Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 89: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Both JioSaavn and YouTube playlists have all the songs. This is a rare feat!

Ganga Tori Leher – Sharma And The Besharams: The song is a Bhojpuri song that Vasuda Sharma sang on stage in Hague a few years back. She now uses the song as the first single in her band’s (Sharma And The Besharams) upcoming album, बीdesi. While a 2nd single has also surfaced (Jazbaa; not too impressive), Ganga sure stays very listenable. It has a lively folk lilt and Vasuda’s singing, and the Euphoria-style Indipop sound makes for a fantastic listen.

Ik Mulaqaat Unplugged – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: This is such a good version of the earlier so-very-Nusrat-Fateh-Ali-Khan’ish track that I’m baffled Zee didn’t consider releasing this first! When you have a singing star, why not get his song to take center-stage first?

Sandakari Neethan – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin) – Tamil: I quite like Vivek-Mervin’s body of work. They have a firm pulse on what is usually massy and deliver consistently. This melody is broadly likeable though not something worth raving about. But their choice of singer pays them very well. Anirudh’s casually breezy vocals make this song a lot more interesting than what it should be.

Vennilavu Peythalinja – Ittymaani Made In China (Kailas Menon) – Malayalam: I went back to Tenali’s Swasame more than once while listening to this song. Very early-Rahman and very listenably pleasant.

[Back In Time] Dhumthanakkadi – Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum (Ouseppachan) – Malayalam: Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum is a 2003 movie and I stumbled on this song by chance back in that period… and was besotted! Ouseppachan’s tune is wildly unpredictable and unconventional. The pallavi is rather short, lasting just a minute, but even within that traverses the lively Dhumthanakkadi phrase and the dreamy ‘Yelelo’ phrase in an unusual mix. The anupallavi and charanam are similar (as is usual), but both end in such an exuberant line… and this line is the song’s literal high point – the catchiest! And intriguingly, till this catchy phrase appears in the charanam, and that too towards its end, the 3 actors in the song’s video dance separately, on their own, without each other! Only towards the end do they dance together!

Dear Future Self (Hands Up) – Fall Out Boy ft. Wyclef Jean: One heck of a catchy song, featuring a cool surf-rock/guitar riff. And an ice cream overdose in the video 🙂

Donna, Leader Of The Landslide & Gloria – III (The The Lumineers): It may be unfair to review or like only 3 songs from The Lumineers’ new album since they have imagined it as a 10-track concept album on addiction and its effects, composed of three chapters that follows the fictitious Sparks family. But, musically, I liked 3 songs more than the others, though the whole album is worth playing together. Donna, the opener, is the most soulful and almost ethereal, with the sparse piano backing (the piano soars beautifully mid-way, by the way) and Wesley Schultz’s wistful and hugely impactful singing. Leader Of The Landslide starts off pensively with a soft guitar plucks but bursts out with a punch mid-way. Gloria, about the life of the family’s matriarch Gloria. Musically it took me to Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train and melodically, to Scorpions’ Under The Same Sun, though lyrically, it is far more darker.

Genetics – Meghan Trainor: What you’d expect from Meghan and more. Very catchy vocal production and a cool electronic sound that consistently engages.

Shine, Survivor & Extraordinary Being – Real Life (Emeli Sande): Emeli’s new album is more of what you’d expect from her – gospel soul-infused, upbeat and hugely optimistic songs. Shine is perhaps the best song that exemplifies this style with a lead up to the explosive chorus. Survivor aims even higher, with a sprawling organ-infused gospel chorus, while the retro funk in Extraordinary Being is incredibly enjoyable.

Que Calor – Major Lazer featuring J Balvin, El Alfa: Major Lazer is now the trio of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums. Dominican dembow (a Jamaican musical rhythm) artist El Alfa joins the trio, along with Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin. The result is a heady world music dance floor earworm.

Mother – Charlie Puth: What a surprisingly Michael Jackson’ish track by Puth!!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 88: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
21 songs this week. JioSaavn has 18 songs and is missing the 3 Malayalam songs: from Love Action Drama and Happy Sardar. YouTube has 19 songs and is missing the 2 songs from Infinity, featuring Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Karsh Kale.

Kaash – The Zoya Factor (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: Let me start by registering my protest against Zee Music, again, this week. They haven’t mentioned the most important credit for a film song – the composer(s). I hope they add it soon, considering it already more than 24 hours! The song is lovely, and shows why the trio is simply the best! The steadily thrumming rhythm and the fantastic singing by Arijit Singh and Alyssa Mendonsa makes it a wonderful listen.

Ghungroo – War (Vishal-Shekhar) – Hindi: Vishal-Shekhar load the funk effortlessly here! The wonderfully catchy disco-style funk is the song’s biggest plus. And then there are the singers, of course – Arijit Singh and Shilpa Rao. Wonderful listen.

Ik Mulaqaat & Gat Gat – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: Ik Mulaqaat is honestly such a hodge-podge, sounding like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Mere Rashke Qamar and Dekhte Dekhte at the same time! I was surprised there is no credit to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the music video, by Zee… but this is par for the course for Zee that consistently refuses to mention original song credits for remixes and recreations on more than one occasion. But the song itself is charming, and Meet Bros’ punchy sound is responsible for that. Gat gat, on the other hand, is like any other Punjabi song that celebrates alcohol. And with a heady, spirited rhythm that is thoroughly enjoyable.

Maaserati – Tanishk Bagchi & Vayu feat. Akasa (Hindi): Lamberghini, Prada and now Maaserati! And the product is shown for a few fleeting seconds right at the beginning (and then given back to the place where it was leased from?). In fact, a JCB is more prominent in the video, at 1:40! Good to see Tanishk and Vayu get back together, though, with a tune that’s perhaps straight out of Dream Girl, in terms of the funky edge. It’s catchy, in a harmless way.

Dil Mera Blast (Javed – Mohsin, featuring Darshan Raval) – Hindi: Darshan is presented like a full-fledged hero, with a dhansoo entry. The song itself is geared towards the upcoming Navrati/Dandiya, much last year’s Darshan song, Chogada, which too was produced by Lijo George (and Dj Chetas), like this song. They all have a winner again!

Tere bina – Zaeden (Hindi): Zaeden has an earnest voice and the tune he composes for his own debut too sounds pleasant and warm. I picked up some Green Day vibe (of all bands!!), though I’m not able to pinpoint where/how 🙂

Home & Believe – Infinity (Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash, Karsh Kale) – Instrumental: This is a surprise, but a good one. The mix is not always engaging, particularly when vocals are thrown in (as in Darkness ft. Pavithra Chari or Space between ft. Shadow and Light), and even Journeyman ft. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan goes for the Middle Eastern flourish to offer the world’s definition of Eastern exotica. But Home and Believe are very, very listenable, with deeply engaging melodies, presented beautifully in Karsh Kale’s impeccable underground, electronica mix.

Ore Naal – Sanah Moidutty (Remix): The original by Ilayaraja, from Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu, is already such a beautiful melody. But Sanah keeps the sanctity of the original intact, even as her music arranger Prasanna Suresh maintains a calm, reverent style in the music. Sanah’s singing is the remix’s true appeal, of course. She seems to relish it so much that we listeners can literally feel it too!

[Back In Time] Chi Chi Chi – Majaa (Vidyasagar) – Tamil: It’s a shame Vidyasagar went out of circulation from Tamil film music! His sense of rhythm, melody and a really vibrant imagination for a wide range of music was unmatched! And he has produced consistently fantastic music for a very, very long time! This 2005 song is mighty unique for the structure of the melody. It literally starts with Harini berating an over-eager Shankar Mahadevan, both vocally 🙂 Vidyasagar builds his enchanting melody right from here. And his anupallavi is astoundingly beautiful too, with a beautiful bridge back to Chi Chi Chi! The music video too was a very good watch, fully shot in slow-er motion – not too slow, not real speed, but an intriguing mix!

Deniko Emito – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: After Idi Nijamena and Cheliya Maate Chandanam, here’s another easy winner from Jodi! Phani concocts a lovely laid-back background sound to let Aditya Rao hold forth with his excellent singing. When Satya Yamini joins in the charanam, the song gets even better.

Gagana Veedhilo – Valmiki (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: This is a package that scream Mickey’s style and yet the man has enough to make it sound new too! The tune’s overall fluid structure makes it rather alluring, and that multiple ‘Neeve’ phrases is a lovely touch. And of course, the background music is enticing!

Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo & Gangu Leader – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: Anirudh’s Telugu repertoire is on fire! Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo has Sid Sriram singing it, but it is perhaps one of his more unique songs that doesn’t ask him to sing in the same style that is honestly getting repetitive. Anirudh’s backgrounds are absolutely enchanting, with multiple layers and a busy’ness that keeps you hooked! And then he also layers the sarod (by Prattyush Banerjee) in the 2nd interlude, to add to the magic! The title song is unadulterated fun! This is perhaps what I was expecting from Petta, for Rajinikanth, but Anirudh chose more predictable templates there.

Pain Song – Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru (Jay Krish) – Telugu: The third song from the film and Jay Krish amps up the promise (if I ignore the middling title song). Anurag Kulkarni is stupendously good with the singing, and Jay’s music, with a smattering of the Latino, builds up progressively really well. Sarath’s woodwinds and the horn section, in particular, is brilliant.

Patiala Peg – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: This is such a mish-mash of a song 🙂 Kalidas Jayaram does look convincing as a sardarji, but Zia-Ul-Haq’s singing, mixing Malayalam, Hindi and Punjabi is utterly chaotic, in a fun way! Gopi’s ebullient sound keeps the song lively and entertaining, though.

Raathein & Aalolam – Love Action Drama (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: The soundtrack has 6 songs, but what really worked for me are these 2 songs. Raathein is a companion piece to Patiala Peg, with its Hindi-English mix is so unabashedly Malayalee in ethos, with a lovely jazz sound. Even the spelling, Raathein with a ‘h’, would make any self-respecting “North Indian” cringe 🙂 But that’s Sout’h’ India and we’re proud of it! Narayani Gopan is smashingly good, despite occasionally if’fy Hindi diction and Shaan Rahman is good with the English part. Aalolam is Shaan’s domain, with a definite whiff of early-days Rahman! Very, very pleasing melody, sung well by KS Harisankar and Gowry Lekshmi.

Manase Maya – Mundina Nildana (Masala Coffee) – Kannada: The vibrant melody’s sensibility is very Indie and very Masala Coffee – could be easily heard in any of the 4 Southern languages! Sooraj Santhosh and Varun Sunil handle the endearing tune, with a profusion of lovely music, particularly Arshad Khan’s Esraj.

Vallav Re Nakhwa – Prajakta Shukre (Marathi): For Tamilians, this Marathi song may be far more familiar as THE Paalkaaran song from Annamalai 🙂 Prajakta Shukre’s recreation keeps the original’s spirit intact but also amps up the music well. Agnel Roman’s guitar, in particular, is spellbinding.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 87: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Both playlists, on YouTube as well as JioSaavn, are missing 1 song each, though not the same one. YouTube is missing Naanu Neenu from Pailwaan because it’s inside a jukebox. JioSaavn is missing Enai Noki Paayum Thota’s Hey Nijame since it was released on YouTube just yesterday evening and the good folks at Saavn would have gone home for their long weekend by then.

Ishaq Chaliya, Dil Uda Patanga, Maa Ka Mann & Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas – Celebration – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Sachet-Parampara) – Hindi: After doing so many singles and doubles in soundtracks, it’s good to see this duo Sachet Tandon is a man and Parampara Thakur is a woman, for the uninitiated) almost fully own a soundtrack (as always, one-song specialist Tanishk Bagchi has to insert his nose; here, he does, with Ho Jaa Awara, a pretty ebullient track!).

And this is a surprisingly impressive soundtrack, all through! Ishaq Chaliya’s energetic rhythm and superb horns make it a very good listen, while Parampara owns Maa Ka Mann’s deeply calming prayer-style melody. The title song has 4 versions, and while the other 3 versions are usual Hindi cinema melodies that could fit in any film these days, the ‘Celebration’ version has a different spin to the same tune that appends the title melody in the end. The start and the spring in the rhythm make it fairly different and a lot more enjoyable.

The soundtrack’s easy highlight is Dil Uda Patanga, once again sung by the composing duo as a duet. The melody is beautifully understated and picks up a Punjabi lilt as it progresses. The core tune that rests on the repetitive tune of ‘Dil Uda Patanga’ (and its equivalents) is thoroughly addictive! There’s also some non-Hindi phrases sung by Sachet – couldn’t identify the language.

Woh Din & Khairiyat – Chhichhore (Pritam) – Hindi The idea behind the song seems to be akin to Ali Haider’s iconic Purani Jeans, though the feel here is a bit more generic than specific (like it was, in that song). Still, in Tushar Joshi’s sedate voice, the pleasant tune works. Surprisingly, I liked Tushar’s version more than Arijit’s – the former seemed fresher and specific than the latter that, now, seems generic. However, Arijit hits an effortless sixer in Khairiyat! There’s an old-world charm in Pritam’s sweeping melody and even Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics work at a similar wavelength! Lovely song.

Dhagala Lagali – Dream Girl (Meet Bros, originally a Marathi folk song, also featured in a Dada Khondke starrer) – Marathi: Outside of Maharashtra, most others would know this as a 90s pop song – as a remix by Akbar Sami. Now, Meet Bros do another remix, featuring Mika’s vocals. While that is a questionable choice of singer, the original tune remains as catchy as ever, and that helps power this remix too. One surprise, though is how Saregama, that presumably owns the copyright for the original, allowed Zee Music to release this as their remix. Usually, Saregama is so cut-throat that they release a remix of their original on their own, leaving only one song of the soundtrack to be outside the soundtrack by another label!

Thirudaadhe Thirudaadhe, Adadaa Naana & Hey Nijame – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva) – Tamil: Thirudaadhe Thirudaadhe is pure 80s pop coolth! Could easily fit into a Michael Jackson album, with an extended outro! Adadaa Naana is a beautiful ballad (with brilliant sax by Maarten Visser) that fits the other songs’ pattern in the soundtrack, like Visiri and Naan Pizhaippeno. Hey Nijame is another gem. It seems like Karky’s lyrics was written first and then Siva scored the tune, given the odd tune that flows without conforming to predictable templates (“Innum konjam pakkam vandhaal naan solgiren, Vaa… aruge!”). And then there is silence, almost like giving the 2 people some privacy as they come closer. And then the song meanders some more, without conventional paths and lands on the beautiful 6-phrase part that starts with “Theyaadha Poompaathai Ondrodu Naan” that Siva creates with a lovely chorus’ish vocal effect.

Together, this 6-song soundtrack (are there more songs?) is a stupendous debut that would have been far easier to consume, enjoy and celebrate had the film followed a normal release pattern. In one way, I feel incredibly sad for Darbuka Siva, the composer who was launched with a guess-the-composer mystery in the end of 2016 (!!), called Mr.X during that phase and eventually revealed. Then the film got stuck in a limbo and is finally making its way out, in mid-2019! But, on another hand, I think this is also possibly beneficial for him because he could be in the news-cycle again, for his very good quality music, since his few other projects (with good music – Kidari and Nimir; with middling music – Balle Vellaiya Thevaa) have come and gone already. If the film works, perhaps the soundtrack would get a chance to be resurrected again in people’s minds and hopefully, he’d get some new projects worth the talent.

Ironically, Enai Noki Paayum Thota means ‘The bullet heading my way’. And this one has been heading our way much like the super slow motion bullets in Matrix films, for 2.5 years!

Kamala – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin) – Tamil: For a film titled ‘Sangathamizhan’, it is amusing to hear a song that treads on Chennai Tamil and a smattering of Tamil’ish Hindi (“Samujha pannikaama” is a hilarious Hindi+Tamil mix to denote “without understanding”!) 🙂 Yet, this is a rollicking dance track, and the composing duo Vivek-Mervin have been adept at producing such dance-floor busters regularly.

Cheliya Maate Chandanam – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: Even though the rhythm sounds like the slowed-down version of Partner’s Soni De Nakhre, the overall tune that Phani Kalyan concocts is quite listenable. Much of that credit should also go to the singers – Haricharan and Sameera Bharadwaj.

Naanu Neenu – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: Pailwaan’s soundtrack isn’t a great compilation, though a couple of songs are good enough. Perhaps the demand to make it work across multiple languages was Arjun’s constraint. Besides the songs I have listed from the film earlier, this one too is a nice listen, thanks to its energetic chorus, handled well by Naresh Iyer, Rahul Nambiar and Sruthy Sasidharan.

[Back In Time] Adhir Mann Zhale – Nilkanth Master (Ajay-Atul) – Marathi: Just the year before Sairat, Marathi composing duo Ajay-Atul had produced a wallop of a soundtrack for the film Nilkanth Master. The pièce de résistance of the soundtrack was Adhir Mann Zhale, sung mindbogglingly well by Shreya Ghoshal. The easiest way to define the song’s appeal is to look at the views (for a Marathi song, that is – remember!) – 59 million views and counting! This is the kind of lush melody that sticks to your brain as soon as you listen to it. There are shades of Ilayaraja’s melodies in Ajay-Atul’s music (which became all the more apparent in Sairat, of course) and this song exemplifies that. That line, “Sarituni surel dhund swar he ale” is a masterpiece!

Circles – Post Malone: Post Malone did promise that his new single would be different, but this different? Whoa! To begin with, he doesn’t rap, but sings a deeply pensive melody with a neat alternative rock base. Quite a surprise, and a good one at that.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 86: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
17 songs, this week. YouTube has all 17, while JioSaavn is missing one song – the Enga Annan song from Namma Veettu Pillai. Sun TV/Music has released it on its own label, for now, a tactic they used for Sarkar too, after which it was picked up by Sony Music. Perhaps this one too would be picked by a proper music label soon.

Ho Jaa Awara – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Nice to see the connection – the title is famous for being a song featuring Dharmendra (Blackmail, 1973). And this film introduces his grandson, Karan Deol. The teaser, released early August, had this for music-related credits: “Music composed by: Sachet Parampara, Music produced by: Rishi Rich, Music of song Ho Ja Awara: Tanishk Bagchi”. So, I guess, this is yet another single parachuted into the soundtrack. I searched the song credits for any source, but couldn’t find any. I suppose this is a Tanishk original, and it’s a good one, at that. A very happy song that gets particularly better thanks to Monali Thakur’s ebullient singing (with Ash King offering her company on a much lower note).

Bad Boy – Saaho (Baadshah) – Hindi: The lyrics are cringe-worthy, but Baadhsah is on a roll, despite questionable YouTube views for this mega-successful Paagal. He gets the film’s larger-than-life ambitions and delivers on the brief pretty well with a catchy song.

Dil Ka Telephone – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: Despite the funky, funny (parody’ish) sound, the tune is really interesting. I have a feeling there are shades of Raaga Pilu and that it works because of its strong melody. Good work by Meet Bros, and of course, superb singing by Jonita Gandhi!

Ishqbaaziyaan & Looteri – Happy Hardy And Heer (Himesh Reshammiya) – Hindi: Ishqbaaziyaan is a pleasant surprise by Himesh! First, that he chose NOT to sing this one and hand it over to the far better singer, Jubin Nautiyal (along with Harshdeep Kaur and Asees Kaur). And then the warm Punjabi folk lilt that Himesh maintains so well till the end. Lovely song. Aaryan Tiwari, on the other hand, is the soul of Looteri, that otherwise has cringe’y lyrics, but has a beautifully simple melody. Thank you, again, for not singing this, Himesh! That’s one reason why this song works!

[Back in Time] Lagne Laga Hai Mujhe Aajkal – Chor Aur Chand (Nikhil-Vinay) – Hindi: Chor Aur Chand is, without doubt, one of my all-time favorite Hindi film soundtracks. This one soundtrack has so fully loaded with phenomenal music that it’s a shame and a pity that the film’s flop status marred what should have legitimately been a superhit soundtrack. I believe the soundtrack has a huge underground fan base. Most of soundtrack is by S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and Anuradha Paudwal, though Mano and Chithra pitch in too. Lagne Laga Hai’s unusual mukhda is a wonder by itself almost as if someone is spontaneously singing without any preparation, out of sheer joy of wanting to sing! If the song appeals to you, I highly recommend the other songs from this film, particularly Sapno Mein Aana, Saanson Ka Kya Pata, Baat Kya Hai Kaise Kehde, Sharma Ke Baadalon Mein and Tere Bina Main Na Rahun.

Pattaampoochi Kannalae – Sixer (Ghibran) – Tamil: I didn’t like both Engavena Kochikinu Po and Baa Baa Black Sheep. Both seemed to be trying too hard. Thankfully, there was Pattaampoochi Kannalae! The sound took me back to Naiyaandi (a seriously underrated Ghibran soundtrack) for some reason. A nicely rhythmic melody, with a catchy hook that is almost a Ghibran trademark now.

Karichaan Kuyile – Sarbath (Ajesh) – Tamil: Airtel Super Singer winner Ajesh made a fantastic composing debut for the 2016 film Pambhu Sattai, but that film’s poor reception perhaps took the music too down. He had middling follow-ups in Vallavanukkum Vallavan and Thiri. Good to see him back in action with Sarbath. The song is not extraordinary, but is at least perfunctorily good, thanks mainly to his own singing. There is promise and I hope the rest of the soundtrack lives up to it too.

Yenga Annan – Namma Veettu Pillai (D.Imman) – Tamil: The standard Imman template that, at least for now, continues to work. There is a widespread comment about the ‘Yenga annan’ line reminding everyone of Andha 7 Natkal’s Enakkum Unakkum 🙂 But, beyond that, I thought the main tune (Vaa Vaa dear brotheru) was very similar to Maappillaikku Maaman Manasu from Netrikann! Similar raaga, perhaps (that song, by Ilayaraja, was based on Karaharapriya raaga, btw).

Un Kitta Ennamo Irukku – Kanni Rasi (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Tamil: Visha’s tune for this song is such a pleasant throwback to a different era of Tamil film music! The soft, rhythmic melody could easily fit into Deva’s impressive repertoire when he was in his peak, but Vishal adds enough of his style to update the feel. Absolutely lovely singing by Kalyani Nair and Sathyaprakash.

Jarra Jarra – Valmiki (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: The first surprise is that Tollywood is remaking Jigarthanda after so long. The second surprise is Atharva’s Telugu debut, for the role played by Siddharth in Tamil. But Varun Tej, with his menacing look, seems like an interesting choice in place of Bobby Simha’s character. The song is the equivalent of Pandi Naatu Thangam (Puzhuthi Parakkum Paaru) that was a brass-led song in Tamil. In Telugu, Mickey mounts it on a much larger scale, even as director Harish Shankar turns it into a full-fledged item song unlike Tamil. But Mickey is not the kind fo composer to opt for raucously loud sound even for item songs. So, there is grace and an understated’ness in the overall package. Catchy, no doubt.

Nammela Ledhe – Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru (Jay Krish) – Telugu: It’s very easy to mistake this song as Santhosh Narayanan’s! The profusion of violin in the backgrounds is straight out of early Santhosh material! Still, to give credit where due, Jay Krish has a lovely song melody, articulated so well by Anurag Kulkarni, and has a beautiful background sound too.

Ennenno – Evaru (Sricharan Pakala) – Telugu: A haunting, moody and atmospheric melody that Sricharan layers with this music so appropriately. The song’s real highlight is Chinmayi’s singing – she handles the song’s feel perfectly!

Equals Sessions (Ep.1 and 2) Zubaan & Karam: Abhinav Agrawal’s Anahad Foundation has been working hard to bring recognition to Indian folk music for quite some time. The Equals Sessions is perhaps their best bet yet! The idea of combining a reasonably well-known band and an unknown folk artist is not entirely new and even the format and production values are akin to Coke Studio, but given the width of brilliant music across India, we need a lot more of such efforts. The first 2 episodes are delightful. Zubaan, featuring Gazi Khan Barna and Bangalore-based rock group Parvaaz (Khalid Ahamed, Mir Kashif Iqbal, Sachin Banandur and Fidel Dsouza) is a resonant prayer-like song with some super guitar work by Mir Kashif Iqbal. And Gazi Khan’s singing and the backing vocals too (by Khalid Ahamed, Mir Kashif Iqbal, Firoz Khan and Chotu Khan) are the highlights, though.

And When Chai Met Toast seems to be on a roll! After last week’s Nee Aara, the Kochi-based band is back with a really interesting fusion! Jaskarn Gill’s harmonium is the first thing that attracted me! The song is a delightfully rhythmic Punjabi folk mix, with brilliant singing!

I really look forward to the new episodes in this series!

Teeth – 5 Seconds of Summer: Teeth took me to the band’s earlier Easier (that I’m adding to the playlist, for context), with a similar industrial rock sound, though this one seems less melodic than that song. But this one is more rhythmic, with a pulsating guest guitar work featuring Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 85: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
25 songs this week, given that this is after a week’s break 🙂 All 25 are available on JioSaavn. YouTube has 2 songs missing, kind of. Ratchakan Sridhar’s Paayum Oli Kannamma (highly recommended) has just a teaser on the YouTube channel of Vasy Music, the record label. They have given the song to Saavn, but haven’t uploaded it on their YouTube channel (perhaps intentionally, to drive traffic to streaming services). The other missing song is Takkaru, from Ayngaran – it’s inside a YouTube jukebox so haven’t been able to add it in the playlist.

Dilruba – Aki Kumar: What a riot of a song!! 🙂 When he is introduced in American accent, I should have seen it coming! Aki Kumar delivers a pulsating and totally funky rock and roll number, complete with a guitar interlude featuring a man playing (play acting) a sitar! That it alludes to Eena Meena Deeka is a bonus!

Shaabaashiyaan & Tota Udd – Mission Mangal (Amit Trivedi and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: After Dil Mein Mars Hain, Amit pitches in darn well with 2 more songs in the film. Shilpa Rao (along with Anand Bhaskar, Abhijeet Srivastava) is easily the highlight of Shaabaashiyaan, a moody and expansive inspirational number. The anthemic Shaabaashiyaan call is lovely, in particular. Tota Udd is a complete contrast, given that it is by Hindi film industry’s favorite guest composer nowadays, Tanishk Bagchi, with its upbeat hip-hop rhythm and super energetic vocals by Raja Hasan and Romi, as if the song flew off Amit’s Manmarziyaan’s soundtrack and landed here.

Prada – The Doorbeen (Punjabi): The highlight of the song is that this is Alia Bhatt’s first music video. Having cleared that, let’s move on to the actual song. I wonder if luxury brands like Prada and Lamborghini realize how much they are used in Punjabi song lyrics; Doorbeen’s earlier smash hit was called ‘Lamberghini’, btw! Also, Jass Manak already has a super smash hit called Prada, from 2018, with 500+ million views on YouTube! Doorbeen’s Prada is a great listen, with a catchy hook that harks back to older/80s style Punjabi pop music.

Radhe Radhe – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: No more ‘Meet Bros Anjjan’, only Meet Bros? Anyway, they have an effortless winner in Radhe Radhe. It’s a riotously enjoyable folk’ish song that I’m sure will be a smash hit during the upcoming Krishna Janmashtami season! Perfect timing. But yes, the main hook is a smart reinterpretation of Hasee Toh Phasee’s Drama Queen 🙂

Jako Rakhe Saiyan – Batla House (Rochak Kohli) – Hindi: And here’s Ayushmann’s musical partner hitting it out the park with this song from Batla House! What a lovely song!! The feel is decidedly hitting at the Pakistani Pop style and Rochak nails it beautifully! A special note on Navraj Hans’ hugely involved singing – literally lifts the song to a new plane.

Paayum Oli Kannamma – Ratchakan Sridhar (Tamil): Who is Ratchakan Sridhar? That’s the question I had when I listened to this song! This is fantastic work, setting music to Bharathiyar’s iconic and memorable verse. And Sridhar’s tune is heartfelt and impactful, with a tinge of pathos. Impressive!

Takkaru – Ayngaran (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: First things first, it’s kinda sad that Ayngaran is not producing a film titled Ayngaran 🙂 Of the 4 songs, GVP’s sound is not bad at all; but the one song that worked for me was Takkaru, with an almost-Yuvan-like, catchy tune. The real hero of the song is Siddharth Mahadevan, who sings like the chip off the old block he is.

Thiru Thiru Gananatha – 100% Kadhal (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: Another GVP soundtrack in the same week, and this one has 10 songs! Ironically, the original Telugu film, 100% Love, had very good music by Devi Sri Prasad, and some of the song titles are reused (That Is Mahalakshmi, A Square B Square, Oh/Aho Balu etc.) in Tamil too, even though GVP seems to have taken a lot of effort in retuning those titles as completely different songs. But the effect isn’t as good as, or better than the Telugu original. The one song that worked for me in Tamil was Thiru Thiru Gananatha; this too was a far better song in Telugu, but GVP uses the original’s feel and possibly the same raaga to evoke a similar appeal. And Harini is the other common point between both songs.

Avan Varuvaan – Adutha Saattai (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: Adutha Saattai seems so unlike a Justin soundtrack, particularly coming after the stupendous Dear Comrade! The tunes are largely bland, though the sound does indicate the Justin-stamp. The one song that stood out amidst the middling soundtrack was Avan Varuvaan, that cleverly alludes to Avalukkena Azhagiya Mugam in the lyrics, and is propped by very good singing and chorus, by Sathyan Ilanko and Aishwarya Ravichandran.

Hoyna Hoyna – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: That Anirudh magic, yet again! No, not the one that wasn’t present in Petta, but the one that he seems to reserve for Telugu! Along with Inno Genga’s cool vocals, and the catchy, repetitive Hoyna hook, the song is a great listen!

Yegire Yegire – Madhanam (Ron Ethan Yohann) – Telugu: Yes, there is Sid Sriram singing this song, but even beyond his alluring voice/singing, Ron’s music is very good too! Particularly the anupallavi’s tune is mighty impressive, almost playing in a contrast to the pallavi!

Idi Nijamena – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: A breezy, waltzy melody by Phani Kalyan! Yazin Nizar is fantastic, and when he goes on the extended ‘Kallolam… Bhoogolam… golam golam’ phrase, it is particularly neat!

Evaro Evaro & Kummeyra – Ranarangam (Prashant Pillai and Karthik Rodriguez) – Telugu: Evaro is Prashant’s 2nd song from the soundtrack, and he scores really well! Along with Preeti Pillai, this could easily be one of this Malayalam songs, with its lush soundscape and haunting melody. Kummeyra is Karthik Rodriguez’s second song too, in the soundtrack. Much like Kannu Kotti, his earlier song, the tune is unusual and funky, with unpredictable turns and sounds. He sings this one too, like the other song, and does a pretty darn good job!

[Back In Time] Emani Ne – Mantri Gari Viyankudu (Ilayaraja) – Telugu: This is easily one of my all-time favorite non-Tamil songs by Ilayaraja. If I were to list his non-Tamil songs, this would rank right up on the top, in the list of songs from Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, by the Maestro. I believe the song is set in Mukhari raaga. The background female chorus brings to my mind the very 80s feature of women dressed in white gowns (like angels) dancing besides the lead pair. But the way Raja uses the chorus is absolutely fascinating; after each line in the first 2 lines, there’s a chorus anchoring the tune! The anupallavi is a force of wonder by itself, with such a mesmerizing tune, and that bridge back to pallavi is pure gold!

Yaake Anta Gottilla Kanree – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf) – Kannada: There’s this famous phrase that Appu Kamal Haasan calls circus-owner Mouli, in Aboorva Sagodharargal: “Kabada Naadaga Veshadaari” (courtesy dialog writer Crazy Mohan, of course). I had no idea there was a Kannada equivalent to that phrase with vesham translated to paatra – sounds beautiful, to link the 2 languages so smoothly. Anyway, that title literally drew me to this song by a relative newcomer composer I had not heard of. It’s a wonderful song, on the back of Haricharan’s fantastic singing. The melody and lilt are addictive and there’s a lot of Raja’ish imagination that has gone into the interludes too! Plus, that Facebook timeline style lyrics flow is a neat little idea in the video!

Dorassani – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: This is Arjun’s Harris Jayaraj impression. The backgrounds, in particular, reek of Harris’ minimal, formerly-alluring style. And Arjun is far too smart to not update that sound, and the interludes, in particular, come out beautifully with a Reetigowlai raaga base. And you can always trust Vijay Prakash to deliver!

Oru Cheru Kiliyude – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay) – Malayalam: Vishnu scores yet another winner effortlessly in Ambili! And this is the 3rd one in a row! Babu’s trumpet is literally another hero of the song, besides an unusually different sounding Benny Dayal, besides Vishnu’s own flute that plays for a very small, but beautiful part! The chorus hook that the trumpet plays along to is such an earworm!

Nee Aara – When Chai Met Toast: Is this the band’s first full-Malayalam song? I have heard their earlier largely-English songs that occasionally have Hindi and Tamil. While their sound is consistently interesting, with a happy vibe, this one is perhaps their best, mostly because they sing in Malayalam! There is an Avial’ish outlook, with a lovely trumpet and mandolin use. This is my favorite among the band’s songs so far!

Khari – Khari Biscuit (Suraj-Dhiraj) – Marathi: Kunal Ganjawala’s singing is flawlessly good, as always, but what surprised me is the composing duo’s sound that not only is imaginative in its use of retro’ish sounds, but also has a Ajay-Atul’ish flourish! Very nice!

Virala – Khichik (Abhishek-Datta) – Marathi: What are the odds! The 2nd Marathi song this week, featuring a child actor in the lead and composed by a duo! Not just that, this song too features a retro’ish sound, but not the filmy retro of Khari Biscuit, but more of a Chaplinesque retro that makes it all the more interesting. And it is beautifully sung too, by Savani Kulkarni.

Jurajuri – Oriplast Originals S01 E09: After a few middling songs, the series bounces back with this vibrant Odiya-Bangla-Hindi mix! The flow, moving from the lilting folk song, to the pop-style breezy sound and eventually filmy Hindi is very neat. Anushree Gupta is particularly fantastic with her folk part.

Vacilón – Don Omar: Puerto Rican artist Don Omar’s latest single is a phenomenally addictive reggaeton done the old-fashioned way. It has a slow and steadily rhythmic sound that has you shaking your head along the lilt almost as soon as it starts! The background vocal chorus are lovely too!

You Ain’t the Problem – Michael Kiwanuka: The song, that doesn’t start till 1:20, has a wonderfully indulgent and extended prelude that reminded me of Lord Shorty’s vibrant music. Michael Kiwanuka has a highly engaging vocal style and the thrumming musical rhythm gels perfectly with that.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 84: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
11 songs this week. All 11 are available on YouTube, while only Gopi Sundar’s Malayalam song Ennuyire Penkiliye from Margamkali is not available in the JioSaavn playlist. It’s a lovely song – do listen to it in the YouTube playlist. Plus, there’s a new addition to Weeklies from this week onwards. More on that, below… as you read through the entries 🙂

Kannale – Market Raja MBBS (Simon K King) – Tamil: This is such a joyous song! Simon’s tune is upbeat and very likeable, but what makes it a great watch too is the presence of the signers (Sanah Moidutty and Yazin Nizar) and much of the background instrumentalists, including Carnatic mandolin by Keshav Ram, acoustic and electric guitars by Godfray Immanuel, bass guitar by Keith Peters and blues harp by Kabuli! Seeing the people who actually produce this music is a great experience and a special note of thanks to Lahari for pulling this off, instead of simply making a lyric video.

Mazhaiyum Theeyum – Saaho (Guru Randhawa) – Tamil: I never thought I’d see this day, to hear a Tamil song composed by Guru Randhawa! But, if we have lived through Udit Nayaran singing Tamil songs, this is par for the course. And this a surprisingly good song, thanks mainly to Madhan Karky’s lyrics that make it flow very nicely. And of course, the singers – Haricharan and Shakthisree (that the Hindi version is sung by Tulsi Kumar is an easy reason to give it a miss, for me).

When Haricharan goes, ‘En nenjin theeyo, nee vizhumbodho’, it reminded me of 80s and 90s attempts at bringing Laxmikant Pyarelal to compose music very occasionally for Tamil movies. As far as I recall, the duo have composed for 2 Tamil films – Uyire Unakkaaga in 1986 and Ragasiya Police in 1995. The musical phrases and sounds they use are distinctly identifiable as non-Tamil, though the former was a big musical hit and had very good, and popular songs. Guru Randhawa’s music reminded of that kind of music – very identifiable as non-Tamil (understandably, given this is a multi-lingual), but enjoyable nonetheless.

Another interesting point – the Hindi song is called Enni Soni and that phrase appears in the song. But ‘Mazhaiyum Theeyum’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the song!! Enni Soni’s equivalent in Tamil is ‘En nenjin theeyo’. That’s almost like giving the Tamil variant a thematic name! If you think about it, there are far fewer songs even in Western/Pop music that have a non-lyrics based title, like say, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Back in Time: This is a new addition to Weeklies, where I add a song I like, from the past, completely at random. There is no other criteria but for the fact that I like that song. And true to Weeklies, language no bar. Starting the addition with a Tamil song.

[Back In Time] Naana Paadhuvadhu Naana – Nool Veli (M.S.Viswanathan) – Tamil: Nool Veli was one of the earliest movies that I have been told by my parents as something I was taken as a baby, to the theater to see. They just had to lug me along because there was no one to look after me at home if they went to the theater 🙂 In hindsight, given the mature theme the film deals with, it seems like a terrible decision, though, to be fair to my folks, I was a baby, barely able to understand anything.

It was much later in life that I found that Nool Veli was a bilingual, the Telugu version is called Guppedu Manasu. I have enjoyed the movie in later times and love the Balamuralikrishna-sung ‘Mounathil ViLayaadum Manasaatchiye‘ (Mouname Nee Basha O Mooga Manasa, in Telugu). But my favorite song from the film is the wonderfully warm and breezy Naana Paadhuvadhu Naana. Vani Jayaram is simply fantastic in the song. The interludes are so typical of MSV’s style from that period, and the melody is such a memorable one – the pallavi is unique and stays in your mind almost immediately.

Two interesting later-day connections by K.Balachander, the film’s director:

  1. Kannadasan is the lyricist from the song. A line in the anupallavi goes, “Nalla Samayal Purigindrathu, Aanaal Sangeetham Puriyavillai”. Balachander made an entire film using this line of thought by a wife, in Sindhu Bhairavi!
  2. The title ‘Nool Veli’ means ‘a fence made out of yarn/thread’, implying the nominal nature of the fence and the fact that human willpower is the need than a so-called fence (the film’s plot is directly related to this thought). Balachander used this line of thought later in Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal when the hero and heroine (both married to different people) are forced to spend a night in the same room in a hotel and the heroine (Sithara) takes the Bhagavad Geetha kept in the hotel’s bedside drawer and keeps it between them, symbolically using it as a fence made of yarn!

Naa Lonaa – Manmadhudu 2 (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Chaitan is fast, and surely, getting comfortably and predictably good! Naa Lonaa is a very nice melody, made even better by Chinmayi’s vocals. The violin interludes, in particular, and the lovely flow of the anupallavi deserve a mention too.

Pilla Picture Perfect – Ranarangam (Sunny M.R) – Telugu: Given Sudheer Varma’s track record with Sunny, I was really surprised when the first song came out with Prashant Pillai’s music (though that was a good song!). And then the 2nd song was by Karthik Rodriguez! Thankfully, here’s Sunny, back in Telugu, for Sudheer. The song is typically what one expects from Sunny – effortlessly foot-tapping, with a catchy hook!

Maa Devi – Srikanth Koppula (Telugu): I thought ‘Maa Devi’ would be a devotional song, but it turns out to be a devotion of another kind! This is composer Srikanth Koppula and singer Hymath’s devotion to composer Devi Sri Prasad, for his birthday! And what a lovely song it is!! Srikanth’s music is assured and the interludes’ melody points to the kind of Raja-style that DSP himself adopts at times. And one of favorite recent Telugu composers J.B (Jeevan Babu) has programmed, arranged and mixed the song – and it shows! Fantastic effort, this.

Aaraadhike – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay) – Malayalam: The film’s second single is a completely different tone and sound to the first, but is a lovely listen. Besides Vishnu’s lush melody, the singers lift the song to a new high – Sooraj Santhosh and Madhuvanthi Narayan are so good! Bhavani Prasad’s Mohan Veena and that harmonious ‘Ente nenjaaga nee alle’ phrase are particularly lovely.

Aarodum Parayuka – Kolambi (Ramesh Narayan) – Malayalam: This is an enchanting song! Ramesh Narayan’s melody is beautifully realized and is wonderfully lush. And his daughter Madhushree pulls it in a stunningly beautiful manner, with wonderful enunciation! And then there’s Rajhesh Vaidya on veena who pulls of a parallel lead role level of brilliance!

Ennuyire Penkiliye – Margamkali (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: The background violin… that’s trademark Gopi! And much of the tune sounds very familiar and very pleasant! This is so typical of his style… and for now, this continues to be likeable! Zee Keralam Sa Re Ga Ma Pa contestant Akbar Khan makes a solid playback debut, along with Sithara Krishnakumar.

Rongila Re Mon – Oriplast Originals S01 E05: Of the 2 songs from Oriplast Originals released last week, I didn’t like the Ash King song all that much (much like the Arko, Shaan song last week), but this one is a delight! The heady mix of Bengali and Assamese folk music is incredibly rhythmic and lively. Plus, the singers – Akriti Kakar and Dikshu Sarma carry the song so beautifully. Akriti starts very strongly, and Dikshu surprises when his solo part happens!

Alive – R3hab and Vini Vici, ft. Pangea and Dego: This is one heck of a song, riffing on a Cowboy Western theme evoking distant memories of Ennio Morricone signature whistle style. But Israeli psytrance duo Vini Vici turn it into a heavy-duty dance-pop that works flawlessly as a foot-stomper! The music video is a compelling watch too, featuring sand-art on glass! I wish they had credited the artist behind that wonderful art.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 83: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
12 songs this week. JioSaavn is missing Iniyen Arukil from Age 30, which anyway needs to be seen along with the video (embedded below). YouTube playlist has only 9 songs.

Dil Mein Mars Hai – Mission Mangal (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Amit picks a not from his Aiyyaa repertoire for this corny and funky song. The background chorus chanting assorted ‘Mangalam’ (including dash Mangalam!) adds considerable mirth, while Benny and Vibha carry the main tune very well.

Doshthe Takkaru, Naan Varuvean & Yetu Pone/Kareyuveya/Mazhamegham – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil/Telugu/Kannada/Malayalam: This is not a good week for composers singing their own songs, and Justin Prabhakaran, of all people, falling in that zone seems really awkward. And that too, when the Kannada, Malayalam versions of the same song, by Sooraj Santhosh, and the Telugu version by Kaala Bhairava, are so much better sung. The tune is very nice, incidentally, with a sweeping pathos feel to it that really needed a good singer like Kaala Bhairava or Sooraj, even for Tamil.

Doshthe Takkaru, thankfully, doesn’t have any such issues. Sung by Naresh Iyer, this is a punchy friendship anthem that flows so well, with its foot-tapping rhythm and Nadaswaram layer alternating with the softer, melodic parts in perfect sync. And Naan Varuvean is outstanding! A really heartwarming melody that took me back to Rahman’s early melodies when he was really interested in creating highly layered music (unlike his fairly bland current state). Justin’s layers in Naan Varuvean offer a bewildering range, but he blends them all so beautifully and cohesively. And the singers too – Sathyaprakash D and Aishwarya Ravichandran – are phenomenally good! That ‘Vaa Vaa’ hook is quite something else!! This is such an assured and so well put-together composition from Justin.

Aatha Valikkudhu – A1 (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: This is a short track written and sung by Sean Roldan. And when Motta Rajendran starts the song with his dialog, I wondered if it was Sean or Rajendran, given both sound kinda similar with their gruffy voices. But Sean sounds surprisingly smoother than his usual self in the main song, a racy, funky tune that you wished was longer!

Agalaathey – Nerkonda Paarvai (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Agalaathey is a lovely, very-Yuvan tune with a fantastic smattering of EDM that deserved a male singer who is not Yuvan. The composer single-handedly lifts the song with his tune, sound and overall packaging, and also single-handedly pulls it down (oh the irony!) with his horrendously off-key singing! Even Himesh Reshammiya has moved to roping in Arijit Singh for Heeriye in Happy Hardy Heer, even though the song’s standard remains unbearably monotonous.

Singappenney – Bigil (A.R.Rahman) – Tamil: The other composer who could pause his singing ambition is Rahman himself. I thought he started with ‘Mogaray’ as the opening call-out (as in ‘Moonji Mogaraya Paaru’). Figured it was ‘Maadharey’, eventually. Rahman’s labored singing style seemed like a disadvantage to the otherwise nice-enough song, with a steady rhythm and a rousing melody, topped with Shashaa’s end part that works like a contrasting twist. But yes, Rahman or Yuvan’s singing is definitely better sounding that Kaappaan’s Hey Amigo where Lesle Lewis sings Tamil almost like he’s forced to under gunpoint.

Manasukidi Garalam & Dheveri – Guna 369 (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Vijay Yesudas and Shweta Mohan are brilliantly suited for Manasukidi Garalam. That ‘Nuvvante Leni’ phrase, in particular, despite the obvious digital edit and paste, is a beautiful touch. Dheveri was a surprise given how much it reminded me of Shravan’s music and made me rue over that composer’s sad luck. Anyway, Chaitan scores this one too very well, with a beautifully realized flute interlude and a charming melody overall that is wonderfully handled by Gowtham Bharadwaj and particularly Ramya Behara.

Njan Jackson Allada – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay) – Malayalam: Flautist Vishnu Vijay who made his composing debut in director Johnpaul George’s Guppy is back with the director’s next, Ambili. Even if the show-stealer in the teaser is actor Soubin Shahir, Vishnu’s lively and whimsical tune in Njan Jackson Allada, sung equally in the right feel by Anthony Daasan, is a close second.

Iniyen Arukil – Age 30 (Jinu Vijayan) – Malayalam/Tamil: Composer Jinu wins by default when he picks Reetigowlai raaga for his charming little song. But while that raaga makes the song so much more enjoyable, a special mention for the video’s director, Deepak (DJ) Jayendranath, who handles the short script almost like a movie. It is a fairytale romance no doubt, but the plot points like the hero finding the girl to be a Tamilian and how he musically handles it, complete with red-and-black attire and a gana/kuthu interlude by Jassie Gift, are thoroughly enjoyable. The video was almost like a tweet-version fo a full film; as a full film, this would have been boring, but as a tweet-sized version, it was good fun!

Mon Ke Bojhai – Oriplast Originals S01 E02: Composer Gaurav Chatterjee’s mix of Bangla folk and Qawwali comes alive delightfully in the exuberant vocals of Sona Mohapatra and Sahil Solanki. That Sona can produce a cracker of a song is already known, but the surprise here is Sahil who is so very good! He is so assured in his rendition, and the way he pivots from Qawali-style ‘Tujhpe jaan yeh luta de saari’ to Bangla folk style is super! I didn’t really like the episode 3, featuring Arko’s song sung by Shaan, but given this song and last week’s number, this series is really turning out to be a darn good alternative to Coke Studio!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 82: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
19 songs this week. All 19 present on the YouTube playlist, but the JioSaavn playlist is missing 3 songs – Manmadhudu 2’s Hey Menina, Pattabhiraman’s Unni Ganapathiye and the Gujarati song by Sachin-Jigar, Dariyo.

Para Para, Judgementall Hai Kya & Kis Raste Hai Jana – Judgementall Hai Kya (Rachita Arora and Arjunaa Harjai) – Hindi: After Tanishk Bagchi’s remake single, the film produces a fairly interesting mix across its 5 songs. Rachita Arora continues to live up to her promise with eclectic songs! Para Para is an intriguing take on Pancham’s music, with Arun Dev Yadav taking on Pancham-style singing and pulling it off well too! MuzikFactory (OmDixant) is credited with the ‘Music’, oddly enough, consisting of Dixant Shaurya and Om Sharma, though ‘Music composer’ continues to be Rachita Arora. The title song is a pulsating rap built on the title hook that leads itself to a neat EDM drop. Arjunaa Harjai’s Kis Raste Hai Jana is a complete contrast to Rachita’s songs and is a pleasant and heartwarming melody that is serene and lilting, with voices by Surabhi Dashputra and Arjunaa himself.

Hawa Banke – Darshan Rawal (Nirmaan) – Hindi/Punjabi: Darshan’s latest is a nice reworking of Hadiqa Kiani’s iconic Punjabi song Boohey Barain. Nirmaan’s recreation builds on the original with new lyrics and uses the original’s hook with reverence and the soul intact.

Dhoonde Akhiyaan – Jabariya Jodi (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Jabariya Jodi has 8 songs – that’s a lot of songs by current standards! I was underwhelmed by the overall soundtrack and when I see Sid and Parineeti together, I still go back to Zehnaseeb. The only song that held my attention was Tanishk’s Dheende Akhiyaan, with its predictably comforting filmy sound that somehow took my mind to Pardes’ climax!

Thozhane – Kaal Nootraandu Kaadhal (Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy) – Tamil: The song is from a short film and it is fantastic to see Yuvan Shankar Raja showcase and support other composers under his U1 Records label. The song, by Ashwin, is a brilliantly energetic and inspiring number with a powerful chorus hook. The sound is classic rock and even though Tipu sings it, it was somewhat amusing to see Ashwin lip-sync to it in the video 🙂

Maalai Nera – A1 (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: At last! At last Santhosh decided to import his hugely entertaining early song from Telugu Billa Ranga (Melam Moge) to Tamil! Possibly because I was so used to the Telugu original, I wasn’t that impressed with the Tamil lyrics (also the singer going ‘MaLLippoo MaLLippoo for some reason) sitting perfectly on this tune, but the tune continues to remain great fun 🙂

Adhuva Adhuva – Naadodigal 2 (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: Justin for Nadodigal 2 is a pleasant surprise, after Sundar C Babu’s bombastic music going perfectly with the bombastic earlier film that was intentionally loud and blaring, albeit well-intentioned and riveting. Justin’s first song is a pleasant experience, far removed from the tone of the original film – is this a sign that this film will also be different from the first one? The conversational tone of the song, between Sooraj Santhosh and Shweta Mohan, and the assorted atmospheric sounds that Justin adds, make the experience all the more enjoyable!

Raksha Raksha Jaganmatha – Aadai (K.Veeramani and Pradeep Kumar) – Tamil: This is one scintillating remix by Pradeep. When the first interlude, a very familiar tune during Tamil Nadu mornings and in schools across the state, started playing preceded and succeeded by pulsating guitar, I burst out laughing at the mix and ingenuity 🙂 I also notice that
Saregama has usurped the song from Think Music which is the original record label for the film, by nature of being the copyright owner of the original. Result? Whenever you encounter a jukebox or ‘album’ of Aadai, it’d be without this song – the listener is the loser, in the end.

Ra Ra: Roar of the Revengers – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: Anirudh continues his fantastic Telugu form in the first single from Gang Leader too! The song has a racy, stylish sound that works instantly. Prudhvi Chandra and Bashermax roar through the already searing electric guitars.

Bujji Bangaram – Guna 369 (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: I thought the first single from the film (Tholi Parichayama Idhi) was pretty average and riffed on way-too-familiar Telugu song templates. But Chaitan delivers better in Bujji Bangaram, with its joyous sound and lively tune, handled very well by Nakash Aziz and Deepthi Parthasarathy.

Kannu Kotti – Ranarangam (Karthik Rodriguez) – Telugu: I have known Karthik Rodriguez as a singer, and this composing turn (I believe he has done it earlier too), that too in a soundtrack that I thought belonged to Prashant Pillai, is a surprise! His tune, that he also sings (no surprise!), is quirky with a steady lilt and a wonderfully melodic turn in the anupallavi.

Hey Menina – Manmadhudu 2 (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Breezy Latino mix by Chaitan that’s a complete departure from his existing (limited) repertoire! This man is really going places, even singing it in style and confidence!

Shokilala – Chandan Shetty (Kannada): Among the few people who are attempting hip-hop in the South (like HipHop Tamizha in Tamil), Chandan Shetty has been fairly consistent with good quality output. Shokilala sounds like something Bruno Mars would have composed if he was based out of Shivajinagar. It sounds fantastic!

Neelambarampol – Unnikrishnan KB (Malayalam): Sung by Ganesh Sundaram, Unnikrishnan’s melody is a lovely semi-classical’ish song that reminded me of Sahana raaga. It’s possible that is why I like the song too 🙂 Unnikrishnan seems completely at ease handling the tune and sound, particularly the tabla, by Dharmatheerthan.

Unni Ganapathiye – Pattabhiraman (M.Jayachandran) – Malayalam: The song sounded to me like Mayamalavagowlai raaga, and like the earlier mention on Sahana raaga, could be the very reason why I took it immediately. M G Sreekumar’s pitch-perfect singing and Jayachandran’s rich background score make the song so much better.

Aajo Cholechi – Papon & Shalmali Kholgade (Oriplast Originals Season 1) – Himachali/Bengali: As Shalmali starts singing the familiar and well-loved Himachali folk song Maini Meriye, I started wondering if I got the song title right. It turns out to a fusion, a very good one at that, with music by Subhadeep Mitra who blends the Himachali folk with a new tune, sung first by Papon and then Shalmali too, in Bengali. This is a promising start to Oriplast Originals Season 1 – I look forward to more in this series.

Dariyo – Sachin-Jigar (Gujarati): Even as the composing duo’s latest, Arjun Patiala is a strangely middling piece of work, this independent single comes as a refreshing surprise. It is sparse and highly melodious, running on Jigar’s soulful singing and some wonderful background music. The excessive digital intervention in the vocals is annoying as usual, but the overall package is a great listen.

China – Anuel Aa, Karol G, Daddy Yankee ft. J Balvin, Ozuna: So many stars in one song? And the song, to my Indian ears, sounded like Punjabi, at places 🙂 The package is usual Daddy Yankee/Balvin Latino reggaeton catchiness – irresistible as always.

Ishq is perhaps the most infuriating movie I have seen in quite a while. And this is mainly because the film topples, on its head, 2 well-known movie tropes – vigilante justice and home invasion.

I missed it when it was in theaters – I reserve my theater experience to larger-than-life films, and indulge in so-called smaller films at the comfort of my home, on one of the many OTT platforms that thankfully offer them with English subtitles.

So Ishq, on Amazon Prime.

Considering I recently watched Kumbalangi Nights on the same platform, I couldn’t help marvel at the connection between the two:

Shane Nigam as Bobby, in that film, shouts, “I am a man!”, when Baby (played by Anna Ben) refuses to kiss him in the cinema theater.

Shane Nigam as Sachi, in this film, growls, “I am a man. I need to know”, after what he and Vasudha (Ann Sheetal) have endured the previous night.

(Should I also connect, Rangan-style, the first names of both actresses – Anna and Ann? Nah.)

To me, Ishq was perhaps the most refreshing and intimate take on the vigilante justice trope Indian cinema is usually obsessed with forever.

It is to the film’ credit that I couldn’t watch it without squirming when two of its biggest, most impactful stretches were playing. I felt like a pervert watching those two stretches and I have to accept that it makes for a riveting watch – something you don’t want to see, but still persist, with your mouth agape and mind numb, hoping/praying for the best.

But, Ishq is also 10X more problematic than an Arjun Reddy. Arjun was propped with a lot of hero’ness – he is not real, but aspirational (unfortunately so). But he is a make-believe in the way they stretch his actions into something utterly incredulous. Sachi, in comparison, is the boy next door – sheepish smile, and utterly normal. When he decides to turn vigilante and avenge the insult to his manhood (and not for the harrowing experience of his girlfriend, which had already been sidestepped when he didn’t react to that at all after the ordeal, something Vasudha points out to him too, categorically), he empowers every boy-next-door to believe that this is a possibility.

In that alarmingly realistic scenario comes the equally alarming and intimate focus on something very few vigilante justice films ever venture into – a focus on the collateral damage. Alvin’s wife and little daughter are the collateral damage I’m referring to. And here, the home invasion trope is turned upside down because of who performs the act!

Even here, the details would make you squirm merely thinking about them: In the first ordeal, you knew that the perpetrators were obviously and visibly ‘bad’. They mean bad and behave horrendously. The film could have gone into a tailspin and really bad things could have happened otherwise ‘good people. But, you heave a sigh of relief that the film doesn’t take it to that extreme, even as the trauma that the good people are left with is going to last a lifetime because of what was not done and merely hinted at.

But, in the second ordeal, you are aghast that the perpetrator is not a conventionally ‘bad’ person. And he does heinous things to two good people, one of them being a little child. You probably know in the back of your heart that he won’t resort to any extreme (unlike the earlier episode where anything was possible), though he does cross several boundaries in his quest for revenge. It’s the inherent evil within a supposedly good person that is the ultimate horror in Ishq. The level of evil that has him hounding two people only because they happened to be connected to his target of revenge.

Hence, it was a relief the way the film ended, even though that denouement is hardly representative of the crime he has perpetrated. But two things stand out in this ending – that Vasudha didn’t turn vigilante on Sachi and offer an extreme punishment and merely did what was in her purview. And two, this is what Arjun Reddy’s Preethi should have done, though that’s hardly representative of Arjun’s misdeeds.

Shane is perhaps overdoing his goofy, boy-next-door gig (considering I saw Kumbalangi Nights last week), but he is incredibly effective in Ishq in selling first his boy-next-door, and his tentative-in-love and eventually his man out for vengeance. Shine Tom Chacko, playing Alvin, is stupendously good. That he disgusts you incredibly is the power of his role and acting, while Jaffer Idukki, as his co-perpetrator, brings an enormous amount of sliminess to his role.

Ann Sheetal is a revelation. The range of expressions she brings to the role – while madly in love, while tentatively agreeing to what Sachi asks her to do, while not giving in fully, yet in a surprise gesture, moving to the back seat of the car as her own minute way to offer her consent and express her desire, while fearing for her self and for Sachi during her ordeal, while expressing shock at Sachi’s behaviour post the ordeal and the placid Vasudha during the final stretch! Along with Leona Lishoy (as Alvin’s wife), the 2 actresses are outstanding in making us fear for them, feel for them and quite literally, pray for them.

A special note to the cinematography. The choice of angles to highlight the way Sachi’s car enters the desolate parking zone is brilliant, and the home invasion scenes in the second ordeal are incredibly real. Jakes Bejoy’s music is minimal, and Parayuvaan is an easy highlight, thanks to Sid Sriram’s singing. Some of the editor’s and composer’s choices are questionable – like the framing of the end of the second ordeal, almost making it right, together with pumping background music.

But Ishq is that kind of film that you simply cannot not think about and not have an opinion about. That is remarkably good cinema. This one questions moral ambiguity in multiple directions – the ‘good’ characters’ in the film, the director’s, and your own, for persisting with the perversion on display.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 81: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
12 songs this week. Malayalam music seems to have given up on JioSaavn and trusts only YouTube, it looks like! All the 4 Malayalam songs this week are missing from JioSaavn. YouTube has 11 songs and is missing only the Marathi Querida Querido from Girlfriend and that too only because the song is inside a jukebox.

The Wakhra Song – Judgemental Hai Kya (Tanishk Bagchi and Badshah) – Hindi/Punjabi: Tanishk Bagchi is everywhere, as usual, remixing and creating singles in this film or that. I wasn’t really impressed with Psycho Saiyaan from Saaho and Zilla Hilela from Jabariya Jodi, this remix of Badshah’s Wakhra Swag passes my test. The original seems to have jumped multiple labels – first released by Times Music in 2015 and raking up 209 million views! And then with Speed Records in 2018, and now, finally with Zee Music as Tanishk’s remix. Tanishk cleverly adds pace to the original that was rather oddly paced for the rap/lyrics and music.


Paagal – Badshah: The first ticket-to-fame is the 91 million+ views on YouTube in just 3 days! Is that some new world record? The song is very, very catchy, no doubt, but not something I’d associate with that big a number, but that’s just me. To paraphrase Badshah, Yeh Duniya Paagal Hai Paagal Hai Paagal Hai!

Querida Querido – Girlfriend (Hrishikesh-Saurabh-Jasraj) – Marathi: The composing trio’s tune here is similar to the title song, with an extra dash of the Latino sound. It’s a compellingly joyous tune and the lively singing by Shalmali Kholgade and Jasraj Joshi adds to the fun.

Adugula Madgula – Baba (Rohan Rohan) – Marathi: There’s an easy, rhythmic tune in Adugula Madgula that makes it endearing almost immediately. Combined with Marathi language’s beautiful sound (and Rohan Pradhan’s singing, in large part too), it’s a lovely, lilting listen.

Chaaruthanthi – Munirathna Kurukshetra (V.Harikrishna) – Kannada: While Hari tries the M.M.Keeravani sound in the first single (Saahore, not to be confused with a similarly titled song from Baahubali or Prabhas’ Saaho), Chaaruthanthi is more his trademark sound that he knows and does well. It has an Ilayaraja’ish edge that Hari does particularly well. Though I’d have loved to hear Kannada singers sing for this ambitious film, you cannot fault singers like Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal at all – both are phenomenally good.

Banda Nodu Pailwaan – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: The 2nd large project with Lahari as the record label, after Munirathna Kurukshetra, this week. This one is larger, with a pan-Indian, multi-lingual ambition. And takes composer Arjun Janya to Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam too! The song is very-Arjun Janya – well-mounted, larger-than-life sound with a tune that has very well-rhyming lyrics in almost all languages. This is also the 2nd South Indian film in recent times that has pan-Indian goals, the other one being the Telugu-first Saaho.

Kanneer Meghangal – Sachin (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: Good to hear Shaan Rahman’s music after quite some time. Even this film had a few singles released a few weeks/months ago – not sure why this staggered release, and the film’s release. The melody is something you can easily relate to Shaan – a soft pathos-laden tune with lovely singing by Hesham Abdul Wahab and Bindhu. The long’ish phrases in the pallavi are particularly beautiful.

Illikoodinullil & Ambaram – Sathyam Paranja Viswasikkuvo (Shaan Rahman and Viswajith) – Malayalam: The second Shaan Rahman song of the week. Delightfully simple and likeable tune, with a particularly lovely flute phrase by Josy Alappuzha and a fantastic percussion from Kerala folk music. Pitch-perfect singing by Sudeep Kumar and Merin Gregory. The other song from the same film has music by Viswajith! It has a spritely tune that traverses through multiple genres, including Western Classical in the 2nd interlude and Kerala’s traditional music in the bridge from anupallavi to pallavi in a particularly imaginative stretch. And that ending is a complete surprise!! It’s a fantastic mix that works very smoothly, led by KS Harisankar’s singing.

Jaathikkathottam – Thanneer Mathan Dinangal (Justin Varghese) – Malayalam: The video looks like a sequel to Kumbalangi Nights, with Frankie’s life being expanded into a spin-off even as he has moved to cricket, from football (he is called Jaison, in this film though). Justin’s tune and sound is especially fantastic – a wonderfully constructed melody that’s a slow burner with superb singing by Soumya Ramakrishnan and Devadutt Bijibal. There’s also an eclectic mix of sounds, with the nadaswaram and thavil topping the list, besides an excellent vocal chorus featuring Daya Bijibal, Pavni Prakash, Anamika Prakash, Megha, Vygha, Girish.A.D and Dinoy.

Thaarame Thaarame – Kadaram Kondan (Ghibran) – Tamil: While I didn’t like the other new song by Ghibran this week (from the Tamil film Sixer), this one I can work with. It isn’t particularly unique, but it grows thanks to Sid Sriram’s singing and the little nuances Ghibran incorporates in the background.

My Best Life – KSHMR ft. Mike Waters: Oddly catchy, with a lovely dose of electronic sounds and a bizarre video to boot! The vocal slices are addictive, no doubt and the single cover is a hoot, in what looks like a Hindu Godman but is not 🙂

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