Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 98: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
Another week with a short playlist of just 9 songs! YouTube has all the 9 songs while JioSaavn is missing 2 songs – Pathivo Maarum from Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha and the song from Darbar (since it is a Gaana exclusive).

Thaalelo, Thalattu Naal & Thambi Theme – Thambi (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: Govind Vasantha scores pretty darn well in the rest of Thambi soundtrack too. Chinmayi’s Thaalelo is a lovely, lush melody that is slightly pulled down by the current-Rahman’ish familiar and regurgitated background rhythm. But Govind has enough surprises up his sleeve, when it comes to the interludes. Thalattu Naal is a joyous song where you can feel the celebratory mood in Crishna’s lively singing and the generous mix of nadaswaram and violin. The Thambi Theme sounds quite ominous, portending some great sorrow, but in Govind’s soaring violin, is a great listen too, as he builds the sound to a fantastic high.

Ponjaadhiye – Sathya Narayanan (Tamil/Indipop): The first question I had after listening to this song was, ‘Wow, who is this Sathya Narayanan?’. The musical phrases are unusually long – the pallavi lingers longer than usual and I wondered if there’d be a break at all. And then it arrives. Very nicely composed structure, and extremely well sung too! I’d definitely expect his guy to either compose or at least sing for movies soon, if he hasn’t already.

Sevvanthiye – Seeru (D.Imman) – Tamil: I believe this song is based on Simhendramadhyamam raaga, that Raja has employed to magnificent effect in songs like Gopura Vaasaliley’s Thaalattum Poongaatru and Panneer Pushpangal’s Aanandha Raagam. The raaga’s innate beauty (though supposed to a grim raaga) shines and helps this song too, easily.

Tharam Maara Single – Darbar (Anirudh) – Tamil: After Chumma Kizhi I had really hoped for a better soundtrack from Anirudh for Rajini, compared to Petta. But Darbar is largely similar, and equally disappointing. The one song that stood out for me was Tharam Maara Single, thanks mainly to Anirudh rehashing cleverly his own fantastic Telugu song Gaali Vaaluga from Agnyaathavaasi. Even though that song is far better, the Tamil song’s lyrics, by Vivek, stand out with its corny and interesting Tamil-English mix, set to a lively background by Anirudh.

Pathivo Maarum – Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha (William Francis) – Malayalam: The first single (Enna Undra) from the film didn’t work for me. But composer William Francis is on more assured ground in the second song. Sandeep Mohan’s guitars work as a constant backdrop, to let Niranj Suresh own the sobering melody. Excellent hook/chorus too!

Vainko – Brodha V ft. Jordindian: I’m not a huge fan of rap music, but occasionally, I do find some both relatable and enjoyable. This is one such song! Bengaluru-based Brodha ‘Vighnesh Shivanand’ V cites A.R.Rahman’s Petta Rap (Kaadhalan) as the first ever rap he’d come across!! The diverse Indian influence shows in his rap’s musical backdrop, right from Gowndamani’s iconic ‘Start Meesik’ to the liberally peppered Tamil and Hindi in the rap. He even takes a dig at Gully Boy arguing that he was ‘Boht Hard’ long before catchphrase!

Church – Coldplay (Everyday Life): Coldplay’s new double-disc album is an experiment that barely worked for me. There’s a lot of political posturing that’s buried in the often cringe-worthy lyrics. The sound alternates between their trademark arena/stadium sound to a more newer, less engaging sound. The latter does make its mark in a song like Arabesque, but not elsewhere. As far as the trademark sound goes, besides Orphans, Church is the only other song that makes the cut.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 97: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
A short playlist, this week – just 9 songs! JioSaavn playlist has 7 and is missing Santiago from Kalidas and Njan Thedum Thaaram from Driving Licence. YouTube has 8 songs and is missing only Santiago from Kalidas only because it is inside a jukebox.

Hello Saare – Thambi (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: For a film that had the ‘audio launch’ on November 29th (the same day when Govind’s band, Thaikkudam Bridge launched their second album, Namah! I intend to write more about Namah once I get more information on the credits since there are so many collaborators involved), it is dismaying to see only one song being released the next day… instead of the full soundtrack. Songs are merely promotional ‘assets’ and they do not matter to the film any more than marketing, and this is apt proof. This is not good or bad, but just the evolution of the use of music in Indian films. The song itself is very catchy, and a superb comeback by Suresh Peters. Govind’s tune is adequately disco’ish and funky to help Peters shine!

Saayavana Kaatil – Ethirvinaiyaatru (Vedanth Bharadwaj) – Tamil: I had posed a query on Twitter and Facebook last week about woman-man combination composing duos in India, and a lot of names came to the fore. Neha S. Nair & Yakzaan Gary Pereira (Malayalam), Sachet (Tandon) – Parampara (Thakur) in Hindi, Madboy/Mink, Parasuram Radha, Bindumalini (Narayanswamy) and Vedanth (Bharadwaj) in Tamil among others. And here’s Vedanth doing solo! It’s a lovely song, however, like a new-age version of a Simon & Garfunkel song!

Neethan Venumadi – Dhanusu Raasi Neyargalae (Ghibran) – Tamil: I have already featured 2 songs from the film: I Want A Girl and Murada Murada. The 3rd song that worked for me is the neat EDM’ish Neethan Venumadi, sung by Sarath Santhosh and Rajan Chelliah. The hook is quite addictive.

Santiago – Kalidas (Vishal Chandrasekhar) – Tamil: Kalidas’ first single, Mazhai, sung by Sudha Raghunathan released in August 2018! I had even added it as one of the top 30 Tamil songs of 2018. Now, finally, here’s the full soundtrack. But while Vishal does have some interesting ideas, like the 2 Bharathiyar poems tuned into songs sung by Abhay Jodhpurkar, they don’t work as cohesively as intended, I thought. However, Santiago, by Andera holds a lot more chutzpah, with its expansive and ambitious electro-swing sound delivered so very well.

Vethiki Vethiki – Bhagyanagara Veedullo Gammathu (Saketh Komanduri) – Telugu: This song is, quite frankly, a shocker! It sounds so much like an Ilayaraja song that I had a hard time reconciling that it is not by Raja! There are shades of Raja’s iconic Vamsy song, Ekkada Ekkada from ladies Tailor, but the tune is different. But even the tune/melody is so much like a classic Raja song. The real shocker is the completely tasteless and tacky video playing in the background, for this lovely melody! I look forward to what more Saketh produces.

Chandamama – Madhanam (Ron Ethan Yohann) – Telugu: The first single from the film came out in August (Yegire Yegire)! I wasn’t that impressed with the 2nd song, Choosa, but Ron comes back strongly in Chandamama. It has a soulful melody, delivered very well by Karthik, and a lovely lilt to boot!

Njan Thedum Thaaram – Driving Licence (Neha S. Nair and Yakzaan Gary Pereira) – Malayalam: An utterly zany song by the duo that has been consistently producing some great music in limited quantities. Anthony Daasan seems like the perfect fit to pull off the song’s whimsical quality, even as the music video is equally bizarre in terms of the star it uses and the situations it puts him in!

Then There Were Two – Mark Ronson and Anderson .Paak: Mark Ronson is curating the soundtrack of the upcoming animated film Spies In Disguise, that stars Will Smith, Tom Holland and others. This song, that sees Ronson joining Anderson .Paak, is befitting the big screen film’s sounds… soul, with a flamboyant horns section! Fantastic listen!

Don’t Let It Break Your Heart – Louis Tomlinson: The former One Direction star’s 4th single from his upcoming solo album. The sound is stadium-style and large. The melody and chorus are wonderful, the hook is addictive too.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 96: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
20 songs this week. JioSaavn has 18, and is missing only the 2 Coke Studio Pakistan songs (that are missing even on YouTube – only on SoundCloud this week!). YouTube has 12 songs – many are hidden inside jukeboxes (that I have embedded below).

Choti Choti Gal – Motichoor Chaknachoor (Arjuna Harjai) – Punjabi/Hindi: Arjuna’s melody is very reminiscent of Krsna’s music in Tanu Weds Manu, but to give him credit, that’s merely a reference point. His melody stands on its own, with a beautifully lilting and serene feel, brilliantly sung by Arjuna Harjai himself, along with Yasser Desai.

Dhuaan Dhuaan – Ankur Tewari: Imagine Bobby’s Main Shaayar Toh Nahi being sung by (and in the style of) the inimitable Tamil actor-singer Chandrababu! Ankur’s new song about the pollution (starting with New Delhi) is precisely like that incredible combination! It’s a lovely listen musically, as it is thought-provoking.

Unna Nenachu – Psycho (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: Sid Sriram’s first song under Ilayaraja is every bit exquisite as one would have anticipated. Sid himself seems subdued and in a new zone, away from his now-templated singing style and credit to Raja for bringing out a different facet of Sid’s signature style. The opening ‘Unna nenachu’ appears thrice, and that repetition, though sounding odd at first, endears the tune easily as the song progresses. The interludes are usual Raja magic (particularly the 2nd interlude!) and the anupallavi too gets Sid to offer something completely different and refreshingly new! The base melody seemed like Keeravani raaga to me, something Raja has exploited incredibly across his career. But there seems to be a smattering of Kaapi raaga too, since I do hear, Kaadhal Rojave’s ‘Kannukkul nee dhaan, Kanneeril nee dhaan’.

Easy Come Easy Go – Vaanam Kottattum (Sid Sriram) – Tamil: While I continue to have the same problem as the first song, in terms of the lyrics being terribly mangled in the tune sung word by word, at least tune-wise, Sid scores well.

Vellai Poove – Hi Hello Kaadhal (Vishnu Shyam) – Tamil: I remember seeing this short film back in October and I wondered even back then if they’d release the song that persists all through the film, including the crucial climax. I missed it when they did release, and stumbled on it now. It is a lovely, soft melody, accentuated by Balram Iyer and Sruthy Sasidharan’s singing.

Murada Murada – Dhanusu Raasi Neyargalae (Ghibran) – Tamil: What starts off, and builds itself, so much like a Harris Jayaraj song (made more pronounced by Bombay Jayashri singing it!), gets the Ghibran touch when the anupallavi starts! That’s when Ghibran asserts this is his song. Lovely listen!

Apdi Paakadhadi – Jada (Sam CS) – Tamil: The phrase ‘apdi paakadhadi’ reminded me of Raja’s famous song ‘Apdi paakardhuna’ from Ivan. The tunes don’t have anything similar, of course, and Sam’s tune, for most parts works, with a simple, innate charm. Anirudh’s voice helps, especially, along with Swagatha S Krishnan’s.

Un Kadhal Paarvai – Mazaiyil Nanaigiren (Vishnu Prasad) – Tamil: This is the 3rd Harris-like song this week! Even as the man himself has moved to produce utterly predictable and unfortunately droning music, his style (at least from his earlier, spectacular days) continues to live and inspire composers! Vishnu Prasad has the tune right – it is lively and Haricharan’s lead vocals lifts it significantly. The sound is so very Harris!

Oo… Baava – Prati Roju Pandaage (Thaman S) – Telugu: While I didn’t really enjoy the title song, this song is a winner, by Thaman! His use of the mixed vocals (featuring Satya Yamini and Mohana Bhogaraju) works wonders for the catchy tune and hook.

Bullet – George Reddy (Suresh Bobbili) – Telugu: Though there was a really tacky Kannada version of Yuvan Shankar Raja’s blockbuster song from Maari 2 (Rowdy Baby), this one by Suresh fares far better. It merely borrows elements from the hit song and doesn’t make things that obvious either. It builds a new song from that sound and stands well on its own since the tune is completely new, with confident vocals by Mangli Satyavathi.

Manasina Olage, Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi & Naa Ninnaya – Katha Sangama (Agnata, Nobin Paul & Gagan Baderiya) – Kannada: Katha Sangama is billed as ‘7 Directors, 7 Stories, Musicians, 7 DOP, 1 Movie’. The most interesting of the 7 songs is by Nobin Paul. Nobin actually remixes Mysore Vasudevacharya famous Hindolam-raaga based devotional song and does a smashing job of it! Sruthy Sasidharan, as the lead singer, does a stupendous job in the new-fangled version of the tune, while Midhun Dev handles the backing vocals beautifully before having his part too, towards the end. Adithi Sagar and Madhuri Seshadri are the stars of the other 2 notable songs, composed by Agnata and Gagan Baderiya, respectively. The tunes in both songs let the singers soar and shine, with the music playing second fiddle, impressively. Manasina Olage’s backgrounds go psychedelic as the song progresses, while Naa Ninnaya reminded me of Rahman’s composing style, but with a saccharine-sweet edge.

Party Zamana – Mundina Nildana (Adil Nadaf) – Kannada: Adil, who very recently produced some great music in Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari, joins the many composers of Mundina Nildana! His song is a simple and straight-forward disco-laced dance song. It works easily, given the lively singing by Chetan Gandharva and Madhuri Seshadhri.

Yaare Neenu – Khakii (Ritvik Muralidhar) – Kannada: Ritvik borrows a leaf from Harri Jayaraj’s music, much like many other composers in Kannada, pioneered by Arjun Janya himself. The ‘O o o’ hook is straight out of Harris’ style! Nice song, though – catchy, with effortless singing by Sanjith Hegde and Eesha Suchi.

Haiyaa – Hellaro (Mehul Surti) – Gujarati: While Mehul’s 4-song soundtrack is worth a full-fledged listen by itself, with a wonderfully earthy and highly melodious sound, this song stood out for me. Before breaking into the ebullient folks sounds made popular nationally by Ismail Darbar in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Mehul mounts a beautiful context with Shruti Pathak’s delightfully slow and pensive singing. The ending, where I thought I heard strains of Desh raag, is a lovely touch too!

Balma – Fariha Pervez (Coke Studio Season 12, Episode 5): Balma is a thumri, but has been orchestrated more like a pop-Thumri. The actual thumri verse starts only at 2:30, since Fariha establishes her magnificent hold over the format till then with a stupendously indulgent prelude. The backgrounds accentuate the hybrid nature of the package, with a spritely rhythm underlining the beautiful melody. This is the kind of music Coke Studio excels in bringing out. Listen to the song on SoundCloud (since Coke Studio hasn’t uploaded it on YouTube yet)

Heeray – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Aima Baig (Coke Studio Season 12, Episode 5): Rahat keeps things predictably moving till 3:20, for the pensive-sounding Heer-Ranjha ode. And then Aima Baig literally flows in at that point, amidst a lovely change of rhythm and changes the tone of the song! This is so, so good! Listen to the song on SoundCloud (since Coke Studio hasn’t uploaded it on YouTube yet)

Ahimsa – U2 and A.R.Rahman: The first BIG surprise, much like Rahman’s ‘Ella Pugazhum Iraivanukke’ utterance on stage while receiving his Grammy, is listening to Tamil verse in a song by U2! Never ever would I have imagined that I’d hear Tamil in a song by U2, so thank you Rahman, for making this happen. The 2nd surprise is the choice of Tamil verse – 2 couplets from ThirukkuraL. Both couplets offer variations of doing good and not doing evil/bad to even people who harm us. A more popular (in Tamil Nadu) kuraL on these lines is ‘InnA seitharai oRuththal avar naana nannayam seithu vidal’, so it is a surprise that Rahman chose a lesser-known kuraL on this theme. But, in terms of the meaning, they are perfect, for a song titled Ahimsa. The tune itself is pleasant and almost meditative, though Rahman’s twist at 2:50, however interesting, comes at a cost of his severely digitized voice.

Light Upon Light – A.R.Rahman and Sami Yusuf: This song is even more meditative than Ahimsa, with a serene—almost sedate and hypnotic—melody that works as much as a prayer as it does as a song. Rahman seems to have found the perfect collaborator in Sami Yusuf since their musical wavelength matches perfectly, even beyond music, into the kind of religion they practice and want to talk about.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 95: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Saavn has 13 of them and is missing Jyotsna Radhakrishnan’s Paranne and Shilayude from Android Kunjappan Version 5.25 (since it is inside a YouTube playlist). YouTube playlist has only 8 songs out of the 15 🙁

Dheeme Dheeme – Pati Patni Aur Woh (Tony Kakkar and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: This song may be a new record of sorts even by Tanishk Bagchi and T-series’ standards – this is a remix of a song from May 2019 that had already garnered over 300 million views on YouTube! A May 2019 song remixed in November 2019! Of course, Tanishk, in his inimitable style spikes up Tony’s sedate original into a pulsating dance song befitting Kartik Aryan’s confident footwork.

Kannu Thangom – Vaanam Kottattum (Sid Sriram) – Tamil: Possibly owing to his unique singing style (that has recently been exploited to the hilt), even the tune of his own song sounds a bit like Imman’s Kurumba from Tik Tik Tik. And because of the way Siva Ananth’s lyrics have been cut literally word-by-word for each line in the tune (almost like substituting Mani Ratnam’s one-word sentence dialogs in the form of lyrics), it also feels difficult to cohesively make sense of the meaning of the song. But, Sid’s debut as a composer is listenable, for sure. I do look forward to more from Sid, beyond this familiar template.

Paranne – Jyotsna & The J Note (Malayalam) – Indipop: 2 years after her debut single, Ini Varumo, Jyotsna Radhakrishnan returns with another. This one’s more accomplished and layered than the earlier one, and sounds like a great combo of Avial and Thaikkudam Bridge’s music. The thump in the hook and Jyotsana’s vocals keep it consistently likeable.

Vanavillen – Safe (Rahul Subrahmanian) – Malayalam: Harishanker’s singing takes off with Rahul’s lively musical lift-off in the ‘Neeyum’ line. It’s to Rahul’s credit that he doesn’t overdo that lift-off and keeps it short, and as something that you go back to at various points in the song. Nikhil Ram’s flute too deserves a special mention.

Atma – Malayalam/Indipop (Robert Keettikkal): Atma is a non-film musical album composed by Robert Keettikkal and released by Saregama back in 2014. I missed this album back then and it looks like Millennium Audios has got the rights to re-release this album recently. The singers list alone gets your interested immediately – Swetha Mohan, Vijay Yesudas, Shakthisree Gopalan, Unnikrishnan, Yazin Nizar, P Jayachandran, Gayathri Suresh and Sooraj Santhosh! But, beyond the singers, the biggest surprise is Robert Keettikkal’s compositions! The range and quality of songs is incredible! I’m totally mystified why Robert hasn’t composed more music, and particularly for Malayalam films – his range and sound is a perfect fit for Malayalam film music. My pick of the album includes Ethethu Janmam (Vijay Yesudas and Swetha Mohan), Mounam Melle (Swetha Mohan), Hridhayamurali (Shakthisree Gopalan), Nimisham (P.Unnikrishnan), Sakhi Nin Pranayam (Yazin Nizar) and Pokkali Padam (Sooraj Santhosh). For a 9-song album, 6 songs sounding so good is a great achievement!

Shilayude – Android Kunjappan Version 5.25 (Bijibal) – Malayalam: What a lovely melody! I went back to Ilayaraja’s Indraikku Yen Anandhame – is this based on Abhogi raaga too, I wonder. Vipinlal’s warm vocals and Biju Annamanada’s veena in the 2nd interlude add tremendous value.

This Is How (We Want You To Get High) – George Michael: This is the first posthumously released single from George Michael based on his recording from 2012. He doesn’t sound quite like the George we are very familiar with and it is clear that some ‘work’ has gone into the composition and vocal processing. But the tune and style is unmistakably George Michael. A somber reminder that he is no more!

Orphans & Arabesque – Coldplay: While Orphans is familiar Coldplay material (and perfectly enjoyable), it is Arabesque that really pushes the boundaries of what you expect from Coldplay with a mood-creating sound complete with a jazzy base full of French horns and sax! Incidentally, Coldplay’s new album, with 16 songs, was advertised in the classified section of a newspaper!

I Feel Love – Sam Smith: Donna Summer’s 1976 chartbuster, produced and co-written by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte makes a comeback in Sam Smith’s new song! The original’s zing keeps this recreation endearing too!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 94: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
23 songs, this week. All 23 in YouTube playlist, and 17 of them in JioSaavn.

PS: Weeklies returns after 2 weekends owing to my vacation and work-related travel last week. If, by any chance, you were curious about my vacation, here’s a travelogue, with a lot of photographs: 5 days in paradise.

Naah Goriye – Bala (Jaani/B Praak) – Punjabi: Not to be left behind T-series, Sony gets into the recreation game too, but at least they credit the original folks correctly and even rope them to join the recreation! Harry Sandhu’s chartbuster Latino-Punjabi mix Naah continues to sound incredibly catchy in the new version too.

Tere Sang – Satellite Shankar (Mithoon) – Hindi: Mithoon’s song is easy on the ear and Arijit handles it well. There’s a charming vocal chorus that accompanies the tune, adding to the feel. Aakanksha Sharma’s entry in the antara is a lovely touch, taking the melody to a nice new, energetic high.

Ajnabee – Bhuvan Bam (Indipop) – Hindi: Bhuvan continues his fantastic run! Ajnabee, and in particular the way he sings, took me back to Ali Haider’s style of music and singing (Sandesa came to my mind, though the tunes are totally different) that I used to be obsessed with in the 90s. Very warm and gentle tune, beautifully accompanied by guitars.

Kinna Sona – Marjaavaan (Meet Bros) – Hindi: T-series has credited Nikhil-Vinay for the original and that’s a HUGE facepalm moment! But Meet Bros’ new version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s classic is not all that bad. Jubin Nautiyal’s singing sails along the original’s appeal effortlessly and the music is too nicely punchy too.

Maavuliyo Maavuli – Irandam Ulagaporin Kadaisi Gundu (Tenma) – Tamil: I wasn’t that impressed with the first song from the film, but the second song is completely a different case. Composer Tenma sings one part that is contrasting to the main tune sung by Shweta Mohan and that juxtaposition is fascinating! The hip-hop’ish backdrop adds to the song’s appeal.

I Want a Girl – Dhanusu Raasi Neyargalae (Ghibran) – Tamil: Anirudh Ravichander rules this one! Ghibran’s choice of singer wins easily. The energetic tune that Ghibran keeps consistently entertaining. Interestingly, the lyrics refer to, ‘PudikkaNUm oru Virgo dhaan’ despite the fact that Dhanusu (Sagittarius) and Virgo are hardly known to be compatible 🙂

Malto Kithapuleh – Hero (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Yuvan shows why and how he has sustained in the Tamil music industry for so long in a song that I would have guessed as being from Anirudh! It’s incredibly catchy, involves a neat layer of kuthu and Rokesh’s gibberish lyrics are a hoot! This is a winner!

Single Superstar – Ben Human (Indipop) – Tamil: There’s so much of Michael Jackson in Ben’s song and even he sounds a bit like Suresh Peters, who used to sound like Jackson back when he was in the scene! Catchy song.

Vaadi En Vaayadi – Aayiram Jenmangal (C.Sathya) – Tamil: Sathya creates a rollicking electronic kuthu much like Anirudh’s Aalumaa Dolumaa from Vedhaalam. It works, given the frenetic sound and excellent singing by
G.V. Prakash Kumar, Solar Sai and Rokesh.

Ramuloo Ramulaa – Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Thaman S) – Telugu: A wonderfully lilting, faux-folk melody that I’d have guessed as Devi Sri Prasad’s had I not known the composer’s name 🙂 Anurag Kulkarni is particularly fantastic with the singing.

Manasara Mansara – Tholu Bommalata (Suresh Bobbili) – Telugu: Composer Suresh Bobbili who recently scored a winner in Mouna Hrudaya Raagame from
Thipparaa Meesam performs an encore here! The song, in 2 versions – male version by Sid Sriram and female version by Chinmayi – is a whiff of fresh air, mildly harking back to early Rahman style. The background music, has a consistent, repetitive phrase that is very alluring!

La La La La – Iddari Lokam Okate (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: You Are My Heart Beat, the first song from the film, was less interesting and too templatized. But the second song is a lot better, thanks also to Sameera Bharadwaj, who sings the melody beautifully. The hook is really addictive.

Thakita Thakita & Sara Sara – Aayushmanbhava (Gurukiran) – Kannada: Veteran Kannada composer Gurukiran shows that he still has it in him. Thakita Thakita is a lovely melody that sounds a lot like some Adnan Sami song (owing to the rhythm), but is a fantastic listen. In Sara Sara, Vijay Prakash lifts the tune significantly with his singing even as Guru’s background music traverse a whole range of impressive sounds.

Life is Beautiful & Life of Partha – Mundina Nildana (Kaushik Shukla and Srinidhi Venkatesh) – Kannada: The film continues to be really interesting, musically, though with multiple composers! I wasn’t that taken to Vasuki Vaibhav’s 2nd single, but these 2 songs are fantastic! Life is Beautiful is Sanjith Hegde’s show and the breezy pop tune works perfectly for his signature style. Life of Partha is a pleasant surprise since it reuses Srinidhi Venkatesh’s (formerly A.R.Rahman’s sound engineer) debut single from 2015, Lonely Sound, in a newer, racier package! She sings it herself too. Both versions are incredibly ambient and alluring, with the music video of the former being a beautiful addition, directed by Shalini Shankar and animated spectacularly by Sandhya Prabhat.

Billo – Abrar Ul Haq (Coke Studio, Episode 2 – Season 12): Abrar’s mid-90s Billo was a subcontinental chartbuster, even copied in Bollywood as ‘Mera Dil Le Gayi Oye’ from Ziddi, in 1997. The latest Coke Studio revives the iconic song in a zingy new avatar and it continues to be incredible fun even beyond the nostalgia it evokes. Abrar’s many vocal nakhras keep it consistently endearing.

Saiyaan – Shuja Haider & Rachel Viccaji (Coke Studio, Episode 2 – Season 12): An incredibly engaging and lilting Punjabi duet! Even the expressions of Shuja and Rachel take on a performative tone as they so thoroughly enjoy singing their lines. The backgrounds are so lively and move in such interesting directions, but the somber nature of what they are singing keeps the song on its edge all the time!

Mubarik Mubarik – Atif Aslam & Banur’s Band (Coke Studio, Episode 3 – Season 12): A scintillating Baloch wedding song where Atif is almost an incidental player! Banur’s band, consisting of composer Usman Withd, benjo player Chakar Baloch and singer SM Baloch bring in such a wonderfully joyful feel to the song themselves that Atif’s otherwise less nasal and actually brilliant singing actually goes to the background (till he showboats, rightfully so, towards the end).

Pon Thaarame & Kaanaa Theeram – Helen (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: Pon Thaarame is a warm melody that Shaan is already known for. Vineeth’s handling of the tune is, as usual, exemplary, accentuating the warmth. Megha Josekutty is the star of Kaanaa Theeram, a really sweet melody! That ‘Sundaram ithu jeevitham’ phrase is such an addictive line!

Tula Japnar Aahe – Khari Biscuit (Amitraj) – Marathi: Khari Biscuit already had a fantastic title song (composed by Suraj-Dhiraj). The soundtrack returns with another winner here. Composer Amitraj’s choice of singers, Adarsh Shinde and Ronkini Gupta, scores darn well – the interplay between their voices in the alaap is brilliant, and so is the lush melody and the rhythm.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 93: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
18 songs this week. All 18 on the YouTube playlist, and only 12 on JioSaavn. As usual, the Coke Studio songs are exclusive to Soundcloud and YouTube.

PS: No Weeklies for the next 2 weekends, owing to Deepavali holidays and my vacation. Weeklies will be back on November 10th.

For Aisha – The Sky Is Pink (MEMBA): Composed by the real Aisha’s brother, Ishaan Chaudhary and sung by Evan Giia and Nooran Sisters, this is a slow burner with a sedate sound that grows on you. The use of Nooran Sisters’ vocals is the song’s clincher – their hook goes perfectly with the melody’s hypnotic appeal. It’s a pity the song, which was used in the film’s end-credits scene, was not part of the official soundtrack.

Prem Pujari – Drive (Amartya Bobo Rahut) – Hindi: Of the 5 songs from Drive (are there more?), here’s the 2nd by Amartya. Given this is a Dharma Productions venture, I do hear a lot of Karan Johar’s style in the song. I won’t be surprised if Amartya is part of more KJ films in the future. This is an ebullient and effortlessly foot-tapping song, with a neat hook.

Valam – Made In China (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi/Gujarati: Sachin-Jigar continue to bring Gujarati music to the national scene, and they have done a lot in this film alone, already! Arijit Singh leads the mellow tune in his usual, fantastic form, but the surprise element is Priya Saraiya, both with her Gujarati backing phrase and the overall lyrics!

[Back In Time] Aake Teri Baahon Mein – Vansh (Anand Milind) – Hindi: The 1988 Tamil film, Agni Natchathiram, by Mani Ratnam, is now a certified cult film. It had, by Mani’s own standards (at that time) a separate, cringe-worthy (but very popular) comedy track featuring Janakaraj and V.K.Ramaswamy and their quest, which is best left unexplained. Ilayaraja’s music from the film is legendary, but what intrigues me for the longest time is the fact that when the film was remade in Hindi, with utterly pointless actors (Siddharth of Baazigar’s Chupaya Bhi Nahi Aata fame playing Karthik/Manohar’s role!!), somehow Anand-Milind raises up to the occasion like never before. The most interesting aspect is that while they lift, from Tamil, songs like Raja Rajadhi Rajan Indha Raja and Thoongadha Vizhigal Rendu (Main Toh Deewani Hui), for some reason they don’t lift Vaa Vaa Anbe Anbe as is! That song was based on Shivarajani raaga, while the equivalent song they create in Hindi is based on Puriya Dhanashri, a gobsmackingly beautiful song, Aake Teri Baahon Main, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and S.P.Balasubrahmanyam. What made Chitragupt’s sons, otherwise known to be lifting stuff freely from the South, work slightly harder in creating something on their own, I have always wondered 🙂

Ram Pam – Zoe Viccaji & Shahab Hussain (Coke Studio, Episode 1 – Season 12): What a lovely song! Zoe Viccaji seems to be in a happy space, singing about her heart going pitter-patter and belonging to her sweetheart, but also a tinge of worry when she sings, ‘dena na koi gham’. And Shahab Hussain’s Baba Bhatti comes to assuage her! This is a lovely musical conversation, wrapped in soft-pop and a warm layer of jazz. The kind of song that makes one fall in love with Coke Studio Pakistan, all over again.

Maahi Diyaan Jhokaan – Barkat Jamal Fakir Troupe (Coke Studio, Episode 1 – Season 12): The other charming song from Episode 1 – a Seraiki song! The lead vocals by Barkat Jamal Fakir Troupe is wonderfully complemented by the house chorus vocalists and that mix is the best part of the song, besides the breezy, jazzy orchestration. The extended ending, featuring the ‘Saiyaan’ hook is brilliant!

Arike Naam – Underworld (Neha S. Nair & Yakzan Gary Pereira) – Malayalam: The musical duo who produced a cracker in 2014’s Iyobinte Pusthakam are back! Arike Naam is a fantastic mix, layering Ramya Nambessan’s dulcet parts on Sachin Warrier’s addictive ‘Arike Naam’ hook. And on top, you also have some tantalizingly beautiful sounds in the background, plus the electronica that plays as an interlude (during the Holi scenes, in the video). I am so glad this duo is composing again!

Njaanakum Poovil – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar): Patiala Peg, the first single, was passably nice. But the other 2 songs were plain middling. Thankfully, Gopi has an ace in Njaanakum Poovil! Sithara Krishnakumar powers this delightfully soft and sparsely orchestrated melody.

Mele Meghakkombil – Nalppathiyonnu (Bijibal) – Malayalam: With a title like Nalppathiyonnu (meaning ’41’), I first thought it could nearly be a homage to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! But, of course, 41 is more famous as the 41-day penance for Lord Aiyappan. It’s also interesting to see composer Bijibal releasing songs through his own official YouTube channel, like Gopi Sundar! As for the song, it has a fantastic old-world charm that Bijibal is more than adept at bringing. Add to that Shreya’s ethereal voice. Pure magic!

Aadyathe Nokkil – Gagulthayile Kozhipporu (Bijibal) – Malayalam: Another Bijibal song that alludes to the old world charm, this time to a waltz’y goodness. Bijibal, along with Anne Amie, creates a charming picture of another era with his music, complete with a wonderful accordion section.

Nenjil Anuragam – Adukkalayil Paniyundu (Sangeetha) – Malayalam: Whoa, what a brilliant song! It’s easy to know why – the song is based on Madhuvanti raaga, used beautifully by composers like M.S.Viswanathan, in Manmadha Leelai’s Hello My Dear Wrong Number and Ilayaraja, in Vikram’s Meendum Meendum Vaa. Composer and singer Sangeetha uses the same raaga template, but does very well within those parameters.

Ponveyilin – When The Boy Meets The Girl (Ranjith Meleppatt) – Malayalam: Ranjith builds his song almost entirely on the 2 singers’ enchanting vocals – Anne Amie and Vijay Yesudas. This is accentuated when Anne accompanies Sumesh Parameswar on guitar with such involvement (in the video, at least) in the first interlude. The tune builds slowly and steadily, moving from its sparse sound to a waltz’y melody. Very nicely done!

Nuvvu Naatho Emannavo – Disco Raja (Thaman S) – Telugu: Oh My God! The song brings to my mind Kamal Haasan and Ilayaraja in one go 🙂 There’s something in the background that goes straight back to Sathya’s Valayosai, but I’m not able to pinpoint what! Thaman did this earlier very skilfully in Ayyanar’s Paniye, and pulls off something equally good again! And very clever of roping in S.P.Balasubrahmanyam himself for this.

Mouna Hrudaya Ragame – Thipparaa Meesam (Suresh Bobbili) – Telugu: I have been previously impressed by Suresh’s music in films like Maa Abbayi, Needi Naadhi Oke Katha and Nuvvu Thopu Raa among others. He continues the promise in this song too. He makes use of Arun Chiluvuri’s guitar in the background stupendously well, and mounts his faux-classical sounding melody on top. Ranjani, the singer, handles it darn well, almost making it sound like a Mickey J Meyer song.

Thangali Mellage – Bill Gates (Nobin Paul) – Kannada: This could easily be a Tamil song featuring an A-lister! There is a Harris Jayaraj’ish flair in the composition and Sumesh Parameshwar’s guitar outburst for the hook. Lakshman’s faint nadaswaram reiterates the Harris effect.

Devare Devare – Sarvajanikarige Suvarnavakaasha (Midhun Mukundan) – Kannada: Midhun puts together a very enjoyable rap mix, featuring All OK’s vocals. The package works well, thanks to the catchy, repetitive Devare phrase.

Darlingu – Demo Piece (Arjun Ramu) – Kannada: Another Arjun in Kannada film music, after Arjun Janya? Even though Arjun Ramu composed for films like Selfie, Nanna Parakara, Huliraaya and Mangata, I didn’t find his earlier output interesting enough (Huliraaya was the most interesting among his earlier films). But, with Darlingu, he seems to have broken a wall. It has the signs of a catchy, easily-accessible number. And having Sanjith Hedge on his side can only be beneficial!

Harleys In Hawaii – Katy Perry: A warm, breezy pop track with a constant hiphop rhythm playing in the background and a charming, sing-along’ish hook/chorus.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 92: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
11 songs this week. All 11 on YouTube, and only 9 on JioSaavn.

Shaitan Ka Saala – Housefull 4 (Sohail Sen) – Hindi: First things first, I’m really glad to see T-series crediting Tony Montana’s original song, Bala, officially. They may have most probably paid for the sampling too – it’s no wonder I don’t have much material for ItwoFS anymore 🙂
The song is insanely catchy, with manic energy from the pulse-pounding music and Vishal’s blistering vocals. Akshay Kumar channels his inner Ranveer Singh very effectively too. But looking at the trailer of the film and this song, I reckon that the makers possibly sought inspiration from the Tamil film Kaashmora, to create Akshay’s character. Consider the similarities: A (1) ruthless warrior, (2) at the time of kings, (3) who is bald (4) and a weakness for women (5) finds his voice in current times! Raj Nayak from Kaashmora (focus was on 1, 4 & 5)? Or Rajkumar Bala Dev Singh from Housefull 4 (focus is on 3 & 5)?

Karma – Drive (Amartya Bobo Rahut) – Hindi: Amartya Bobo Rahut, who was very promising in Tu Hai Mera Sunday and Farrata from Tumhari Sulu, gets to produce a cracker of a swinging song in Karma. It has an easy hook that does what it promises – hook you in. Amartya’s choice of singer, Sukriti Kakar, works wonders given how energetically she delivers it!

Adada – Aayiram Jenmangal (C.Sathya) – Tamil: The seriously underrated Sathya surfaces again. This time, he ropes in Vijainarain and that works very well for the catchy song that alternates between distinctive phrases, to good effect.

[Back In Time] Oh Ponmaanguyil – Manasukkul Matthaappoo (S.A.Rajkumar) – Tamil: S.A.Rajkumar may be a spent force now, but he did have an illustrious musical career across at least 3 South Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. He, along with Deva, was a fairly dominant force in Tamil film music, in the so-called post-Ilayaraja period. In fact, one of his most successful films, Pudhu Vasantham, was in the 3rd year of him becoming a composer and even had a line in the song, “Podu ThaaLam Podu”, which goes, “Andha Pakkam Thunamum Adikkum Kaathu, Indha Pakkam Oru Naal Adikkum Paathu” which was meant for the down-in-the-luck musicians of the film’s script (Murali and gang) but was also taken indirectly as a sign of things changing in the Tamil film music scene. In any case, Roja happened 2 years later and that’s a different story. It is to Rajkumar’s credit that he found a solid footing in Telugu and Kannada too, with several hits. But, my all-time favorite Rajkumar song, far removed from his ‘La La La La’ days that have come to define him, unfortunately, is from his early repertoire.

Oh Ponmaanguyil was a song that I mistook for a Raja-song for a long time, and when I came to know it was not by Raja, I loved the song even more, out of shock! (Pun unintended, if you knew the plot of the film, where Prabhu’s first lady love dies out of electrocution… while playing electric guitar on stage!! And he goes Cuckoo… incidentally, the film is inspired by One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest!) The song’s structure makes it seem like it is in a tearing hurry and that is unusual. But even sentences are not stressed and pivot to dramatically different lines unusually. Observe the pallavi – it has 3 lines, of varying melody. The starting too is completely unusual. Less said about the anupallavi the better! After the first line, Rajkumar moves to an unexpected mountain-folk style 2 liner before bringing the bridge to the pallavi. And the frenetic music behind the melody is enchanting, particularly the guitar! The song was so very different in every aspect and I gave the credit to Raja, given his dominant he was in that period, in my ignorance… till I came to know the real composer.

PS: According to a Cinema Vikatan interview, A R Rahman played the keyboard for this song!

Vadakkanpattu – Masala Coffee (Indipop) – Malayalam: Close on the heels of the band’s outstanding Kannada song from Mundina Nildanam they are back on home base, for their long-in-the-works album, Kimaya. They take a Vadakkanpaattu that they gave a new musical spin to, for Music Mojo in 2015, and turn it into a less upbeat, but more feminine package. It’s equally beautiful and in Sooraj Santhosh’s exhilarating vocals, it is a phenomenal listen!

Neenene Neenene – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf) – Kannada: After Yaake Anta Gottilla Kanree, the second single from Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari was less interesting (Hasida Shikanu). But Adil Nadaf picks up the pace again with Neenene Neenene! There’s a lovely melody in the song that gets even better in the anupallavi! Siddharth Belmannu sounds fantastic, but Madhuri seems out of sorts at places.

Lillah – Aditya Narayan & The A Team (Indipop) – Hindi: Udit Narayan’s son Aditya is perhaps more known as a TV show host than a singer, but he has been steadily releasing singles on his own. The new single comes after more than a year of his last song. It’s an impressive Indipop song, with the sound seeming as if it was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (the antara, in particular!). Aditya handles the singing part very well, but that works for the song is the overall composition and orchestration – very good job by Eeshan Tripathi & Milton Daniel. Good to see Aditya realize the value of a good composition and made that into a team (called A-team) and giving the whole team the limelight.

Sims – Lauv: There’s a lot of autotune, but the sound is wonderfully fresh and bouncy. The melody is punctuated with the incredibly catchy, “Ooh, goddamn, I wish we would’ve met on another night, baby” line that stays firmly in your mind long after the song is over.

Happy Mama Day & Mala – Libertad 548 (Pitbull): Pitbull’s new album is full of really alluring sounds and many, many collaborations. There’s even a song featuring Guru Randhawa! My favorites were the very R.D.Burmanesque Mala, that has a generous sprinkling of Roop Tera Mastana, and Happy Mama Day, that has a lively, energetic vibe.

Lights Up – Harry Styles: The One Direction singer’s latest single is not very different from the band’s song and is a great listen.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 91: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
28 songs this week, since there was no Weeklies last week 🙂 The YouTube playlist has all the songs, while JioSaavn has only 23 songs.

Loka Samasta – Aruna Sairam and the Thayir Sadam Project (Indipop): The Thayir Sadam Project has been producing some really good music and this new song too, featuring Aruna Sairam, is exceptionally well done! It thematically mixes Kannada and Tamil lyrics, wonderfully sung with complete authority by Aruna Sairam, and John Lennon’s Imagine, sung by Bindu Subramaniam. It also has a brilliant backing music, featuring Ambi Subramaniam on violin and Mahesh Raghavan on the iPad!

Pink Gulaabi Sky, Nadaaniyaan, Zindagi & Dil Hi Toh Hai (Reprise) – The Sky Is Pink (Pritam) – Hindi: After Dil Hi Toh Hai, Pritam scores again, but in a dramatically different genre compared to that one. Loaded with an addictive and catchy swing sound, the song works on the exuberant singing by Shashwat Singh and Jonita Gandhi. Nadaaniyaan’s uptempo tune and sound is highly infectious! And the singing by Arjun Kanungo (and Lisa Mishra) effortlessly enhances that feeling. Pritam has a prominent and repetitive musical hook that stays with you long after the song is over. Zindagi, on the other hand, sounds almost like a retro song, with its involving melody that seemed almost like it was composed by Jaidev, to me! But Pritam does add a far more modern layer of music on top to distinguish the feel. Arijit is is great form accentuating the song’s feel, as usual anyway. The reprise of Dil Hi Toh Hai is a joyous affair that makes me wonder why Sreerama Chandra Mynampati doesn’t sing more often in Hindi! He is stellar with his singing, adding a new perspective to the song that is already a winner! Overall, The Sky Is Pink is a superbly enjoyable and articulate soundtrack by Pritam!

Makhna – Drive (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk sneaks in generous dollops of Duma Dum Mast Kalandar (Oh Laal Mere…) and produces a breezy and surprisingly enjoyable dance track! Asees Kaur’s lead vocals is the song’s strength, with adequate support by Tanishk himself and Yasser Desai.

Sanedo & Odhani – Made in China (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi: Sachin-Jigar’s latest songs dip into their Gujarati roots, but the duo converts the Gujarati base to a biazarre concoction to broadly appeal to more people. Sanedo could have been far better with a Gujarati singer, like Darshan Rawal carrying Odhani. Mika Singh sings it like any of his other Punjabi-laced songs, though the song in itself is foot-tapping. Odhani is a more pulsating dance track that goes techno-Garba with a vengeance.

Udta Teetar & Womaniya – Saand Ki Aankh (Vishal Misra) – Hindi: Vishal uses a stylistically fusion sound for this otherwise ‘village’ theme and it works perfectly. Kalyan Baruah’s scintillating guitar and the brass additions make this song thoroughly enjoyable. In Womaniya (a word coined by Varun Grover for Gangs of Wasseypur, that was also used in a song in that film), Vishal tries his hand at a Pritam-style South Indian kuthu and fares pretty well too!

Malarudhu Pudhu Naale – Petromax (Ghibran) – Tamil: Whoa, that was a surprisingly Harris Jayaraj’ish tune and sound by Ghibran! Of course, Ghibran adds his layered orchestration to make it sound far better than Harris’s current form, but the base was amazingly similar when I heard it first, particularly early-Harris when he was in a stupendous form. I could easily imagine this song to be part of Majnu or 12B!

Aagayam – Aruvam (Thaman S) – Tamil: Thaman S goes by the name SS Thaman in Tamil, though it is not as complex as Keeravani vs. Maragadhamani 🙂 The tune makes it seem very, very much like an Ilayaraja song sung by Bhavatharini! The structure and the serene backgrounds are very similar to the Meastro’s style. To be fair to Thaman, the backgrounds are enchanting, almost more interesting than Roshini’s singing at times! The interludes, in particular, are very good too!

Andam Ankitam – Syeraa Narasimha Reddy (Amit Trivedi) – Telugu: For a multilingual mounted on a massive scale, Amit Trivedi seems to be taken a leaf out of M.M.Keeravani’s sound in Baahubali, given this is a Telugu-first film. The sound is expansive, geared more towards the large screen than specifically appealing on a music-only basis. The one song that escapes that description is Andam Ankitam! Amit’s dulcet melody and the main rhythm that almost sounds like terrifically slowed down Garba rhythm, is handled beautifully by Shashaa Tirupati and Vijay Prakash.

Samajavaragamana – Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Thaman S) – Telugu: Thaman is back at a big Telugu film after last year’s Aravindha Sametha. With Sid Sriram in tow, he produces a cracker of a song that has a lot fo what you’d expect from his style, but goes more! Sid seems perfect to handle the energetic melody. The backgrounds, in particular are superb, including Subhani’s electric mandolin, though the sound is shown to be coming out of a keyboard (if I’m not mistaken) in the music video!

Chaalu Chaalu – Meeku Maathrame Cheptha (Sivakumar) – Telugu: Is Sivakumar a debutant? I see soe promise, though not in the La La La song where the slightly annoying vocals tone down the interest. Chaalu Chaalu fares much better with a layer of retro’ish sound and a cornucopia of sounds that somehow work in cohesion, energetically.

Jaabille Jaarindhi – Adi Oka Idi Le (Muralidhar Ragi) – Telugu: Much of the song sounds amateurish, but the composer (debutant) gets at least one thing right – the raaga. I seem to hear Reetigowlai raaga predominantly in the pallavi and that keeps the song easily likeable.

Aalum Kolum – Ganagandharvan (Deepak Dev) – Malayalam: Deepak Dev’s simple, lilting melody is a wonderfully pleasant throwback to yesteryears’ sense of melody. The interludes and the singing (Jeenu Nazeer and Harishankar K.S) too hark back to that period.

Hey Song – Valiyaperunnal (Saju Sreenivas) – Malayalam: For a film advertised as ‘A Rex Vijayan Musical), the first song composed by Saju Sreenivas is a surprise! The song is punchy and pulsating, though, with a throbbing rhythm and a fantastic vocal humming that keeps is consistently engaging. Excellent singing by Suchith Suresan and Saju Sreenivas.

Chillayile – Vikruthi (Bijibal) – Malayalam: The second song from Vikruthi after Kaanumbol and Bijibal has it wrapped up beautifully, in Harishankar’s voice. There’s an unusually brisk rhythm that punctuates the otherwise lovely melody, but I’m willing to overlook that for the overall song.

Munnotithaa, Thaaro & Akale – Manoharam (Sanjeev T) – Malayalam: Sanjeev Thomas has winner with his entire Manoharam soundtrack! Kinavo was already a fantastic song and he has 3 more! Munnotithaa’s superb funk sound moves in so many interesting directions that it requires a few listens to grasp the song’s structure and high-points. The song also has a ‘Tharoo’ hook that made me think they named the song wrongly (the song is called ‘Thaaro’!). There’s a brilliant nadaswaram layer in the song that I couldn’t get out of my mind. Thaaro is Vineeth’s show, with its lively sound and a wonderfully pleasant tune. The soundtrack’s surprise is Akale, sung by Sid Sriram. Sanjeev conjures a magnificently expansive sound to let Sid’s powerful singing flow.

Ithuvareyum – Jumba Lahari (Subramanian K V) – Malayalam: Singer Ashok T Ponnappan almost whispers in this song that I had to listen to it more than once to register his vocals! The tune by Subramanian has an ethereal feel and sounds like a classic Simon and Garfunkel number!

Ee Vazhi – Jack Daniel (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: It is perhaps both awkward and ironic that both Dileep and Arjun star in a movie, given the allegations with regard to harassment of women only recently. Beyond that, the song is very nice. Shaan’s melody is easily likeable, with a neat electronic hook that props it up.

Nagabeda Ande Naanu – Lungi (Prasad K Shetty) – Kannada: I liked this song over Waste Body, from the same soundtrack. That one tries to do a Vivek Sagar, but with not-so-convincing results, despite Sanjith Hegde singing. Nagabeda Ande Naanu gets the melody right, though, with excellent singing by Armaan Malik and Shwetha Mohan. And the mid-way musical take-off is a nice touch.

Dugga Elo – Guddu, ft. Monali Thakur (Bangla): Guddu produces a crackling and pulsating song that encapsulates the spirit and joy of Durga Pujo, in Monali Thakur’s super enthusiastic rendition! Monali seems to be thoroughly enjoying her role and it shows in the music video!

Trippy Lage – Password (Savvy) – Bangla: True to its name, the tune is trippy, with a mesmerising edge, made more pronounced by the peculiarly serpentine electronic music.

Maravairi Ramani – GrooViDa (Indipop): Thyagaraja’s Nasika Bhushani raaga-based original gets a really groovy new take in Haricharan and his band’s hands. Haricharan, of course, is the absolute star of this version, with an incredible hold on the vocals. Raghavasimhan’s electric violin and, in particular, Ravi G on the keyboard and Sumesh Narayan on the mridangam and konnakol, offer fantastic support. A large part of the song’s attraction is no doubt the original’s hugely immersive raaga-base and melody, but kudos to the band in offering the same in a thoroughly enjoyable new-age expression.

One of the world music albums that’s very close to me because I have heard it extensively as a child and while growing up was ‘Music For An Arabian Night’, by Ron Goodwin And His Concert Orchestra. It was released in 1959 by Parlophone and was a collection of Middle Eastern folk songs composed by assorted composers from the region, like Egypt, Lebanon etc. Most of these songs were composed much earlier and were compiled into an instrumental album by Ron Goodwin’s orchestra, for a world audience.

I know these songs way too well given that these have been background music to my growing up years, all through Bhubaneswar, Bhopal and Srirangam (Trichy), in the late 70s and 80s.

The whole album (12 songs) is here, for your listening pleasure:

What makes this album so much more interesting for us Indians is that you may spot a couple of 50s and 60s Hindi film songs as well while you listen to the album 🙂 Here are the ones I know.

1/ Ye bhi koi roothne ka din hai – Film: Solva Saal (1958). Music by S.D.Burman. Considering Solva Saal came out in 1958, and Music for an Arabian Night was released in 1959, it is possible that the senior Burman sought inspiration from the original version of Arab Feast, called ‘Ya Ghozayel’, composed by the Rahbani Brothers.

2/ Yeh Chanda Ruus Ka – Film: Insaan Jaag Utha (1959). Music by S.D.Burman. The original was called ‘Albint Al Shalabiyya’, and ‘Barefoot Girl’ in Ron Goodwin’s album. Original music, again, by the Rahbani Brothers.

3/ Bin dekhe aur bin pehchane – Film: Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961). Music: Shankar Jaikishan. The original was called ‘Dancing Eyes’ aka ‘Abbo Oubib Ghanoura’, composed by the Rahbani Brothers.

4/ Main aashiq hun bahaaron ka – Film: Aashiq (1962). Music by Shankar Jaikishan. The original was Return to Paradise aka ‘Sanargi’u’, composed by the Rahbani Brothers.

5/ Baje payal chun chun – Chhalia (1960). Music by Kalyanji-Anandji. Original was Desert Hero aka ‘Qalbi Nazil Daqq’, composed by the Lebanese singer/composer Philemon Wehbe.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 90: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has all 13, but JioSaavn fares very poorly this week, with only 8 songs.

Dil Hi Toh Hai – The Sky is Pink (Pritam) – Hindi: This is Pritam of Life In A Metro level! The melody is so wonderfully warm and so convincingly adorned with lovely music! Interestingly, beyond Antara Mitra and Arijit Singh’s expectedly fantastic singing, it is Nikhil Paul George who shines most, in more than one aspect of the song – he handles the winsome guitar and handles the gospel choir beautifully as well! And then there’s Gulzar! The words literally pop out, calling for attention! “Na pucho ye dil hai munshi, magistrate, kaazi” definitely made me pause and ponder 🙂

Maheroo – The Zoya Factor (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) – Hindi: The song title of ‘Maheroo’ puts me in a wistful mood given how times move so fast. A few years ago—2007, to be precise—Bengali singer Jojo Nathaniel released a Indipop song titled “Maah-E-Ru” and I used quite like that song! Jojo is the same singer who became famous for ‘Subah Subah Jab Khidki Khole‘ from Yash (music by Tabun) and another Indipop song Woh Kaun Thi, starring Jimmy Shergill! Now, if you search for Maheroo, what you get is a Sanjeev-Darshan composed song from Super Nani with 35 million views, and now this song from The Zoya Factor. The new song is not bad at all, if not a bit too predictable from the trio’s repertoire, but made more enjoyable thanks to Yasser Desai’s singing.

[Back In Time] Tu Paas Hai – Breathless (Shankar Mahadevan) – Indipop: Shankar Mahadevan’s 1998 pop album Breathless is remembered for one song where he created the effect of singing in one breath. This was a gimmick that worked wonders for S.P.Balasubrahmanyam too, in the film, KeLadi KaNmaNi, with music by Ilayaraja (the song was, MaNNil Indha’). But, beyond Breathless, the rest of the album, with 6 more songs, was a fantastic listen that gets often overlooked and ignored in front of the album’s most celebrated song. My pick of the rest is Tu Paas Hai, where Shankar extends each line without a break, in a neat touch, before opening the melody with the ‘Harpal yahi’ connection. There’s some fantastic guitar work (most probably by Ehsaan Noorani) for the interludes, even as Shankar’s tune for the antara too being so good! And the percussion is by Taufiq Qureshi, no less!

Unakaga – Bigil (A.R.Rahman) – Tamil: Unakaga is one of the few recent Rahman songs that I liked almost immediately. The melody is simple, uncluttered and easily accessible, unlike Rahman’s trademark (from another period) which has the tune sinking in much later. The song’s highlight is the singers – Madhura Dhara Talluri and Sreekanth Hariharan!
PS: The rest of Bigil, the soundtrack, is alarmingly un-Rahman-like. Or, very Rahman-like, in his current awkward form.

Adhuva Adhuva (Rain Version) – Naadodigal 2 (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: I had written about this song back in Week 82 Weeklies. But, now that the full soundtrack has released, and I found it largely middling, much like Justin’s other underwhelming recent soundtrack for Adutha Saattai—the common link being Samuthirakani!—unlike his stupendous soundtrack for Dear Comrade. But the Rain Version of this song is a beauty! Both versions seem similar till 1:32. In the original, after this point, you hear a phone dial sound and a whistling of the tune. In the Rain Version, the song takes on an exciting new tangent so removed from what came before! It could be an entirely new song on its own, and even moves on to a Rahman-style with the Sangamam-level rhythm!

Azhagu Azhagu – Sanga Thamizhan (Vivek-Mervin) – Tamil: The tune’s simple and obvious melody gets a serious fillip with the catchy, earworm’ish ‘Thithina Thithina Azhagu Azhagu’ hook that the composing duo put to great use. Shweta Mohan is delightfully good with her solo!

Kavarathi – Pranaya Meenukalude Kadal (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: The 4-song soundtrack by Shaan Rahman is a pleasant listen, though marred by a familiarity that seeps into the composer’s recent work more often than I’m comfortable with. Still, like Kavarathi, sung by Lekshmi S Nair and Anjaly Anand, and includes a lovely chorus backing by the Global Public School Chorus Group, is a delightful listen that lets the beautiful tune come to the fore even as Shaan keeps the backgrounds minimal.

Bhoomi – Minimal Sessions (Roby Abraham, ft. Madonna Sebastian & Deepak Kutty) – Malayalam: Roby was super promising in Malayalam films, but hasn’t been composing too many film songs lately. He has been busy with his non-film projects however and his work with singer/actress Madonna Sebastian has always been interesting. The latest, Bhoomi, is one such interesting experiment. Musically, it is really minimal, with an ambient, almost-hypnotic background sound. Madonna and Deepak lift the simple melody with their singing and wonderful diction; while the former is very good, as usual, Deepak’s lines are repetitive and offer a wonderful counterpoint.

Kaanumbol – Vikruthi (Bijibal) – Malayalam: Bijibal has been busy last week and that’s always a good thing. While I wasn’t that impressed with Aadya Rathri’s Onavillane, Vikruthi’s Kaanumbol is a total charmer! It has the hallmark of a Bijibal song – a simple, hummable (head-shakeable!) melody that is so perfectly handled by singer Ramshi Ahamed. Watch the video too, since it has the always-interesting Soubin Shahir!

Meri Meri Dilruba – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: That trademark Gopi Sundar sound. It works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it does, thanks to Naresh Iyer’s vocals, and a lovely guitar backdrop by Sumesh Parameshwar.

Kinavo – Manoharam (Sanjeev Thomas) – Malayalam: Well-known Guitarist Sanjeev Thomas did a fantastic job with his compositions in the Malayalam soundtrack for Vilakkumaram in 2017. It’s good to see him back in Manoharam. Kinavo’s sound is breezy and thoroughly endearing. He not only sings it, along with Shweta Mohan, but also plays the guitar in the song, to great effect. That tune change in the anupallavi is a lovely touch!

Manmohiya – Maati Baani: Maati Baani brings its usual folk-flavored music once again. The Rajasthani folk infused in the song through the Sarangi (Sandeep Mishra) and vocals (Sugna Devi Bhopi) work beautifully in tandem with the song’s overall pop sound. The video, directed by Disha Noyonika Rindani makes for a compelling watch too, given the highly interesting story it sets to convey!

Sun – Dameer: Bangladesh teen Dameer’s new single is a surprisingly engaging funky alt-pop. The song has a groove that is thoroughly addictive.

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February 2020
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