Ootaanda soltuvaa is a fun, pulse-pounding mix, layering thara local lyrics and kuthu rhythm on top of a significantly more upmarket, funky package. A similar raucous mix in Mama mama and Nijaaru usaaru don’t work as well as Ootaanda, though. The choice of Sid Sriram and Neeti Mohan works wonders in Verrattaama verratturiye—an ear-worm of a pathos melody—as does the synthetic mridangam’ish percussion. Pradeep Kumar’s singing is obviously the highlight of Pogaadhey kanmaniye, an affecting tune, though the backgrounds seem outdated. In only his 4th soundtrack, Leon James’ music shows signs of a weary familiarity, despite 3 very good songs.

Keywords: Leon James, Veera

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Saahore Baahubali‘s jaunty rhythm keeps it in great stead! Daler Mehndi and Mounima, along with Keeravani himself lead it in style, while the chorus is brilliant. Hamsa naava has a lovely thrumming lilt that is almost hypnotic! The chorus is wonderful yet again, along with Sony and Deepu’s pitch-perfect singing. Dandaalayyaa‘s sweeping sound seems crafted for the screen, though the main Dandaalayyaa phrase is a compelling hook. Kannaa nidurinchara, with its classical leanings, is incredibly sweet and brilliantly sung by Sreenidhi and Srisoumya. Oka praanam ends the soundtrack on a somber, rousing note. Generously opulent, but with no stand-outs, audio-wise.

Keywords: Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion, M.M.Keeravani

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Uff yeh Noor has an Amit Trivedi vibe! Undeniably bouncy, really well sung by Armaan Mallik and a vibrant set of instruments by Amaal, particularly the brass part. Gulabi 2.0 (and the Redux) are adequately pulsating enough to make R.D.Bur…n the dance-floor. Jise kehte pyaar hai bubbles with a lovely 90s pop lilt and a large part of the credit goes to Sukriti Kakar’s delightful singing. Sukriti’s twin sister, Prakriti Kakar handles a completely different—and very mellow—Hai zaroori equally well. Amaal layers this one with a tastefully understated orchestration. After Dhoni, another almost-solo Amaal Mallik soundtrack where his music shines!

Keywords: Noor, Amaal Mallik, R.D.Burman

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Ethetho‘s oh-so-gentle melody makes it a great listen, particularly in Vaisakh C Madhav’s vocals (as also Anju Joseph’s female version) where he sings as if the tune is brittle, amidst a beautiful flute phrase! Vaadaathe sounds like Shaan Rahman’s material! Good vocal harmony, barring that rap part. Vineeth Srinivasan is hilarious in singing his sorry state in Pettupokumo, with a lovely brass’y sound. The brass sound headlines the short Joker In Pattavayal too, while Ashik ashik is very Tamil and rides on OK Gopi’s nadaswaram. After Darvinte Parinamam, Sankar Sharma proves he’s no flash in the pan with Avarude Ravukal.

Keywords: Avarude Ravukal, Sankar Sharma

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South Indian film music’s current North Indian darling, Armaan Malik earns his standing singing Aalisu baa exceptionally well. His singing perfectly syncs with the song’s three layers, the other two being a slightly retro-reminiscent percussion and a brilliant layer of strings. Belakendare ups the ante significantly! In what seems like Hamsanadham raaga (Bantureethi kolu!), Arjun weaves a rich semi-classical melody with a fantastic tabla base. Haricharan and Indu Nagaraj seem to be genuinely enjoying the singing part and that shows! Manasina continues with the highly melodic tone of the soundtrack and has an aptly placed violin layer that adds considerable charm to Karthik and Anuradha Bhat’s vocals. The tune is spritely and easily likeable. Yaare nee, the ominous tune gets its alluring and minimal backgrounds right, and in a way, sounds like a classic Hamsalekha number at least going by the sound! Vyasa Raj’s deep vocals matche the song’s pathos, while Arjun slowly and steadily builds on the backgrounds. The Raaga theme picks on Manasina’s violin strains and ropes in Sudeep to add gravitas with his narration – short and sweet. Hebbuli and Chakravarthy were undoubtedly good, but in Raaga, Arjun guns for Mungaru Male 2 level quality and succeeds!

Keywords: Raaga, Arjun Janya, #200, 200

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Karuppadu throbs with inventive corniness, with a dash of Santhosh Narayanan! Arunraja and Dhibu’s singign augments the hilarious tone. Pradeep Kumar is perfect for Nee kavithaigala, a Sean Roldan’ish melody that is oh-so-gentle. Dhibu builds the song beautifully into a rock ballad of sorts. Sharanya Gopinath’s diva-style singing carries the Bond Theme style Aasai. The soundtrack’s best is Koattai aanda arasan, a brilliantly mounted song with absolutely captivating percussion and frenzied singing by Arunraja and the backing chorus! Usiredukkum closes the soundtrack in style, with Vijay Joseph’s guitar headlining the classic rock sound. Promising Tamil debut by Dhibu Ninan Thomas!

Keywords: Dhibu Ninan Thomas, Maragadha Naanayam

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Dhibu’s composing debut was the Malayalam song Sneham, sung by Job Kurian.

Mira mira mixes swanky guitar and a dash of Wild West in what is essentially a catchy kuthu. Laage laage is no different; that violin phrase is such a lovely touch to the captivating sound. Dhanunjay’s earthy vocals and the pulsating folk rhythm aids Jivvu jivvu, while his other song, Yelo yedarilo is the soundtrack’s best, with a lovely retro’ish feel and a cleverly repetitive hook. Armaan and Shreya breeze through the easy-on-the-ears Emo emo, with an addictive hook. Netha cheera, despite the foot-tapping lilt, and the Love theme are the soundtrack’s most generic. Simple, likeable commercial album by Anup.

Keywords: Katamarayudu, Anup Rubens

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Yaarivanu hilariously compares Puneeth Rajkumar to ‘loaded gun’ and ‘Kohinoor gem’ in a corny tune that seems completely incapable of any hero worship, its intended objective. Appu Dance is far worse, repeating the ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ phrase amidst stunningly pointless music. Puneeth himself fares much better singing the Jackson-ode pop in Yaakingagidhe. The title song is a curious combination of Laxmikant-Pyarelal and SA Rajkumar; adequately templatized, but pleasant nonetheless, thanks mostly to Vijay Prakash. In Saagaradha, Sonu Nigam is relegated to crying his heart out for the largely generic Middle Eastern’ish music. Harikrishna seems listless and uninspired in Raajakumara.

Keywords: Raajakumara, V.Harikrishna

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Sathya Prakash breathes life—as much as Chinmayi does with her humming—into Rahman’s evocative melody in Nallai allai. Vairamuthu’s beautifully Tamil verse sounds pitch perfect in Sathya Prakash’s careful diction. But for the ill-conceived Punjabi detour, Azhagiye works brilliantly, with a spritely energy, Haricharan’s (Or is it Arjun Chandy leading the singing?) lively vocals and Karky’s cleverly colloquial lines. Vaan varuvaan harks back to Rahman of Taj Mahal (Kulirudhu kuliridhu)! Shashaa Tirupati holds the song with her phenomenal singing even as Rahman adds her voice in multiple layers for added effect! The instantly catchy Saarattu vandiyila comes with an addictive lilt and Vairamuthu’s gently erotic man-woman banter. Raihanah and Tipu are in perfect sync with the lyrical exchange, significantly enhanced by the guitar in the background. Tango kelaayo‘s allegiance to Sway is a bit too obvious, but Rahman moves the song into highly interesting zones, including a markedly retro-style ‘Unnai pirindhaal’ and a dramatically more modern ‘Oh nee ennai piriyaai’ before flowing freely into a haunting combination of strings and accordion! Jugni is Rahman’s Ram Gopal Varma material, with a profusion of pleasant music that crescendos impressively amidst a passable tune. In the 25th year of their collaboration, Mani and Rahman prove that the spark is alive and kicking.

Keywords: Kaatru Veliyidai, A R Rahman, 200, #200

PS: Yes, I was wrong about the diminishing marginal utility part in my O Kaadhal Kanmani review. In hindsight, after Kaatru Veliyidai, it seems like a one-off middling work from the duo.

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Tukda tukda caresses like a gentle breeze, thanks to Asees Kaur’s thoroughly likeable vocals and Krsna’s gorgeous melody. Seene mein lagi and Teri razamandi are both Krsna channeling his usual qawali templates – rather generic, though the latter fares a shade better. Muhabbat ko misuse‘s quirky band-style sound is interesting, but it’s let down by the tune and Sandeep Nath’s lines are not match for Rajshekhar’s! DJ Notorious’s remix of the song, without the spunky percussion, is corny. Last year, same time, Krsna produced a cracker of a soundtrack in Cute Kameena. Mirza Juuliet is just a tukda, in comparison.

Keywords: Mirza Juuliet, Krsna Solo, Krsna

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