Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 197: On Spotify | On YouTube
9 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube and Spotify.

Le Sajna – Babli Bouncer (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Tanishk is more popular (or unpopular, as the case may be) for his remixes and recreations given the frequency with which he indulges in them (or, is asked to produce – a chicken or egg situation?). But he has been fairly consistent in producing really good original songs too, and this song fits that list. It’s a simple, bouncy, and thoroughly enjoyable song made better by Altamash Faridi’s affecting vocals.

Gaya Gaya Gaya – CHUP! (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: After quite some time, we have 2 big films with Amit Trivedi’s music (CHUP! and Goodbye). While the songs released so far from Goodbye barely worked for me (including the pub anthem sort of ‘Hic song’), CHUP! seems to have started on a considerably better note. I was a bit disappointed that Balki did not go back to Ilayaraja, but Amit’s first single from the film makes me look for more, hopefully. The melody works effortlessly though I find the background music lacking Amit’s usually more resonant nuance. The singers elevate the tune considerably – Rupali Moghe and Shashwat Singh (Rupali also sang Goodbye’s Hic song, incidentally).

Kanneer Sindha – Thiruchitrambalam (Anirudh) – Tamil: While this is very much Vijay Yesudas’s stellar show—he carries the song so well just like his famous dad used to during his heydays—Anirudh too works his sound magic in the background almost competing with the hugely affecting vocals. It’s a terrific mix. The interludes, in particular, are almost… almost Raja’esque!

Theliyaledhu Ga – Em Chesthunnav (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: There’s so much to observe and enjoy in this song by Gopi Sundar. Swetha Ashok’s solo vocals, is phenomenal – that ‘Ye janmalono’ pivot is handled beautifully, in particular. And then there’s Sandeep Mohan’s guitar! Observe how he plays it after ‘Ninu choosaaka naakemayindo’… lovely!

Thenthulli – Kotthu (Kailas) – Malayalam: A Sibi Malayil movie’s music deserves a closer look and I see he has chosen to work with Kailas, perhaps for the first time (after recent associations with composers like Bijibal and M.Jayachandran). Thenthulli is not really fresh or striking, but it does have a simple charm that draws you in, thanks largely to Sruthy Sivadas and K.K Nishad’s singing.

Arikeyonnu Kandoru – Vellaripattanam (Sachin Shankor Mannath) – Malayalam: I don’t recall hearing Sachin Shankor Mannath’s name or music earlier, but when I checked, I did listen to the first single from Vellaripattanam last month (Enthu Naada) and did not find it interesting in any way. But the composer does make a mark in Arikeyonnu Kandoru! It’s a spritely tune made even more likely by KS Harisankar’s (and Nithya Mammen’s) singing. The anupallavi seemed to be going in very odd directions, though.

Vasanthi – The Anirudh Varma Collective, ft. Sowmya Gurucharan & Abhay Nayampally (Indipop): An impromptu and free-flowing exposition of Vasanthi raaga that is insanely enchanting! Abhay Nayampally’s carnatic guitar has a similar richness and depth of U Srinivas’s mandolin, and Sowmya Guruchuaran’s crystal clear elucidation of the raaga is a sheer delight to listen to. As the raaga’s strands make themselves clearer, I couldn’t help trace famous songs that use the raaga – like Eeramaana Rojaave’s incredibly beautiful Adho Megha Oorvalam, and Mudhalvan’s Kurukku SiruthavaLe.

Sleepyhead & Je Suis la Pomme Rouge – The Night is Clear (Parekh & Singh) – English/Indipop: I totally dig this band’s sound and their third album is more of the same… and that’s a good thing! It’s a warm, familiar, and very likeable sound. The individual songs worked in varying degrees for me, but the 2 songs that stood out are these (I had written about the latter earlier this year, in January).

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 196: On Spotify | On YouTube
11 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is missing the song from ŠKODA Deccan Beats. It’s a bit surprising because it is on Sony, a label that usually gets its act together very well in terms of streaming availability.

Sol, Devaralan Aattam, Alaikadal & Ratchasa Maamaney – Ponniyin Selvan (PS-1) (A R Rahman) – Tamil: After the 2 songs that I have written about already (Ponni Nadhi and Chola Chola), the full soundtrack is finally out.

Sol is unusually shorter than not just the other songs but also the conventional song length if you consider the song situation – a between-the-girls song mainly between Kundhavai (Trisha) and Vaanathi (Sobhita Dhulipala). Rahman keeps the background aesthetically mild given that they are most probably traveling in a boat since you can hear the sound of the water and birds. The opening vocal humming effortlessly harks back to the 50s Tamil film music though the actual tune is decidedly more modern—and pleasant—with a very stylized and unexpected second ‘Sol’ in every line.

Devaralan Aattam is what you get when Rahman visits his own Veerapaandi Kottayile (1993), with the evolution of 3 decades of composing, musical exposure, and most importantly, age! In place of the former’s predictable and comfortable flow, there’s more abstract tune-making, but the basic aura and grandeur remain! Ratchasa Maamaney, in comparison, has a closer precursor – Kedakkari, from Raavanan! Shreya Ghoshal holds fort like only she can magnificently till the vocals start flowing freely much like the Raavan song – ‘Hey Maapla’ vs. ‘Hey Maama’! Palakad Sreeram and Mahesh Vinayakram are really good in this portion, even as Shreya keeps reminding us of her presence.

Alaikadal is perhaps the best song on the soundtrack; or at least as good as Ponni Nadhi! Kalki’s novel informs the reader that Poonguzhali’s (the boat woman) song is very beautiful and exotic. Rahman’s melody aims in that zone with a deeply melodic appeal, wonderfully accentuated by Antara Nandy’s singing. Even in this song, it feels like Rahman was trying to bring in the 50s Tamil cinema music, like Sol.

While Rahman’s music within the movie construct of Ponniyin Selvan is very, very good, I do wish Mani Ratnam had explored more period-contextual musical cues for Rahman to work on. For instance, the Chozha kings referred to in the novel are known to be extremely passionate and generous patrons of the verses and music of Thevaram, devoted to Shiva. And then, considering one of the crucial characters—Aazhwaarkadiyaan Nambi aka Thirumalai (played by Jayaram)—happens to be a deeply devout Vaishnavite, there are so many Vaishnavite musical and lyrical cues in the novel. Both these are missing in the soundtrack.

At the same time, Chozha kings were also supportive of other religions like Jainism and Buddhism (Arul Mozhi Varman/Raaja Raaja Chozhan’s period in Sri Lanka, when he is asked to be the king of the island by a Buddhist sect is an integral part of the novel). These are very, very rich music cues that I hope finds a part at least in the subsequent part of the film. Overall, while I did enjoy the music of Ponniyin Selvan 1 as an enjoyable modern musical soundtrack, I do wish Mani Ratnam had also offered cues to Rahman to depict the religiosity of the period, an integral part of the original books.

Veera Soora – Naane Varuvean (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: It looks like Yuvan reserves something special for Selvaraghavan. The sound he has concocted in this song is captivating, with a haunting Middle Eastern twang. The singing part is limited and Yuvan’s minimal singing, turned out mostly into a chorus-style, works pretty well in this context.

Thani Maramai – Buffoon (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: This is the kind of melody that Santhosh usually calls Pradeep Kumar to sing – you know instantly the kind of song for that combo. Surprisingly, Aditya Ravindran sings this very-Pradeep’ish song, along with Pavithra Ramesh. It’s gorgeous, with a haunting ‘Ooo ooo’ refrain that stays long after the song is over.

Life Ante Challenge – ŠKODA Deccan Beats (Alphons Joseph, Karthik Devaraj) – Telugu: ŠKODA Deccan Beats was launched in February as a talent hunt with mentors like Andrea Jeremiah (Tamil), Geetha Madhuri (Telugu), Sithara Krishnakumar (Malayalam), and Raghu Dixit (Kannada). Of the 3 songs released so far, two are in Telugu (including one featuring Tamil artist Bhavna Balakrishnan singing in Telugu) and one in Malayalam. I’m assuming the Tamil and Kannada songs are yet to be released. Of the 3, Life Ante Challenge works easily (compared to the other two songs that are at best middling), thanks to Alphons’ catchy music (fresh from Sundari Gardens’ excellent music), though the singing (Sony & Adviteeya) is functional.

Mabali Vanne – Onam Song (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: Imagine a very-typically likeable, sedate melody that Gopi composes usually in Telugu. That’s the precise template he uses in this Onam song. Along with Amritha Suressh’s impressive singing, the tune, the orchestration… everything works!

Melleyenne – Ini Utharam (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Malayalam: Hesham is having a pretty good year, with Hridhayam and Mike stopping the output so far. Melleyenne is a relatively predictable and simple melody, but not without its charm. The Gujarati start is a pleasant surprise. KS Harisankar can hardly ever go wrong with a melody like this, and he is such an important element in making this song appealing.

Megharajana Raaga – Monsoon Raaga (J Anoop Seelin) – Kannada: After the Raaga Sudha song, Anoop impresses yet again! The 2 songs are poles apart, and this one has Anoop’s trademark-style melody that Arvind Venugopal seems perfect for the vocals. K J Dilip’s violin is the other Anoop-style highlight.

Out of Love – Raashi Sood, The Raja Kumari, produced by Hiten (Punjabi): Working with Rashi and Raja Kumari’s folksy tune, Hiten produces a very cool synth sound in the tune. Raashi’s folk’ish part plays very well with the contrasting hiphop phrases from Raja Kumari.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 195: On Spotify | On YouTube
15 songs this week! All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Unna Nenachadhum & Mallipoo – Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu (A R Rahman) – Tamil: Considering I have already written about the 2 songs released earlier (Marakkuma Nenjam and Kaalathukkum Nee Venum), let me focus on the other songs from the full soundtarck released recently. Thamarai’s lyrical reference for Unna Nenachadhum clearly seems to be Parthaal Pasi Theerum’s Kodi Asainthadhum. It almost seems like the composer and lyricist had decided to use the older song’s lyrical flow and change the tune intentionally and obviously, considering the hat tip to retro-style music in ‘Dhooram kuraindhadhum pesa thoNuthe’. It’s a gorgeous song, however, with the connected lyrics adding to the song’s likeability as much as the excellent singing by Shreya Ghoshal and Sarthak Kalyani.

Mallipoo is a total and complete shocker coming from Rahman!! I’d associate the song’s style, sound with the 90s peak output by a Sirpi or Deva, when those composers were on the top of their game. The many nuances like ‘tring tring’, the mild distortion in the sound (like water flowing) after ‘Eppo varappora’ in the 2nd interlude, or that ‘machan machan’ chorus shortly after that… everything takes me back to the mid-90s! The only thing linking it to Rahman is Madhushree’s voice! But there’s an undeniable charm in the gentle tune, and Madhushree’s singing is a large part of that gentle charm!

Paruvame & Perinba Kadhal – Natchathiram Nagargirathu (Tenma) – Tamil: Natchathiram Nagargirathu is the first Pa.Ranjith film to not have music by Santhosh Narayanan (if you ignore his short film, Dhammam, which was part of the Tamil anthology called Victim; this too had music by Tenma). While I’d have loved to have heard Santhosh for Natchathiram Nagargirathu too, Tenma does bring his own uniqueness to the film, though not all songs worked for me. Beyond Rangarattinam, about which I had written earlier, let me come to the other 2 songs. Paruvame has a terrific 80s funk sound that Tenma fully commits to musically with superb strings in the background. Benny is perfect, given this is his forte. Perinba Kadhal is on the other end of the spectrum – a tantalizingly slow melody that has immense swagger in the interludes. The only issue I had with this song is Tenma’s Tamil diction – for instance, ‘KaalangaL’ is pronounced with a softer ‘l’. These are table-stakes.

Nenjai Kelu – Pisasu 2 (Karthik Raja) – Tamil: This is a phenomenally engaging melody that carries the best of Ilayaraja’s musical soul, plus Karthik Raja’s imagination, making it a unique mix. There are places where the Raja soul comes to the fore – like that tune shift in ‘Sargaaga alaigiren’ (with the background music changing) is so evocative of Raja. The interludes too scream ‘Ilayaraja’! But overall, this is a Karthik Raja number, and the man delivers beautifully. While Priyanka NK does handle the solo melody very competently, I did wish the melody was handed to a singer with more depth in her voice. Chinmayi’s voice, for instance.

Thanuvoka Thella Kagitham – Kotha Kothaga Songs (Sekhar Chandhra) – Telugu: I had associated Sekhar music with a specific style that I did not expect anything going into this song, but he surprised me! This is a female solo, like Pisasu 2’s Nenjai Kelu above, and Sireesha Bhagavatula handles the lilting melody wonderfully. The tunes for the anupallavi and charanam are particularly great.

Madhura Jeeva Ragam, Maya Moham & Paaduvaan – Sundari Gardens (Alphons Joseph) – Malayalam: Of the 3 songs that Alphons hands over to singer Mridula Warrier, she is outstanding in the solo outing of Madhura Jeeva Raagam. It’s a hugely tuneful melody with a tastefully limited musical background while she sings. The interludes, on the other hand, are a delightful cornucopia of sounds! In her other song, Paaduvaan, she joins Alphons in a wonderfully semi-classical melody punctuated by a soft, patient rhythm. The singing by both Mridula and Alphons is the clear highlight of this song. Sithara Krishnakumar is in her element, as usual, in Maya Moham, a lovely melody aptly adorned with Durwin D’souza’s guitars.

Ambili Ravum – Palthu Janwar (Justin Varghese) – Malayalam: More than Justin’s tune, the singer, Arun Ashok’s voice and singing carries a particular warmth that elevates this considerably!

Na Na Na & Aakashame – Mike (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Malayalam: There are 6 songs in the soundtrack, but as much as I really wanted to like many songs, particularly after Hisham’s outstanding work in Hridhayam, I wasn’t able to, despite a broadly likeable sound. The 2 songs that stood out for me beyond the generic sound are these two. Na Na Na’s rhythmic appeal is terrific and Benny is usually on-the-dot with such songs. In Aakashame that Hesham sings himself, and there’s a soaring musical backdrop that keeps the song consistently enjoyable.

Baaton Baaton Main – Shashwat Sachdev, ft. Anumita Nadesan (Indipop/Hindi): Even though I totally loved the melody scored by Shashwat, but was let down by his droning delivery, Anumita punctuates the song with her delightful ‘Kehdo dil mein jo chupe jo baat hai’ part! Between Shashwat and Anumita, they have a wonderful duet!

The music video too is a wonderful slice-of-life drama featuring a family of three with a particular focus on the relationship between the father and son!

Door Akhiyon Se – Rochak Kohli, ft. Lisa Mishra (Indipop/Hindi): Another breezy duet, much like the one above, but this one is a bit too mainstream and filmy. But let that not deter you at all since Rochak has a confident and winsome melody, beautifully handled by himself and Lisa. There are some nifty touches in the tune, like that antara line “Doori Mein Hi Jaana Hai” follows a similarly tuned line “Teri Aankhon Ke Dariya Mein” that turns out differently with Lisa joining with her humming!

Aaj Na – Mimmi (Ritviz) – Indipop/Hindi: If you are able to make peace with Ritviz’s droning delivery (several shades more grating than Shashwat, mentioned above!), there’s a curiously enjoyable song here that also seems to prominently feature the sound of what I felt was a calling bell 🙂 When the ‘Pehli pehli baar’ line kicks in after the extended 1-minute intro, that’s when the song perks up!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 194: On Spotify | On YouTube
9 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is missing two – have embedded them below.

Chozha Chozha – PS1 (A R Rahman) – Tamil: A terrific song that seems more like a background song but one that draws you in because of how unpredictable the flow is. The singing is ebullient and rousing, going so well with the flow of the lyrics! I was also intrigued by how the lyrics mix Aaditha Karikala Chozhan’s (the role played by actor Vikram) valour and personal regrets (around his love interest played by Aishwarya Rai) in the same song, making it difficult to place the song within the narrative of the film. Is it an intro song to Vikram? If so, dropping the love story into it without any prior context seems like an odd choice – so that cannot be it. Is it perhaps a drinking song with his buddies (since there’s a mention of ‘somarasam’ – what we assume to be present-day fermented honey aka mead)?

Alaipayuthey Kanna – Oottukkaadu Venkata Subbaiar, ft. Anoop Sankar (Carnatic/Indipop/Tamil): This iconic song has been recreated so many times by so many people already that it is so heartwarming that there are still more recreations being attempted confidently. Anoop’s recreation concept and singing (particularly the crystal clear Tamil diction) are amazing. The other pillar of the song is Sumesh Parameshwar’s guitar more than even the song’s usual prominent accompaniment (the flute, by Rison M R here).

Eppudo Ninnu – Sita Ramam (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Telugu: This film is already loaded with some solid music and I wish they release the darned soundtrack fully instead of drip-feeding even after the film’s release 🙂 Yazin Nizar’s vocals are predictably very good, but it’s Vishal’s music, blending the strings and flute, that elevates this song to a lovely high! The song does have a strong whiff of Vishal’s title song from Oh Manapenne.

Emavutundo Manalo – Krishnamma (Kaala Bhairava) – Telugu: M M Keeravani’s son Kaala Bhairava, besides being a singer, is also a fairly competent composer himself. He scores mighty well in this song which gains a lot from Sid Sriram’s singing. The tune, and the music, are nuanced and endearing.

Jinthaak – Dhamaka (Bheems Ceciroleo) – Telugu: An insanely catchy and addictive Telugu masala number from Bheems! As I have mentioned earlier, I see Bheems as the heir to Mani Sharma brand of music (no, not his son, Mahathi Swara Sagar, who has a different sensibility, relatively) and have noted some of Bheems’ earlier songs like Nakshatram’s Laayire, or Chalo Premiddam’s MBA MCA as samples. This one fits that template perfectly.

Prema Neyyappam – Oru Thekkan Thallu Case (Justin Varghese) – Malayalam: After last week’s 2 retro’ish Malayalam songs (Panjaarakko, from Solomante Theneechakal, and Oru Thekkan Thallu Case’s own Yentharu!), here’s one more! But this one’s unique – it uses Justin’s own singing to great effect in bringing a retro style, but treats that in a larger scheme that’s decidedly more modern. This includes a vocal chorus that I associate a lot more with Kannada film music – usually used by composers like Arjun Janya. Good fun, though!

Mazhayay Mohanam – Satish Nair (Malayalam/Indipop): Satish’s deeply melodic tune took me to some cherished Ilayaraja song and it took some time for an untrained (musically) like me to get to the song… rather, songs – Ninaivellaam Nithya’s Rojaavai Thaalattum Thendral and Raajapaarvai’s Andhi Mazhai Pozhigiradhu. I believe the former was based on Kaamavardhini raaga and the latter, Vasantha. I’m not sure if this song too is based on those raagas, but this is a beautiful composition.

Singara Siriye – Kantara (B Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: Ajaneesh hits the bullseye again… and how! The song’s inclusion of Kundapura folk music elevates the overall output beautifully. Vijay Prakash is at his usual best, while Ananya Bhat’s part, in the anupallavi, is scintillating. The chorus (Muddada mayange, Maunada sarange), as always, is absolutely brilliant and this is something Ajaneesh uses to great effect. But even beyond the superb pallavi, the anupallavi too (Mataduva mandarave…) is so very enticing! This is one heck of a tuneful song!

Jhirmar – Kutle Khan (Indipop): What a wonderfully lively song! This is in the Coke Studio zone, with a flashy chorus and some fantastic musical backdrop.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 193: On Spotify | On YouTube
11 songs this week! All the songs are available on Spotify, but YouTube is missing one song – Paravakal from 19(1)(a).

Kuku Mera – The Great Weddings Of Munnes (Arko) – Hindi: This is straight out of the Govinda films of the 2000s 🙂 But considering we haven’t heard such songs of late, this is more of a nostalgic liking than anything else. It has a catchy, simple hook and that helps tremendously.

Awaara Ho – Shashwat Sachdev (Hindi/Indipop): While the melody is pleasant and easy on the ear, the musical layer Shashwat adds makes it a lot more interesting, particularly the totally unusual interludes! They completely took me by surprise and made me sit up 🙂

Kabhi Kabhi – Anumita Nadesan (Hindi/Indipop): While the tune’s lazy drawl and atmospheric sound are alluring enough, Anumita’s singing too builds on the melody’s character! Very good listen.

Mohabbat Zindagi – Mikey McCleary, ft. Lucky Ali (Hindi/Indipop): Aah, that Lucky Ali magic is intact, thanks much to Mikey too! It feels almost like a song from Lucki Ali’s Sunoh all those years ago! The choir too brings so much to the song (they open the song!) that has a superb sing-along feel.

Kanja Poovu Kannala – Viruman (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: I thought I had added this song when it launched first, but realized that they actually launched only a 1-minute short version first and I had deferred adding it once they released the full version. When they eventually did release the full version, I thought I had already written about it and ignored it – so let me amend the situation I have put myself into 🙂 This is a gorgeously catchy song on the lines of ‘DhaavaNi potta deepavali’ that Yuvan excels in but produces less often. And Sid Sriram’s voice adds a different texture to the song that usually has Yuvan choosing voices like Vijay Yesudas.

Marakkuma Nenjam – Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu (A R Rahman) – Tamil: This seems to be the season of Rahman reaching out to his 90s repertoire more actively 🙂 But even as the overall sound (accentuated by the use of Vedha’s Ghatasinghari in place of other ghatam-based songs of Rahman) and Rahman’s own singing brings the 90s sound to the fore, Rahman’s also adds a brilliantly deeper chorus layer that is goosebumps-inducing!

Sippara Rippara – Paramporul (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: An instantly catchy song with an enjoyable rhythm and lilt! That Yuvan roped in Shankar Mahadevan instead of singing it himself… thank you ThiruthaNi Muruga!! Also, I like the fact that Yuvan doesn’t overuse the ‘Sippara Rippara’ hook and actually uses it sparingly, adding to its value.

Rangarattinam – Natchathiram Nagargiradhu (Tenma) – Tamil: A stupendously vibrant cornucopia of sounds marked by fantastic singing by a lot of singers – MS Krsna, Gana Muthu, Sangita Santhosham, Kavitha Gopi, and Karthik Manickavasakam. The song’s impromptu nature of building the tune works wonders for the melody conjured by Tenma. And that kuthu interlude is a superb addition!

Yentharu – Oru Thekkan Thallu Case (Justin Varghese) – Malayalam: This is the first of this week’s Malayalam music that harks back to the 50s/60s sound so wonderfully! Justin’s use of instruments (tabla, flute, and harmonium, in particular) brings that flavor so well, but it’s the singing that truly nails that sound. Himna Hilari and Justin Varghese are outstanding on the theme within that context.

Panjaarakko – Solomante Theneechakal (Vidyasagar) – Malayalam: This is the 2nd Malayalam song this week that goes back to the 60s. Both the songs evoke a strong whiff of Raja’s Nayakan classic Naan Siriththaal Deepavali in very different ways! Vidyasagar adorns this song with more obvious period sounds than Justin does in Yentharu. But like that song, here too, the singers, Athira Sujith and Reena Murali, do a terrific job – in fact, even better than Yentharu!

Paravakal – 19(1)(a) (Govind Vasantha) – Malayalam: So very, very Govind Vasantha… almost an extension of 96 given there is Chinmayi singing this one! It’s beautiful, with a pensive undercurrent and Govind’s flute adds to that sense of foreboding. The tune’s beauty gets even better as it enters the anupallavi (Doore)!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 192: On Spotify | On YouTube
16 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is shockingly missing the first single from Ponniyin Selvan!! It’s not on JioSaavn either! What is TIPS Music (Tamil) up to, seriously?

Tere Hawaale – Laal Singh Chaddha (Pritam) – Hindi: Pritam’s work in Laal Singh Chaddha, in my view, ranks as one of his best – the consistency in the sound and ethos is astounding! The last song, Tere Hawaale, feels like a Sikh prayer as it progresses—with the sound of the harmonium accentuating the effect—and almost sounds like a song by Mithoon, most probably because of Shilpa Rao’s vocals. The signers are stupendously good – Arijit and Shilpa are such a beautiful pair as far as a duet goes!

La Ilaaj – Darlings (Vishal Bhardwaj) – Hindi: Aah, that Vishal Bharadwaj melody! And Arijit to sing it (it was Suresh Wadkar earlier; then Vishal himself). Gulzar’s lines! What else does one want?

Aafat – Liger (Tanishk Bagchi) – Hindi: Incredibly groovy, with a hypnotic background chant-like sound and enjoyable riffs like that Hindi cinema dialog (Chod do mujhe). The tune is perfunctory, but Tanishk keeps the background and the hook consistently engaging!

Mor Mor, Jogan & Paracetamol – Goodluck Jerry (Parag Chhabra) – Hindi: There’s mor (!) than a dash of Amit Trivedi in Mor More. The frenetic, brass-band’ish catchy music layered on top of the folksy singing by Deedar Kaur and Gurlej Akhta has become Amit’s signature sound and Parag inhabits that sound quite well, producing a quirky, foot-tapping number. That Amit-factor gets more acute with Jogan (most probably maps to the Edhuvaraiyo song from Kolamaavu Kokila, at least lyrically), probably because of Romy’s singing too besides the deeply engaging melody. But credit to Parag – he produced a hugely rich tapestry of sounds, and the use of Rupali Jagga and Nikhita Gandhi vocals along with Romy works wonders. The way he pauses the music entirely before launching the ‘Jogan’ hook is brilliant!

What’s with paracetamol in Hindi songs? After Anurag Saikia’s song titled Paracetamol just last month in Panchayat, here’s another one, in Goodluck Jerry! But both songs are tonally completely different! Anurag’s song was a bawdy ‘item song’, while Parag’s song, turns into a lovely melody thanks to beautiful singing by Jubin Nautiyal!

The other songs, like Jhand Ba (the possible equivalent of Orey Oru song from Kolamaavu Kokila) and Cutie Cutie (maps to Kalyaana Vayasu quite obviously) don’t work as effectively, though.

Tinka – HIT: The First Case (Manan Bhardwaj) – Hindi: It’s a coincidence, but the new Tinka from HIT has the same moody sound from Karam’s (2005) Tinka Tinka sung by Alisha Chinoy (music: Vishal-Shekhar). Of course, unlike the earlier Tinka, this one is brooding, and not happy. Jubin carries the song’s mood brilliantly with his searing vocals ably supported by the superb trumpets!

Yaad – Roposo Jamroom (Mukund Suryawanshi, Ft. Sonu Nigam) – Indipop/Hindi: What a lovely song! Mukund’s melody is nice in a perfunctory way, but the magnificent highlight is Sonu Nigam’s singing. He lifts almost every line with his voice and his singing prowess, while also thoroughly enjoying every intonation!

Ponni Nadhi – PS1/Ponniyin Selvan (A R Rahman) – Tamil: A catchy song from Rahman that deserved a singer other than him. It becomes particularly obvious in some of the more showy lines like ‘Andho naan ivvazhaginiley’ and ‘Chozha silathaan ivalo’ which scream for a better singer to lift the song. To be fair, the tune is great, and the chorus/backing vocals are the one that significantly props the song. The lack of a good singer in Tamil is made more acute when you hear the same song in Kannada, sung brilliantly by Nakul Abhyankar, and in Malayalam, sung by Alphonse!

Thenmozhi – Thiruchitrambalam (Anirudh) – Tamil: Simple, lilting melody by Anirudh that’s a tad too predictable and familiar in the anupallavi. But Santhosh’s voice adds new life to the song, though this seems tailor-made for Dhanush’s own vocals!

Kannamma – Ben Human (Indipop) – Tamil: Ben’s body of work has been consistently good. I recall quite liking the vibe of his some of his recent songs like Single Superstar, Hey Zara, and Va En Thozhi. But unlike those songs where he composed his music himself (along with a co-composer like Tosh Nanda), he gets a mainstream composer like Achu Rajamani for this new song. And Achu’s music is definitely an asset here – it makes it seem like Suresh Peters is singing a Michael Jackson song. At least that’s the vibe here and is totally enjoyable!

Siri Siri Muvvallona – Ranga Ranga Vaibhavanga (Devi Sri Prasad) – Telugu: This is that side of DSP’s side where he shuns his mass sound and opts for Raja’ish sound instead… very convincingly, at that! The melody is lovely, and the rhythm is thoroughly addictive though quite simple. Shreya Ghoshal is, as usual, fantastic, but it is Javed Ali’s addition that is striking, particularly the second interlude! The Ilayaraja’esque flavor is at its strongest in the bridge that DSP builds in the last line of the pallavi, anupallvi, and charanam… the one that brings it back to the first line! That…!

Adirindey – Macherla Niyojakavargam (Mahathi Swara Sagar) – Telugu: Mani Sharma’s son seems to have a special knack for getting the songs very right for Nithin. After Bheeshma’s Whattey Beauty, here’s another winner from the combo! The composer makes a smart decision of roping in Kannada singer Sanjith Hegde to sing the song – Sanjith has been relatively new to Telugu music and his fresh voice adds a fantastic sheen to the catchy tune. Also, Mahathi avoids a specific hook and instead focuses on the overall melody – this too works in the song’s favor!

Kommallo – High Way (Simon K. King) – Telugu: Another song that gains so much from the choice of the singer! Here, Simon picks Sanah Moidutty to lead the song and that adds so much to the breezy melody with a winsome chorus! There are shades of Rahman’s Uzhavan-style flutes in the interlude, incidentally!

Badharile – 19(1)(a) (Govind Vasantha) – Malayalam: Gorgeous melody by Govind Vasantha that fits the Nikah theme. Veetrag sounds so much like Hariharan, and holds the song beautifully, while the chorus adds solid heft too!

Summer High – AP Dhillon (Indipop) – Punjabi: Wow… I couldn’t get enough of this song! The synthpop vibe is terrific, and Punjabi being sung for that sound makes it all the more interesting and alluring!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 191: On Spotify | On YouTube
21 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is missing the entire Punjabi soundtrack of Bajre Da Sitta, very oddly!

Kesariya and Theethiriyaai – Brahmāstra (Pritam) – Hindi and Tamil: This is mighty rare! A Hindi-first song, one that Pritam has done a stupendous job at that, sounds as good in Tamil as it does in Hindi!! That the Hindi version by Arijit is matched by the Tamil version by Sid Sriram is not just credit to the singer alone in Tamil, but also the lyricist, Madhan Karky who writes so thoughtfully to fit a predetermined tune and lyrics package! The tune is vintage Pritam – lush, wonderfully melodic, and brilliantly staged. But what’s even better is to listen to both versions back to back and appreciate how each singer brings his own unique sensibilities to each version thereby helping us appreciate the same tune in 2 entirely different ways!

Pyali (Hindi), Pyali (Malayalam), Pyali Reprise, Noor, Toofani, Yeh Choti Si & Mando (the complete soundtrack!) – Pyali (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam/Hindi/English: Much like Kesariya, Pyali’s title song deserves attention for both versions – Hindi and Malayalam! The Hindi version is sung by Shreekumar Vakkiyil while the Malayalam version is by K. S. Harisankar. The tune is the same, and Prashant’s gentle, frothy melody is accentuated by the use of santoor and flute so gracefully. But listening to Shreekumar and Harisankar’s different articulation of the same melody is a joy in discovering 2 versions of the same goodness! As if this was not enough, there’s a Preeti Pillai version of the Hindi song too! Prashant changes the soundscape of this version and it’s a significantly different song in itself! And there’s more! The melody is used as the backdrop of Noor too and this too makes for a great listen!

Toofani has the mild edge of a non-Hindi person composing for Hindi, but Prashant’s lilting tune is full of joy. Sachin Warrier’s singing elevates the joy even further, leading to a wonderful high in the end. The sound of both Yeh Choti Si and Mando are very much like classic ad jingles that Mikey McCleary is known for. But Prashant brings his nuances to both songs and they soar gorgeously in Arun Kamath and Ashwin Gopakumar’s fantastic singing!

Pyali is one of Prashant Pillai’s best recent works. It’s a pity both the movie and soundtrack went largely unnoticed – for context, the movie released on July 8th!

Kahani (Sonu’s Version) – Laal Singh Chaddha (Pritam) – Hindi: When the first version, sung by Mohan Kannan released, I mentioned that his voice made a big difference from say, a Papon singing it. But the makers have a Sonu Nigam version of this Barfi’esque song and it sounds incredible too! This is a composer’s delight and each singer brings his own unique stamp to its articulation adorning it in different ways!

Ethikkum – Kallapart (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: The song genre is, as they say in Tamil cinema, ‘matter song’… implying a ‘song for seduction’. And Ilayaraja used to rule this genre at one point. The most interesting part about Nivas’s song is that the melody sounds like something that Ilayaraja may have almost composed! And yet, Nivas’s melody is more like he has imbibed the Raja sound (who would not, living in Tamil Nadu?) and brought out something that is a splendid hybrid between Raja’s melody and Nivas’s own additions! The singing is superb, getting the feel of the genre so well! Malvi Sundaresan’s lead vocals, and Saraswathi Menon’s rap sync so perfectly!

Megham Karukatha – Thiruchitrambalam (Anirudh) – Tamil: This is where Anirudh totally hits it out of the park! Everything about the song is super inventive! The blues’y sound, Jon-Paul Frappier’s trumpet underlining each phrase in the pallavi in a brilliantly showy way, the way to music takes over the 2nd ‘Parakka parakka’ from Dhanush’s vocals… this is an enchanting song! Anirudh just seems to be flying higher and higher!

Anbarey – Gulu Gulu (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: For almost the entire first minute, the music is very mild and the song runs entirely on Dhee’s magnificent voice and singing – she holds your attention so impeccably! And then Santhosh drops the beat and launches the ‘Anbarey’ hook! Terrific song that is a perfect combination of tastefully underplayed music and brilliant singing. What also stands out even beyond all the musical beauty is Vivek’s lyrics – every single line makes you think about and ponder deeply. That line, “Andai veettu theneer vaasamo” is a short story by itself!

Vattam Thaan – Vattam (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: This song sounds like a theme song that may be played during the credits, but even within that constraint, Nivas has such a profusion of interesting sounds and phrases! Roping in Malgudi Subha works wonders for the jazzy elements of the song and this is one of the best parts of the song. But even beyond that, there’s so much going for the song – Babu’s trumpets launch the song into a fantastic plane, while the lyrics (by Super Subu) stand out too! The ‘Thakkaali anbaala thaan pazhukkumaa?’ made me laugh out loud, both in its meaning and the way it is added in the song musically as a chorus call-out!

Etho Vaathil – Djinn (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: An outstanding song that sounds completely different, tonally, from the first single (O Manuja). This one’s a gorgeous melody with the usual Prashant-style twists, like that waltz’ish backdrop for the anupallavi! But for the charanam, he not only has a new tune to start with, but also brings the waltz’ish backdrop again eventually. Fantastic singing by KS Harishankar and Preeti Pillai, as always.

Kaanunna Kalyanam – Sita Ramam (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Telugu: What a delightfully beautiful composition by Vishal!! The pallavi reminded me of Keeravani’s recent song, Premante Enti, from Pelli SandaD, but almost like that song’s pace has been ironed out and laid out in a really slow manner! It could also be the call-and-response style of the tune that has the female voice’s question and the male voice’s answer. But Vishal’s melody is phenomenal as it progresses into the Hindustani classical mode so very gracefully! The singers, Sinduri and Anurag Kulkarni, do a tremendous job!

Mannum Niranje – Malayankunju (A R Rahman) – Malayalam: After Cholapenne, Rahman impresses once again! The almost breathlessly long pallavi is handled brilliantly by Shweta Mohan, while the other clear highlight is Abhay Sopori’s santoor, and the way Rahman uses it within the song.

Sone Da Chubara, Surmedani, Veeni De Vich Wang & Title Song – Bajre Da Sitta (Avvy Sra, Jaidev Kumar) – Punjabi: The film’s lead, Ammy Virk, himself a well-known singer, has just one song, and that says a lot about the framing of the film! The 4 songs featuring Jyotica Tangri and Noor Chahal are the highlights of this warm, lilting Punjabi soundtrack. Jaidev Kumar’s title song merely recreates the iconic traditional folk melody, by Avvy Sra’s 3 songs offer the 2 singers a bigger canvas to showcase the gentler, melodic side of Punjabi music in the best possible way.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 190: On Spotify | On YouTube
15 songs this week! All the songs are available on both Spotify and YouTube.

Tur Kalleyan – Laal Singh Chaddha (Pritam) – Hindi: Oh wow! Beautiful song, and Pritam hits it out of the park yet again in another song from Laal Singh Chaddha. After an extended minute-long prelude, the song launches into an almost prayer-like melody topped by that repetitive ‘Tur kalleyan ve challaa’ refrain. Between Arijit Singh, Shadab Faridi, and Altamash Faridi, the voices ace the song’s meditative melody.

Fitoor – Shamshera (Mithoon) – Hindi: This was the only song that worked for me in Mithoon’s solo work in Shamshera. Given the largeness of sound demanded of him, where others like Ajay-Atul or Shankar Ehsaan Loy or even Vishal Shekhar have delivered fairly well, Mithoon seems to struggle. But Fitoor fits within his brand of intimate, soulful melodies and he handles it brilliantly. Neeti Mohan is particularly very good, handling the chunk of the song before Arijit Singh enters towards the end almost as if the man (Ranbir) found his voice only after the couple’s union. There are also shades of Rahman’s music in the way he used Ghalib’s “ishq par zor nahīñ hai ye vo ātish” in Dil Se’s Satrangi Re, here, in the way Neeti goes, “Yeh ishq ki baarish hui”.

Kankoththi Paravaye – Vattam (Nivas K. Prasanna) – Tamil: A truly gorgeous song by Nivas who also sings it so very well. I thought the ‘Thenmozhi’ part that appears in the middle could have been the song’s opening – it seems logical too, going by the tune. But Nivas chooses to open the song with the Kankoththi Paravaye part and that choice lends the song a wonderfully unique flavor. The music in the background is consistently fantastic, including the work on guitar and nadaswaram. Plus, observe the extra note of silence after ‘Solviththaikaariye’ and ‘Muththaththil Keeriye’ when these catchy call-outs appear in the opening paragraph vs. the missing silence after these words when they appear again, later!

Yaathri – Gargi (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: Yaathri’s stunning highlight is the way Govind uses silence so intelligently to enhance the song’s feel. That ‘Eththnai idar’ phrase is hauntingly beautiful, handled brilliantly by Ravi G! The other 2 songs by Govind did not work for me as much as Yaathri (the 4th song is a Sri Lankan Baila song by Nithi Kanagaratnam).

Tharangini, Yele Ilanchingamey – Cobra (A R Rahman) – Tamil: There’s such a ‘Anbil Avan’ (Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa) vibe in Tharangini!! The song’s pleasant tune and the almost breathlessly non-stop flow make it a great listen. And Yele Ilanchingamey is almost like a modern-day extension of Thenkizhakku Cheemayile (Kizhakku Cheemayile)! Very surprising to hear Rahman’s music shunning some of the modern baggage that he has moved on to and going back in time in such obvious ways.

Kurumugil – Sita Ramam (Vishal Chandrasekhar) – Tamil: This is interesting – this song has been released in 3 languages, but the tune is slightly different in Tamil, compared to the Telugu and Malayalam versions (which are identical). The Tamil version’s voice, Sai Vignesh, is very effective, even as the Telugu version has SPB Charan and the Malayalam version has Sooraj Santhosh, and both are fantastic singers. But I heard the Telugu version first and it didn’t quite appeal to me. It was only later when I heard the Tamil version that I realized what Vishal has done. The entire opening stretch till the children’s chorus is imagined very differently in Tamil and this I liked instantly! The anupallavi and charanam are common to all three songs, and it’s a pleasant surprise to hear this variation in melody – I wonder what led Vishal to experiment in Tamil alone.

Kaaka Kadha – Vaisagh – Tamil/Indipop: My first surprise with this song was the casual use of the otherwise ‘bad’ word that starts with M, denoting hair in Tamil. When did it become acceptable enough to be used in a mainstream song, I wonder. The other surprise is that Vaisagh, who writes, composes, and sings this song sounds so much like Hip Hop Tamizha’s Adhi including the disaffected way of singing. But the tune has a simple and infectious vibe that makes it work effortlessly.

Cholappenne – Malayankunju (A R Rahman) – Malayalam: This is akin to time travel, and the 2nd instance in this list after the 2 songs from Cobra! The song’s percussion reminded me of Gentleman’s En Veettu Thottathil while the overall tune and sound took me back to Uzhavan – both films were from 1993, incidentally! And that flute interlude is straight out of Roja itself. This song’s melody is vintage Rahman, removed from his current-day experiments, and Vijay Yesudas delivers it beautifully. It still feels a bit unreal to hear a new song by Rahman that harks back to his heyday since I thought he had completely moved on!

Viral Thodathe – Solomante Theneechakal (Vidyasagar) – Malayalam: After Aanandamo, Vidyasagar’s return to Malayalam (and composing) seems even more exciting with this 2nd single. There’s such a profusion of musical ideas in this song that I wonder why this composer was even out of work/fashion at all! Besides the lovely touch of each line consisting of just one word in the flow of the melody, the backgrounds are full of delightful Vidyasagar touches including the completely unexpected second interlude!

Aadalodakam – Nna Thaan Case Kodu (Dawn Vincent) – Malayalam: This an interesting song. The basic melody seems almost regimental or hymn-like. But Dawn adorns that simple melody in a musical backdrop that makes you sit up and give it more attention. The ‘regimental’ (army-like) nature of the melody gets accentuated with the march-past-like music Dawn adds at 2:18, but by then we are too invested in the overall package 🙂
And the singers are fantastic too – Shahabaz Aman and Soumya Ramakrishnan.

Maarivil – Ullasam (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: This is Shaan’s zone and he plays it very well! The melody has a sad undertone but Shaan layers it with what seems like 80s synth sensibility and that contrast works to the song’s advantage. Of course, much of the song’s charm is also the singers – Sanah Moidutty and Harib Hussain.

Raaga Sudha – Monsoon Raaga (Anoop Seelin) – Tulu/Kannada: To be sure, this is more of an instrumental song with limited vocals (chorus in Tulu). But Anoop does a terrific job mounting the chenda drums layer and almost treats KJ Dilip’s violin segment akin to a vocal element. The sound is vibrant and joyous, perfectly in sync with Yasha (who looks so much like Nithya Menen!!) and team’s graceful choreography.

Hey Fakira – Vikrant Rona (B. Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: I’m so glad to hear Ajaneesh’s music again in this film – the last single (Lullaby song) by Anup Bhandari (though programmed and arranged by Ajaneesh), did not work for me at all. This one has Ajaneesh’s trademark soundscape with a fantastic chorus section that truly stands out. And despite singing very few lines (in relation to the overall song), Chinmayi’s section is a stunning melodic standout.

Sivagama Sundari – Oneness (Guruprasad Subramanian, ft. Revathy Kumar) – Non-film: The duo, Guruprasad Subramanian and Revathy Kumar, have been consistently reimagining classic Carnatic devotional songs with a modern aesthetic. Sivagama Sundari is a great addition to that list (in the Oneness collection). Not to be confused with Papanasam Sivan’s Sivagama Sundari, Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s Sivagama Sundari is usually sung in Jaganmohini raaga. But Guru and Revathy’s recreation doesn’t seem to be set in that raaga and offers a very different experience over the same verse. It sounded like Mayamalavagowlai to my untrained ears and is a fantastic listen.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 189: On Spotify | On YouTube
9 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, while Spotify is missing one song – the one by Mejjo Joseph.

Phir Na Aisi Raat Aayegi – Laal Singh Chaddha (Pritam) – Hindi: Despite an underwhelming trailer, Pritam seems to have done his job really well for the film! After Kahani, this is yet another splendid melody from the man, once again supported amply by Arijit Singh! The melody’s simple structure and softly understated music work tremendously to its advantage.

Gaaye Ja – Sunny M.R., ft. Arijit Singh – Hindi/Indipop: It’s good to hear Sunny’s music again considering he finds assisting Pritam to be a more consistent work. This one fits perfectly within this fabulous Telugu music repertoire, including that captivating electric guitar by Ankur Mukherjee and an always unpredictable melody and music combo that remains consistently interesting all through. Arijit, of course, is the song’s highlight, with his delightful singing.

Gagan Dhuan Dhuan – B Prasanna, ft. Bombay Jayashri – Hindi/Indipop: Oh boy, what a surprise this was! Bombay Jayashri’s voice is fantastic, as always, and she has been handed a deeply melodic tune that she handles brilliantly! The bigger surprise is Prasanna’s music which goes far beyond merely embellishing the melody! There’s an almost Hollywood’ish flourish at places – whether such nuance was really needed for this melody or not is a different question, though. That it sounds amazing is what matters.

Main Jee Raha – Roposo Jamroom (Ana Rehman/Jam8 Studio, ft. Jazim Sharma and Shilpa Rao) – Hindi/Indipop: After the first single from Roposo Jamroom (Raah Dikha De – Mohit Chauhan, Asees Kaur) and looking at the impressive line-up of singers, I had assumed that the quality would be consistently good. That didn’t happen, sadly. But after 3 songs that did not work for me at all, I’m glad to hear one that does. The faux-sufi style sound has a strong whiff of Pritam’s music from the mid-2000s, but Ana Rehman’s tune holds on its own too, confidently. The singers carry it really well – Jazim is good, but it is Shilpa Rao who is the true star here!

Mittai Mittai – Anel Meley Pani Thuli (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: I really, really wonder why doesn’t Vijay Narain get more songs to sing! The freshness he brings with his relatively less-heard voice adds hugely to the song’s appeal. Of course, Santhosh’s breezy melody is delightful too, particularly the way he introduces Karthika Vaidyanathan’s part in the charanam.

Adiye Adiye – Panni Kutty (K) – Tamil: I think it’s been ages since I heard new music from composer K. Panni Kutty’s soundtrack is interesting, but while the other songs did not work for me, this one does, almost effortlessly. A lot of that credit should also go to Haricharan, given his impeccably good singing and voice.

En Paathi Neethanadi – Mejjo Joseph – Tamil: Mejjo recreates his own 2019 Malayalam song ‘Kadhakal Neele’ while retaining Haricharan’s voice, but changing Shweta Mohan’s voice with Chinmayi’s. I can’t really choose between Shweta and Chinmayi given both are outstanding singers, but the Tamil version sounds as sweet as the original. The tune remains wonderfully warm and lush.

Natavara (Chiru Song) – Ante Sundaraniki (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: I do understand that this song’s appeal is considerably more about the picturization and the cool 90s Chiranjeevi dance moves by the kids. But Vivek’s music also took me back, to some extent, to Anjali’s soundtrack (even the group dance filming)! And God, Mano’s voice takes one straight to that era!! 🙂

Maayagange – Banaras (B. Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: Despite the fact that the song has been released in 5 languages, let me pick the Kannada version given Ajaneesh’s roots. The tune too, despite being converted into so many languages, seemed distinctly Kannada in flavor to me. And it had the Ajaneesh trademark too in the kind of sweeping melody employed. But beyond the melody, the music sparkles with some electronic sounds.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 188: On Spotify | On YouTube
11 songs this week! All the songs are available on Spotify, while YouTube is missing one song – the one from Pakka Commercial (inside a jukebox).

Mudhala – Madhil Mel Kaadhal (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: The song is titled ‘Mudhala’ and Nivas and lyricist Madhan Karky do something interesting here. The title doesn’t appear till the last 30 seconds of the song when it takes a completely unusual turn that belies what we heard till then! It starts beautifully with the soft melody by Kapil Kapilan (he is really good!) and then Darini Hariharan repeats that tune, with an anupallavi too in the middle by Kapil. And then Nivas drops that ending… wait for it! Madhan’s lines are, as always, brilliant – “Rendu veru niruvanagaL ondru serndhu iNaivadhu pol, undhan nenjum, endhan nenjum oppandham podutho” has to be the most capitalistic way to decipher falling in love 🙂

Saanjikkava – Kaari (D.Imman) – Tamil: A very, very Imman-style melody. The tune is affecting, but there are the background details that seem less organic and more programmed. But Imman has a way of throwing surprises, like that ‘muLLu putharoram pullil iru naagam’ twist that moves away from the core melody but comes back wonderfully.

Sundari Pennae – Berklee Indian Ensemble feat. Shreya Ghoshal (Tamil): This is a pleasant surprise! Oru Oorla Rendu Raja is one of Imman’s solid albums. To see a song from that 2014 soundtrack being picked up for a recreation is that surprise, considering this wasn’t that big a successful song even back then, though a brilliant composition. The Berklee Indian Ensemble’s starkly unique additions surface in the anupallavi that comes with a Jazz-infused backdrop.

Adhirindhi Mastaru Mee Posteru – Pakka Commercial (Jakes Bejoy) – Telugu: This song is what would materialize when Devi Sri Prasad decides to tone down his style while composing yet another of his famously catchy masala numbers! The rhythm is present, but it doesn’t have the loud edge usually famous in DSP’s music. The tune too is ripe for going full-on masala bouncy mode, but it holds back instead, focusing more on a consistently lilting backdrop than quick bursts. Clever work by Jakes.

Penne Penne – Ullasam (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: I thought the idea of using tribal people who live near Ooty/Coonoor (in the Nilgiris range) as background props had stopped with the mid-90s. But here we are, with this song from a 2022 film! Thankfully, Shaan doesn’t use tribal bells and instruments to hammer that idea musically too. His tune is upbeat and adequately modern, with a lilting middle section too! Shembakaraj and Shaan handle the singing, with all the higher notes registering perfectly.

Rithuragam & Hey Kanmani – Vaashi (Kailas) – Malayalam: The other two songs in Vaashi don’t quite rise up to the standards set by Yaathonnum Parayathe, but they do make for a very good listen nonetheless. Both the songs are considerably lighter in tone than the other song, and Kailas’s music includes phrases of levity in the form of captivating chorus pieces in both the songs. Despite singing a shorter portion of the songs, both Sruthy Sivadas and Greeshma Tharavath, respectively, are particularly good in them.

Aane Maadi Heluteeni – Guru Shishyaru (B.Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: The strings in the background is by now Ajaneesh’s trademark! I first recall hearing them in the interludes of Ulidavaru Kandante’s superlative song ‘Gatiya Ilidu’. Here, they occur in tandem with Harshika Devanath’s closure of each paragraph. And that core melody is gorgeous – this is the kind of melody that D.Imman, in Tamil, usually peddles in but has become a bit too monotonous. But in Ajaneesh’s handling—particularly that ‘Aane Maadi Heluteeni Naanu NinnavaLu’ part—it still stands out wonderfully.

Ilzaam & Barsaat – Industry (Arjun Kanungo) – Indipop/Hindi: Arjun’s new album Industry is a mixed bag, at least for me. The 2 songs that worked for me are Ilzaam and Barsaat. Ilazaam, with its predictably classic Latino pop style, works wonders. The sound that Arjun mounts to land the Ilzaam hook is fantastic. Barsaat has an addictive rhythm that gets progressively more interesting even as the singing totally envelops the listener with the way it builds.

Ta Dhom 2.0 – Ta Dhom Project: The Album (Viveick Rajagopalan · MC Awaaz · MC Artslord · MC DEHAATI) – Indipop: The 2017 lead song from Viveick’s album gets a recreation, and this has a new set of singers (the original had Dharmesh Parmar aka MC TodFod who passed away in March this year). This time the mix is Hindi-Tamil-Bhojpuri, unlike last time which included Hindi and Malayalam. The sound remains the same, a deeply resonant melodic strain that seems to me like snatches of raaga Puriyadhanashri.

Here is the 2017 song, for context:

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