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 🙂

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 80: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. JioSaavn is missing 4 – Manase Muttaala from Aadi Lakshmi Purana, Maayathe by Charles Nazareth, Rathrimazha from Porkkalam and Anuraga Kilivathil from Shubarathri. YouTube is missing 4 too, but not the same 4 🙂

Siriki – Kaappaan (Harris Jayaraj) – Tamil: Nothing seems to have changed in Harris’ music and parts of it continues to sound like the faux-folk music that A R Rahman concocted when he began composing for films. Many of the phrases in this song sound like bits and pieces of Harris’ own songs and that has been comfortably and adequately addressed as an advantage than a disadvantage by fans. And yet, this does sound good, enhancing the Harris-Suriya track record. The steady rhythm that doesn’t deviate, the quality of singing work in its favor, besides the simple, hummable tune.

Nee Vaanavilla, Onnumilla, Oru Naal, Aadai Theme – Aadai (Oorka, Marti Bharath) – Tamil: Oorka’s film debut song is clearly modelled on a classic rock template. And roping in Shakthisree Gopalan seems perfect given her range and handling. The ending, in particular, is very good, where the searing guitars pave way for a somber finale. Onnumilla too is by Oorka and like in Nee Vaanavilla, the lyrics are worth noting (by Bharath Sankar). The song continues the band’s rock sound and is racier, with a pulsating finish. Oru Naal, composed by Marti Bharath and sung by Pradeep Kumar, is a fantastic composition too… easily makes you wonder who this Marti Bharath is! Marti Bharat, of course, is Chennai-based producer and keyboardist who founded the band Sapta. Oru Naal isn’t typical of Sapta’s electronic music, but the musical flourishes are as good. In Pradeep’s accomplished singing, the moody track is a great listen. Aadai Theme is (finally) by Pradeep Kumar! Incredibly poignant and sweeping orchestration featuring a string quartet from Budapest. I believe there’s another song composed by Pradeep Kumar in the soundtrack (called Thoppi) that is sung by Vijainarain (who has turned composer recently, for the Santhanam starrer Dagaalty) that will be released after the film’s release. Really looking forward to that one.

Naanum Neeyum & Endha Poovum – Unarvu (Nakul Abhayankar) – Tamil: Naanum Neeyum clearly depends on singer Karthik’s fantastic skills and he delivers, expectedly. Nakul’s composition soars after the pallavi using that beautiful nadaswaram interlude, though I couldn’t help hearing the chorus voice pronouncing it as ‘unarvu’ instead of ‘uNarvu’. Nakul’s tune for the anupallavi is very good too, backed by a racy guitar backdrop. Endha Poovum is a simple, catchy song that’s easy on the ear. Nakul’s singing is very good, though Ramya Bhat pronouncing ‘Thannan thaniyai’ as ‘Thannan ThaNiyaai’ irks.

Seetha Kalyanam – Ranarangam (Prashant Pillai) – Telugu: Director Sudheer Varma has worked extensively by composer Sunny M.R (Swamy Ra Ra, Dohchay and Keshava; and I working with Ajaneesh for the Telugu version of Kirrak Party made sense since the Kannada original was by the same composer). So, it’s a surprise he chose Prashant Pillai for Ranarangam – not that I’m complaining at all (more like wondering – doesn’t Sunny want to focus on his solo career too, and is he content with working with Pritam in Bollywood?). Prashant’s reimagining of Thyagaraja’s classic melody set in raaga Shankarabharanam is typical of his fusion – with a fantastic nadaswaram layer in the backdrop and an ambient chorus. Sreehari K singing tops the song, of course.

Manase Muttaala – Aadi Lakshmi Purana (Anup Bhandari) – Kannada: I first noticed the 4-song soundtrack of the film 2-3 weeks ago on Saavn, but before I could listen to them over that weekend, the album vanished! Then, one song, Boom Boom, surfaced as a single – I didn’t like it much. Now, I see 3 songs on Saavn but they are marked as ‘unavailable’. The 2nd single from the film, Manase Muttaala, is a much better affair by Anup. It uses a whimsically paced tune that goes from Latino ballad-style to a faster vaudevillian’ish sound and back. The singing, led by Vijay Prakash, also features Supriya Lohith, Aishwarya Rangarajan and Anup Bhandari himself. Vijay, of course, is brilliant.

Maayathe – Charles Nazareth (Malayalam): Charles Nazareth’s music is an enchanting experiment that works precisely because it traverses an unusually constructed tune. Gowry Lekshmi’s part in the melody is in striking contrast to Charles’ own parts and that interplay is stunning! The electronic sounds that envelop the tune are beautifully imagined too!

Kaatum – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: Yet another impressive song from Luca! Sooraj sings this one too and given its pulsating sounds, fits perfectly for the melody. Not just that, he features as the singer in the video too! Do I see a future for Sooraj as an actor too? Of course 🙂

Rathrimazha – Porkkalam (Sunil Pallippuram) – Malayalam: The melody seemed like Vidyasagar’s Thankathinkal from Indraprastham all over again! Brindavana Saaranga/Hamir Kalyani raaga? It continues to be wonderful, though 🙂

Anuraga Kilivathil – Shubarathri (Bijibal) – Malayalam: Do I sense a trace of Sahana raaga in the melody? That could be my trigger to like it instantly. Glad to have Bijibal back in the composing mix.

Imagination – Foster The People: Adequately trippy and psychedelic! The singing goes with that too, with a chorus that soars equally well.

Señorita – Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes: This is pop aimed at a massive billboard hit and one that delivers too, with a sensual video to boot!

Wednesday July 3, 2019

Milliblog Top 10 – June 2019

Hindi

01. Jugraafiya – Super 30 (Ajay-Atul)

02. Nadhkula – Malaal (Shreyas Puranik)

03. Naina Yeh – Article 15 (Piyush Shankar)

04. Madaari – The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir (Amit Trivedi)

05. Pehla Pyaar – Kabir Singh (Vishal Mishra)

06. Intezaari – Article 15 (Anurag Saikia)

07. Zara Suno – Malaal (Shail Hada)

08. Paisa – Super 30 (Ajay-Atul)

09. Main Deewana Tera – Arjun Patiala (Sachin-Jigar and Guru Randhawa)

10. Koka – Khandaani Shafakhana (Jasbir Jassi, Shyam Bhateja, Tanishk Bagchi)

Tamil

01. Thanimai Siraiyinil – Siragu (Arrol Corelli)

02. Kadhal Megham – Mazhai Saaral (Yaadhav Ramalinkgam)

03. Unaalathaan – Sindhubaadh (Yuvan Shankar Raja)

04. Uthira Uthira – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman)

05. Neeyum Naanum – Sindhubaadh (Yuvan Shankar Raja)

06. Vaanam Sumandha Megam – Chennai Palani Mars (Niranjan Babu)

07. Magaraaniye – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman) 

08. Nenja Unakaga – Sindhubaadh (Yuvan Shankar Raja)

09. Sigarame – Raatchasi (Sean Roldan)

10. Vaa Penney – Siragu (Arrol Corelli)

Telugu

01. Gira Gira – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)

02. Naaku Nuvvani – Mallesham (Mark K Robin)

03. Evaro Evaro – Kalki (Shravan Bharadwaj)

04. Naalo Maimarapu – Oh Baby (Mickey J Meyer)

05. Padipoyanetho – Hippi (Nivas K Prasanna)

06. Ee Kshaname – Malli Malli Chusa (Shravan Bharadwaj)

07. Talapu Talapu – Brochevarevarura (Vivek Sagar)

08. The Canteen song – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran)

09. Vaale Chinukule – Brochevarevarura (Vivek Sagar)

10. Undipo – Ismart Shankar (Mani Sharma)

Malayalam

01. Ore Kannal – LUCA (Sooraj S Kurup)

02. Aval – Kakshi: Amminippilla (Arun Muraleedharan)

03. Yaminiyaai – Neermathalam Poothakaalam (Sheron Roy Gomez)

04. Vanil Chandrika – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup)

05. Mazhamukil – Prekashante Metro (Rahul Subrahmanian)

06. Neeyilla Neram – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup)

07. Tu Hi Rani – Kakshi: Amminippilla (Arun Muraleedharan)

08. Kaanumbol Ninne – Thamaasha (Rex Vijayan)

09. Jeevante Jeevanay – Sameer (Sudeep Palanad)

10. Nee Mazhavillu Polen – Finals (Kailas Menon)

Kannada

01. Abbabba Ninna Kande – Preethi Irabaaradey (Sabu Varghese & Yelender Mahaveer)

02. Yenanno Helalu Hogi – Gubbi Mele Brahmastra (Manikanth Kadri)

03. Naaligege Jwara – Fan (Vikram-Chandana)

04. Awasara – Yaanaa (Joshua Sridhar)

Indipop

01. Nee Illama – 7UP Madras Gig (Ghibran)

02. Sreeragamo – Sanah Modutty (Sharreth)

03. Hey Zara – Ben Human

04. Orey Neel Dariya – Gaan Bangla’s Wind of Change (Kaushik Hossain Taposh) – On YouTube (since embedding is blocked)

05. Vivasayam – Anthony Daasan

06. Milon Hobe Koto Dine – Gaan Bangla’s Wind of Change (Kaushik Hossain Taposh) – On YouTube (since embedding is blocked)

07. Vakratunda Mahakaaya – Flute Navin

08. Aaj Ei Brishtir Kanna Dekhe – Gaan Bangla’s Wind of Change (Kaushik Hossain Taposh) – On YouTube (since embedding is blocked)

09. Aamay Dekhona – Gaan Bangla’s Wind of Change (Kaushik Hossain Taposh) – On YouTube (since embedding is blocked)

10. Hidden Happiness – Weeping Strings (Manoj George) – On JioSaavn.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 79: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
20 songs this week. JioSaavn has 19 songs! It’s just missing the Malayalam song, Mazhamukil from Prekashante Metro. YouTube playlist has 18 songs and is missing Bastar Awaits from Unda (I have embedded the playlist below) and Hidden Happiness from Weeping Strings by Manoj George.

Koka – Khandaani Shafakhana (Jasbir Jassi, Shyam Bhateja, Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi/Punjabi: T-series at its game again, taking a simple, earthy Punjabi song and jazzing it up significantly. Sometimes, it sounds terrible, but this one, with that effortless catchiness of the original and Tanishk’s zing, works!

Main Deewana Tera – Arjun Patiala (Sachin-Jigar and Guru Randhawa) – Hindi: I’m getting increasingly confused between Khandaani Shafakhana and Arjun Patiala given the multiple points of commonalities – T-series, the heavy Punjabi bent, Varun Sharma! This one is supposedly composed by both Guru Randhawa and Sachin-Jigar – I wonder how they apportioned the composing duties. It sounds a lot like Sachin-Jigar’s music to my ears, though Guru’s lively singing props it up easily.

Vaanam Sumandha Megam – Chennai Palani Mars (Niranjan Babu) – Tamil: I was honestly underwhelmed by Niranjan’s music in this soundtrack, though Think Music’s record of new composers is pretty good. The one song that stood out was, ironically, so much like Harris Jayaraj’s tune! But it was handled well, with that minimal music and a very lush tune, sung brilliantly by Sujay Iswarian Isaac DP.

Magaraaniye – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman) – Tamil: A somewhat familiar and predictable tune by Imman is made better thanks to the choice of singer – Srinivas. The usual Imman-style jaunty rhythm and sound is intact and the anupallavi is a particularly nice diversion.

Canteen – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran) – Telugu: The Gold-standard in Telugu cinema canteen songs is still Botany Patamundi from Shiva, by Ilayaraja. Justin’s attempt is a very, very brave and solid attempt, incidentally. It seems to be picking a leaf out of Sam CS’s music in Vikram Vedha’s Tasakku Tasakku. But yes, the tune is earthy, folkish and effervescent with a lot of swag!

Undipo – Ismart Shankar (Mani Sharma) – Telugu: I haven’t liked any of the 3 songs released from the film so far, though I really like Mani Sharma’s music. This one is interesting since it seems to riff on Junoon’s Sayonee not directly in terms of the tune, but in terms of the overall aesthetics! That, and the Anurag Kulkarni’s singing (not so much Ramya Behara’s, though) make it work… into a catchy song!

Vaale Chinukule and Brochevare – Brochevarevarura (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: While Vaale Chinukule is trademark Vivek song, with brilliant vocals by Sooraj Santhosh and the composer’s familiar alluring sounds, Brochevare hits it out of the park with its haunting and frenetic rock sound! Anurag Kulkarni is right on top of the pulsating song.

Andanike and Anaganaga – Burra Katha (Sai Karthik) – Telugu: This could easily pass for Devi Sri Prasad’s music particularly with that rhythm and use of Veena! But, credit to Sai Karthik, his tune is very efficient, with a faux-semi classical sound that occasionally gets down to the masala business very well. Anaganaga too is DSP’s signature sound, with that incredibly catchy and swanky rhythm that Sai Karthik alternates with an assortment of sounds, like the prayer’ish middle portion and an ebullient Bajrangi call-out towards the end! Dhanunjay’s singing is on the mark, with the casual ‘bro’ throw.

Evaro Evaro – Kalki (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Shravan’s first song from Kalki was an unabashedly middling item song, but he thankfully showcases his form in Evaro Evaro. Shweta Mohan (singing along with Vedala Hemachandra) is in particularly great form too! The Rara Dasharadha Rajakumara interlude (by Thyagaraja’s set to Bhairavi raaga) is uncredited though! The musical breakout over the ‘Dorike Dorike’ phrase is lovely!

Neeyilla Neram – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: The 3rd hugely impressive song from Luca! This one, Sooraj takes it upon himself to sing it solo! The tune has an ethereal feel and the melody builds itself beautifully. That silence in the ‘Kaalam karuthidum’ and the off-tone phrase in ‘Doore Oraayiramirul’ lines are brilliant!

Nee Mazhavillu Polen – Finals (Kailas Menon) – Malayalam: Theevandi-fame Kailas Menon’s music! Nice enough song, with a pleasant pop’ish lilt. The surprise is wink-fame Priya Prakash Varrier’s singing – she’s not bad at all!

Sreeragamo – Sanah Modutty (Sharreth) – Malayalam: Sanah attempts Sharreth’s iconic song from Pavithram and does pretty well, I should say. It’s a testament to both the original’s beauty, in Karaharapriya raaga, and to Sanah’s refined cover version.

Bastar Awaits – Unda (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: This Prashant letting loose his creative instincts within the confines of the film’s plot! The song sounds like heady world music, with African’ish sounds thrown in, but uses local folk singers from Bastar, where the film’s plot is based. Result? Eclectic fusion!

Mazhamukil – Prekashante Metro (Rahul Subrahmanian) – Malayalam: I missed this song when it came out in April. Fantastic, ambient melody that perhaps has a similar raaga to Shaan Rahman’s stunningly beautiful song, Thennal Nilavinte from Oru Muthassi Gadha. That’s reason enough to like this new song too, besides Najeem Arshad and Shweta Mohan’s delightful singing!

Tu Hi Rani – Kakshi: Amminippilla (Arun Muraleedharan) – Malayalam: Arun Muraleedharan gets it right again, like last week’s Aval. Like that song hinged on Harisankar’s singing, this one rides on Arjun Krishna’s wonderful vocals. The melody is warm and endearing with a beautiful tabla backdrop.

Naaligege Jwara – Fan (Vikram-Chandana) – Kannada: I thought there was definitely a spark in Vikram-Chandana’s music, even though parts of this song reminded me of V.Harikrishna’s outstanding Paravashanadenu, from Paramathma. Still, this is a good song with smart, peppy orchestration, and Vijay Prakash’s singing makes it even better.

Awasara – Yaanaa (Joshua Sridhar) – Kannada: Joshua’s n’th return to Kannada cinema, after that outstanding, but sadly immediately-forgotten soundtrack in Tamil, July Kaatril! He even reuses Kayathe Kanagathe in Beauty Queen here – thankfully, the primary record label (Saai Media) seems to be the common owner so this Kannada version may not be rudely removed like it has happened with Hiphop Tamizha recently. Awasara is the only song that worked for me, with fantastic singing by Shashaa Tirupati over that breezy melody and the background sounds regurgitated from A R Rahman’s Neethaan En Desiyageetham from Parthale Paravasam.

Hidden Happiness – Weeping Strings (Manoj George): Manoj’s new album is a soft, serene and somber affair. My pick of the album was the very-Indian sounding Hidden Happiness, that took me to Sona and Ram Sampath’s Aaja Ve. A common raaga, perhaps.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 78: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
20 songs this week. JioSaavn has 18 and is missing Aval from Kakshi: Amminippilla and Yenanno Helalu Hogi from Gubbi Mele Brahmastra. YouTube playlist has 17 songs and is missing 3 songs from Malaal (I have hence embedded the YouTube jukebox of the soundtrack below).

Nadhkula, Aai Shapat, Kathai Kathai, Zara Suno – Malaal (Shreyas Puranik, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shail Hada) – Hindi: Malaal is, in my view, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s best as a composer. He has 5 songs to his credit of the 7 songs, with the other 2 by Shreyas Puranik and Shail Hada). Nadhkula (which Shreyas seems keen on pronouncing as ‘Nadh kuzha’ (almost making it sound like a Tamil word!). The melody is delectable, with a jaunty rhythm keeping it company – the combo is enchanting! Shreyas’ singing is top notch, and the chorus that ends the song is perfectly layered too.

Shail Hada composes the wonderfully lilting Zara Suno that Aanandi Joshi sings really well, even as Rutvik Talashilkar has an odd edge that is a hit-or-miss. The melody keeps the song thoroughly enjoyable, though. Rutvik, however, is outstanding in Aai Shapat, handling the incredibly catchy folk tune, with a lovely spring-in-the-rhythm. And then there’s Shreya Ghoshal and Kathai Kathai! I have usually heard the word ‘Kathai’ (light brown?) used with the color of the heroine’s eyes (my favourite song being Duplicate’s Kathai Aankhon Waali Ek Ladki). Here, the hero’s eyes as being described, for a change! Shreya owns the song like only she can, with a particularly fantastic tune for the antara! Sanjay’s tune is endearing and very pleasant.

Paisa – Super 30 (Ajay-Atul) – Hindi: A lovely retro-twang like Kalyanji-Anandji’s Don title song is what makes this ‘item’ song work effortlessly. And Vishal Dadlani is a perfect choice, delivering it with panache.

Uthira Uthira – Pon Manickavel (D.Imman) – Tamil: A very, very unusual tune! The melody took me to ‘Suno Sajna papihe ne’ from Aaye Din Bahar Ke, with mind-blowingly beautiful music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. That song, I gather is Raag Nand (though some other websites claim it is Bilawal). Is the Tamil song on the same raga? I don’t know, but it sounds bewitching! Maria ‘Roe’ Roshni Vincent’s catchy vocal hook and the singing by Sreekanth Hariharan and Shreya Ghoshal are spot on.
Update: The song is set in Rasikapriya raaga, same as ‘Ding Dong Kovil Mani’ from Ji, by Vidyasagar.

Sigarame – Raatchasi (Sean Roldan) – Tamil: Raatchasi is a surprisingly middling soundtrack from the otherwise super Sean Roldan! The one song that I thought has potential is Rahul Nambiar’s Sigarame that shines with a kind of edgy energy that the other songs lack, including the over-indulgent Rekka Namakku, which seems severely over-sung by Srinidhi.

Talapu Talapu – Brochevarevarura (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: Phew! Vivek pauses bluegrass’y template to go back to his jazz’y template in which he has produced a fantastic range! Vandana Srinvas is very good with her vocals, and the guitar in the song is also a particularly good layer.

Gira Gira – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran) – Telugu: A new song from Dear Comrade that’s already bubbling with brilliant music! Of the 4 versions, I liked the Telugu the most, thanks largely to the singing by Yamini Ghantasala and Gowtham Bharadwaj. Justin’s tune sounded like the perfect melting point of M.M.Keeravani and A.R.Rahman’s music!

Maha Adhbhutham – Oh Baby (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: The song is something one can easily identify as Mickey’s music! The familiarity is both an advantage and a clutch. And as the anupallavi starts, the sound and tune go so mild that I thought the song was fading to an end! But it picks up tempo again, thankfully! Nutana Mohan’s serene vocals carry the gently sonorous melody.

Vanil Chandrika – Luca (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: After Ore Kannal, Sooraj strikes again with another winner! Arvind Venugopal’s lead vocals, Zia Ul Haq’s Hindi lines and Sooraj’s own haunting melody coated with the beautifully ambient orchestration! The build-up to the song is slow, steady and seductive, and the chorus by Pavithra Das and Pranavya Das too adds tremendous value!

Aval – Kakshi: Amminippilla (Arun Muraleedharan) – Malayalam: Arun Muraleedharan, of Adventures of Omanakuttan fame, has a better song than his earlier one from this film (Chandam Thikanjoro), even as he shares credit with Samuel Aby. That his melody is easy-on-the-ear with its lush tune is one thing, but where it scores is in Harisankar KS’s singing!

Yenanno Helalu Hogi – Gubbi Mele Brahmastra (Manikanth Kadri) – Kannada: The first song from the film, an odd fusion over Swagatham Krishna, didn’t work for me, this one is more like comfort food! Simple, hummable tune, delivered very well (expectedly) by Karthik. The chorus-like additions in second interlude was an interesting surprise.

Abbabba Ninna Kande – Preethi Irabaaradey (Sabu Varghese & Yelender Mahaveer) – Kannada: While the rest of the soundtrack is generally bad, this one song caught my attention sounding almost like that of Tamil composer Bharadwaj. Catchy and rhythmic, with a very interesting bridge from anupallavi to palavi that literally breaks down the melody. Santhosh Venky’s singing is one reason why the song works. Also interesting to see 2 composers listed for the whole soundtrack – did they compose all the songs together (they haven’t been a duo in the past as far as I recall), or did they compose some songs individually between them?

When You Know What Love Is – Craig David: An energetic melody that’s punctuated well by the equally energetic rhythm and house-style sound.

Ice Cream – Mika: Mika’s new song in 4 years, from his upcoming album, My Name Is Michael Holbrook (releasing in October). The falsetto, the whispery, throaty singing, the stylish pop sound that is straight out of George Michael’s repertoire… this is joyously vintage Mika!

Peace Of Mind, Heaven & Hold The Line: AVICII’s posthumous album Tim is an excellent compilation recalling the producer’s body of work. The bounce in the album, across multiple tracks and the vibrant, innovative musical flourishes (particularly in songs like Excuse Me Mr Sir and Hold The Line) are a testimony to the late DJ’s legacy. (Since I had earlier included SOS and Tough Love in Weeklies, not repeating them here).

Walk Me Home – P!nk: I first heard the song in the trailer of the upcoming film Peanut Butter Falcon and I was smitten with the ‘Walk me home in the dead of night’ hook!

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