Sunday January 31, 2016

Hitman – January 30, 2016

Posted by Karthik

Originally published in The Hindu.

Pothi vacha – Kodai Mazhai (Tamil – Sambasivam)
There are two Ilayaraja connections with this song from Kodai Mazhai. One is the obvious – the 1986 film, which had music by Ilayaraja. The second is even more obvious – the other ‘Pothi vacha’ song from Manvaasanai. Composer Sambasivam’s tune too seems like Hindolam, the raaga used by Ilayaraja in the Manvaasanai number! Sambasivam adorns his tune with lovely violins that almost seem to be cooing alongside Karthik and Parvathi’s excellent vocals, even as Vairamuthu uses a series of wishes to build the song.

Neeyen sayahna swapnathil – Ma Chu Ka (Malayalam – Gopi Sundar)
This is an almost ghazal-style melody that Gopi sings himself, with a rough edge that somehow seems apt for the tune. The melody is feather-light and immersive, thanks also the guitar and strings that the composer employs so well. There’s a short chorus-style piece that Gopi uses to bridge back to the pallavi that is short and captivating.

Sakhi re kahe (Kaanha mose) – Hariharan and Akshay Hariharan, for MTV Unplugged
This thumri, from MTV Unplugged Season 5 has a lovely jazz coating. The song was originally composed by Hariharan’s son, Akshay Hariharan for a film titled Black Home (called Kaanha mose, earlier). Atul Raninga’s piano has a consistently Ilayaraja’ish touch – almost like the kind of piano usage by Ilayaraja in Hindi songs, to be specific. Hariharan is—expectedly—stellar in his singing! Dilshad Khan on Sarangi and Atur Soni, on drums offer incredibly support, even as D.Rao’s timely flute and sax interventions add great value.

Hone do batiya – Fitoor (Hindi – Amit Trivedi)
Director Abhishek Kapoor earlier worked with Amit Trivedi to bring a distinct Gujarati flavour the music in Kai Po Che. In his Indian adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations, set in Kashmir, he gets Amit to infuse an authentic dose of Kashmiri music, thanks largely to Tapas Roy handling instruments like Saz, Rabab, Santoor and Bouzouki. In the soundtrack’s best, Hone do batiya, Zeb Bangash and Nandini Srikar play off each other’s parts, handling and handing back the lines beautifully, for the lilting melody Amit gives them. The tune has an almost retro’ish feel, sounding like something out of the 60s Hindi film milieu, but with a significantly upgraded sound.

Hey mama – Sethupathi (Tamil – Nivas K Prasanna)
Nivas debuted with a fantastic soundtrack in Thegidi. But in the Vijay Sethupathi starring cop story, his music seems like a copout! He does get Hey mama right, though. Anirudh gets the tune’s Madras swagger perfectly, amidst the punchy rock sound, punctuated by rap phrases and sax. While the lyrics offer standard hero worship tropes, one does wonder if the Tamil (!) word ‘goyyala’ is appropriate enough for regular usage, and when it was unshackled from its supposedly less respectable origin (it is currently assumed to mean ‘duffer’, in a coarse way) when Vadivel’s utterances in films used to be beeped out. Anirudh also seems be becoming a ‘goyyala’ loyalist given that he sang, ‘Kaanaama poyitten goyyala’ in the song from Vil Ambu, Aala saachuputta kannala!

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