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!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 125: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has 12 of them, and is missing one song from Raat Akeli Hai. Saavn has 10 songs, and is missing the 2 songs from Maniyarayile Ashokan (which has released under Dulquer’s own label… that has a history of releasing music only on YouTube, like Varane Aavasyamund, and on other platforms much later), and Sooraj Santhosh’s new single.

Aadhe Aadhe Se & Ghoom Charkheya – Raat Akeli Hai (Sneha Khanwalkar) – Hindi: Aadhe Aadhe Se is almost a Vishal Bhardwaj composition! And Mika seems like a severe misfit in this song, even though he sings well – his voice sounded to me like the male version of Rekha Bhardwaj, in a not so interesting way. The tune though, and Shilpa Rao, keep the song very engaging. Ghoom Charkheya picks up the pace after the first minute and gets progressively better, with its frenetic energy. Sukhwinder Singh is perfect for the tune.

Ezhara – Tea Kada Pasanga (TKP) ft. Kaizer Kaiz (Tamil/Sinhala): That frenetic background kuthu rhythm could easily make you sit up. The tune is simple and catchy, and gets a superb high when the rap portions start, first in Sinhala, and then in Tamil. Pulsating mix, and a beautiful blend of languages.

Ranga Rangeli – V (Amit Trivedi) – Telugu: Now that the film is releasing on OTT, the soundtrack finally releases fully. The 2 additional songs are no patch on the earlier 2 songs. But yes, Ranga Rangeli has a pulsating sound that keeps it engaging.

Hey Idi Nenena – Solo Brathuke So Better (Thaman S) – Telugu: The Thaman-Sid Sriram magic continues! Thaman seems to have cracked the formula for Sid’s vocals, in Telugu. This is not Samajavaragamana-level, of course, but a thoroughly fun track, nonetheless.

Tharagathi Gadhi – Colour Photo (Kaala Bhairava) – Telugu: M.M.Keeravani’s son, Kaala Bhairava, who made his composing debut with Mathu Vadalara last year, gets to compose and sing Tharagathi Gadhi. The gently lilting song’s highlight is the Tharagathi Gadhi hook that reminds me a bit of DSP’s musical style. Very listenable song.

Thani Malayalam – The Gypsy Sun (Sooraj Santhosh) – Malayalam: The first single from Sooraj’s debut (after his moving off the band Masala Coffee) solo album. The music is oh-so-gorgeously Kerala and the second the nadaswaram (by Rajkumar) ends, the guitar by Sandeep Mohan starts, leading Sooraj to do his magic with the beautiful melody. His voice is delectable, as always!

Peyyum Nilaavu & Olu – Maniyarayile Ashokan (Sreehari K Nair) – Malayalam: Sreehari, who sang Seetha Kalyanam from the Telugu soundtrack of Ranarangam (in Prashant Pillai’s music), makes his composing debut in this film produced by Dulquer Salmaan. In Peyyum Nilaavu, he has a really alluring bird call as a persistent backdrop and that’s a lovely layer on top of what is already a very pleasant melody. KS Harisankar singing is the icing on the cake. Olu, on the other hand, is another level, thanks to Sid Sriram’s singing! In both tunes, Sreehari shows enormous promise!

Eadanin Madhu – Varayan (Prakash Alex) – Malayalam: Prakash Alex, who had an impressive soundtrack in 2018’s Kalyanam, returns with a very-Vidyasagar’ish song! The sparse backdrop reminded me me so much of Vidyasagar’s style. Sanah Moidutty’s singing is, as always, fantastic, particularly the chorus’ish line.

Kathorthu Kathorthu – Karnan Napoleon Bhagat Singh (Ranjin Raj) – Malayalam: I picked up strains of Reetigowlai, so I’m totally inclined to love the song instantly – it’s that beautiful a raaga 🙂 Haritha Raj’s veena expands on the Reetigowlai magnificently all through the song, and Unni Menon’s singing too is a fantastic addition. Composer Ranjin Raj is on a consistent run, after a blank 2019, but good music in 2018, with films like Nithya Haritha Nayakan and Joseph.

Maley Maley – Ninna Sanihake (Raghu Dixit) – Kannada: A soulful melody that is handled in Raghu’s own inimitable voice. Vasuki Vaibhav’s rain-soaked lines make an additional impact too, but it is Raghu’s tune and singing all the way that aces the song.

Relentless – Passages (Pineapple Express) – Indipop: Pineapple Express’ new EP, with 4 songs, is a great listen overall, even if all the songs didn’t work for me uniformly. There’s a lot to like, the sound is extremely interesting and the Indian elements work beautifully. My favorite is Relentless, with the lovely ‘Kitna haseen hain yeh manzar’ refrain amidst blazing sitar. The twist at 2:43 is stunningly handled, with a superb guitar in the backdrop!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 124: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. YouTube playlist has 14 songs, and is missing Shukriya from Sadak 2. The JioSaavn playlist has all 15 songs!

Ganpati – Amit Trivedi, ft. Adarsh Shinde (Indipop/Devotional/Hindi): Very timely addition by Amit under his ‘Songs of Faith’ series. The jaunty rhythm lends a superbly dance’y bounce and makes the devotional song a song of joy and celebration! A special note on Amit’s role as the music video’s creator – he has put together a very impressive dance narrative to go with the song; it is really imaginatively choreographed!

Jhalle Kalle – Denny & Nikhita Gandhi (Indipop/Punjabi/Hindi): This sounded almost like a hip-hop version of Rahman’s adaptation of the folk song that became Genda Phool in Delhi 6! It’s aptly catchy and Nikhita’s singing elevates it wonderfully.

Shukriya & Ishq Kamaal – Sadak 2 (Jeet Gannguli and Suniljeet) – Hindi: Mahesh Bhatt and Vishesh Films seem clearly past their prime here, as far as music sense is concerned. The music, by assorted composers, is from an earlier recent era and is only passably interesting. Among the songs, Jeet’s Shukriya, in 2 versions, is the best! Jubin Nautiyal is brilliantly restrained in the rendition of the sweeping melody, and that first interlude is fabulously mounted. Ishq Kamaal, despite the allegation of plagiarism (which I do not agree with), is the other good listen, with its lilting sound.

Nenjame – Doctor (Anirudh) – Tamil: Anirudh seems to have found his magic formula for films starring Sivakarthikeyan! You hear the song and you can actually picture Siva in your mind already! The melody is enchanting, with a superb cornucopia of sounds that just come together perfectly!

Edho Solla – Murungakkai Chips (Dharan Kumar) – A lively melody with a faux semi-classical sound that Sid Sriram seems like an excellent choice (of singer) to handle. It’s interesting that the preludes and interludes remind me of Rahman’s sound. Also, that they chose to name the song, ‘Edho solla’ and not the actual opening of the song, ‘Nerunjiye’!

Thada Thada Raila – Ganesapuram (Raja Sai) – Tamil: Even though this is Shakthisree Gopalan’s show, composer Raja Sai makes his presence felt too with his unhurried and gorgeous melody that gets better in the anupallavi too, with a graceful guitar backdrop!

Veesadha Kaatre – Akash Chandran (Tamil/Indipop): A surprisingly competently song that deserves better promotion for better reach. Akash’s composition and singing (along with Pooja Santhanam, who makes a fantastic entry mid-way) make for great listen. The song’s repetitive use of a catchy musical phrase and the overall sound too is mildly reminiscent of Anirudh’s musical style.

Chennai Paattu – Ramshanker (Indipop/Tamil): A really well done theme song for Chennai, on Madras Day (August 22nd)! The lyrics are on expected lines, espousing the many things and places about the city, but the music is what keeps it so very interesting, with a lively, funky groove, particularly in the interludes.

Prabho Sri Gananatha – Singer Srinivas (Devotional/Tamil): Singer Srinivas’ new devotional album on Lord Ganesha makes for a very good musical listen too, besides the devotional aspect. It’s got a fantastic range of singers – Madhu Balakrishnan, Bombay Jayashri, Sudha Raghunathan, Tippu, Vijay Prakash, Haricharan and Srinivas himself. My favorite is the song by Srinivas, Prabho Sri Gananatha (sung by Mano in Telugu). The early-morning raaga took me to the famous Doordarshan film ‘Purab se surya uga’, composed by Ashok Patki (of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara fame; that was arranged by Louis Banks), in raaga Bhatiyaar, I presume.

Here’s Ashok himself explains how Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey came to him seeking a tune for the verse he had written!

Mama Mama – Kanabadutaledu (Madhu Ponnas) – Telugu: I recall Madhu’s name from his listenable soundtrack for the 2017 film, O Pilla Nee Valla. I don’t what else he has composed in the meanwhile, but he seems to have a captivating winner here. The simple tune has glitzy background music that smoothly segues into kuthu rhythms too and remains consistently interesting.

Kolumande – Chandan Shetty (Indipop/Kannada): Chandan Shetty is on a spree! After the massive success of his single from Pogaru (Karabuu; though with a terrible music video), this song’s rhythm is insanely addictive, and the tune, that I thought is in Pilu raaga, is incredibly catchy as well! Complete ear-worm, this!

When We Feel Young – When Chai Met Toast (Indipop): A wonderfully warm song about thinking back… about reminiscing! Vivek Thomas’s blissful vocals sound perfect when he sings, “At fifty nine… when we feel young”! The music video too is a great watch, with animated illustrations by Anjali Kamat.

Haari & Naina – In Other Words (Anhad+Tanner) – Indipop: Anhad Khanna and Tanner Willeford’s debut album is a truly wonderful listen! The sound is uniformly ethereal, with a beautiful mix of Indian classical music and world music. I got the feel of Ram Sampath’s outstanding score for Let’s Talk in more than one song. But, interestingly, I was also reminded of Mithoon’s music more than once too! For instance, snatches of Haari (featuring vocals by Pavithra Chari) took me to The Train’s Zindagi Ne Zindagi Bhar Gham Diye, while it was Tose Naina from Anwar, for Naina (featuring Isheeta Chakrvarty’s vocals). But make no mistake, this is a very personal connect – and I fully understand if you do not get it too, and the songs make for fantastic listen, as also the full album!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 123: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. YouTube playlist has all 15 songs, while JioSaavn is missing 2 of Dhruv Vishvanath’s songs – Wildfire and Write.

Pachtaoge – B Praak, ft. Asees Kaur (Indipop/Punjabi): B Praak recreates his own tune from last year (that featured Arijit Singh’s vocals) into a bit more edgy version, this time featuring Asees Kaur. The melody’s searing pathos continues to be very engaging and the new elements that the composer adds, like that momentary silence added at 1:53 and the new music that follows (missing in the original), make this variant a lot more interesting.

Lifafe – Sunny M.R. (Indipop/Hindi): Sunny once again brings his Telugu repertoire to Hindi, where he seems more content to assist Pritam instead of going independent. But the pandemic-induced lockdown seems to have unleashed his interest in going on his own. So, after Kahaniyan and Chaubaare, here’s the 3rd single from him! This one’s decidedly more enthusiastic and fun than the other 2 that seemed more brooding!

Aatishbaazi – Rocky-Jubin (Indipop/Hindi): Composed by the singer-lyricist combo, Rocky Khanna and Jubin Nautiyal, the music is flamboyant and offers ample scope for Jubin to excel in the singing. He does really well, with a confident edge in his voice, even as the swinging music behind him swells.

Vaan Thirakkindra Pozhudhil – Karthik KT, ft. Darshana KT (Indipop/Tamil): Well, this is a pleasant surprise! A soft jazz number, beautifully sung by Darshana… the melody and music reminded me of Shankar-Ganesh’s musical style for some reason!

Aaka Pirandhavale – Sean Roldan, ft. Vignesh Ishwar (Indipop/Tamil): Sean’s rousing tune is expectedly fantastic, but the music in the background that he truly excels and makes the overall song so much more enjoyable! It’s an eclectic mix, defying genre, and a dash of classical music thrown in when Vignesh expands on the tune. I’m just very surprised Sean or Jyothika did not want this tune for the film Raatchasi!

Vada Kadha Kelu Magane & Hostel Song – Monkey Donkey (Sooraj S Kurup) – Tamil: Sooraj in Tamil too, besides Malayalam, this week (see below)! The contrast is incredible. If in Malayalam, his music seems measured and nuanced, he does what we call in Tamil, “Get down and do the job”! But even in the raucous kuthu sound, the tune goes in interesting directions that defy a conventional kuthu song: that ‘Sottu sottah’ 4-liner joins another 8-liner in ‘Panamum peNNum’ and that entire set works effectively as an unusually tuned central portion. Anthony Daasan is, as usual, in his elements! In Hostel Song, Sooraj includes a mandolin’ish background that keeps the song constantly enjoyable, even as Uthara Unnikrishnan’s child-like vocals seems too young for what is a pulsating song with grown-up ambitions.

Thelinje Vaanaake, Thaane Mounam & Diname Diname – Kilometers & Kilometers (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: After the release of the lead single, Paaraake, just before the pandemic-induced lockdown, Sooraj’s full soundtrack for the film is finally out! As expected, the composer’s music continues to thoroughly enjoyable and highly nuanced. With a ebullient folk rhythm and equally catchy vocal chorus, Thelinje Vaanaake is a superb listen! Sithara Krishnakumar’s main line is truly memorable, in this mix. Thaane Mounam (and its other version, You And Me) is mounted brilliantly, raising the music progressively amidst the stunning chorus (and back-up vocals by Sooraj himself). Diname Diname is the soundtrack’s most pensive, with a serene backdrop that lets Mridul Anil hold fort mighty impressively. The quietude in the song makes as much music as the audible sounds!

Madhuranombaram – Sujith Kurian, Ft. Madhu Balakrishnan (Indipop/Malayalam): Sujith calls this experimental track as an ‘Electro Poem’, where lyricist Viditha Madhu’s lines come alive in his music. The music is vibrant and allows for the lyrics to thrive, but what truly holds this song together, and makes it a ‘song’ is Madhu Balakrishnan’s highly impressive rendition. The tune gets complex given the free verse that doesn’t seem to constrain the melody to any convention, and Madhu handles the flow beautifully!

Dark, Wildfire, Write & Carry – Dhruv Visvanath (Indipop): Dhruv, after his 2 earlier album (Orion and The Lost Cause), has been steadily creating singles. The 4 singles from May, June, July and August this year, respectively – Dark, Wildfire, Write and Carry (April’s Dear Madeline did not work for me) – are highly listenable! Dark starts off on a serene note and literally bounces into that rhythm at 1:35, while Wildfire’s winsome melody carries it through all the way, along with stunning guitar phrases (the Electric Guitar is by Shubh Saran). Dhruv’s guitar and warm vocals lead Write and Carry’s wonderful melodies, with the latter also including a beautifully realized chorus that adds tremendous value to the song. Dhruv’s music generally reminds me of Rob Thomas’ style (Matchbox Twenty) and since I love Rob’s music, I can understand why I like Dhruv’s too.

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