Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 134: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
18 songs, this week. YouTube has 17, and is missing only Ludo’s Dil Julaha because it is embedded inside a jukebox. JioSaavn playlist has 16 songs and is missing Oh Andha Naatkal ‘s Ini Oru Thollayum Illai and Chivaraku Migiledhi’s Saami Saami (both embedded below).

Meri Tum Ho & Dil Julaha – Ludo (Pritam) – Hindi: Ludo has turned out to be a wonderful album for Pritam – yet another one! Jubin Nautiyal and Ash King join their voices in Meri Tum Ho’s gorgeous melody that gains a lot from the instruments Pritam assembles. Darshan Raval-sung Dil Julaha is a lot of fun, with that captivating rhythm that, for some reason, reminded me of music from the North East.

Madhubala – Songs of Love (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi/Indipop: This is Amit at his most prolific – after Songs of Faith and Songs of Trance, here he is with another album! The first single is a pleasant departure from those earlier album sounds and is almost sparse with a solo piano in the background mostly to go with his singing. The singing is a bit flat, but Amit makes it up with the background’s emotional pull.

The Mission Paani Anthem – A R Rahman (Advertising jingle/Indipop): I thought I had become immune to most of A R Rahman’s ‘anthems’ given how monotonous they seem to have started sounding, either the ones in his films or his advertising jingles. This anthem, for Harpic, stands out as a superb exception! The core melody is very, very immersive. And given Antara Nandy’s rendition, the kids’ chorus that starts off so beautifully with those vocal effects, and the progressive build-up in the tune, Rahman has a winner here! Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics are brilliantly on point – I could imagine that ‘Paani’ and ‘Zindagaani’ callouts in
“Swachata Aur Paani
Humko Bachani Hai Ye Zindagani”
…coming from Rahman’s uniquely familiar voice too, though he doesn’t sing in this one 🙂

Dagar Dagar – Jyoti Kavi (Hindi/Indipop) – Jyoti’s debut single is a great listen and took me back to a time when A R Rahman was composing his Tamil-fused melodies for Hindi films like Kabhi Na Kabhi or Doli Saja Ke Rakhna! Her voice is apt for the melody, the melody itself is a flowing, nicely accentuated affair, but where she truly aces is the background music that is so well put together.

Bujji – Jagame Thandhiram (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: If Harris Jayaraj took inspiration from Michael Jackson literally to produce his many songs, Santhosh does it the right way by getting the soul of MJ’s music aptly and concocting something very original. He has superb support from Anirudh’s singing, and Dhanush’s outstanding dance moves. Towards the end, everyone gets down to the thara-local level like only they can, in a thoroughly enjoyable twist!

Ini Oru Thollayum Illai – Oh Andha Naatkal (James Vasanthan) – Tamil: An outstanding attempt at tuning Bharathiyar’s lines, again. James is not quite correct that this is the first time these lines are being used in film music. The 1982 film Thookkumedai had music by Shankar-Ganesh and they have composed these lines too, sung by T.M.Soundarajan. The 2 versions are like chalk and cheese, though! James’ melody is beautiful, like a lovely ghazal, with extremely good singing by Karthika Vaidyanathan. As if not content with that, James also gets Chithra to sing a kavadi-sindhu style middle portion, and when she enters, the song gains a new high!

Oru Arai Unathu – Maara (Ghibran) – Tamil: When was the music of Maaa composed, really? I get a vibe of Ghibran’s earlier form in this soundtrack so far, with 2 songs – not his current style! This song’s Celtic style music and the vibrant melody is propped really well by Yazin Nizar and Sanah Moidutty’s singing. Thamarai’s lyrics are fantastic, splitting everything between yours and mine, though I first thought they are singing about a slap for me and a slap for you, before realizing they are singing about rooms 🙂

Thank You ISAI – Srinivas (Tamil/Indipop): Now, that was a highly inventive song! It’s less of a song and more of a CV/resume for singer Srinivas where he cleverly creates a coherent song out of the songs he has sung! So Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu song names/titles merge with each other as they are listed! Creative idea, handled well as a thank you note for music, and the opportunities Srinivas got in his career.

Saami Saami – Chivaraku Migiledhi (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: Vivek Sagar composes and sings an eclectic, hypnotic song that sounds like Thaikkudam Bridge’s music on an acid trip! The sound is both relentless and frenetic, but in a wonderfully coherent way that has superb impact!

Emito Idhi – Rang De (Devi Sri Prasad) – Telugu: This is such a delightful surprise from DSP – a song that completely belies his familiar style and actually enters the Ilayaraja zone in terms of the melody and the backgrounds! The background music is so carefully and tastefully done, particularly the use of keyboard (by Vikas Badisa) and strings (by CMU Orchestra, Chennai)! Observe the anupallavi and charanam – they both have the standard 2 lines by Haripriya, followed by 2 lines by Kapil Kapilan. But when Kapil sings in the anupallavi
“Kala laa chey jaaripokamundhe
Shila laa samayanni nilapamandhe”, the backgrounds remain without the high that DSP hits in the charanam when Kapil sings the equivalent,
“Nene unnantha varaku neetho
Ninne chirunavvu vidavadhanuko”, the keyboard sweep is quite something else! Beautiful song!

The Guntur Song – Middle Class Melodies (Sweekar Agasthi) – Telugu: Usually, the Malayalees get this template of a song based on a city (in Kerala, of course, besides the Gulf) really well. It’s great to see Sweekar nail that template. The song, sung by Anurag Kulkarni, is a lovely ode to Guntur, with a special focus on the kinds of food available! The visuals are mouth-watering, as much as the lyrics!

Ranguladdhukunna – Uppena (Devi Sri Prasad) – Telugu: This is the second song this week by DSP where he plays against type and wins spectacularly! That beautiful vocal chorus by El Fé team is the first thing that stands out wonderfully. Then, the vocals by Yazin Nizar and Haripriya (her second song this week, with DSP). The anupallavi’s gentle rhythm and the interludes are so charmingly handled! And I notice the film also stars Vijay Sethupathy!!

Bhalegundi Baalaa – Sreekaram (Mickey J Meyer) – Telugu: In a pleasant twist, Mickey’s new song sounds like trademark Devi Sri Prasad! It’s only later in the song, after the second interlude, Mickey’s touch seems apparent before getting back to DSP territory. The rhythm is straight off DSP’s repertoire, though Penchal Das’ earthy singing lifts the song considerably, while Nutana Mohan’s brief sojourn is where Mickey identifies himself.

Poganathilere – Grahanam (Anandhkumar G) – Malayalam: After the Vineet Srinivasan-sung Mizhinilavai, released last month, the new single from Grahanam too impresses! The tune has a light, uplifting feel to it, and Vaishnavi Kannan’s singing too is on the dot. That Poganathilere hook leading to the first interlude, with Vaishnavi’s humming is lovely, in particular.

Kanavukal – Enpathukalile Ebhyanmaar (Renjith) – Malayalam: A gently flowing melody by Renjith that shines with excellent use of the flute and Kerala-style rhythms in the background. Vijay Yesudas’ singing is the icing, though – it is exceptionally engaging. The melody’s raaga escapes me but that’s what made to sit up and take notice. Shades of Darbari Kaanada, perhaps? I don’t know.

Titliaan – Avvy Sra, ft. Afsana Khan (Punjabi/Indipop): Composer Avvy Sra gets an easy win given the melody’s Shivaranjani raaga base. It’s a classic template used umpteen times in film songs, but it continues to shine, with a specific allure only that raaga can offer. Afsana Khan is stupendously good with her singing!

The Mountain King – Dhruv Visvanath (Indipop): I hear Dhruv reserved this song for Bejoy Nambiar’s soundtrack for Taish when the director heard it first and requested the song. I love Dhruv repertoire a lot but the first reason why I loved this song may not be something he would have envisaged – the melody reminded me of Charukesi raaga! Fantastic song!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 133: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
17 songs, this week. YouTube has all 17, while the JioSaavn playlist is missing just one – Khatija Rahman’s Farishtha.

Bhaari Bhaari, Jindhadi, Patanga, Naino – Waah Zindagi (Parag Chhabra) – Hindi: The film’s teaser and the first song, Bhaari Bhaari, were launched in January 2019, promoted by none other than A.R.Rahman himself (considering Parag’s work with him as producer). This is Parag’s debut film (though Jai Mummy Di came out earlier, as a full soundtrack) and he shows immense promise even if his music sounds a lot like Amit Trivedi’s. Bhaari Bhaari is lifted by the mellow tune that gently flows along with that lilting rhythm and the combined vocals of Mohan Kanan, Shadab Faridi and Parag Chhabra.

You may be forgiven if you assumed this is by Amit, as much as the next song, Jindhadi! The boisterous song reaches Amit zone when Nikhita Gandhi confidently utters the hook and the music turns techno, in true Amit style. Parag adds his own flavor in the interludes and they work pretty well. Patanga could be a song straight out of Amit’s Udaan soundtrack, but to give Parag credit, it stands on its own even beyond that feeling. And it is so, so, so good to hear Gulraj Singh again (amidst the singers – Suvarna Tiwari, Gulraj Singh and Parag Chhabra). The energetic tune and splendid singing lift the song easily. Naino is a sweet melody delivered well by Parag in a profusion of vocal harmony and brass sounds. The singing elevates this one too, thanks to Jonita Gandhi and Devender Pal Singh.

BamBholle – Laxmii (Ullumanati) – Hindi: Zee Music gets Acme Muzic’s 2017 super hit song composed by Ullumanati and sung by Viruss and turns it into a superstar vehicle. There are minor changes between the two, as the newer version evens out some of the sounds and makes it even more accessible. It’s a frenzied, electronic ode to Lord Shiva, intended to generate a trance-like effect, and it works quite well! The original was a monster hit, gathering more than 200 million views on YouTube alone!

Waareya – Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari (Javed-Mohsin) – Hindi: If you have been missing the ‘Mohit Suri-sound’, this song is a pretty good appropriation! The sweeping sound, the Punjabi lyrics and Vibhor Parashar’s singing… all work well in recreating a quintessential Mohit-Suri brand of song, though the man is nowhere involved in this venture.

Mahi Re – Harry & Sid (Indipop): If you were aching for some music that sounds like the Euphoria of the yore (90s), this song adds up mighty well! Harish Lakhmani & Siddharth Pathak distill the Euphoria sound but without Palash’s powerful vocals, and do deliver something fairly interesting.

Aatha Solra, Paarthene (Amman Song), Chandai Alangari & Saami Kulasaami – Mookuthi Amman (Girishh Gopalakrishnan) – Tamil: Despite making what we normally call ‘comedy films’, the music sense in RJ Balaji’s films is surprisingly good. It was the case with Leon James’ music in LKG and it is even better in Girishh Gopalakrishnan’s (of Marina-fame) soundtrack in Mookuthi Amman. Nakash Aziz owns the energetic tune of Aatha Solra and the racy pop sound is an interesting choice in an Amman film! Paarthene (Amman Song) is easily the song of the soundtrack! The tune took me back to Raja’s Janani Janani (Kalyani raaga), though I also hear shades of Revathi raaga, perhaps. Jairam Balasubramanian is stupendously good with the singing (I had written about Girishh-composed, Jairam-sung Entha Neramum, from the non-film album Kadhalan Bharathi, last week – another outstanding song from the duo) and the emotional high in the song is so worth the experience.

Chandai Alangari has a first of sorts – probably the first ever film song by Aruna Sairam. And Girishh hands her a tune that befits her stature and she relishes the hypnotic melody effortlessly. The melody segues into the Mahishasura Mardini Stotram tune (Aigiri Nandini) and amps up the song even more. Saami Kulasaami takes the honors as the second best song of the album. Sung by composer Deva (who turns 70 on November 20th, this year!), it is a wonderfully earthy (highlighted by the harmonium, and the ektara-like solo violin, among others) and simple, focusing on the sparse and serene melody. It reminded me, in terms of the feel, Seevalapperi Paandi’s Kizhakku Sevakkaiyile – the simple melody takes precedence over everything.

Farishtha – A.R.Rahman, ft. Khatija Rahman (Tamil/Indipop): After a forgettable Iltaja (composed by Ricky Kej, and a song that even A.R.Rahman did not promote on his social handles), Rahman’s daughter Khatija seems to be on firmer footing in Farishtha. The song’s sooting melody and sound is vintage Rahman – I could picture this as an alternative version of Minsara Kanavu’s Anbendra Mazhayile. Even in this song, what is primarily an ode to Islam and Medina, the tune occasionally seems to touch Christian devotional music, at least the way it is appropriated in Tamil Nadu. That only goes on to underline the fact that our expressions, musically or with words, may be different and diverse but we, as humans, are all looking for the same thing with Gods of different names.

Yaar Antha Oviyaththai – Kalathil Santhippom (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Yuvan has been out of circulation for quite some time, and this is a nice comeback of sorts! The most interesting thing about this song is that it has 2 pallavis and one charanam! The opening stanza (Yaar antha oviyathai) is identical to the next stanza (Naan paartha devadhaikku), and is about the 2 heroines of the film (Manjima Mohan and Priya Bhavani Shankar). And then there’s a charanam of sorts that closes the song. The prominent musical phrase, though, sounds a lot like a racier bit from VeNNilave VeNNilave from Minsara Kanavu.

Naa Chinni Lokame – Miss India (Thaman S) – Telugu: While the film (on Netflix) has been panned universally for being insipid, the music is not very far from that criticism either. Yet, there is some Thaman spark intact in Naa Chinni Lokame at least. Thaman intersperses the hymn-style opening by Aditi Bhavaraju and Ramya Behara with a racy 2nd phrase and then unleashes a profusion of techno music blended with strings!

Chukkala Chunni – SR Kalyanamandapam (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: After the first song from the movie (Choosale Kallaraa), composer Chaitan has an effortless winner yet again! The song rides on an incredibly rhythmic melody and on Anurag Kulkarni’s superb vocals (backed by Chaitan’s own singing too). Lovely song!

Vachesadu Hire Ke Boyfriendu – Boyfriend For Hire (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: After a fairly long time, there’s something refreshingly new in Gopi’s musical style. To be sure, there are parts of this song that hark back to his signature style (in a good way), but largely, he has something fresh here! The mixing of the rap-style singing and the melodic parts works very well and the music too is consistently engaging, with that retro-style pop sound.

Jaana – Maa Vintha Gaadha Vinuma (Ravi Sharma) – Telugu: I don’t recall seeing Ravi Sharma’s name as composer before this song and it’s a pleasant surprise to listen to a very confident and complete package! I would have guessed it to be Thaman’s music if I didn’t know the composer’s name – it’s that polished. Ayaan’s singing does a lot of heavy-lifting too – I reckon both Ravi Sharma and Ayaan having a good enough future.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 132: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
10 songs, this week. YouTube has all 10, while the JioSaavn playlist has 9, and is missing Anurag Saikia’s Tamil song.

Hardum Humdum – Ludo (Pritam) – Hindi: The second single from the film is as zany as the film’s wacky trailer – a curiously interesting mix that layers a very tuneful, retro-style melody (accentuated by Arijit’s singing that seems to be deliberately overdoing the retro part) that seems distantly reminiscent of Pancham’s Namak Haraam classic, Diye Jalte Hain… over a catchy, dance-floor style interlude!

Teri Choriyaan – Chhalaang (Vee) – Hindi: The second song from Chhalaang is a lovely listen too, once again for the earthy flavor it brings. The song’s simple, gorgeous Punjabi lilt and Guru Randhawa’s pleasant singing lifts it instantly.

Entha Neramum – Kadhalan Bharathi (Girishh G) – Tamil/Indipop: Girishh Gopalakrishnan debuted as a composer with Marina, had released an independent album in December 2014 that I seem to have completely missed! The album is called ‘Kadhalan Bharathi’ and explores Bharathiyar’s songs that focus on love – the human love variety, beyond love for the country or nature that is more popularly cited in his incredible repertoire.

To be sure, others have tuned some of the songs in this album too – like Suchitra Karthik’s Paayum Oli, composed by Sai Madhukar, and more recently, Ratchakan Sridhar’s Paayum Oli Kannamma that has a completely unique tune. And then there’s MS Viswanathan’s famous Ninnaye Rathiyendru from the Tamil film, Kanne Kaniyamudhe, that had a captivating newer version by Vinod Krishnan last year.

The entire album of Kadhalan Bharathi is worth a listen, of course. But one song, in particular, is the clear winner in my view – Jairam Balasubramaniyan-sung Entha Neramum! Is it based on Hamsanaadham raaga – I sensed quite a few strains of the raaga in this haunting tune. Jairam’s singing is phenomenal, at a goosebumps-inducing level.

Meendum Pirandheno – Sean Roldan, ft. Lalitha Sudha (Tamil/Indipop): This is Sean’s 3rd independent single and I’m surprised he hasn’t collaborated with any record label for all his 3 singles so far, just like Amit Trivedi (who released his singles and album spree on his own, newly launched label!). Sean’s melody, based on Kalyani raaga, is outstanding, as usual. His sense of fusion, mixing a carnatic-style tune on top of a sound that is so very modern pop, is lovely! Lalitha Sudha, who sang previously for Sean in Mehandi Circus (Siragi Un Sirippaala), is an inspired choice for the song given how affecting her singing is. Sean’s voice continues to grate me a bit, but he makes it up more than adequately with the sheer quality of his singing.

Yaar Azhaippadhu – Maara (Ghibran) – Tamil: Maara’s original, the Malayalam film Charlie had outstanding music from Gopi Sundar. Ghibran has a very high bar to clear in the Tamil remake. The first single actually seems like Ghibran of yore – the layering in the backgrounds indicates a Ghibran from the time of Naiyaandi. The tune is relatively less interesting than the backgrounds, and even Sid Sriram sounds a bit different from his usual self. Still, Ghibran’s overall sound makes it a good enough listen.

Mukthi (Eppo Varuvaaro) – Pragathi Band (Tamil/Indipop): Pragathi, the band led by singer KS Harisankar (with music produced by band member Abishekh Amanath) creates a spritely, modern remix of Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s Jonpuri raaga-based Kriti ‘Eppo Varuvaaro’. The sound is psychedelic, with fantastic guitar by Abin Sagar and Arun Thomas, and topped by Harisankar’s always dependable singing.

Va Kannamma – Anurag Saikia, Ft. Gowtham Bharadwaj (Tamil/Indipop): Now, this is a surprise – to hear Anurag Saikia’s composition in Tamil! Is it due to his past association with Chennai (he studied music at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, to be specific)? His melody is a very calm and serene lullaby, sung extremely well by Staccato’s lead singer Gowtham Bharadwaj. Prachotosh Bhowmick’s guitar is a constant layer of comfort on the song too!

Kanna Mucche – Bheemasena Nalamaharaja (Charan Raj) – Kannada: While I didn’t specifically like the first single from the film (Tanner Meedre), Charan more than makes up for that with this song. Singer Siddhant Sundar’s soaring, deeply affecting voice lifts the song effortlessly, as does Balesh’s shehnai.

Icche Khame – Rupak Tiary (Bangla/Indipop): Rupak composes and sings this Bangla single, but the composer does better than the singer. His music is lush, with a lot happening in the background. The sound reminded me Pritam’s music to some extent, but Rupak has something going for him on his own too, no doubt.

Love Language – Positions (Ariana Grande): Ariana’s latest album is out and is already being hailed as her most suggestive/horny body of work! My favorite song from the album was Love Language that shines with its captivating pop sound and a good mix of jazz and 80s disco in the backgrounds. The lyrics go,
“Ain’t no need to remind you
It’s AG in your face”
(AG is, of course, Ariana Grande!)

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 131: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
16 songs, this week. YouTube and JioSaavn playlists have all 16 songs.

Roshni Si & Re Bawree (both versions) – Taish (Prashant Pillai, Govind Vasantha) – Hindi: It’s so good to see a full soundtrack actually release at one go before the film’s release – an increasingly rare event these days. True to Bejoy Nambiar’s style, this too is a multi-composer album where he picks talents from multiple places and puts them all in his thematic vision for the musical expression of the film. The most exciting songs here are by Prashant, and Govind Vasantha, who makes his Hindi debut, I presume.

Prashant’s Roshni Si is every but what you expect from him – beautifully layered, soaring vocals by Ashwin Gopakumar and Preeti Pillai and a superb techno sound pulsating throughout.

Govind’s Re Bawree could easily be mistaken for a Thaikkudam Bridge tune! The semi-classical sound in the melody is hauntingly beautiful, accentuated by Prarthna Indrajith and Govind’s vocals and the tune shifts in the antara! That ‘Pal pal gin ke’ line in particular is a delightful turn! The song’s other version, Re Bawree (Jahaan Lost In Love), by Sona Mohapatra is another level, with her majestic voice bringing in immense gravitas to the same tune.

Aabaad Barbaad – Ludo (Pritam) – Hindi: Anurag Basu’s new film, so that means new goodness from Pritam! And the first single doesn’t disappoint at all, with its addictive tune. When Ghulam Ali’s sarangi peeks in, in the beginning of the song, I had assumed it may be a more desi song with a tinge of retro, but when the actual song starts, Pritam unleashes an energetic electronic sound that amps up the song almost to a breezy dance number. Arijit is, as usual, extremely competent, though his repetitive ‘kardo’ seems a bit grating by the time the song ends.

Ban Ja Wo Diya, Sehen Kar Liya, Aisi Hi Zindagi, Meraki, Ruhana, Yaad and Nisarga – Aayam (Shrinidhi Ghatate) – Hindi/Marathi/Indipop: I was very, very pleasantly surprised by the sheer range of gorgeous tunes in Shrinidhi’s new album, Aayam. The whole album makes for a great listen, and the album’s uniformly Indipop’ish sound, that too from a different period, was particularly alluring. Songs like Aisi Hi Zindagi, Meraki, Ruhana and Ban Ja Wo Diya exemplified that style more explicitly. Sehen Kar Liya was very Amit Trivedi’ish, while the mildly semi-classical Yaad and the Marathi pop song Nisarga too showcase her composing skills as well as singing proficiency really well.

Naach Meri Rani – Tanishk Bagchi (Ft. Guru Randhawa and Nikhita Gandhi) – Hindi/Indipop: Tanishk is back, after the broad pounding he got for the Masakali 2.0 remix that saw even the otherwise affably let-me-stay-out-of-controversy A.R.Rahman fluttering his wings. He doesn’t remix anything this time, but his material here is a pulse-pounding dance track that Guru and Nikhita deliver very well. It’s a simple, catchy one-hook song, something Tanishk handles very easily, to good effect.

Care Ni Karda – Chhalaang (Yo Yo Honey Singh) – Punjabi/Indipop: For a song where the lead singer Sweetaj Brar is outstandingly good, it is a pity that her name is not part of the video title, nor is it mentioned anywhere in the descriptions first 2-3 paragraphs!

What T-series sells is Yo Yo Honey Singh’s name, who has composed the song (very well, at that) and raps along with Sweetaj. The song has a wonderfully earthy charm, amped up by the repetitive ‘ni karda’ refrain that Sweetaj delivers with a beautiful Punjabi charm that includes pronouncing ‘spare’ as ‘sa pair”.

Kadai Kannaaley – Bhoomi (D.Imman) – Tamil: Imman’s second single from the film sees him coming back all guns blazing… or, all sitars blazing! The most prominent and repetitive musical hook possibly starts off without the sitar (electronic sound?) but it seems to be blending and made by the sitar eventually, even as the instrument (played by Kishore) plays a much larger part. And when Imman ropes in Shreya Ghoshal, it usually results in something very good – here too, he hands her a really lush, layered melody that she relishes singing. The melody, that already sounds interesting because of the long pallavi and a single anupallavi/charanam, has gorgeous twists like that ‘Vizhiyai imayai virithen’ line in the anupallavi/charanam.

Aagasam – Soorarai Pottru (Thaikudam Bridge & G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: This is how a song recreation is done! G.V.Prakash Kumar uses the main vocal refrain from Thaikudam Bridge’s Urumbu and builds on it with his own main melody/tune that gels perfectly in a new set-up with searing lyrics from Arunraja Kamaraj! And he gets the singer of the original Christin Jos (along with Govind Vasantha) to sing his version – the recreation is given adequate respect and credit everywhere, both literally and figuratively, as it should be, normalizing the, “Here’s a recreation – do listen to both the songs and pick what you like!” sentiment confidently. Extremely well-played.

The Bombay Doors – Tejas (Indipop): The second single from Tejas’ upcoming album Outlast (the first single, Lead, dropped in June). An ode to Mumbai with a very vibrant synth-based sound. The backgrounds remains consistently intriguing, springing a surprise every now and then, even as the vocal layer compliments that surprise equally well!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 130: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
10 songs, this week too, like last week. Both YouTube and JioSaavn have all 10 songs this week too!

Karle Trip, Raavan, Baithi Hai & Chale Hai – Songs of Trance (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi/Indipop: After Songs of Faith, Amit explores trance in his own Hindi-film style way. The combination seems perfectly at ease with his film music repertoire. In Karle Trip, Amit layers in a folk percussion later in the song that takes it to a new high, while in Shilpa Rao and Anand Bhaskar power Raavan’s hypnotic sound where the folk string is the stand-out. Baithi Hai is the album’s best, with its lush melody that seemed like Puria Dhanashri raag to me. While the song’s soundscape is fantastic, it is Sharmistha Chatterjee who leads it in style. Chale Hai is the most filmy in the album, with even a hint of 80s pop, and very well sung by Poorvi Koutish and Hriday Gattani.

Qareeb – Kamakshi Khanna (Indipop/Hindi): Besides Kamkshi’s bewitching singing quality and her own really alluring Latino-style tune, what also works for the song is Anhad + Tanner’s exquisite music production. I had written about the duo in August, about their album, In Other Words. Here, they amp up Kamakshi’s already fantastic material with their sound.

Amrutha – Solo Brathuke So Better (Thaman S) – Telugu: A very, very typical Thaman-style earworm! The song could have easily been part of say, Ala Vaikunthapuramulo… it’s as sassy and rhythmic! Nakash Aziz delivers the song with enough style and the instrumental hooks too are very catchy (partly because Thaman also uses them relentlessly).

Mizhinilavai – Grahanam (Anandhkumar G) – Malayalam: Vineeth Sreenivasan’s deeply involving voice powers this song effortlessly. Composer Anandhkumar’s tune seems to be based on Hamir Kalyani raaga, if I’m not mistaken. The ghazal’ish sound and the wonderful use of the tabla to propel the song works very well.

Mukto Kore Dao – Arijit Singh (Bangla/Indipop): This is the Bangla version of Arijit’s new Hindi single, Rihaa, about which I wrote last week. Arijit had written the minimal Bangla lyrics in the Hindi version, while he writes the entire song here. Very alluring melody and sung beautifully, as always.

Entha Muddo – Oneness (Saint Thyagaraja, Revathy Kumar & Guruprasad Subramanian) – Classical: Thyagaraja’s Entha Muddo is already a deeply affecting and incredibly resonant song, given its Bindu Maalini raaga base. What Revathy Kumar does to the song with her haunting rendition is outstanding! Not to be left behind, Guruprasad Subramanian’s music is scintillating, treating the source material with a brilliantly modern approach and adding on to the tune’s already phenomenal heft.

Dwaitamu – Equilibrium (IndoSoul) – Indipop/Classical: The new single from IndoSoul’s upcoming 4th album is a pulsating interpretation of Thyagaraja’s (the 2nd song from the man this week!) Reetigowlai raaga based song. While Vikram Vivekanand’s Guitar and Ramkumar Kanakarajan’s Drums add to modern, pulsating layer, it is, as always, Karthick Iyer’s gorgeous Violin that truly does the talking.

Saturday October 17, 2020

Putham Pudhu Kaalai (Movie review)

Watch the movie on Prime Video: Putham Pudhu Kaalai (with English subtitles).

Putham Pudhu Kaalai offers the rare chance of watching four, what they used to call, A-Center Tamil films (and one B-Center Tamil film) – short films, of course. Tamil cinema has long moved to seeing ‘A-Center’ as a pejorative, even beyond the amount of money they rake in (or do not), owing to changed socio-political narratives.

The problems people face in the first four films are a stark contrast to the existential problems faced by the two small-time criminals in the fifth, and it is appropriate that the film released directly on OTT, as an ode to the film’s core target audience.

The review below has enough and more spoilers. So read after watching the film on Amazon Prime.

ILamai Idho Idho: Sudha Kongara

As far as narrative devices go, this film has a truly delightful idea. It is very, very easy to misunderstand that Jayaram and Urvashi were former lovers and are reuniting after having lost their respective spouses, later in life. But the central premise is that they are not former lovers. They simply happen to be two older people who found each other and want to spend time with each other.

Madhavan’s voice-over clearly establishes the device: “How they make us ‘feel’ is what is important – foolish, happy and young!”. This voice-over is layered on the scene when the older couple suddenly appear young, and that switch, without concentrating on the voice-over may have one assuming that these are former lovers reuniting, which it is not. That’s where the narrative device is so very inventive. Did Sudha choose this device to temper the audience’s reaction if the older couple of shown to be doing the things that the younger couple does? They, after all, don’t do anything out of the ordinary, but would the present-day audience snigger looking at an older couple behaving that way? Or, would it not make for an entertaining watch? Whatever the reason, this device is this anthology’s high-point.

However, the relationship’s arc, even within the short running time, is as superficial and hurried as a standard Maniratnam film. The relationship annoyances jump in abruptly making one wonder about the maturity of the ‘senior’ couple having gone through all this in life adequately, with the overview of how to deal with such things. But then, people are people, and age need not come in the way of exploring another person’s quirks all over again.

G. V. Prakash Kumar’s music is a pleasant distraction, though, in a short film, to also include ‘short’ songs, stretches the urgency of story-telling to an impatient level. The songs themselves are nice, with SPB’s son, Charan singing a new-age variant of MS Viswanathan’s Namma Ooru Singaari from Ninaithaale Inikkum in Manmadhan Naan Dhaana.

The film ends as a graceful video conference begins, indicating new beginnings – Putham Pudhu Kaalai!

Avarum Naanum – AvaLum Naanum: Gautham Vasudev Menon

This is a rather surprising turn from Gautham Vasudev Menon, possibly because he doesn’t have the luxury of time to deliberate on many of his usual directorial flourishes. M.S.Bhaskar probably has the best-written role among all the stories in this anthology, and is easily the best performer too, among all the actors in all five stories. His emotional heft and the way the story turns the perspective around from being against-him to for-him is a truly wonderful touch by Gautham.

As Bhaskar explains to his grand-daughter the cause of his rift with his daughter, he insists that the family she moved in to (including her husband) consists of ‘good people’, but leaves out articulating in greater detail what ‘good’ does not include from his point of view, letting us figure it out, with the surrounding context of music and the daughter’s choice.

The scene involving Bhaskar interrupting Ritu’s work call seems perfectly natural given his age, and the fact that he explains it as helping out a ‘boy from Tirunelveli, my town’.

Given the undercurrent of music in this film, Gautham’s choice of Govind Vasantha’s music, and that Bombay Jayashri song, in particular, is brilliant.

Gautham also references his own song from Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada for the film’s title, much like Rajeev Menon references his own song from Minsara Kanavu in his film, as a crucial plot device.

Coffee, Anyone?: Suhasini Maniratnam

If there was a space before ‘A-segment’ – a ‘0.A Segment’ film, this would be that film. Typical of a Maniratnam-Suhasini style, everything about this film seems overdone, overacted and overindulgent. Except for Kathadi Ramamurthy, of course.

Probably in an attempt to avoid the melodrama that could seep into as a story about three sisters and an ageing mother, Suhasini goes on the other extreme trying to force natural conversations and situations, which all ends up looking severely overwrought.

The direction is equally exaggerated and outdated – the way the sisters start speaking to doctors for a second opinion, theatrically crisscrossing each other in a balcony and the way they suddenly break into a Latino/Spanish song and dance (possibly the kind of audience reaction that Sudha wanted to avoid, by choosing a younger couple to do the ‘youthful performances’) are some of the examples.

Shruti Haasan’s character, and cameo, was a pleasant surprise, and perhaps deserved better treatment, given she has the most interesting background story among the three sisters.

Among all the story outcomes, this one has the most positive and uplifting ending – it clearly indicates a better future as the ailing mother gets better, with a wonderfully surreal indication of things to come, during the midnight birthday wishes call the previous night.

Reunion: Rajiv Menon

In Rajeev Menon’s short, Andrea could have been Shruti Haasan of the previous film, though they are struggling in different cities, in different backgrounds.

The most interesting aspect of this film is the way the narrative treats a drug addict, with zero judgement or scorn, and with incredible empathy. That the older Leela Samson does not think poorly of the addict is a beautiful approach that extends to her son too.

Watching Sikkil Gurucharan as a ‘hero’ was quite surprising, though he pulls it off with enough confidence. Even though his sudden outburst of singing at a crucial scene seems like a melodramatic contrivance, as a doctor, he perhaps understands that distracting the emotionally distraught (also caused by the drugs) person is a better way of dealing with the situation. The scene ends predictably enough but helps to contextualize the film’s ending in a nice way, that the end doesn’t come across as forced.

This film also probably has the best location (house) among all films in the anthology, and that’s a considerable achievement given the beautiful houses the first four films showcase.

Much like the other films (particularly ILamai Idho Idho and Avarum Naanum – AvaLum Naanum), this film too uses real photos from the actors’ lives (Jayaram’s wife in the first film, as per the photo, is his wife in real-life – Parvathy), though, unlike the other films, the last photo used to establish the ending has also been ‘Photoshopped’ using real photos from the actors’ past.

Miracle: Karthik Subbaraj

Of the five films in this anthology, this is perhaps the most fun, though this is the one film that addresses the seriousness of the lockdown in terms of the impact.

(Bobby) Simha (credited without the Bobby!) tells his partner Sharath Ravi that they have only 17 Rupees left, and that works as a stark contrast to the well-heeled people of the other four films for whom the lockdown is a mere inconvenience.

Even if the Guruji’s ‘Believe in Miracles’ sermon jars with the unusual mix of English and Tamil, and even the repeated use of ‘Miracles’ instead of ‘Adhisayam’ that is more likely to be used by a Guruji preaching to Tamilians, the way the Guruji’s character has been used later in the film showcases Karthik’s thoughtful approach to the script.

The twist in the end, where the fortunes are swapped, is a wonderful touch, though the contrivances Karthik adopts to get to that point are not. Consider the amount of focus on the spare tyre—the equivalent of Vaaname Ellai’s ‘trunk petti’ that constables Charlie and Kavithalaya Krishnan carry and try to give back to someone else—it was too obvious what the idea was.

For instance, the spare tyre is being carelessly rolled on the road as Simha and Sharath lookout for more places to loot. When they come across a ‘software company’ (which it is not, and that’s a really good misdirection that works beautifully in the end), and decide to pick a few laptops from the place, they enter the house. When they do, where would they keep the spare tyre? In the house’s parking lot/outside the door, or take it inside the house? Taking it inside the house seems like a forced script choice because of what eventually happens due of the tyre, but it is also a choice that exposes the importance of the tyre quite unnecessarily.

Thankfully, Karthik’s actual twist, and our discovery, is not the device of the tyre, but about the person who benefits from it in the end. That Karthik also stages the film with his usual panache and swagger (and the mandatory Ilayaraja song ‘usage’) really helps.

Despite all the quibbles, the five films are so handsomely mounted that the anthology can be an effortless watch at least for the way it is put together.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 129: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
10 songs, this week. Both YouTube and JioSaavn have all 10 songs – yay!

Rihaa – Arijit Singh (Hindi/Indipop): It’s possibly because Arijit has sung so often for Pritam that the composition too sounds a lot like Pritam’s! Or, it could be because Pritam’s resident music producer, Sunny M.R. is behind this song too! But I wouldn’t take anything away from Arijit – it’s a dreamy, delightful tune, amped by gorgeously arranged backgrounds… and fantastically sung! The lyrics by Shloke Lal, and the Bangla rap portions by Arijit himself, that beautiful Dotara layer in the middle by Tapas Roy… everything fits so well in this wonderful song. And yes, a highly imaginative music video too, with a puppet-based stop-motion!

Kahaani – When Chai Met Toast (Hindi/Indipop): The 2nd single by the band in the last 2 months! The song’s pensive, bitter-sweet lines and the sound dominated by the guitar, at least in the beginning, made it sound like a classic Simon & Garfunkel song. Great listen, and a good watch too considering the music video features Anna Ben!

Panchhi – Sunny M.R. (Hindi/Indipop): Another musician, besides Papon, who has been very productive during the pandemic is Sunny M.R., possibly owing the the lack of film projects in assisting Pritam. He has released 4 singles in the past 3 months, including this new one. While the terrible looking digital bird, that seems to be related to Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon’s Raja Tota, is an eyesore level distraction in the video, the song itself very Sunny – a sedate melody that fits perfectly in his many Telugu soundtracks. The video’s very-Tamil setting and the starting “Onnu, rendu, moonu’ was a strange surprise!

Beishqi Galiyaan – Prateek Gandhi (Hindi/Indipop): A wonderfully breezy tune by Prateek that gets fantastic articulation by Shefali Alvares and Benny Dayal’s voices! The tune kinda took me to Pritam’s composition style, and I mean that as a compliment. Also, the contrast of having Shefali’s rendition of Beishqi Galiyaan in the lower pitch and Benny’s rendition in the higher pitch, and then blending them together was a nice touch.

Namee – Shivam Srivastava (Hindi/Indipop): Lilting and catchy melody by Shivam, very well sung by Pranita Nair Pandurangi. The profusion of guitars prop the song significantly too, while the ‘Teri hi namee’ hook is so very addictive.

Kanna Thoodhu Po Da – Putham Pudhu Kaalai (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: Govind strikes gold again and how! With Karky’s lyrics for support, he gets Bombay Jayashri to sing an exquisite melody that seemed to be like Dharmavati or Madhuvanti raaga – there’s ‘Vaa vaa meendum meendum thaalaattu’ of Rahman’s Ethu Sugam of Vandicholi Chinnarasu in places, and the flow of Yuvan’s outstanding Kanda Naal Mudhal title song. Govind keeps the backgrounds sober and simple, and amply backing the haunting melody, letting Jayashri shine!

Kanmaniye – Ganesan Sekar, ft. Arunraja Kamaraj (Tamil/Indipop): A very, very catchy and competent tune by Ganesan Sekar! The tune reminded me of Dharan’s musical style – not his current, indifferent form, but his heydays that included Sivi (2007). The use of staccato-rap style verse (“Kaarkuzhal aruviyil nanaindhidum varam…” and “Anbe andre ange ennai”) add to the song’s vibrancy. Arunraja Kamaraj delivers the song with panache, and a special note of appreciation for his very-Tamil lyrics!

Oru Manam – Dhruva Natchathiram (Harris Jayaraj) – Tamil: Whoa, after a long time – a Harris-Gautham song, after 2015’s Yennai Arindhaal! In Karthik’s voice, and Thamarai’s graceful lines (punctuated by adequate violence in the video, at that!), the song works effortlessly. And, as usual, it takes one back to the music of Rahman too, particularly the line in the anupallavi and charanam (‘Yennai unnai pirithidum’, ‘Vaanam peiyya kadavathu’) take you back to Rahman’s 1999 Hindi song from Thakshak – Khamosh Raat: “Jhuke jhuke palken jab uthi” and the entire anupallavi/antara from that song!

Yetto Velli Diaries – Sandeep Chowta (Instrumental): To celebrate 25 years of composer Sandeep Chowta’s first soundtrack, Ninne Pelladata, Sandeep has used his current musical sensibilities to revisit one of the popular songs from that film – Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu, sung originally by the amazing SPB-clone’ish Rajesh Krishnan. The song gets 7 different versions, in assorted instrumental articulations, all highly enjoyable. My favorites are Chapter Five and Chapter Six, featuring Sandeep’s distinct jazz style. Chapter Five, featuring Telemakus on the piano is particularly fantastic and explores the tune with incredible nuance.

Full playlist (starts with the original Telugu song for context):

Mathangi Marakathangi – Muthuswami Dikshitar, ft. Hamsika Iyer (Indian Classical): Hamsika assembles a choice team to accentuate her incredibly articulated version of Muthuswami Dikshitar’s hauntingly beautiful prayer – Manikanth Kadri producing the rhythm, TAAQ’s Bruce Lee Mani on the guitar and S.M.Subhani on the mandolin. The song, set in Dhoutha Panchama raaga (wrongly mentioned as Dhauthapanchapam in the music video credits, though) evokes Pantuvarali’sh vibes to me and is a great listen.

Back after a week’s break, and still not able to reconcile the news of SPB’s passing away 🙁 While these new songs deserve your time, please do seek out SPB’s music this weekend (there are tons being shared on social media and there are way too many jukeboxes on YouTube – I considered making a playlist but have absolutely no clue where to even start since there are SO MANY to choose from. So I dropped that effort) and then come to these songs.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 128: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
13 songs, this week. YouTube has all 10 and is missing the 3 songs from Saajan Bakery since they are inside a jukebox (embedded below). JioSaavn is missing just one – Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy’s Summertime Kaadhal.

Tehas Nehas & Shana Dil – Khaali Peeli (Vishal-Shekhar) – Hindi: If you ignore the controversial and pointlessly familiar song that was launched first from this film, it does have 2 other good songs! Tehas Nehas sounds like the 90s-style tapori song (Josh’s Apun Bola, for instance), though Vishal and Shekhar turn the tune away from tapori-rap to their brand of coolth. Shekhar’s unique voice is the song’s easy highlight, beyond the breezy melody. Shana Dil is on similar lines – slow, steady and builds on the sound gradually. Divya Kumar is right on top of the tune’s build-up.

Siyaahi & Nilaanjänā – Papon & Shashaa Tirupati (Indipop/Hindi): Papon has been really prolific in the last past 2 weeks, releasing as many as 3 songs – these 2 and another, Nirobota Dao Gaan. These 2, however, worked for me, for their pleasant rock-style tunes that Papon is known for. In Siyaahi’s the song’s unique rhythm props the melody, along with Shashaa Tirupati (who composes this song too, besides writing the lyrics) joining Papon mid-way after which it turns into a gorgeous duet. Nilaanjänā is a fantastic ballad in Papon’s familiar style (he composed this too, himself) where his wonderful singing joins Sanket Naik’s tabla and Paras Nath’s flute.

Shiv – Amit Trivedi (Indipop/Hindi): With its highly rhythmic percussion layer, Amit’s latest song from his Songs of Faith collection is a prayer for Lord Shiva. The song’s tune and some of the background sounds have a strong Middle Eastern flavor, but the base is very familiar and hypnotic Shiva bhajan style.

Summertime Kaadhal – Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy (Indipop/Tamil): The song, with its breezy and catchy musical hook, starts off with the hiphop style pace but adds a racy groove mid-way. Ashwin’s singing reminded me of Yuvan’s, but with proper Tamil diction.

Yedakemai Untunde – Kanabadutaledu (Madhu Ponnas) – Telugu: After the impressive first single (Mama Mama, in August), Madhu Ponnas gets the 2nd song right too! His use of either Phani Narayana’s veena and/or Sandilya Pisapati’s violin in the background to an unusual effect that makes it really alluring. Karthik’s singing and the song’s buildup is brilliant!

Kaana Dooram, Eeran Kannil & Kaalamere Poi Maikilum – Saajan Bakery Since 1962 (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: After the first 2 delightful songs, Prashant closes the soundtrack with 3 more songs that are highly listenable. Preeti Pillai involved vocals lift the beautifully serene melody in Kaana Dooram that also shines with Paulson’s sitar. In Eeran Kannil, Prashant has the dependably superb singing of K S Harisankar, and the tune’s really long, free-flowing pallavi gets a wonderful articulation thanks to that choice. Mid-way, the melody turns slower and that change in pace is a lovely touch, with steady support from Akash S Menon’s guitar! Kaalamere Poi Maikilum too has K S Harisankar’s vocals, but it has been made to seem more like a chorus, amidst the melody’s soft and hypnotic flow and background sound.

Kathiravan – Dhanush Harikumar (Indipop/Malayalam): Roping in Job Kurian as the singer is half the battle won, but even beyond that composer Dhanush Harikumar does have a lilting and enjoyable tune. Together with the music video showcasing the incredibly beautiful locations from Kerala and the theme harping on searching, this is a lovely watch and listen.

Uyarnnu Parannu – Vineeth Srinivasan and Divya Vineeth (Indipop/Malayalam): Actor/singer Vineeth Srinivasan makes his composing debut for his wife’s singing debut! It’s a simple, serene melody and Divya largely passes muster as a singer with only some rough edges. Sanjeev Thomas’ guitar too holds the song together.

Diamonds – Sam Smith: Even as the lyrics showcase a painful break-up and the life after, the song has a catchy electro-pop sound and is decidedly more for the dance-floor. If this 2nd single from Sam’s upcoming album Love Goes is any indication, it should be a good collection.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 127: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
12 songs, this week. YouTube has all 12, while JioSaavn is missing just one – Venmaniye Venmaniye, by Aadil Anzar.

Sang Rahiyo – Jasleen Royal (Indipop/Hindi): A pop song that also doubles up as an extended advertisement for Cadbury Silk, not just content showing the product, but also using the product’s current campaign theme’s in the lyrics (How far will you go for love?). Jasleen’s melody is easy on the ear, and that lilting rhythm helps keep the song consistently interesting. Her unusual voice/singing continues to be equally interesting, while Ujjwal Kashyap’s voice/singing roots the song in a more familiar setting.

Tamizhan Endru Sollada – Bhoomi (D.Imman) – Tamil: A pulse-pounding ode to Tamizh! Imman’s usually punchy music gets a significant fillip from Madhan Karky’s superb lyrics where he literally carves a colour out of Tamil (“Ulagathin Mudhal Niram Tamizh Niram Dhaan”). Also worth noting – the extra 0.5 Crore added to the population – from Vaali’s “Aarara Kodi PergaLil Oruvan, Adiyen Tamizhan…” from 2005’s Anbe Aaruyire… to “Yezhu Kodi Mugam Aanaal Orey Oru Peyar Dhaan”, in this song.

Azhagiya Sirukki – Ka Pae Ranasingam (Ghibran) – Tamil: In Gold Devaraj’s endearingly earthy vocals, and that lively rhythm, Ghibran has a superb winner. The melody is heady and the anupallavi is a lovely touch too. A thoroughly enjoyable song.

Aahaa – Vaazhl (Pradeep Kumar) – Tamil: WHAT. A. SONG! Pradeep writes, composes and sings the song himself. The lyrics seem to be loosely jumping out of a man’s discovery of how beautiful his surroundings are and as if on cue, he also exclaims musically, Aahaa in 3 different ways, before completely giving up all pretence of expressions and admits, “Mei Marandhen”! Phenomenal song! The music video is a tad jarring with the way it tries t airbrush parts of the scenery and forces us to watch on particular part.

PS 1: I have been making a list of songs where a lead character is singing about nature, life and related philosophy while soaked in it, and where the lyrics do not necessarily allude to the heroine’s/woman’s beauty but focus largely on nature’s beauty. So, I have songs like, Dheentanana from Rhythm, Moongil Kaadugale from Samurai, The Life of Ram from 96, Vaanam Arugil Oru Vaanam from Nyaya Tharasu, Dhooramai from Peranbu and Ithu Oru Pon Maalai Pozhuthu from Nizhalgal, so far. Aahaa from Vaazhl easily joins that list.

PS 2: I don’t know why they use the spelling “Vaazhl”. The word ends with ‘zh’, as in Tamizh. So why not leave it at Vaazh?

Alaya – Unarvugal Thodarkathai (Hari Dafusia) – Tamil: Hari Dafusia, who made his debut in Gangs of Madras, pitches in with a far better output that that soundtrack. The breezy sound is marred only by the fangled Tamil diction of the singers (Nikhita Gandhi, and Hari himself), who sing as if their tongue has been freshly frozen by Freez Zone ice cream. The song’s melody is lovely, though, with that “Fa la la la” line adding to the charm.

Venmaniye Venmaniye – Aadil Anzar (4 Musics) – Tamil: The song’s Saaranga raaga composition drew me in immediately, as much as Aadil’s brilliant singing, for his age! His child-like voice and singing hides a far more proficient and confident singer and his handling of the melody’s nuances are beautiful. TS Ayyappan’s lyrics speak about the object of affection being in the female gender and I wondered how it makes sense for such a young boy to sing those lines – thankfully, the makers have thought about this too and frame the video as Aadil singing about his little sister!

Choosale Kallaraa – SR Kalyanamandapam (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: It looks like another Bharadwaj may become a lot more popular sooner, than the Bharadwaj I have been consistently rooting for forever, in vain, in Telugu film industry – I’m referring to Chaitan Bharadwaj and Shravan Bharadwaj. Chaitan has proven to be pretty good with films like RX100, 7 and Manmadhudu 2. In Choosale Kallaraa, he has Sid Sriram handling his delightfully catchy melody with Gautam Raj’s violin being a beautiful accompaniment.

Thora Mazhayilum – Saajan Bakery Since 1962 (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: After last week’s first single, Prashant hits it out of the park yet again, in the 2nd single! Unlike that song’s cool retro sound, this one derives its strength from the superb vocals – Vineeth Sreenivasan and Preeti Pillai. The melody is warm and pleasant, and peaks with that ‘Ee Thora Mazhayilum’ line that both singers sing together, along with that fantastic sax layer (by Josy) for company.

Ponnonam Varavayi – KS Harisankar (Joby PS) – Malayalam: A delightfully crafted Onam song using Aanandhabhairavi raaga, with the familiar Dhittitara Dhittitai peppered to lovely effect. This is the week’s second song featuring KS Harisankar, and Joby adorns the song with Haritha Raj’s veena and Sreeram’s flute, among others.

Aananda Sagaram – KS Harisankar (Ranjith Meleppatt) – Malayalam: Ranjith has proven himself to be a competent composer with past works like Thirunthudaa Kaadhal Thiruda (Tamil, 2014) and Puzhikkadakan. In Aananda Sagaram, he composes a devotional song on Lord Krishna and coincidentally, this song too is set to Saaranga raaga, like the song above! KS Harisankar’s outstanding singing makes the song even more beautiful.

Maleye Maleye – Salaga (Charan Raj) – Kannada: The film’s first single, the wonderfully catchy ‘Suri Anna’, came out way back in January 2020 – seems like another lifetime, given how the world has completely changed since then. Charan’s 2nd song is a total contrast – a wonderfully sweeping melody that is powered by Sanjith Hegde’s Sid Sriram’ish singing, along with Aishwarya Rangarajan. Charan keeps the backgrounds calm, letting the soft melody shine. But that nadaswaram layer (by Adyar Bala Subramaniam) expanding on Aanandhabhairavi raaga stands out beautifully!

Ista Patta Devthe – Bhakshi Garden (Leander Lee Marty) – Kannada: A surprisingly catchy rock song with Benny Dayal’s voice leading the charge! There’s a nice jazz touch in the backgrounds, and particularly that 2nd interlude. The brass section is the soul of the background sound, significantly amping the song’s charm.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 126: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
16 songs, this week. YouTube has all of them!! JioSaavn is missing just one – Vivek Sagar’s song from Amazon Prime Music Hyderabad Gig. This week is one of the best musical mixes of this year – I had a really good time listening to them, multiple times and soaking into the melodies!

Daata Shakti De – Atkan Chatkan (Drums Sivamani) – Hindi: Drums Sivamani has already composed music on his own – his pop album Mahaleela was a phenomenal effort, and his film debut in Arima Nambi was a competent effort. In 2016’s Kanithan, things were relatively less interesting. He composed 2 songs for this Zee5 film, and one of the (the title song) is a percussion-heavy hodge-podge. The other song, sung by Amitabh Bachchan, is the more interesting one! It—a soulful prayer song—seemed to be based on Dharmavathy raaga to me – reminded me of Ilayaraja’s Yem Debba Teesavura, from Aswamedham and Rahman’s Edhu Sugam Sugam Adhu, from Vandicholai Chinrasu.

Mudhal Nee Mudivum Nee – Mudhal Nee Mudivum Nee (Darbuka Siva) – Tamil: Darbuka Siva delivers an absolute knockout with what is easily one of the finest new film songs in Tamil. That it happens to be in his directorial debut… is a pleasant surprise. The combination is as good as it gets – Siva, Sid Sriram and Thamarai. Siva’s melody is energetic and melodious at the same time, with a spritely pace that sounds so very Gautham Menon, for some reason! Thamarai’s lines, in particular, are gorgeous – “Un punnagai, pon minnalai, naan kortthu aangaangu neidhen”! Debasmita Bhattacharya’s sarod is a steady backbone to the melody, while that guitar in the second interlude by Keba is outstanding! If there’s anything worth nitpicking it is, once again, a surprise – Sid’s Tamil diction usually is decent enough, but to hear him sing, “Paadhi kaaNagam” (kaanagam, meaning forest, in Tamil) or “Un maNNippai koruven”. Unusual and needed more diligence.

Odhukka Nenacha, Vazhve Neelade, Inda Somabanam & Enge En Santosham – Paris Paris (Amit Trivedi) – Tamil: I presume the L-O-N-G pending Southern remake of Queen is heading straight to OTT – otherwise, there’s no pressing reason for the makers to release all 4 Southern language versions’ soundtracks in one go, after releasing one song in January 2019!! The Southern variants aren’t as impressive as the very, very lofty quality of Amit’s own original, but still, they do make for a great listen.

Interestingly, while the Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam versions have 8 songs, the Telugu version has only 7 – it is missing the shorter song, Inda Somabanam (Tamil), Sukhaveeva (Kannada), Madhurasudha Paanasugham (Malayalam). This song, going by the lyrics and feel, seems to be equivalent of the 9th song in Hindi, that was not part of the main soundtrack since it was a remix from an older song from Saregama’s repertoire – Hungama Ho Gaya. And, for some odd reason, besides the other singers, Amitabh Bachchan is credited for it too, across all 3 languages! It’s a catchy song, with Vijay Prakash/Jassie Gift and Shashaa Tirupati/Vidya Vox indulging in some drunken-style singing set to pulsating rhythms.

Enge En Santosham seems to the equivalent of Badra Bahar, going by the sound and lyrics. Makes for a fairly competent equivalent if being compared, but a very good standalone song without the comparison. The singers lift the song in all 4 languages – Haricharan (Tamil), Kallara Chusthunna (Anurag Kulkarni), Chandulli Cheluve (Vijay Prakash) and Ellarum Pirinjhu (Abhay Jodhpukar).

The 2 softer, mellow songs – Odhukka Nenacha (Katha Modalavake – Telugu, Mella Kai Hididu – Kannada, Ini Vida Parayaam – Malayalam) and Vazhve Neelade (Raathe Marindaa – Telugu, Koorade Mooleyalli – Kannada, Bhoomikum Meethe – Malayalam) – are possibly stand-ins for Harjaiyaan and Kinare, I presume. The tunes are very good – Odhukka Nenacha holding a steady, 80s pop style sound and Vazhve Neelade punctuated with a soaring ‘Anbaale dhaane’ hook that lifts the song quite literally! The profusion of singers for these 2 songs, across languages, makes it a great listen across all 4!

Thedal – Sachin Warrier (Indipop/Malayalam): Singer Sachin Warrier has been highly consistent with the quality of his compositions so far and he doesn’t disappoint at all, here! His melody is warm and pleasant, with a beautiful Hindustani-sounding base, layered with tabla and sarangi. The voices are pure magic – both Sachin and Mamta Mohandas (who also stars in the video) are outstanding!

Once Upon A Time In Ranni – Saajan Bakery Since 1962 (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: Trust these Malayalees to come up with the most interesting film and song names! The song is almost like a running radio advertisement for Saajan Bakery, Since 1962, the film’s title! And the song’s title almost makes it seem like a sequel/prequel to C U Soon considering Anumol Sebastian is from Ranni, as confirmed by Kevin Thomas! Prashant’s tune is a superb throwback to the 80s pop, with excellent brass support! It took me back to Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love, made immensely popular by Peter Quill dancing to it in Avengers: Endgame!

Engo Ninnu, Thornidathe & Vidacholi – Maniyarayile Ashokan (Sreehari K Nair) – Malayalam: In Engo Ninnu, composer Sreehari seems to be attempting an old-fashioned sound, one that would have been fitting in the 80s Malayalam films. But he aptly modernizes the sound while retaining the soul of an older style, particularly in the choice of instruments and the melody. Suchith Suresan handles the tune with immense grace! As if this song, and last week’s 2 fantastic songs are not enough, Sreehari absolutely excels in the 2 songs he sings too – Thornidathe and Vidacholi! Both offer incredibly nuanced and sweeping melodies that are worth getting immersed in. I found myself thinking how these 2 songs reminded me of Mithoon’s early form where he was stupendously good. The tunes are similarly lush, and beautifully realized, with sparse, but tasteful background music.

Indumathi – Gopi Sundar, ft. Sithara Krishnakumar (Indipop/Malayalam): Oh boy! Gopi employs Darbari Kanada raaga to an impeccably beautiful composition that gets completely aced by Sithara’s splendid singing! OK Gopi’s nadaswaram, the calm rap portions, mounted tastefully in the voices of Niranj Suresh and Gopi himself, and the phenomenal backing vocals by Christakala, Bhadra Rajin… everything just works perfectly! The music video is a lovely watch too – very Kerala and a great ode to Onam!

Sanchari – Amazon Prime Music Hyderabad Gig (Vivek Sagar) – Indipop/Telugu: This is an excellent surprise! Vivek Sagar, beyond his fantastic run in Telugu, and despite using the mandolin here (unlike his bluegrass’s usage in many songs that is bordering on being too familiar) in a different setting, produces a non-film single that sounds distinctly more Malayalam pop than Telugu pop! But for the language, I’d have guessed the tune to be from Kerala and someone like Sooraj Santhosh singing it, complete with vocal layers that bring Malayalam pop to the mind! Vivek’s Catharsis-band member Sanjay Das (they composed together for the Telugu film Race in 2013, before Vivek went independent with Pelli Choopulu in 2016) joins him in the song. It’s a wonderfully upbeat and rhythmic number, with a superb 2nd interlude.

Sojatiya Sirdar – Divya Kumar, ft. Vidhya Gopal (Indipop): Divya Kumar, who is often called for the ‘high-pitched’ songs in Hindi films, is a fantastic singer, even beyond that stereotyping. Here, his composition is outstanding too, with a beautiful Rajasthani sound that comes alive with a jaunty rhythm that can so easily be identified with the state. Vidhya Gopal is brilliant with her vocals, and it is good to see Divya Kumar complementing her perfectly. A lovely song!

Kheryaan De Naal – Pranita Nair Pandurangi (Indipop/Punjabi): Pranita’s debut album, Rang, is an eclectic mix – you have Punjabi, Rajasthani and Bhojpuri folk songs, Kabir’s Naiharva, a Marathi abhang and a ghazal! Her singing style is intimate and raw, something that I did not think worked for the ghazal or Naiharva. But I loved the Heer-Ranjha epic Kheryaan De Naal that seemed perfect for her beautiful style of singing where she labors on delivering every word with a loving punch! The soft and unintrusive music in the background elevates the song.

Over Now – Calvin Harris, The Weeknd: Calvin Harris produces an incredibly cool and groovy new single along with The Weeknd’s fantastic vocals. The sound is decidedly retro RnB and soul, and I thought I picked some vibe from the sound of George Michael’s I Want Your Sex too!

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