Ae watan works perfectly as a fervent prayer as much as it does as a patriotic song! The trio’s music, with beautifully layered chorus (Mani Mahadevan, Ravi Mishra, Binaya Mohanty, Arun Kamath and Arshad Mohammed), Gulzar’s verse, and a rousing sound, keeps the emotional quotient of the song on a constant high. The song’s second version, featuring Sunidhi Chauhan, and The Shankar Mahadevan Academy Children’s Chorus, has the innate charm and innocence when children enter the mix, while also enhancing the melody’s raag Kedar-like flavor. Dilbaro is an absolute beauty! Harshdeep Kaur relishes singing Gulzar’s lines that bring out the beauty and brittleness—within the Indian context of bidaai—of the father-daughter relationship. Shankar Mahadevan’s entry in the antara is goosebumps-inducing given the way he adds a heartrending edge in his pronunciation. The title song is magnificent, thanks to Arijit’s deeply involving vocals, Tapas Roy’s Bouzouki/Mandolin strings and Arshad Khan’s Esraj that constantly underline the resolve needed to do the impossible for the country, penned beautifully by Gulzar. The chorus, featuring Mani Mahadevan, Ravi Mishra and Arshad Mohammed, and the thrumming rhythm are highly effective. For their total absence in 2017, Shankar Ehsaan Loy deliver a rich, thematic soundtrack to open 2018!

Keywords: Raazi, Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, #200

Listen to the songs on YouTube:

Sunday April 15, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – APR15.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 19:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. YouTube has all 15 songs, while both Apple Music and Saavn are missing the last 3 songs – Varika Rasika from Panchavarna Thatha, Mazhayil Nanayum from Kaitholachathan (Manorama Music and Millennium Audio really need to work on their distribution online) and James Vasanthan, Madhan Karky’s Odahuttidhavarae.

A note on each song in the playlist.

Anjaana (Indipop, Shor Police): Ananthaal minus Vijayprakash is Shor Police! Ananthaal had a fantastic debut album; Shor Police, with music co-composed by Clinton and Bianca promises to be equally good! The groove is tried and tested Clinton signature that flows oh-so-smoothly!

Dead To Me, Nuestro Planeta (Isolation, Kali Uchis): Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis’ debut album is a heady pop-soul-R&B melange. The bouncy and anthemic Dead To Me, and Nuestro Planeta, with a lovely whiff of reggaeton and Kali singing in Spanish, are my favorites.

Energia, Best Friend (Treehouse, Sofi Tukker): The duo had earlier featured in the March 11 playlist, and now their album is out! The infectious EDM jungle pop is all over the album, with Energia, a compelling Portuguese track with incredible bossa nova swing and drumbeats, and Best Friend, that’s already massively popular given it featured in an Apple iPhone X ad, featuring Alisa Ueno, The Knocks, and NERVO, with an entertaining chorus section and a cool outro by The Knocks.

Beautiful Love (Telugu, Naa Peru Surya): Vishal-Shekhar transplant their dependable ballad’ish sound to Telugu. In Armaan Malik and Chaitra Ambadipudi’s singing, the melody shines beautifully and I won’t be surprised if the tune isn’t reused for Hindi film!

Sakkath Tagaru (Kannada, Tagaru): Charan Raj’s Tagaru title song is already a superbly handled tune, but what Dheerendra Doss does on top of it, with a veena (Mahesh Prasad Veena) + heavy metal (guitar by Ajay George Joseph) + konnanol (Somashekar Jois) layer is astounding!

Wah re wah (Kannada, Dalapathi): The 2nd Charan Raj song this week came out in late 2017! The movie is releasing only now! The song’s rhythm is an easy standout with its punch, and Vijayprakash effortlessly glides through the vocals, along with Sindhuri.

Mugulunage (Kannada, Edakallu Guddada Mele): Composer Ashic Arun had a good outing in the 2016 film Coma, but hasn’t been seen after that. Edakallu Guddada Mele is decent enough. In Mugulunage, Shreya and Karthik help prop the song beyond its predictable tropes.

Jeevamshamayi (Malayalam, Theevandi): After last week’s Tha Thinnam, composer Kailas Menon is back, with an absolutely gorgeous Reetigowlai-raaga based Jeevamshamayi! Shreya Ghoshal and Harisankar KS are outstanding, as also Cochin Strings and Vishnu Vijay on flute.

Rasathi (Malayalam, Aravindante Athidhikal), That word is so strongly associated with Rahman’s Thiruda Thiruda number, but the other Rahman—Shaan—makes a valiant effort to frame another song starting with that word! With Vineet singing it, the effort works mighty well.

Aaha (Malayalam, Orayiram Kinakkal): I wasn’t impressed with the 1st song from the film (by Ranjit Melappat), but this one, composed by Sachin Warrier, is an easy winner! With its mild Electro Swing feel and the peekaboo Middle Eastern sound, this MG Seekumar-sung song is superbly catchy!

Varika Rasika (Malayalam, Panchavarna Thatha): The song, composed by Nadirsha, is a spunky carnatic-techno medley that works for 2 reasons – Jayaram’s almost unidentifiable look and outrageous moves, and Shankar Mahadevan’s stellar vocals!

Mazhayil Nanayum (Malayalam, Kaitholachathan): Jibu Sivanandan’s tune is an interesting idea that worked much better during the anupallavi than the charanam. The latter seemed weaker, but the former, with a possibly Reetigowlai’ish feel is very neat!

Odahuttidhavarae (Kannada, James Vasanthan): Lyricist Madhan Karky debuts as Kannada lyricist in this song that is a lovely bridge of languages (with Tamil subtitles) and the spirit of brotherhood between the troubled neighbors (Tamil Nadu and Karnataka). If James starts getting Kannada film offers after this song, I won’t be surprised at all.

Saturday April 7, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – APR08.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 18:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Apple Music has all 15 songs. Saavn is missing Sona and Ram’s Tori Surat and Kammara Sambhavam. YouTube playlist is missing a lot of songs – Tori surat, Prabhu ji (since it’s inside a jukebox; embedded below), all 3 songs by Pineapple Express (embedded as a jukebox below) and Kammara Sambhavam (inside a jukebox – embedded below).

A note on each song in the playlist.

Tori surat (Indipop, Sona Mohapatra, Ram Sampath): Sona and Ram’s 2nd song from Lal Pari Mastani is a spritely reimagination of Amir Khurso’s Tori surat ke balhari. The sound is energetic and Sona’s rendition adds a special zing to Ram’s already punchy sound.

Prabhu ji (Hindi, High Jack): The best song from High Jack’s soundtrack, IMO, is Prabhu ji composed by Anurag Saikia. The one by Asees Kaur is my pick, with a lovely classical tune layered over frenetic dubstep. The lyrics by Akarsh Khurana add to the quirky mirth & irreverence.

One Kiss (Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa): Uptempo with a deep house beat that Calvin effortlessly slays. Dua Lipa’s easily recognizable voice and rendition lifts the song to a new high that’s already brimming with instant likeability.

Cloud 8.9, The Mad Song & Uplift (Progressive Metal, Uplift EP): The name Yogeendra Hariprasad may not fit Pineapple Express’ pulsating outburst of metal, but Yogi does. With the band’s vocalist Karthik Chennoji Rao, they produce a mesmerizing carnatic-metal melange in Cloud 8.9, with no lyrics (only free-form carnatic scatting!) but with an awesome mix from Bhargav Sarma and Ritwik Bhattacharya’s guitars, Arjun MPN’s flute, Shravan Sridhar’s violin and particularly incredibly drums by Gopi Shravan. The Mad Song is one similar lines, but comes loaded with a catchy Kannada hook, with Karthik’s splendid vocals. My favorite from the band’s debut EP is the title song, with what seems to me like Dhanashri raaga. The melody is straight out of composer Vidyasagar’s repertoire but the way the band layers in the metal is astounding!

Kangan (Punjabi, Harbajan Mann): Kangan is proof of the Oye Hoye man’s staying power! Composer Jatinder Shah mixes a heady Punjabi tune over what sounds distinctly like a Middle-Eastern base, and the combination works very easily.

Ghar se niklate hi (Amaal Mallik): The original by Rajesh Roshan is a cult classic. But the reimagination by Amaal Mallik is a very competent effort – it retains the soul of the original but packaged in a significantly modern way (though with new lyrics that seem shoehorned).

Vachaadayyo Saami (Telugu, Bharat Ane Nenu): The soundtrack of Mahesh Babu’s latest is standard-issue Devi Sri Prasad material. But this song stands out easily featuring Devi’s splendid sense of rhythm – jaunty and enjoyable, this case.

Doore Vazhikalil (Swathandriam Ardharathriyil): Jakes Bejoy, after a spate of substandard Tamil soundtracks, seems to be getting his mojo back! This song’s melody has a haunting Middle-eastern tinge. Shreekumar Vakkiyil’s soft voice contrasts interestingly with the ominous tune.

Thaa thinnam (Malayalam, Theevandi): Half of composer Kailas Menon’s job is done when he picks Job Kurien to sing! The melody built around a catchy very-Kerala hook gets a new life in Job’s excellent singing even as Kailas does an especially good job with the interludes.

Orey nila (Malayalam, BTech): Rahul Raj can compose such immersive and likeable melodies in his sleep now given his recent track record! That he has Nikhil Mathew singing it makes it even better, besides the beautiful flute-led outro. The video is a particularly good watch too!

Title song (Malayalam, Ranam): The 2nd song by Jakes Bejoy this week! Saint TFC’s Tamil-English rap is a clear highlight, with Jakes’ rhythmic backgrounds working well alongside. Ajaey Shravan, Jakes Bejoy & Neha S Nair’s main vocals are interesting, as is a jadhi-led interlude.

Njanoo ravoo (Malayalam, Kammara Sambhavam): The best song from the 3-song soundtrack. Gopi’s melody and interludes are enchanting, though the comparison with Sairat zaala ji is inevitable. Haricharan is his dependable self, while Divya S Menon adds a lovely dollop to the tune.

Va va vo (Malayalam, Mohanlal): Yes, that’s the film’s name! Tony Joseph’s music is pleasant, with a delightfully soft reggae’ish rhythm, a dreamy flute tribute to Omana thinkal, and excellent vocals particularly from Nithya Menen.

Friday March 30, 2018

Milliblog Quarterlies – Q12018

The first 3 months of 2018 are already over! So, this week, instead of Weeklies, I made Milliblog Quarterlies, a 7-playlist collection that is culled out from Weeklies from the start of 2018, across the 3 months. There are 7 playlists, one each for Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Assorted Indian and Non-Indian. As usual, the playlists are on 3 platforms – Apple Music, Saavn and YouTube.


Hindi: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube


Tamil: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube


Telugu: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube


Malayalam: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube


Kannada: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube

Assorted Indian

Assorted Indian (including Indipop, Marathi, Punjabi & Bengali): Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube


Non-Indian: Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube

Saturday March 24, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – MAR25.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 17:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
14 songs, this week. YouTube has all 14 songs. Saavn is missing 4 – the 2 Punjabi songs from Sajjan Singh Ranroot (understandably since Speed Records proudly displays ‘exclusive on Gaana’ all over the video, thereby reducing its spread, the new song from Agam that’s available only on YouTube and the song from the Malayalam film Naam, which is from Satyam Audios that has a deal with Apple Music and rarely lists its music on Saavn. Apple Music has 11 songs – it is missing the Agam song and the 2 from Sajjan Singh Rangroot, for the same reason 🙂

A note on each song in the playlist.

Theher Ja (October, Hindi): Even as Abhishek Arora’s tepid Sooraj Dooba Hain knockoff in Dil Juunglee’s Dil Jaane Na is in circulation, he gets it superbly right with Theher Ja! Armaan Malik significantly elevates it, with its serene melody that truly accentuates the theher ja’s thehrav sentiment.

Sataasat (Blackmail, Hindi): After the T-series inserted songs, finally Amit gets his songs in Blackmail, starting last week’s Badla. While Bewafa Beauty is the most un-Amit Trivedi’ish song ever, Sataasat is a total comfort zone. Trippy and sedate melody that he sings himself like only he can.

Laung Laachi (Laung Laachi, Punjabi): Gurmeet Singh’s tune is very Punjabi – effortlessly rhythmic and instantly catchy, but with a marked feminine grace that Mannat Noor brings with her phenomenal vocals. The natural beauty of the language adds to the whole charm.

Sheesha (Laung Laachi, Punjabi): Mannat Noor pulls off again in Sheesha too, this time the tune is very folksy and melodic, with a softer lilt. That ‘Sheesha ho’ hook is haunting in Mannat’s mesmerizing voice.

Roti (Sajjan Singh Rangroot, Punjabi): The Punjabi war movie based on the experiences of Sikh Regiment during World War I has 3 songs by Jatinder Shah and one by Uttam Singh. Roti is true-blue Punjabi earthiness, made better by leading man, Diljit Dosanjh’s involved vocals.

Pyaas (Sajjan Singh Rangroot, Punjabi): Lovely old world’ish charm in Uttam Singh’s backgrounds, reminiscent of Dil Toh Pagal Hai. It’s Diljit again who carries the searing yearning in the melody which seemed like raag Pilu to me (Pardesiyon se na, Jab Jab Phool Khile).

Tui Ki Kore Dili (Ghare And Baire, Bengali): This is Anupam Roy’s home territory. This is his trademark style, a breezy soft-rock melody that he always sings himself. That hook, “Tui, Tui Ki Kore Dili… Tui E Ki Kore Dili Re… Bol Na, Bol Na, Bol Na” is marvelous!

Kedaya (Kalari, Tamil): VV Prassanna’s tune is largely predictable and familiar, but there’s no denying its charm. Between Prassanna and Vaishaali, the melody’s inherent beauty does come out very well.

Azhuku Jatti Amudhavalli (Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, Tamil): A first for Tamil cinema – a song titled, ‘Amudhavalli’s dirty undies’! The bawdy lyrics are replete with double entendre, but given the whatever-goes horror genre, Balamurali Balu’s song seems oddly and weirdly fun!

Naaloni Nuvvu (Needi Naadi Oke Katha, Telugu): Composer Suresh Bobbili keeps up the promise showcased in last year’s Maa Abbayi. In Naalonu Nuvvu, he ropes in Sony and Naani for the soft and lush melody, with a particularly lovely strings and shehnai’ish profusion.

Vaaram (Chal Mohan Ranga, Telugu): Vaaram plays out like a template of a Thaman song – the melodic intro, followed by the rhythmic hook. In Nakash Aziz’s dependable voice, this works perfectly! The sound and choice of instruments in the interludes is particularly very, very good!

Ardham Leni Navvu (Chal Mohan Ranga, Telugu): A surprise, considering Thaman uses Thyagaraja’s Hamsanadam-raaga based Bantureethi Kolu as-is! Still, the new layer of lyrics juxtaposed on the familiar tune, the modern backgrounds and Sreenidhi’s singing make for lovely listening.

Tanka Takkara (Naam, Malayalam): Kerala produces more college songs than any other Indian language; result of high literacy rates? This song by Ashwin & Sandeep is no doubt reminiscent of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Tattad Tattad from Ram-Leela, but that innate Malayalee charm is a winner.

Koothu Over Coffee (A Dream To Remember, Indipop): The 5th song from Agam’s 2nd album. An original Tamil folk written by Agam’s keyboardist Swamy Seetharaman, the simple and lively folk tune gets a massive fillip from Harish’s superb singing, the choir, and the celtic soundscape!

Saturday March 17, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – MAR18.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 16:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
13 songs, this week. YouTube and Saavn are complete – they have all 13 songs. Apple Music is missing 3 songs and has only 10 songs – the missing songs are: The Mercury Song, the Kannada song Hosa Padmavathi (my favorite from this week’s list!) and the Punjabi song Rabb Jane from Shaadi Teri Bajayenge Hum Band.

A note on each song in the playlist.

Everybody Hates Me (The Chainsmokers): The first 2 singles (Sick Boy and You Owe Me) were largely whiny, but in Everybody Hates Me, the much-hated Chainsmokers drop all pretense and go full on, with a bloody cool EDM drop and some pseudo self-analysis:
“I’m a product of the internet
And now, I’m face to face with all the voices in my head
I can’t even check the time without facing regret
Why do I still have to mean everything I ever said?”

Done For Me (Charlie Puth, featuring Kehlani): Charlie Puth collaborates with R&B star Kehlani who has been scoring some really impressive collaborations recently. The song’s funky sound is effortlessly appealing, thanks to the synth horns.

Hosa Padmavathi (Johny Johny Yes Papa, Kannada): While Ajaneesh is making waves in Telugu with Kirrak Party, this new Kannada song drops… and rocks!! Superb horns, an incredibly catchy ‘Colour colour’ hook and fantastic singing by Vijay Prakash and Indu Nagaraj.

Most Wanted Abbayi (MLA, Telugu): Trust veteran Mani Sharma to whip up a scorching hot Telugu masala track! The lyrics, in typical Telugu-style rhyme (Armani) suit-tu, (Adidas) boot-u, cut-out-u, sweet-u, chocolate-u and many other things to a raucous effect!

Hey Indu (MLA, Telugu): This is the kind of song Mani used to compose in his sleep during his peak in Telugu film industry. Glad to see him back in this game. Rahul Sipligunj breezes through the wonderfully rhythmic tune and that ‘Chinnadaana’ hook.

Tere Naal Rehna (Jeet Gannguli, Punjabi): I’m really glad that Jeet Gannguli picks a serene and melodic tune for his first ever Punjabi song! Along with Jyotica Tangri (who is very, very good!), the song’s pleasant melody is thoroughly appealing.

Badla (Blackmail, Hindi): Amit Trivedi and DIVINE are angry… very, very angry in Badla. The sound is edgy, with a ‘Badla’ hook that literally explodes. DIVINE’s rap is mighty punchy, as usual.

Rabb Jane (Shaadi Teri Bajayenge Hum Band, Punjabi): Composer Rupak Iyer’s melody seemed like classic Charukesi raaga to me, with its thoroughly engaging and beautifully rich tune. Who better than Sonu Nigam to sing such a melody? And the man completely owns the song!

Thoo Manju (Krishnam, Malayalam): The trilingual has music by Hariprasad R, and of the 3 versions (sung by Karthik in Tamil and Kala Bhairava in Telugu), this Malayalam version sung by Vineeth Sreenivasan is my favorite. Full Vidyasagar feels in the stately melody!

Mayathennum (Mayathennum, Malayalam): There’s a distinct Gopi Sundar-style in Arun Ashok’s song. But he has a way with the likeable melody that takes an interesting turn after the 2nd interlude. Nikhil Mathew and Sangeetha Sreekanth are very good with the vocals.

Morning Is Coming (Album – 44/876): Sting and Shaggy are an unusual combo! This single, from their upcoming album, is a smooth downtempo and easy-listening track that combines the best of reggae and Sting’s incredible voice!

The Mercury Song (Mercury, Hindi): The last really well-known ‘silent’ film, the Kannada film Pushpaka Vimana (1987) wasn’t silent after all – it had no dialogs, but had fantastic background music by L.Vaidyanathan. This new ‘silent’ film by Karthik Subbaraj takes the same multi-lingual route to release like Pushpaka Vimana which was effortlessly welcome in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam as well. But, this one has a song – a promo song, at that, in Hindi no less. The song’s lyrics, by Sayeed Quadri, awkwardly shoehorns the word ‘Mercury’ into the flow, but other than that, this is perhaps the most energetic song composed by Mithoon in recent times, far removed from his brooding melodies.

Bhannat (Gavthi, Marathi): The trailer and the other songs from Gavthi seems to indicate some inspiration from Sairaat and this pulse-pounding song is on the lines of Zingaat — a manic Marathi kuthu song composed by Shreyashh and sung well by Suhas Sawant.

I speak 3 languages fluently – Tamil, English, and Hindi. I can understand bits of Kannada and Malayalam reasonably well, and understand Telugu even lesser. But, if you put me in an autorickshaw in Hyderabad, Bengaluru or Kochi, I can assure you that I can discuss (in English or another broken language) with the driver about the hottest songs in the language of the state.

[To sign up for Milliblog’s language-agnostic weekly new music playlists – on Apple Music, Saavn & YouTube, just enter your name and email ID in this simple form]

I have stunned many Uber drivers with my discussion on the Kannada songs they have played while not speaking a word of Kannada with them (discussion in English, Hindi and sometimes Tamil). I have also recommended songs they should listen to if they liked a certain song!

Thanks to Milliblog… yeah, my own music blog that I have been running since 2005.

I have always been fascinated with languages – not the learning a new language part, but the pop culture of those languages. My interest has always been around the ethos and expressions of the language more than the grammar or basic knowledge of those languages.

I found a way to indulge in this esoteric interest via music. In a way, the music website that I used to manage that predates Milliblog – ItwoFS – was an expression of that interest too. I used to love the world music sources that our Indian composers lifted from and loved listening to all those alien (to me) language music.

With Milliblog, I decided to sink myself into Indian languages, via film music.
The idea was simple – I love music.
I have a voracious appetite for new music.
I wanted to be on top of music from all states in India.
I was looking for curators who can help me with that without language as a barrier.
But there was not a single language-agnostic music curator in India.
So, I became one myself.

Through language-agnostic music reviews, I started taking that role seriously because it primarily helped me find what to listen to. On average, there are about 5-10 new soundtracks released across India, across languages. That’s easily 35-40 songs per week, including non-film ‘pop’ music. So, it sure needs a curator to help me with ‘what do I listen to?’.

After 12 years of using music reviews as an expression to curate, I pivoted to playlists as a way to curate (though I was doing it with my monthly lists earlier, they didn’t translate into single playlists for a long time) starting 2018. I do this mainly for myself. This is how I find what to listen to. And I use it in a very normal, everyman way – I would like to listen to something 2-3 days of the week during my drives and in the background at work.

[To sign up for Milliblog’s language-agnostic weekly new music playlists – on Apple Music, Saavn & YouTube, just enter your name and email ID in this simple form]

Considering I do not understand what they are singing in about 70% of a weekly playlist, it gets even more interesting. I have heard people balk at me for listening to music in a language I do not understand. People have argued with me extensively (and angrily) that I’m ignoring an integral part of the music – meaning – while consuming such music. And that it’s massively unfair to lyricists. I do not deny any of that, but what can I do if (a) I do not know those languages or have time/inclination to learn them and (b) I relate to music and other languages at a ‘sound’ level, more than the meaning level?

There it is! Sound-level is my way to define my interest in music and languages. To me, music is beyond boundaries – music has no language. I have believed that I was either a Spaniard or a Telugu speaking person in my previous birth, given my massive interest and love for both languages (besides Tamil and English, of course), though I have heard more Tamilians make fun of Telugu than appreciate it (despite Bharathiyar offering, ‘Sundhara Telunginil paatisaippom’ in his famous ‘Sindhu nadhiyin misai’ poem).

Almost every mainstream music curation effort in India is language-specific, across TV, digital medium, radio etc. It’s almost like we shut ourselves to one language consciously and refuse to explore unknown languages however enjoyable they may be, at a sound-level! Very few songs break the language barrier and go places – ‘Lajjavathiye’ was one, in the last decade. Gilli’s Appadi podu was a good example too. Then, ‘Jimikki kammal’ in 2017. But the recent Oru Adaar Love’s Malayalam song ‘Maanikya Malaraya Poovi’ crossed borders because of Priya Varrier’s wink, more than the song or the sound. But many Hindi songs have crossed into the South and have become songs that people sung in their heads by not understanding a single word – mainly because Hindi films enjoyed better exposure across the country.

So, if you are reading this, give other (than your own) Indian languages a chance. Start with their film music. At least in the ones that have a reasonably well-established film industry, there are many songs that are so worth your time and span an incredible range of genres. At present, I track new film music in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, primarily. A bit of Punjabi and Marathi too, at times. I haven’t found myself actively tracking Bengali film music yet (more because whatever I sampled didn’t appeal to me at one point and I lost interest ever since).

You can start with my weekly new music playlists. I create them on Saavn and Apple Music because those are the 2 services I pay for and have subscribed to. Plus, they are, in my opinion, truly exhaustive when it comes to pan-Indian music. I added YouTube recently for playlist-creation because not everybody has a paid subscription to either Saavn or Apple Music, and many new songs are first uploaded on YouTube by record labels anyway.

To help you appreciate the songs a little more, I also write a small (tweet-sized) note on each song in the playlist. The weekly playlists are updated every Sunday and it’s already been 15 weeks since I started curating them.

Take this week’s playlist for instance. This the 15th weekly playlist and has 18 songs. I love the range and this is a great example of a language-agnostic new music playlist that spans so many varieties of music.

  • Heer, by debutant Ved Sharma, from Madhya Pradesh, is a nice Punjabi/Hindi pop ditty.
    Sofi Tukker and Meghan Trainor’s singles are fantastic dance songs that can lift your mood anytime!
  • Edhuvarayo is a superb showcase of what Tamil composer Anirudh is capable of – highly engaging melodies with several intricate layers.
  • Composer Achu’s Tamil song Pondattee is a highly rhythmic ode to the ‘wife’ (Pondattee meaning wife in Tamil – one of the perks of knowing Tamil!), while composer Santhosh Narayanan’s Karuppi is a mighty intriguing R&B ode to a dead black dog – it’s almost an elegy of sorts; Tamil culture’s musical elegy form is called ‘Oppaari’ (the old lady’s voice lamenting the dead dog, towards the end, is real oppaari, by the way).
  • Rangamma Mangamma, Kala Kala Kalamandhir and Pedda Puli are true-blue Telugu masala kuthu songs – the first one is more authentic Telugu folk, while the last 2 are incredibly catchy masala songs.
  • Vanolam is the Malayalam equivalent – punchy and catchy Malayalam folk’ish music, while Naadotukku literally starts with the sounds of a bus travel in Kerala and brings to mind the lush green interiors of the state in Job Kurian’s (one of my favorite Malayalam composer/singer) excellent vocals.
  • Then there are 2 songs from the new Kannada film Trunk – it has music by a trio (debutants) and the music sounds very promising.
  • I close the week’s playlist with 4 songs from Moby’s brand new album – my favorite 4 from the 12-song album that released on March 2nd.

How to follow my language-agnostic weekly new music playlists?

The best way to do it is,

  1. Subscribe to Milliblog’s weekly email – you get just one email, every Sunday, with the per-song notes and the 3-platform playlist links. No spam *at all*.
  2. Visit this website on Sunday evening.

This week’s playlist is here, for your listening pleasure!

[To sign up for Milliblog’s language-agnostic weekly new music playlists – on Apple Music, Saavn & YouTube, just enter your name and email ID in this simple form]

Sunday March 11, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – MAR11.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 15:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
18 songs in total, this week. Apple Music playlist is missing the 2 Kannada songs from Trunk that are available on Saavn and YouTube playlists. Naadottukku, from Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri is not on YouTube, but available on Apple Music and Saavn playlists. Kannum Kannum from Vikadarakumaran is not available on Saavn, but is present on both Apple Music and YouTube playlists!

A note on each song in the playlist.

Heer (Ved Sharma, Indipop): Ved Sharma, from Dabra is the 3rd find of Mohit Suri and EMI Music’s VYRL Originals. Pleasant R&B melody and well sung too, though I don’t understand this Punjabi obsession even from a singer from Madhya Pradesh!

Baby I’m A Queen (Sofi Tukker): A new single from New York-based electronic duo Sofi Tukker’s (Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern) upcoming album, Treehouse, this dance-worthy, guitar-laden electronic song is easy on the ears and quite catchy.

No Excuses (Meghan Trainor): Like a true Meghan Trainor song, this one’s catchy and funky too, in equal dose, with a definite hint at the retro. The eye-popping colorful video is a great addition as well.

Edhuvaraiyo (Kolamaavu Kokila, Tamil): That punchy Anirudh package yet again! He truly seems to be on a roll. Sean Roldan’s grungy voice goes wonderfully with the moody tune and the dialogs by Gautham Menon added as interlude is intriguingly cool!

Pondattee (Golisoda 2, Tamil): Nice lilting and winsome melody that is simple and with a foot-tapping hook. A bit Sean Roldan’ish, I thought. Achu does a great job handling the engaging tune.

Karuppi (Pariyerum Perumal, Tamil): A searing hip-hop melody from Santhosh Narayanan that he sings with his usual, intense fervor, along with Dr. S.C. Chandilya. The tune and the rap are packaged, along with the ending, as a hauntingly modern oppaari of sorts!

Rangamma Mangamma (Rangasthalam, Telugu): This Rangasthalam is turning out to be a fantastic soundtrack by Devi Sri Prasad! In the 3rd single, Devi hands M. M. Manasi a cracker of a catchy song and she handles it brilliantly! The lilt is infectious!

Kala Kala Kalamandir (Inttelligent, Telugu): This is good old Thaman-style kuthu masala! The rhythm is incredibly catchy and Thaman’s inclusion of veena all over the song works wonders! Nakash Aziz and Geetha Madhuri lift the song significantly with their rendition.

Pedda Puli (Chal Mohan Ranga, Telugu): Thaman strikes again! The folksy tune (with a repetitive structure) and rhythm combo works easily and the chorus adds good impact too, with a super frenzied ending! Rahul Sipligunj’s enthusiastic singing is great.

Kannum Kannum (Vikadakumaran, Malayalam): Trust Rahul Raj to produce such incredibly lovely melodies! Sounds like Sindhu Bhairavi raaga to me (shades of Satya’s Valayosai!) and the icing on the cake of Vineeth Srinivasan and Akhila Anand’s vocals!

Vanolam (Kala Viplavam Pranayam, Malayalam): With a spritely rhythm that segues seamlessly into folk sounds, the energetic tune is a great listen! Athul Anand scores well on the music front, as do Sithara Krishnakumar and Niranj Suresh in singing it.

Romanchana (Trunk, Kannada): Trunk has music by debutant trio, Kartik Raman (of Indian Raga fame), Pradeep Pady and Ganesh Govindaswamy. Romanchana, sung by Kartik, is a super smooth ballad – effortlessly likeable!

Yaakeetara (Trunk, Kannada): Vidya Panicker’s vocal range and style reminded me of Ranina Iyer’s, but not to take anything away from Vidya, she’s fantastic in the slow and sedate melody of Yaakeetara. The composing trio keep the backgrounds minimal to let the melody work wonders.

Naadottukku (Kuttanpillayude Sivarathri): Singer Sayanora Philip, making her composing debut, gets Naadottukku superbly right, with a lovely pallavi repeating thrice, peppered with ambient music; sung wonderfully by Job Kurian, with good chorus/spoken support by Prarthana.

Mere Anarchy, The Middle is Gone, This Wild Darkness & A Dark Cloud is Coming (Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt – Moby): Moby’s latest album is perhaps the closest to his breakthrough (my favorite), Play. The sound is incredibly lush and the female guest vocalists (Julie Mintz, Raquel Rodriguez, Brie O’Bannon, Mindy Jones and Apollo Jane) do a darn good job all through. Mere Anarchy has all the Moby regulars – compelling synth leads, thoroughly engaging drum patterns and deep bass lines. Lounge piano, guitars and a repetitively haunting synth play along brilliantly in The Middle is Gone, while in This Wild Darkness, a delightful choir makes an impeccable mark. A Dark Cloud Is Coming has an incredibly cool synth signature laid on top of a sweepingly entrancing rhythm!

Episode 3 of Milliblog Monthlies, featuring 25 songs by Vishal Bhardwaj.

Let’s start with this song, shall we?

Now, if I did not know who composed this song, my guess would be Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen (who made their debut in 1992, with Jeena Mara Tere Sang, with songs like Chaha Hai Tumhein Chahenge and Kal Maine Khuli Aankh Se that I recall were quite popular back then). But, this cringe-worthy (in retrospect) song is composed by Vishal Bhardwaj! Vishal’s first recorded song was used eventually by Usha Khanna, it seems, for a 1985 film called Yaar Kasam (though, which of the 4 songs here is by Vishal is hard to say).

But, from Fauji’s Kabhi Aankh Milaye to what is generally considered his debut (incorrectly), Gulzar-directed Maachis… it’s a giant leap for Vishal Bhardwaj the composer. I consider Vishal an enormously talented composer-director (among the many other things he does), but not just that – I also seriously believe that he is a very intelligent composer. Why do I say that?

Let me try to articulate that in my own non-musical way.

To me, it seemed that Vishal, in Fauji, with its utterly generic masala music, was trying his hand at music to know what he could really do with it.

With Gulzar’s sensibility in Maachis, he adapted his music to a new style and paradigm… one that gave him—well deserved—the Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent in 1996.

He carried that sound till 2000, and produced largely mediocre work, with Satya being the lone spark. Then, in 2000, he produced music for Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar and this was the turn of a newer style that he thought could put him in better stead. Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar had a breezy and easily likeable set of tunes, with Vishal’s own sensibilities added to it. But unlike his earlier set, starting with this film, his films had a more confident outlook – they are much more catchy. He carried that sound in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega too, and to some extent Chupke Se.

Then, starting with Maqbool, he turned his style in a different direction! He extended that to Omkara and No Smoking too, while also amping up the commercial value of his sound significantly, with electric masala numbers like Beedi and Phoonk De.

After that, starting with Kaminey, he has moved on to a completely different zone – the music from this point onwards is decidedly more modern, global in outlook and a lot more saleable in general. That extends till last year’s Rangoon (with Ishqiya, 7 Khoon Maaf, Dedh Ishqiya, Matru Ka Bijlee Ka Mandola, Ek Thi Daayan, Haider and Drishyam all thrown in between).

For a director, composing music for his own movies and changing his music idiom at least 5 times, based on the demands of those periods of time is remarkable and highly intelligent.

The following playlist has my favorite 25 songs by Vishal Bhardwaj. I’ve broken down the 25-song playlist into 3 sections – the first 10 are my favorite melodies from Vishal. The next 7 are ideally mid-tempo songs, while the last 8 are songs where Vishal whips up a frenzy!

Playlist on Apple Music | Saavn | YouTube

Note: The playlist on Apple Music has 21 songs and is missing: No.4 – Kehte Kehte from Chupke Se, No.8 – Kaatin Sarangi from Carbon, No.10 – Atthanisi Zindagi from Jahan Tum Le Chalo and No.25 – Jhin Min Jhini from Maqbool.

The Saavn playlist is also a 21 song list, and is missing: No.8 – Kaatin Sarangi from Carbon, No.10 – Atthanisi Zindagi from Jahan Tum Le Chalo, No.16 – Love Ke Liye from Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega and No.25 – Jhin Min Jhini from Maqbool.

The YouTube playlist is the closest to a complete list, with 24 songs. It is missing only one song – No.8 – Kaatin Sarangi from Carbon.

No.8 – Kaatin Sarangi from Carbon is available ONLY on Facebook, so I have embedded it below the entry in this post.

Kaminey – Kaminey (2009)
Kaminey is a soundtrack that’s packed with incredible music. My absolute favorite, though, is the title song. The build-up to the song is so soft and serene, but it takes on a beautifully expansive sound to wrap the lush melody inside it. Vishal’s singing is absolutely top notch, even though, I have noticed that he has a way of going awkward while singing (and is better of handing over the singing duties to Suresh Wadkar—earlier—and then to Arijit Singh). But sometimes, like this song, it just works perfectly.

Dil To Bachcha Hai – Ishqiya (2010)
Vishal nails the vaudevillian sound in this song! So good is it that the mesmerizing tune transports you straight to the Raj Kapoor era. And roping in Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to sing it is the icing on the cake – the tune works perfectly for Rahat’s range. It’s a beautifully picturized song too, incidentally.

Tu Mere Paas Bhi Hai – Satya (1998)
If I were to pick between Badalon Se and this one, I’d pick Tu Mere Paas. Yes, Badalon Se had Bhupinder singing it and is a classic Vishal-style melody, but I believe Tu Mere Paas breaks that template very well, with a breezy Latino flavor that was quite unlike what Vishal had attempted till then (though Betaabi’s Tum Mere Ho, that otherwise goes haywire, has a base tune that sounds a bit similar to Tu Mere Paas, to me).

Kehte Kehte – Chupke Se (2003)
Between Koi To Ho and Kehte Kehta from Chupke Se, I would pick the latter, though I quite like both songs. Also, as far as I know, Kehte Kehte is Lucky Ali’s first song for Vishal Bhardwaj and Lucky Ali’s voice fits extraordinarily well for the melody, a lazy drawl of a tune that flows oh-so-casually. Vishal adds some small, nifty touches in the song – my favorite is the sound that comes right after ‘Na jaane kyon’!

Bekaraan – 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)
Vishal’s own vocals in Bekaran, along with that dulcet tune and Gulzar’s love-soaked sentences bear the composer’s standard style, but I also hear a lot of A R Rahman. Vishal sings this one like someone truly possessed with another person, with an almost whispery, throaty edge and a bit high too! The 2nd interlude, in particular, is a delight!

Kya Pataa – Drishyam (2015)
Drishyam is like Fazil’s Aniyathipraavu (music by Ouseppachan), which was subsequently remade in Tamil (Kadhalukku Mariyadhai, music by Ilayaraja), Telugu (Nenu Premisthunnanu, music by Tamil composer Sirpi), Hindi (Doli Saja Ke Rakhna, music by A R Rahman) and Kannada (Preethigaagi, music by Tamil composer S.A.Rajkumar). Drishyam has 5 remakes—Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi, and a Sinhala remake. All of them have different composers – Anil Johnson (Malayalam), Ghibran (Tamil), Ilayaraja (Kannada), Sharreth (Telugu), Vishal Bhardwaj (Hindi) and Sachith Peris (Sinhala). While I love the movie, the only 4 songs I like across all of these versions (yes, I have heard all the songs) are Yeya En Kottikara in Tamil, Prathi Roju in Telugu and Kya Pataa & Carbon Copy in Hindi! Kya Pataa is a particular favorite in the way it employs Arijit’s voice and the tune is wonderfully mysterious, with a lovely jazz touch.

Dil Ka Mizaaj Ishqiya – Dedh Ishqiya (2013)
This is perhaps my all-time favorite (so far!) Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song! The melody is heartbreakingly beautiful and that dulcet tone works so well for Rahat’s voice. The way he goes ‘Mizaaj’ every time stressing on the ‘j’ (as it should be) is lovely!

Yeh Ishq Hai – Rangoon (2017)
This is a complete shocker! That it sounds *SO MUCH* like Dil Se’s title song is the shocking part! When Arijit goes on the high-pitched ‘Yeh ishq hai’ at the end of the antara, you perhaps would like to scream inside your head, ‘Dil se re!!’ too! But, once you get over that and accept it, the song sounds fantastic, though.

Kaatin Sarangi – Carbon (2018)
It’s incredibly unfortunate that the best song from Vishal’s 2nd Malayalam film (first being Daya) is still lying, without any extra credits like singer, lyricist etc., as a Facebook video! This song is vintage Vishal melody – ambient, dreamy and beautifully sung by Benny Dayal.

Kaali Kaali – Ek Thi Daayan (2013)
Besides the lovely, immersive tune that Vishal concocts here, his choice of Clinton Cerejo for singing this one pays big time. I particularly love the melody of the antara and the way they mingle with ‘katra katra’ and ‘lamha lamha’ so beautifully! The 2nd interlude is a lovely piece of imagination too!

Atthanisi Zindagi – Jahan Tum Le Chalo (1999)
To some extent, this song from Vishal’s 1999 film is a precursor to the kind of music he eventually started producing, starting with 2000’s Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar. The tunes were starting to get catchier and the music was getting decidedly more interesting, with the rapid cuts leading to the hook (Atthanisi Zindagi) closing in on the end of the antara. Given Hariharan’s voice, this could easily be mistaken for the many Indipop songs that came in that period!

Chhai Chhapa Chhai – Hu Tu Tu (1999)
Hu Tu Tu is the 2nd film directed by Gulzar, with music by Vishal. So, obviously, I was expecting a Maachis-like soundtrack, but it turned out to be completely different and a letdown, largely. The saving grace was this song, though! That antara which goes, ‘Dhunda karenge tumhe saahilon pe hum’ is a lovely touch and Hariharan pulls it off so well.

Lai Ja Re Badra – Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar (2000)
My favorite song from this new turn in Vishal’s musical style, along with Hariharan’s Swagatham. Both songs are semi-classical and Lai Ja, sung by Sanjeev Abhyankar has a fantastic fusion feel to it. Amidst all the wacky, pop tunes of the soundtrack, these 2 stand out amazingly!

Saiyaan – U Me Aur Hum (2008)
This is perhaps the most un-Vishal Bhardwaj’sh song if you ignore his early misfires like Fauji. It could fit straight into a Dharma Productions film with music by say, Jatin-Lalit! Still, there is a certain Vishal sensibility that the tune holds, like the superb antara. Sunidhi Chauhan, as usual, is impeccable with her vocals!

Yaaram – Ek Thi Daayan (2013)
Gulzar’s lyrics take center stage in this amazing song, where he gets the woman to go all out wooing a man unabashedly!
“Hum cheez hain bade kaam ki…Yaaram
Humein kaam pe rakh lo kabhi…Yaaram” and
“Ghar daftar mein le ke chalenge hum
Tumhaari filein, tumhaari diary
Gaadi ki chaabiyan, tumhaari enakein
Tumhaara laptop, tumhaari cap, phone
Aur apna dil, kanwaara dil
Pyaar mein haara bechara dil” are so very Gulzar! Vishal’s tune for the ‘Tumhaari filein’ part is a crackling idea! Sunidhi Chauhan and Clinton Cerejo have a lovely to and fro vibe in this song.

Love Ke Liye – Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001)
Vishal gets the tapori-style vibe so well in this film’s title song. The song is breezy and the question-and-answer format between Sunidhi and Udit really lifts the song’s appeal. The carnival’esque 2nd interlude is a commercial cop-out, but overall, really cool song, even back in 2001.

Chappa Chappa – Maachis (1996)
The song that literally built Vishal’s appeal as a composer (along with Chhod Aaye Hum)! I recall hearing the song almost everywhere, even in Tamil Nadu where I was when the film released. It was such a massive chartbuster, cutting across states and languages in its sweeping appeal. The combination of Hariharan and Suresh Wadkar, for the singing, along with the splendid chorus and Gulzar’s sparkling verse takes the song to a new high.

Goli Maar – Satya (1998)
A killer song! Vishal has done another song like this, 3 years later, in Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’s Aslam Bhai! But Goli Maar (or Kallu Mama), sung with affecting South Indian accent by Mano revels in its drunken stupor like very few songs before it! The inspired song picturization, led by the incredibly funny Saurabh Shukla is a delight! To a large extent, Vikram Vedha’s Tasakku Tasakku reminded me of Kallu Mama, in terms of the way it was structured and approached.

Beedi – Omkara (2006)
Beedi is Vishal taking the item song genre, pouring kerosene over it and setting it on a glorious and rousing fire! The song’s lines, by Gulzar, makes Bhojpuri Hindi go for a pan-Indian appeal with its bawdy and risque phrases that gel perfectly with the testosterone-filled format. Sunidhi Chauhan is the song’s stunning highlight, with excellent support from Sukhwinder Singh, Clinton Cerejo and Nachiketa Chakraborty. I believe the song is a massive hit in Brazil, ever since it was used in the Brazilian TV soap opera called Caminho das Índias.

Dhan Te Nan – Kaminey (2009)
The surf guitar-loaded DhanTeNan is no doubt reminiscent of Dick Dale’s legendary track, Misirlou (more popularly referred to as the theme from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction), but beyond broad, genre-influences, it stands on its own, as a hyper-enthusiastic dance track, with infectious vocals by Sukhwinder Singh! The spontaneous outburst of energy in the song is quite something!

Doosri Darling – 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)
I’ve always felt that the Kalinka-inspired Darling has an underwhelming rhythm… for such a mesmerizing tune! Usha Uthup and Rekha Bharadwaj make an incredible combo, but get their due only in the other version, Doosri Darling – the soundtrack’s magnificent highlight! This one gets an exciting and authentic Russian background, while Rekha’s vocals acquire a naughty edge. Vishal blends the original adeptly with the Indian parts he conceives plays with the song’s tempo to fantastic effect.

Horn Ok Please – Dedh Ishqiya (2013)
This may be the most respectable song Yo Yo Honey Singh has ever sung, given then it doesn’t allude to any of the mood-altering substances he is usually used to sing about. Vishal even throws in a rap portion to fit Honey Singh’s image and to be fair, he does a fantastic job with the flamboyant and funky tune!

Bismil – Haider (2014)
Continuing with the exotic world music influences in other songs like Darling, Dhan te Naan and Dil To Baccha Hai Ji, Vishal’s use of the Central European sound in Bismil is amazing! Along with the song’s picturization, set in a superb location and the theater-style narrative, the song makes a superb impact! Sukhwinder Singh and the chorus deliver Gulzar’s storified lyrics beautifully, with the ‘Mat mil, mat mil gul se mat mil… Aye dil-e-bulbul bulbul-e-bismil’ coming in to close the phrase suddenly being a fabulous highlight.

Dil Todne Ki Masheen – Hawaizaada (2015)
Much like the Bhojpuri item song, Vishal amps up the Marathi Lavani-style item song, with generous support from Rekha Bhardwaj who completely owns the song! The hook is an absolute killer, burning up the stage, much like Beedi’s hook.

Jhin Min Jhini – Maqbool (2003)
The song starts off slowly and steadily, like a standard wedding song, but just before the 2-minute mark, it simply explodes! The assortment of voices, including Sadhana Sargam, Ustad Sultan Khan, Anuradha Sriram and Rakesh Pandit make it a fantastic listen, with the song culminating to Amir Khusro’s iconic qawwali, Aaj Rang Hai.

Saturday March 3, 2018

Milliblog Weeklies – MAR04.2018

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist. Week 14:
On Apple Music | On Saavn | On YouTube
15 songs in total, this week. But not even one platform where all 15 songs are present, together! Shyam Piya is on Apple Music and Facebook, not on YouTube and Saavn. Baalam Ji is on Apple Music and YouTube, but not on Saavn. IndoSoul Karthick Iyer’s new song is only on YouTube! And Shadow and Light’s new album, Sabar is Saavn’s Artist Originals – so, only available on Saavn! So, my request – please try all 3 playlists to listen to all 15 songs this week. Wish there was a service to build cross-platform playlists and be able to play them via my mobile!

A note on each song in the playlist.

Shyam Piya (Sona Mohapatra and Ram Sampath): Ram takes the Meera Bhajan made iconic by Anup Jalota and infuses it with a fresh lease of life, courtesy Talvin Singh’s tabla and Sanjoy Das’s guitar and most importantly, Sona Mohapatra’s incredibly involved singing!

Baalam Ji (Salim Sulaiman): Composing duo Salim and Sulaiman who are almost out of the Bollywood circuit (despite a stupendous soundtrack in Jai Gangaajal, 2016 continue to produce lovely music, like this Rajasthani folk fusion featuring Sattar Khan!

Azaadiyaan (3 Storeys, Hindi): Clinton’s tryst with 3-song soundtracks (considering 1 song in this soundtrack is by Amjad Nadeem) continue and he continues to wonderfully well! Azaadiyaan is amazingly serene, letting up only for the title hook, that Bianca Gomes handles so well!

Zaroori Bewakoofi (3 Storeys, Hindi): Besides Mohit Chauhan’s honey-coated singing, the chorus hook, ‘Kahani atrangi si’ by Vivienne Pocha, Crystal Sequeira and Bianca Gomes is clearly the song’s highlight. And there’s Clinton’s vocal trumpet too, btw!

Runa Zuna (Memory Card, Marathi): With a flute intro that sounds like the one in Gupt’s Yeh Pyaar, the melody in Runa Zuna, by Mitesh-Pritesh. is almost single-handedly propped by Mahalakshmi Iyer’s stellar vocals! But yes, Javed Ali joins mid-way and makes the song even better!

Konte Naatey (Aamhi Doghi, Marathi): Mangesh Dhakde’s tune is pleasant enough, but it is Vaishali Mhade’s singing that elevates it to a lovely new level.

Aalaliloo (Karu, Tamil): There’s palpable tenderness in the way Swagatha S. Krishnan handles Aalaliloo, rendering Madhan Karky’s gentle verse as if they are brittle. Sam’s music is wonderfully serene, even segueing into a rhythm that’s equally gentle.

Konjali (Karu, Tamil): Konjali is an absolute stunner! From the sparse mridangam to the beautifully appropriate nadaswaram, to Sathyaprakash and Neha Venugopal’s lead vocals, Sam’s sound is almost like that of Sharreth’s!

Adiye (R. K. Nagar, Tamil): Have always felt that Premgi Amaran was a better composer than a comedian on screen. Adiye, from R K Nagar is a pretty good song! Very Vijay Antony’ish. Seemed like Gowrimanohari raaga to me.

Paalthira Paadum (Captain, Malayalam): Another late full album release. The best song by Gopi Sundar is this Shreya Ghoshal delight! The tabla-coated melody is so very Gopi (those interludes featuring his own high-pitched humming and strings!), and Shreya is heartbreakingly good!

Kannanthalir (Velakkariyayirunnalum Neeyen Mohavalli, Malayalam): Composer Viswajith who had, in 2016, produced some lovely songs in Rudrasimhasanam, returns with an expansive melody! Vijay Yesudas is in great form, though, at places, I almost thought I heard Hariharan!

Kuyilai Polave (Two Sides of Karma, Tamil): Karthick Iyer, has been producing some great non-film music and the 1st song from IndoSoul’s 3rd album is a great start, with its beautiful Khamas-raaga melody, adorned with Karthick’s splendid violin, and vocals!

Pathjad, Samandar & Vaade (Sabar, Shadow and Light): Shadow and Light is Pavithra Chari and Anindo Bose. The sound—comprising jazz, pop, electronica & R&B—is very, very good, though I’m not fully convinced with the tunes. Liked these 3 songs the most from the album.

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