Saturday April 4, 2015

O Kadhal Kanmani (Music review), Tamil – A R Rahman

Posted by Karthik

Kaara aattakkaara‘s promising start devolves into droning nama nama nei. Aye Sinamika is pleasant, but sounds like a now-out-of-vogue boy band’s last-ditch attempt. Mental manadhil (both versions) is jubilantly uptempo and instantly catchy. Naane varugiraen, beyond Shashaa’s vocal dexterity and darbari kanada raaga (thanks to many helpful commenters), is look-ma-I’m-so-obviously-complex. Theera ulaa and Malargal kaettaen are Aayudha Ezhuthu and Sangamam left-overs, respectively, and Ameen’s Maula wa salim is aptly pious. The soundtrack’s best is the free-flowing Parandhu sella vaa, with 60s Tamil style ‘Putham pudhu oli’ layered over lively vocal effects and ends on a high. Diminishing Marginal Utility… meet Mani Ratnam and A R Rahman!

Keywords: O Kadhal Kanmani, A R Rahman, Mani Ratnam



  • lovethetech

    Rajesh Madhanagopal. Any song if u listen many times for days or weeks, you will love them.
    Test it. Take any song u think is average from other than ARR. It works. It is not just have to be ARR. You will love it.

    • Chuttan

      No, this isn’t always true, i have xperimented it & found that some songs seem gud in beginnin but then later on after repeatitive listens, 1 doesn’t feel like even listenin to it but sometimes start hatin it & gettin irritated by it!!

  • Syed Nizamudeen

    Did anyone’s negative opinion towards the music of OK Kanmani change after watching the film???

  • Kiran Kumar Bandiatmakur

    Hey Karthik

    Just had a question.

    What is the difference between a negative “Left Over” and positive “Vintage” ?

    • milliblog

      Simple. Negative left-over is reusing what used to work darn well in the past, but has become rather jaded over time because of over-use.

      Positive vintage is reimagining something that worked darn well in the past to a new effect that it appeals both the people who dip into nostalgia to like it and people who don’t have historical context to like it, but still like it because it sounds good generically too.

      Here, ‘darn well in the past’, ‘jaded’, ‘appeals’ and ‘sounds good’ are, if you haven’t guessed already, subjective view points.

      • Kiran Kumar Bandiatmakur

        Thanks for that Karthik..

        Just one more thing…. I understand that there is a fine line difference between an opinion and a Review. Going by all the arguments off late it has almost become the same. Now is an opinion influenced by who the composer is? Had this been composed by a different or a debutante composer would the opinion change? Is this the same thing about writing a Review?

        • milliblog

          I’d say that there’s no line between an opinion and a review. People used to be under a misconception that a review is written by an expert, but the parameters of that expertise was never discussed or outlined so it remained vague and generic at best. Social media has killed that notion completely, since the other vestige that differentiated an opinion from a review – reach – was also demolished by social media.

          And yes, an opinion about a soundtrack will differ based on who the composer is. You cannot remove a soundtrack from a composer’s repertoire – it is part of his stream of work and there is context in seeing it as part of a body of work… evolving, stagnating or devolving. On the other hand, it takes all the more ‘ear’ to identify a good composer from his/her debut since there’s no history to base that debut on.

          O Kadhal Kanmani’s music, from a debutant, would surely get a 200 from me, simply because the quality of work – for a debutant – would be astounding. You cannot not expect Rahman to produce brilliant music, particularly when he is working with Mani Ratnam, and from that pov, given the history of this duo, I find this music (and the film too) rather lazy. Almost as if both set out to produce something that dips into their past best-of series to systematically pander to what people most expect from them.

          • Jewel Joseph

            Reviews are sure opinionated, but can the difference be in the form in which they are presented?I am not sure how to describe it properly(you are darn right about the ‘vague’ thing!),but is it correct to say that review is when an opinion is taken a notch above,by making it pleasurable to read,or by having a better understanding of the subject?I mean,some reviews (take baradwaj rangan for instance)are good pieces of writing and I may read a review just for reading pleasure even if I have an already formed opinion about the movie.

          • milliblog

            Possibly, but the problem is ‘pleasurable’ and ‘art’ are again subjective. You and I may appreciate the effort Rangan puts in his sentences, while someone may say they are long-winded and prefers tweet reviews from someone else. Which is why I think there’s no difference anymore – reach was the only differentiator earlier; not anymore.

          • Jewel Joseph

            I have one more question.What according to you is the point of a review?Just a means of expressing an opinion or something that helps the reader enjoy a movie/music better?

          • milliblog

            I believe there is a broader context to this. Have mentioned elsewhere that we have crossed the broadcast mode of communication (one-to-many) thanks to social media. While broadcast mode still exists (TV, newspaper etc.), the readers have an opportunity to start a discussion *about* what they heard/read on broadcast mode without roping in the person who did the broadcast (TV host, for instance, who may or may not be keen on joining the discussion).

            Before this evolution, there was a power equation – opinions shared by a few, consumed by many. With social media, there are no gatekeepers on opinions. So, if earlier ‘reviews’ presumably *helped* people enjoy movie/music better, it is not so in the current form of many-to-many communication. Now, every opinion/review is part of an overall stream of conversations; their role is just to be part of the stream for whoever cares to expand their liking/interest/understanding of a film/music with opinions of others.

          • Sundarhari

            Very intriguing post. VTV had no history of Rahman with Gautham Menon, yet got a 100 and, IIRC, the comment that it was not as good as the previous Harris-Gautham albums. Therefore, comparison with an established team seems to matter in the rating. Taking this argument further, since ARR-Mani scored at least a 200 until Raavanan, the songs must be better than IR-Mani albums! It would be amusing if you rated Anniyan as 200 (Tried to check but couldn’t find it.).

          • milliblog

            I don’t think I started this blog when Anniyan came out – just after that I think, in 2005.

            As for VTV – there IS a history for ARR and there’s one for Gautam. And then there is a history for how Gautam’s music sense is, albeit from a different composer. That’s a lot of context, in my view.

            As for IR-Mani, I suppose they have to work again, for me to look at composer-director context afresh. They stopped working in a different period where music was vastly different.

          • Sundarhari

            There is the small matter of Mani’s music sense from IR, that you appear to ignore, though. Does musical sense change much? Be that as it may, I can see that you are not much enthused with ARR recently, which is OK. That his recent music is perceived as a slight let down from his past highs is also OK. I have cousins who claim that ARR of the 90’s was better. Have an Internet friend (IR lover) who labeled the last K in OKK as Kandraavi. So there appears to be less patience in giving ARR the benefit of more hearings. Maybe he is at the end of his tether.

          • milliblog

            Good point on Mani’s music sense from IR, but as I mentioned, that ended (or perhaps ended) with Thalapathy and that’s what called out as music from a very different period.

            My disillusionment with Rahman in recent times is sporadic – been an on-off scenario according to me. Produces fantastic soundtracks (that are ignored) like Lekar Hum Deewana Dil and also predictable commercial mish-mash (that are lapped up) like Shankar’s I and OKK.

  • Anoop C Nair

    Karthik… You might like to change the review after watching the movie… The music gels so much with the film…

    • milliblog

      Yup, saw the film. And found that the song placement was very good – very apt, to propel the narration. Still think both the film and music were lazy – as if telling us that we didn’t appreciate what Mani did earlier and here’s something totally within the comfort zone.

  • mohamed zarook mohamed rizmy

    Theera Ulaa… It’s something that’s playing in the back of my mind all the time these days..!
    Aye Sinamika… One two & third listen and that modulation “Nee Ennai Neengathe..” Starts to become addictive and the beat goes on and on and you want it more and more.
    Naane Varugiren… Has that heard before feeling of “Kelamal Kaiyile”… But with all the layers of music is quite a nice song!
    Mental manathil… The song of the album or the song of the season! The female version is more addictive and sweet & short!

    But what just takes you by storm is “Malargal Keaten”… I have not a clue describe the effect of this song on me. Is it ARR or is it Chithra doing all the magic… A classic song for years to come for the blessed ears of music lovers!
    Thank You Mr. Mani Ratnam!

  • dis_cuss190

    @ Karthik: I think that this combo of ARR and Mani is still going strong, but anyways each to his own.

    1. You’ve said “Aye Sinamika is pleasant, but sounds like a now-out-of-vogue boy band’s last-ditch attempt”. Could you please confirm which band? Inquiring minds want to know:). Also, the song appears to have been set in the bilahari raagam. Kind of disappointed that you have not mentioned that here. Anyone?

    2. What’s so complicated about this Darbari Kanada thing? Isn’t “நானே வருகிறேன்” (naane varugiren) more like a good or perhaps even better sequel to ARR’s earlier examples like a “புது வெள்ளை மழை (pudhu vellai mazhai) or “கேளாமல் கையிலே (kelamal kaiyile), to name a few?

    3. Have you seriously considered tracing ragas or rather raga patterns in film songs? You could try that out.

  • Arjun Pv

    kartik may be desperately waiting for writng a #100 word review for OK jaanu ..

    • milliblog

      You mean amidst giving AYM and 24 #200s, and calling AYM as the year’s 2nd best album? Sure, possible, since that depends on what I consider to be OK Kaanu’s value *in my* view, far removed from what charts, YouTube and fanbois think.

Milliblog Weeklies on email

Sign up to get Milliblog Weeklies on email, every weekend. Brand new music as weekly playlists on Apple Music, Saavn & YouTube, with a note on each song.

Sponsored links

April 2015
« Mar   May »

Like Milliblog? Help spread the word!

Get reviews by email