Sunday December 18, 2016
Hitman – December 17, 2016
Originally published in The Hindu.
Maatrangal ondre thaan – Kootathil Oruthan (Tamil – Nivas K Prasanna)
Given how iconic, familiar and well-known Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 song Don’t Worry, Be Happy (the first a cappella song to reach No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; the song’s title is from a famous quotation by Indian mystic Meher Baba) is, it seems unlikely and pointless that someone would try to use the phrase in another song. But, Nivas tries and does a pretty good job too! He aims for a broadly appealing, calypso’ish sound, and in Kabilan’s sweeping motivational lines and Nivas’s own vocals, the song works effortlessly!
Neethoney dance – Dhruva (Telugu – Hiphop Tamizha)
Thani Oruvan, the Tamil original of the Telugu film Dhruva did not have a song to showcase the dancing skills of the diligent IPS officer Mithran, played by Jayam Ravi. But Andhra Pradesh is a different zone altogether – given Ram Charan’s—playing Dhruva, the IPS officer—dancing prowess (much like his dad), the film includes a song where the IPS officer lets his hair loose in a nightclub. Hiphop Tamizha, the Tamil duo, score a mighty catchy dance track, spiking a conventional Punjabi dance template. The song, and Ram Charan’s dance steps have spawned many videos on YouTube with young boys from Andhra Pradesh trying their hand… nah, their feet, to the song!
Kaadhal pennae – Kadikaara Manithargal (Tamil – Sam C.S.)
Sam C.S. who has been producing consistently good music in films like Mellisai (renamed as Puriyaadha Pudhir and expecting a release date that is also a puriyaadha pudhir) and Kadalai, sees his older material getting released finally in the form of Kadikaara Manithargal. The soundtrack is a washout, but the one song by Karthik and Haritha is delightful and showcases the true potential of the composer. The music is spritely, the singing by Karthik is expectedly fantastic and Sam plays around with the rhythm, alternating between kuthu and something pop’ish.
Hey Who Are You? – Kirik Party (Kannada – Ajaneesh Loknath)
The song ‘Madhyarathrili’ from the 1991 trilingual Shanti Kranti (same title in Telugu and Naattukku Oru Nallavan in Tamil; the song was ‘Chinna kannamma’ in Tamil) is still very popular in Karnataka, despite the film’s box office washout. Now, what if someone clinically dismantled the song and recreated it piece by piece to make it sound subtly different, but still retained the soul of the original? Ajaneesh does precisely that in Hey Who Are You? and does it phenomenally well. This is a beautifully and cleverly done homage to Hamsalekha’s music… or, the kind of music Hamsalekha produced for Ravichandran.
Vaarai – Bogan (Tamil – D.Imman)
Imman and Shreya Ghoshal is a known combo that works wonderfully. Add Shankar Mahadevan to the mix and things get even better! Using a few lines from Manthiri Kumari’s iconic song, Madhan Karky weaves highly sensual lyrics that Imman tunes perfectly in what seems like Dharmavathi raaga. Imman also employs a technique similar to what he recently used in Kannadikkala, from Maaveeran Kittu – to get the singers to recite the lyrics first and then sing it in tune. It continues to sound a great idea!