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.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 89: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Both JioSaavn and YouTube playlists have all the songs. This is a rare feat!

Ganga Tori Leher – Sharma And The Besharams: The song is a Bhojpuri song that Vasuda Sharma sang on stage in Hague a few years back. She now uses the song as the first single in her band’s (Sharma And The Besharams) upcoming album, बीdesi. While a 2nd single has also surfaced (Jazbaa; not too impressive), Ganga sure stays very listenable. It has a lively folk lilt and Vasuda’s singing, and the Euphoria-style Indipop sound makes for a fantastic listen.

Ik Mulaqaat Unplugged – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: This is such a good version of the earlier so-very-Nusrat-Fateh-Ali-Khan’ish track that I’m baffled Zee didn’t consider releasing this first! When you have a singing star, why not get his song to take center-stage first?

Sandakari Neethan – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin) – Tamil: I quite like Vivek-Mervin’s body of work. They have a firm pulse on what is usually massy and deliver consistently. This melody is broadly likeable though not something worth raving about. But their choice of singer pays them very well. Anirudh’s casually breezy vocals make this song a lot more interesting than what it should be.

Vennilavu Peythalinja – Ittymaani Made In China (Kailas Menon) – Malayalam: I went back to Tenali’s Swasame more than once while listening to this song. Very early-Rahman and very listenably pleasant.

[Back In Time] Dhumthanakkadi – Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum (Ouseppachan) – Malayalam: Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum is a 2003 movie and I stumbled on this song by chance back in that period… and was besotted! Ouseppachan’s tune is wildly unpredictable and unconventional. The pallavi is rather short, lasting just a minute, but even within that traverses the lively Dhumthanakkadi phrase and the dreamy ‘Yelelo’ phrase in an unusual mix. The anupallavi and charanam are similar (as is usual), but both end in such an exuberant line… and this line is the song’s literal high point – the catchiest! And intriguingly, till this catchy phrase appears in the charanam, and that too towards its end, the 3 actors in the song’s video dance separately, on their own, without each other! Only towards the end do they dance together!

Dear Future Self (Hands Up) – Fall Out Boy ft. Wyclef Jean: One heck of a catchy song, featuring a cool surf-rock/guitar riff. And an ice cream overdose in the video 🙂

Donna, Leader Of The Landslide & Gloria – III (The The Lumineers): It may be unfair to review or like only 3 songs from The Lumineers’ new album since they have imagined it as a 10-track concept album on addiction and its effects, composed of three chapters that follows the fictitious Sparks family. But, musically, I liked 3 songs more than the others, though the whole album is worth playing together. Donna, the opener, is the most soulful and almost ethereal, with the sparse piano backing (the piano soars beautifully mid-way, by the way) and Wesley Schultz’s wistful and hugely impactful singing. Leader Of The Landslide starts off pensively with a soft guitar plucks but bursts out with a punch mid-way. Gloria, about the life of the family’s matriarch Gloria. Musically it took me to Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train and melodically, to Scorpions’ Under The Same Sun, though lyrically, it is far more darker.

Genetics – Meghan Trainor: What you’d expect from Meghan and more. Very catchy vocal production and a cool electronic sound that consistently engages.

Shine, Survivor & Extraordinary Being – Real Life (Emeli Sande): Emeli’s new album is more of what you’d expect from her – gospel soul-infused, upbeat and hugely optimistic songs. Shine is perhaps the best song that exemplifies this style with a lead up to the explosive chorus. Survivor aims even higher, with a sprawling organ-infused gospel chorus, while the retro funk in Extraordinary Being is incredibly enjoyable.

Que Calor – Major Lazer featuring J Balvin, El Alfa: Major Lazer is now the trio of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums. Dominican dembow (a Jamaican musical rhythm) artist El Alfa joins the trio, along with Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin. The result is a heady world music dance floor earworm.

Mother – Charlie Puth: What a surprisingly Michael Jackson’ish track by Puth!!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 88: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
21 songs this week. JioSaavn has 18 songs and is missing the 3 Malayalam songs: from Love Action Drama and Happy Sardar. YouTube has 19 songs and is missing the 2 songs from Infinity, featuring Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Karsh Kale.

Kaash – The Zoya Factor (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: Let me start by registering my protest against Zee Music, again, this week. They haven’t mentioned the most important credit for a film song – the composer(s). I hope they add it soon, considering it already more than 24 hours! The song is lovely, and shows why the trio is simply the best! The steadily thrumming rhythm and the fantastic singing by Arijit Singh and Alyssa Mendonsa makes it a wonderful listen.

Ghungroo – War (Vishal-Shekhar) – Hindi: Vishal-Shekhar load the funk effortlessly here! The wonderfully catchy disco-style funk is the song’s biggest plus. And then there are the singers, of course – Arijit Singh and Shilpa Rao. Wonderful listen.

Ik Mulaqaat & Gat Gat – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: Ik Mulaqaat is honestly such a hodge-podge, sounding like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Mere Rashke Qamar and Dekhte Dekhte at the same time! I was surprised there is no credit to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the music video, by Zee… but this is par for the course for Zee that consistently refuses to mention original song credits for remixes and recreations on more than one occasion. But the song itself is charming, and Meet Bros’ punchy sound is responsible for that. Gat gat, on the other hand, is like any other Punjabi song that celebrates alcohol. And with a heady, spirited rhythm that is thoroughly enjoyable.

Maaserati – Tanishk Bagchi & Vayu feat. Akasa (Hindi): Lamberghini, Prada and now Maaserati! And the product is shown for a few fleeting seconds right at the beginning (and then given back to the place where it was leased from?). In fact, a JCB is more prominent in the video, at 1:40! Good to see Tanishk and Vayu get back together, though, with a tune that’s perhaps straight out of Dream Girl, in terms of the funky edge. It’s catchy, in a harmless way.

Dil Mera Blast (Javed – Mohsin, featuring Darshan Raval) – Hindi: Darshan is presented like a full-fledged hero, with a dhansoo entry. The song itself is geared towards the upcoming Navrati/Dandiya, much last year’s Darshan song, Chogada, which too was produced by Lijo George (and Dj Chetas), like this song. They all have a winner again!

Tere bina – Zaeden (Hindi): Zaeden has an earnest voice and the tune he composes for his own debut too sounds pleasant and warm. I picked up some Green Day vibe (of all bands!!), though I’m not able to pinpoint where/how 🙂

Home & Believe – Infinity (Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash, Karsh Kale) – Instrumental: This is a surprise, but a good one. The mix is not always engaging, particularly when vocals are thrown in (as in Darkness ft. Pavithra Chari or Space between ft. Shadow and Light), and even Journeyman ft. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan goes for the Middle Eastern flourish to offer the world’s definition of Eastern exotica. But Home and Believe are very, very listenable, with deeply engaging melodies, presented beautifully in Karsh Kale’s impeccable underground, electronica mix.

Ore Naal – Sanah Moidutty (Remix): The original by Ilayaraja, from Ilamai Oonjal Aadukirathu, is already such a beautiful melody. But Sanah keeps the sanctity of the original intact, even as her music arranger Prasanna Suresh maintains a calm, reverent style in the music. Sanah’s singing is the remix’s true appeal, of course. She seems to relish it so much that we listeners can literally feel it too!

[Back In Time] Chi Chi Chi – Majaa (Vidyasagar) – Tamil: It’s a shame Vidyasagar went out of circulation from Tamil film music! His sense of rhythm, melody and a really vibrant imagination for a wide range of music was unmatched! And he has produced consistently fantastic music for a very, very long time! This 2005 song is mighty unique for the structure of the melody. It literally starts with Harini berating an over-eager Shankar Mahadevan, both vocally 🙂 Vidyasagar builds his enchanting melody right from here. And his anupallavi is astoundingly beautiful too, with a beautiful bridge back to Chi Chi Chi! The music video too was a very good watch, fully shot in slow-er motion – not too slow, not real speed, but an intriguing mix!

Deniko Emito – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: After Idi Nijamena and Cheliya Maate Chandanam, here’s another easy winner from Jodi! Phani concocts a lovely laid-back background sound to let Aditya Rao hold forth with his excellent singing. When Satya Yamini joins in the charanam, the song gets even better.

Gagana Veedhilo – Valmiki (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: This is a package that scream Mickey’s style and yet the man has enough to make it sound new too! The tune’s overall fluid structure makes it rather alluring, and that multiple ‘Neeve’ phrases is a lovely touch. And of course, the background music is enticing!

Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo & Gangu Leader – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: Anirudh’s Telugu repertoire is on fire! Ninnu Chuse Anandamlo has Sid Sriram singing it, but it is perhaps one of his more unique songs that doesn’t ask him to sing in the same style that is honestly getting repetitive. Anirudh’s backgrounds are absolutely enchanting, with multiple layers and a busy’ness that keeps you hooked! And then he also layers the sarod (by Prattyush Banerjee) in the 2nd interlude, to add to the magic! The title song is unadulterated fun! This is perhaps what I was expecting from Petta, for Rajinikanth, but Anirudh chose more predictable templates there.

Pain Song – Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru (Jay Krish) – Telugu: The third song from the film and Jay Krish amps up the promise (if I ignore the middling title song). Anurag Kulkarni is stupendously good with the singing, and Jay’s music, with a smattering of the Latino, builds up progressively really well. Sarath’s woodwinds and the horn section, in particular, is brilliant.

Patiala Peg – Happy Sardar (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: This is such a mish-mash of a song 🙂 Kalidas Jayaram does look convincing as a sardarji, but Zia-Ul-Haq’s singing, mixing Malayalam, Hindi and Punjabi is utterly chaotic, in a fun way! Gopi’s ebullient sound keeps the song lively and entertaining, though.

Raathein & Aalolam – Love Action Drama (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: The soundtrack has 6 songs, but what really worked for me are these 2 songs. Raathein is a companion piece to Patiala Peg, with its Hindi-English mix is so unabashedly Malayalee in ethos, with a lovely jazz sound. Even the spelling, Raathein with a ‘h’, would make any self-respecting “North Indian” cringe 🙂 But that’s Sout’h’ India and we’re proud of it! Narayani Gopan is smashingly good, despite occasionally if’fy Hindi diction and Shaan Rahman is good with the English part. Aalolam is Shaan’s domain, with a definite whiff of early-days Rahman! Very, very pleasing melody, sung well by KS Harisankar and Gowry Lekshmi.

Manase Maya – Mundina Nildana (Masala Coffee) – Kannada: The vibrant melody’s sensibility is very Indie and very Masala Coffee – could be easily heard in any of the 4 Southern languages! Sooraj Santhosh and Varun Sunil handle the endearing tune, with a profusion of lovely music, particularly Arshad Khan’s Esraj.

Vallav Re Nakhwa – Prajakta Shukre (Marathi): For Tamilians, this Marathi song may be far more familiar as THE Paalkaaran song from Annamalai 🙂 Prajakta Shukre’s recreation keeps the original’s spirit intact but also amps up the music well. Agnel Roman’s guitar, in particular, is spellbinding.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 87: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. Both playlists, on YouTube as well as JioSaavn, are missing 1 song each, though not the same one. YouTube is missing Naanu Neenu from Pailwaan because it’s inside a jukebox. JioSaavn is missing Enai Noki Paayum Thota’s Hey Nijame since it was released on YouTube just yesterday evening and the good folks at Saavn would have gone home for their long weekend by then.

Ishaq Chaliya, Dil Uda Patanga, Maa Ka Mann & Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas – Celebration – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Sachet-Parampara) – Hindi: After doing so many singles and doubles in soundtracks, it’s good to see this duo Sachet Tandon is a man and Parampara Thakur is a woman, for the uninitiated) almost fully own a soundtrack (as always, one-song specialist Tanishk Bagchi has to insert his nose; here, he does, with Ho Jaa Awara, a pretty ebullient track!).

And this is a surprisingly impressive soundtrack, all through! Ishaq Chaliya’s energetic rhythm and superb horns make it a very good listen, while Parampara owns Maa Ka Mann’s deeply calming prayer-style melody. The title song has 4 versions, and while the other 3 versions are usual Hindi cinema melodies that could fit in any film these days, the ‘Celebration’ version has a different spin to the same tune that appends the title melody in the end. The start and the spring in the rhythm make it fairly different and a lot more enjoyable.

The soundtrack’s easy highlight is Dil Uda Patanga, once again sung by the composing duo as a duet. The melody is beautifully understated and picks up a Punjabi lilt as it progresses. The core tune that rests on the repetitive tune of ‘Dil Uda Patanga’ (and its equivalents) is thoroughly addictive! There’s also some non-Hindi phrases sung by Sachet – couldn’t identify the language.

Woh Din & Khairiyat – Chhichhore (Pritam) – Hindi The idea behind the song seems to be akin to Ali Haider’s iconic Purani Jeans, though the feel here is a bit more generic than specific (like it was, in that song). Still, in Tushar Joshi’s sedate voice, the pleasant tune works. Surprisingly, I liked Tushar’s version more than Arijit’s – the former seemed fresher and specific than the latter that, now, seems generic. However, Arijit hits an effortless sixer in Khairiyat! There’s an old-world charm in Pritam’s sweeping melody and even Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics work at a similar wavelength! Lovely song.

Dhagala Lagali – Dream Girl (Meet Bros, originally a Marathi folk song, also featured in a Dada Khondke starrer) – Marathi: Outside of Maharashtra, most others would know this as a 90s pop song – as a remix by Akbar Sami. Now, Meet Bros do another remix, featuring Mika’s vocals. While that is a questionable choice of singer, the original tune remains as catchy as ever, and that helps power this remix too. One surprise, though is how Saregama, that presumably owns the copyright for the original, allowed Zee Music to release this as their remix. Usually, Saregama is so cut-throat that they release a remix of their original on their own, leaving only one song of the soundtrack to be outside the soundtrack by another label!

Thirudaadhe Thirudaadhe, Adadaa Naana & Hey Nijame – Enai Noki Paayum Thota (Darbuka Siva) – Tamil: Thirudaadhe Thirudaadhe is pure 80s pop coolth! Could easily fit into a Michael Jackson album, with an extended outro! Adadaa Naana is a beautiful ballad (with brilliant sax by Maarten Visser) that fits the other songs’ pattern in the soundtrack, like Visiri and Naan Pizhaippeno. Hey Nijame is another gem. It seems like Karky’s lyrics was written first and then Siva scored the tune, given the odd tune that flows without conforming to predictable templates (“Innum konjam pakkam vandhaal naan solgiren, Vaa… aruge!”). And then there is silence, almost like giving the 2 people some privacy as they come closer. And then the song meanders some more, without conventional paths and lands on the beautiful 6-phrase part that starts with “Theyaadha Poompaathai Ondrodu Naan” that Siva creates with a lovely chorus’ish vocal effect.

Together, this 6-song soundtrack (are there more songs?) is a stupendous debut that would have been far easier to consume, enjoy and celebrate had the film followed a normal release pattern. In one way, I feel incredibly sad for Darbuka Siva, the composer who was launched with a guess-the-composer mystery in the end of 2016 (!!), called Mr.X during that phase and eventually revealed. Then the film got stuck in a limbo and is finally making its way out, in mid-2019! But, on another hand, I think this is also possibly beneficial for him because he could be in the news-cycle again, for his very good quality music, since his few other projects (with good music – Kidari and Nimir; with middling music – Balle Vellaiya Thevaa) have come and gone already. If the film works, perhaps the soundtrack would get a chance to be resurrected again in people’s minds and hopefully, he’d get some new projects worth the talent.

Ironically, Enai Noki Paayum Thota means ‘The bullet heading my way’. And this one has been heading our way much like the super slow motion bullets in Matrix films, for 2.5 years!

Kamala – Sangathamizhan (Vivek-Mervin) – Tamil: For a film titled ‘Sangathamizhan’, it is amusing to hear a song that treads on Chennai Tamil and a smattering of Tamil’ish Hindi (“Samujha pannikaama” is a hilarious Hindi+Tamil mix to denote “without understanding”!) 🙂 Yet, this is a rollicking dance track, and the composing duo Vivek-Mervin have been adept at producing such dance-floor busters regularly.

Cheliya Maate Chandanam – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: Even though the rhythm sounds like the slowed-down version of Partner’s Soni De Nakhre, the overall tune that Phani Kalyan concocts is quite listenable. Much of that credit should also go to the singers – Haricharan and Sameera Bharadwaj.

Naanu Neenu – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: Pailwaan’s soundtrack isn’t a great compilation, though a couple of songs are good enough. Perhaps the demand to make it work across multiple languages was Arjun’s constraint. Besides the songs I have listed from the film earlier, this one too is a nice listen, thanks to its energetic chorus, handled well by Naresh Iyer, Rahul Nambiar and Sruthy Sasidharan.

[Back In Time] Adhir Mann Zhale – Nilkanth Master (Ajay-Atul) – Marathi: Just the year before Sairat, Marathi composing duo Ajay-Atul had produced a wallop of a soundtrack for the film Nilkanth Master. The pièce de résistance of the soundtrack was Adhir Mann Zhale, sung mindbogglingly well by Shreya Ghoshal. The easiest way to define the song’s appeal is to look at the views (for a Marathi song, that is – remember!) – 59 million views and counting! This is the kind of lush melody that sticks to your brain as soon as you listen to it. There are shades of Ilayaraja’s melodies in Ajay-Atul’s music (which became all the more apparent in Sairat, of course) and this song exemplifies that. That line, “Sarituni surel dhund swar he ale” is a masterpiece!

Circles – Post Malone: Post Malone did promise that his new single would be different, but this different? Whoa! To begin with, he doesn’t rap, but sings a deeply pensive melody with a neat alternative rock base. Quite a surprise, and a good one at that.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 86: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
17 songs, this week. YouTube has all 17, while JioSaavn is missing one song – the Enga Annan song from Namma Veettu Pillai. Sun TV/Music has released it on its own label, for now, a tactic they used for Sarkar too, after which it was picked up by Sony Music. Perhaps this one too would be picked by a proper music label soon.

Ho Jaa Awara – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Nice to see the connection – the title is famous for being a song featuring Dharmendra (Blackmail, 1973). And this film introduces his grandson, Karan Deol. The teaser, released early August, had this for music-related credits: “Music composed by: Sachet Parampara, Music produced by: Rishi Rich, Music of song Ho Ja Awara: Tanishk Bagchi”. So, I guess, this is yet another single parachuted into the soundtrack. I searched the song credits for any source, but couldn’t find any. I suppose this is a Tanishk original, and it’s a good one, at that. A very happy song that gets particularly better thanks to Monali Thakur’s ebullient singing (with Ash King offering her company on a much lower note).

Bad Boy – Saaho (Baadshah) – Hindi: The lyrics are cringe-worthy, but Baadhsah is on a roll, despite questionable YouTube views for this mega-successful Paagal. He gets the film’s larger-than-life ambitions and delivers on the brief pretty well with a catchy song.

Dil Ka Telephone – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: Despite the funky, funny (parody’ish) sound, the tune is really interesting. I have a feeling there are shades of Raaga Pilu and that it works because of its strong melody. Good work by Meet Bros, and of course, superb singing by Jonita Gandhi!

Ishqbaaziyaan & Looteri – Happy Hardy And Heer (Himesh Reshammiya) – Hindi: Ishqbaaziyaan is a pleasant surprise by Himesh! First, that he chose NOT to sing this one and hand it over to the far better singer, Jubin Nautiyal (along with Harshdeep Kaur and Asees Kaur). And then the warm Punjabi folk lilt that Himesh maintains so well till the end. Lovely song. Aaryan Tiwari, on the other hand, is the soul of Looteri, that otherwise has cringe’y lyrics, but has a beautifully simple melody. Thank you, again, for not singing this, Himesh! That’s one reason why this song works!

[Back in Time] Lagne Laga Hai Mujhe Aajkal – Chor Aur Chand (Nikhil-Vinay) – Hindi: Chor Aur Chand is, without doubt, one of my all-time favorite Hindi film soundtracks. This one soundtrack has so fully loaded with phenomenal music that it’s a shame and a pity that the film’s flop status marred what should have legitimately been a superhit soundtrack. I believe the soundtrack has a huge underground fan base. Most of soundtrack is by S.P.Balasubrahmanyam and Anuradha Paudwal, though Mano and Chithra pitch in too. Lagne Laga Hai’s unusual mukhda is a wonder by itself almost as if someone is spontaneously singing without any preparation, out of sheer joy of wanting to sing! If the song appeals to you, I highly recommend the other songs from this film, particularly Sapno Mein Aana, Saanson Ka Kya Pata, Baat Kya Hai Kaise Kehde, Sharma Ke Baadalon Mein and Tere Bina Main Na Rahun.

Pattaampoochi Kannalae – Sixer (Ghibran) – Tamil: I didn’t like both Engavena Kochikinu Po and Baa Baa Black Sheep. Both seemed to be trying too hard. Thankfully, there was Pattaampoochi Kannalae! The sound took me back to Naiyaandi (a seriously underrated Ghibran soundtrack) for some reason. A nicely rhythmic melody, with a catchy hook that is almost a Ghibran trademark now.

Karichaan Kuyile – Sarbath (Ajesh) – Tamil: Airtel Super Singer winner Ajesh made a fantastic composing debut for the 2016 film Pambhu Sattai, but that film’s poor reception perhaps took the music too down. He had middling follow-ups in Vallavanukkum Vallavan and Thiri. Good to see him back in action with Sarbath. The song is not extraordinary, but is at least perfunctorily good, thanks mainly to his own singing. There is promise and I hope the rest of the soundtrack lives up to it too.

Yenga Annan – Namma Veettu Pillai (D.Imman) – Tamil: The standard Imman template that, at least for now, continues to work. There is a widespread comment about the ‘Yenga annan’ line reminding everyone of Andha 7 Natkal’s Enakkum Unakkum 🙂 But, beyond that, I thought the main tune (Vaa Vaa dear brotheru) was very similar to Maappillaikku Maaman Manasu from Netrikann! Similar raaga, perhaps (that song, by Ilayaraja, was based on Karaharapriya raaga, btw).

Un Kitta Ennamo Irukku – Kanni Rasi (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Tamil: Visha’s tune for this song is such a pleasant throwback to a different era of Tamil film music! The soft, rhythmic melody could easily fit into Deva’s impressive repertoire when he was in his peak, but Vishal adds enough of his style to update the feel. Absolutely lovely singing by Kalyani Nair and Sathyaprakash.

Jarra Jarra – Valmiki (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: The first surprise is that Tollywood is remaking Jigarthanda after so long. The second surprise is Atharva’s Telugu debut, for the role played by Siddharth in Tamil. But Varun Tej, with his menacing look, seems like an interesting choice in place of Bobby Simha’s character. The song is the equivalent of Pandi Naatu Thangam (Puzhuthi Parakkum Paaru) that was a brass-led song in Tamil. In Telugu, Mickey mounts it on a much larger scale, even as director Harish Shankar turns it into a full-fledged item song unlike Tamil. But Mickey is not the kind fo composer to opt for raucously loud sound even for item songs. So, there is grace and an understated’ness in the overall package. Catchy, no doubt.

Nammela Ledhe – Raja Vaaru Rani Gaaru (Jay Krish) – Telugu: It’s very easy to mistake this song as Santhosh Narayanan’s! The profusion of violin in the backgrounds is straight out of early Santhosh material! Still, to give credit where due, Jay Krish has a lovely song melody, articulated so well by Anurag Kulkarni, and has a beautiful background sound too.

Ennenno – Evaru (Sricharan Pakala) – Telugu: A haunting, moody and atmospheric melody that Sricharan layers with this music so appropriately. The song’s real highlight is Chinmayi’s singing – she handles the song’s feel perfectly!

Equals Sessions (Ep.1 and 2) Zubaan & Karam: Abhinav Agrawal’s Anahad Foundation has been working hard to bring recognition to Indian folk music for quite some time. The Equals Sessions is perhaps their best bet yet! The idea of combining a reasonably well-known band and an unknown folk artist is not entirely new and even the format and production values are akin to Coke Studio, but given the width of brilliant music across India, we need a lot more of such efforts. The first 2 episodes are delightful. Zubaan, featuring Gazi Khan Barna and Bangalore-based rock group Parvaaz (Khalid Ahamed, Mir Kashif Iqbal, Sachin Banandur and Fidel Dsouza) is a resonant prayer-like song with some super guitar work by Mir Kashif Iqbal. And Gazi Khan’s singing and the backing vocals too (by Khalid Ahamed, Mir Kashif Iqbal, Firoz Khan and Chotu Khan) are the highlights, though.

And When Chai Met Toast seems to be on a roll! After last week’s Nee Aara, the Kochi-based band is back with a really interesting fusion! Jaskarn Gill’s harmonium is the first thing that attracted me! The song is a delightfully rhythmic Punjabi folk mix, with brilliant singing!

I really look forward to the new episodes in this series!

Teeth – 5 Seconds of Summer: Teeth took me to the band’s earlier Easier (that I’m adding to the playlist, for context), with a similar industrial rock sound, though this one seems less melodic than that song. But this one is more rhythmic, with a pulsating guest guitar work featuring Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 85: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
25 songs this week, given that this is after a week’s break 🙂 All 25 are available on JioSaavn. YouTube has 2 songs missing, kind of. Ratchakan Sridhar’s Paayum Oli Kannamma (highly recommended) has just a teaser on the YouTube channel of Vasy Music, the record label. They have given the song to Saavn, but haven’t uploaded it on their YouTube channel (perhaps intentionally, to drive traffic to streaming services). The other missing song is Takkaru, from Ayngaran – it’s inside a YouTube jukebox so haven’t been able to add it in the playlist.

Dilruba – Aki Kumar: What a riot of a song!! 🙂 When he is introduced in American accent, I should have seen it coming! Aki Kumar delivers a pulsating and totally funky rock and roll number, complete with a guitar interlude featuring a man playing (play acting) a sitar! That it alludes to Eena Meena Deeka is a bonus!

Shaabaashiyaan & Tota Udd – Mission Mangal (Amit Trivedi and Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: After Dil Mein Mars Hain, Amit pitches in darn well with 2 more songs in the film. Shilpa Rao (along with Anand Bhaskar, Abhijeet Srivastava) is easily the highlight of Shaabaashiyaan, a moody and expansive inspirational number. The anthemic Shaabaashiyaan call is lovely, in particular. Tota Udd is a complete contrast, given that it is by Hindi film industry’s favorite guest composer nowadays, Tanishk Bagchi, with its upbeat hip-hop rhythm and super energetic vocals by Raja Hasan and Romi, as if the song flew off Amit’s Manmarziyaan’s soundtrack and landed here.

Prada – The Doorbeen (Punjabi): The highlight of the song is that this is Alia Bhatt’s first music video. Having cleared that, let’s move on to the actual song. I wonder if luxury brands like Prada and Lamborghini realize how much they are used in Punjabi song lyrics; Doorbeen’s earlier smash hit was called ‘Lamberghini’, btw! Also, Jass Manak already has a super smash hit called Prada, from 2018, with 500+ million views on YouTube! Doorbeen’s Prada is a great listen, with a catchy hook that harks back to older/80s style Punjabi pop music.

Radhe Radhe – Dream Girl (Meet Bros) – Hindi: No more ‘Meet Bros Anjjan’, only Meet Bros? Anyway, they have an effortless winner in Radhe Radhe. It’s a riotously enjoyable folk’ish song that I’m sure will be a smash hit during the upcoming Krishna Janmashtami season! Perfect timing. But yes, the main hook is a smart reinterpretation of Hasee Toh Phasee’s Drama Queen 🙂

Jako Rakhe Saiyan – Batla House (Rochak Kohli) – Hindi: And here’s Ayushmann’s musical partner hitting it out the park with this song from Batla House! What a lovely song!! The feel is decidedly hitting at the Pakistani Pop style and Rochak nails it beautifully! A special note on Navraj Hans’ hugely involved singing – literally lifts the song to a new plane.

Paayum Oli Kannamma – Ratchakan Sridhar (Tamil): Who is Ratchakan Sridhar? That’s the question I had when I listened to this song! This is fantastic work, setting music to Bharathiyar’s iconic and memorable verse. And Sridhar’s tune is heartfelt and impactful, with a tinge of pathos. Impressive!

Takkaru – Ayngaran (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: First things first, it’s kinda sad that Ayngaran is not producing a film titled Ayngaran 🙂 Of the 4 songs, GVP’s sound is not bad at all; but the one song that worked for me was Takkaru, with an almost-Yuvan-like, catchy tune. The real hero of the song is Siddharth Mahadevan, who sings like the chip off the old block he is.

Thiru Thiru Gananatha – 100% Kadhal (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: Another GVP soundtrack in the same week, and this one has 10 songs! Ironically, the original Telugu film, 100% Love, had very good music by Devi Sri Prasad, and some of the song titles are reused (That Is Mahalakshmi, A Square B Square, Oh/Aho Balu etc.) in Tamil too, even though GVP seems to have taken a lot of effort in retuning those titles as completely different songs. But the effect isn’t as good as, or better than the Telugu original. The one song that worked for me in Tamil was Thiru Thiru Gananatha; this too was a far better song in Telugu, but GVP uses the original’s feel and possibly the same raaga to evoke a similar appeal. And Harini is the other common point between both songs.

Avan Varuvaan – Adutha Saattai (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: Adutha Saattai seems so unlike a Justin soundtrack, particularly coming after the stupendous Dear Comrade! The tunes are largely bland, though the sound does indicate the Justin-stamp. The one song that stood out amidst the middling soundtrack was Avan Varuvaan, that cleverly alludes to Avalukkena Azhagiya Mugam in the lyrics, and is propped by very good singing and chorus, by Sathyan Ilanko and Aishwarya Ravichandran.

Hoyna Hoyna – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: That Anirudh magic, yet again! No, not the one that wasn’t present in Petta, but the one that he seems to reserve for Telugu! Along with Inno Genga’s cool vocals, and the catchy, repetitive Hoyna hook, the song is a great listen!

Yegire Yegire – Madhanam (Ron Ethan Yohann) – Telugu: Yes, there is Sid Sriram singing this song, but even beyond his alluring voice/singing, Ron’s music is very good too! Particularly the anupallavi’s tune is mighty impressive, almost playing in a contrast to the pallavi!

Idi Nijamena – Jodi (Phani Kalyan) – Telugu: A breezy, waltzy melody by Phani Kalyan! Yazin Nizar is fantastic, and when he goes on the extended ‘Kallolam… Bhoogolam… golam golam’ phrase, it is particularly neat!

Evaro Evaro & Kummeyra – Ranarangam (Prashant Pillai and Karthik Rodriguez) – Telugu: Evaro is Prashant’s 2nd song from the soundtrack, and he scores really well! Along with Preeti Pillai, this could easily be one of this Malayalam songs, with its lush soundscape and haunting melody. Kummeyra is Karthik Rodriguez’s second song too, in the soundtrack. Much like Kannu Kotti, his earlier song, the tune is unusual and funky, with unpredictable turns and sounds. He sings this one too, like the other song, and does a pretty darn good job!

[Back In Time] Emani Ne – Mantri Gari Viyankudu (Ilayaraja) – Telugu: This is easily one of my all-time favorite non-Tamil songs by Ilayaraja. If I were to list his non-Tamil songs, this would rank right up on the top, in the list of songs from Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada, by the Maestro. I believe the song is set in Mukhari raaga. The background female chorus brings to my mind the very 80s feature of women dressed in white gowns (like angels) dancing besides the lead pair. But the way Raja uses the chorus is absolutely fascinating; after each line in the first 2 lines, there’s a chorus anchoring the tune! The anupallavi is a force of wonder by itself, with such a mesmerizing tune, and that bridge back to pallavi is pure gold!

Yaake Anta Gottilla Kanree – Kapata Nataka Paatradhaari (Adil Nadaf) – Kannada: There’s this famous phrase that Appu Kamal Haasan calls circus-owner Mouli, in Aboorva Sagodharargal: “Kabada Naadaga Veshadaari” (courtesy dialog writer Crazy Mohan, of course). I had no idea there was a Kannada equivalent to that phrase with vesham translated to paatra – sounds beautiful, to link the 2 languages so smoothly. Anyway, that title literally drew me to this song by a relative newcomer composer I had not heard of. It’s a wonderful song, on the back of Haricharan’s fantastic singing. The melody and lilt are addictive and there’s a lot of Raja’ish imagination that has gone into the interludes too! Plus, that Facebook timeline style lyrics flow is a neat little idea in the video!

Dorassani – Pailwaan (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: This is Arjun’s Harris Jayaraj impression. The backgrounds, in particular, reek of Harris’ minimal, formerly-alluring style. And Arjun is far too smart to not update that sound, and the interludes, in particular, come out beautifully with a Reetigowlai raaga base. And you can always trust Vijay Prakash to deliver!

Oru Cheru Kiliyude – Ambili (Vishnu Vijay) – Malayalam: Vishnu scores yet another winner effortlessly in Ambili! And this is the 3rd one in a row! Babu’s trumpet is literally another hero of the song, besides an unusually different sounding Benny Dayal, besides Vishnu’s own flute that plays for a very small, but beautiful part! The chorus hook that the trumpet plays along to is such an earworm!

Nee Aara – When Chai Met Toast: Is this the band’s first full-Malayalam song? I have heard their earlier largely-English songs that occasionally have Hindi and Tamil. While their sound is consistently interesting, with a happy vibe, this one is perhaps their best, mostly because they sing in Malayalam! There is an Avial’ish outlook, with a lovely trumpet and mandolin use. This is my favorite among the band’s songs so far!

Khari – Khari Biscuit (Suraj-Dhiraj) – Marathi: Kunal Ganjawala’s singing is flawlessly good, as always, but what surprised me is the composing duo’s sound that not only is imaginative in its use of retro’ish sounds, but also has a Ajay-Atul’ish flourish! Very nice!

Virala – Khichik (Abhishek-Datta) – Marathi: What are the odds! The 2nd Marathi song this week, featuring a child actor in the lead and composed by a duo! Not just that, this song too features a retro’ish sound, but not the filmy retro of Khari Biscuit, but more of a Chaplinesque retro that makes it all the more interesting. And it is beautifully sung too, by Savani Kulkarni.

Jurajuri – Oriplast Originals S01 E09: After a few middling songs, the series bounces back with this vibrant Odiya-Bangla-Hindi mix! The flow, moving from the lilting folk song, to the pop-style breezy sound and eventually filmy Hindi is very neat. Anushree Gupta is particularly fantastic with her folk part.

Vacilón – Don Omar: Puerto Rican artist Don Omar’s latest single is a phenomenally addictive reggaeton done the old-fashioned way. It has a slow and steadily rhythmic sound that has you shaking your head along the lilt almost as soon as it starts! The background vocal chorus are lovely too!

You Ain’t the Problem – Michael Kiwanuka: The song, that doesn’t start till 1:20, has a wonderfully indulgent and extended prelude that reminded me of Lord Shorty’s vibrant music. Michael Kiwanuka has a highly engaging vocal style and the thrumming musical rhythm gels perfectly with that.

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