazz’y backgrounds. The song’s female version is a pleasant twist, with its lively folk lilt and well sung by Suthashini. Chennai 2 Singapore’s hyper-inventive soundtrack is Ghibran’s mic drop moment!

Keywords: Chennai 2 Singapore, Ghibran, Chennai2Singapore, 200, #200

Listen to the songs:

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September 2016
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