Top recent listens (July 2012)

Lagan lagi re – Trishna (Amit Trivedi)
Kavita Seth and Shreya Ghoshal’s endearing vocals lead Lagan lagi re that plays right at the end credits of Trishna, a film which has Amit’s original songs but hasn’t seen a formal OST launch yet. Iqbal Warsi’s sarangi plays an integral part in this lovely track too!
Lagan Lagi Re – Trishna by milliblog

Mane tanka baare – Rambo (Kannada – Arjun Janya)
In a way, this song is the Devi Sri Prasad-Baba Sehgal equivalent of a Telugu masala mix, but it is a good, catchy listen. Ironically, Arjun uses Baba Sehgal in the remix version and messes it up beyond redemption. A line in the song goes, ‘Hamsalekha violin’…! Is composer Hamsalekha’s violin usage that iconic that it can be referred to this clearly? I personally would say yes, but I am surprised that this is a commonly understood notion!

Koi labda – Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 5, Episode 5
My only favorite from the last episode of season 5 of Coke Studio Pakistan. Symt gets ample support from Sanam Marvi in this somber and serene song.

Title song, Beautiful Girl & Amma ni kothaga – Life Is Beautiful (Telugu – Mickey J Meyer)
Mickey is back, but not with anything dramatically new or fresh. I believe he had taken a break for personal reasons (his father’s demise) and this soundtrack may well have been composed back when he was active. Result… a listenable soundtrack but one that doesn’t do justice to caling it a comeback. For that, I’m waiting for Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu.

Onnum puriyala & Ayayayo – Kumki (Tamil – D.Imman)
This Imman is slowly turning out to be a surprise package. Along with Amara, Kumki is yet another enjoyable soundtrack. Onnum puriyala is a particularly lovely track.

Kaafir andhere – Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (Hindi – Jeet Ganguly)
Even as Jeet reuses his own Bengali original, Batashe gungun from Chirodini Tumi Je Aamar, he creates a wonderful variant in Hindi thanks largely to KK’s proficient singing. The soundtrack too is surprisingly listenable, for what seems like a comedy film!

Dhoorathil unnaikkaanum – Veyilodu Vilayadu (Tamil – Karthik Raja)
With Yuvan’s vocals, this song risks being referred to as a Yuvan-composed song – it sort of sounds like that too, but Karthik Raja’s stamp is unmistakable, particularly in those violins in the interlude!

Banjaara, Saathi salaam, Mauje naina & Madari – Coke Studio India, Season 2, Episode 1 (Clinton Cerejo)
Coke Studio India is definitely getting its act together after that sorry season 1. The very fact that a new composer/arranger gets behind the scene in each episode is a massive, welcome change. It brings out a lot of diversity and freshness to each episode unlike the Leslie Lewis-dominating, flashy season 1. Episode 1 has lovely tracks like Banjaara, with Nandini Srikar’s breezy counterpoint to Vijay Prakash’s classical base; Sawan Khan’s rousing and anthemic Saathi salaam; Vishal Dadlani and Sonu Kakkar’s breathlessly exciting Madari, where Vishal’s vocal prowess is mighty impressive and Mauje naina… my favorite of the first episode for the vibrancy of the tune that blends Bianca Gomes’ portion with Shadab and Altamash’s high-pitched part inventively sounding all the while like a superbly deviant Bond title theme!

Husna – Coke Studio India, Season 2, Episode 2 (Hitesh Sonik)
There is a Bhupen Hazarika’ish charm in Piyush Mishra’s Husna… a sweeping, melancholic song touching upon Shivaranjani raaga. Piyush’s story-telling is touching as his raw voice and Hitesh Sonik’s arrangements.

Badri badariyan, Bari bari, Yatra & Nirmohiya – Coke Studio India, Season 2, Episode 3 (Amit Trivedi)
Badri badariyan starts in the most unlikely manner, but builds itself up in true Amit Trivedi style, led by Mili Nair’s powerful vocals and backed by Arshad Khan. The most Trivedi’ish track of the episode is perhaps Bari bari… harmonium intact! Natalie Di Luccio and Shriram Iyer rock this ebullient track, while Yatra is possibly the episode’s most diverse and innovative! The African sound threw me completely off track but the main hook – Anhoni anhoni yatra made up for it. The song’s stunning highlight is the inclusion of Gopalakrishna Bharati’s Aboghi-based Sabhapathikku veru deivam by Shriram – this is goosebumps inducing fusion!! On the other hand, I’m surprised Amit did not reserve Nirmohiyan for a film – this is perfectly dulcet film song material aced by Harshdeep Kaur and Devendra Singh’s vocals.

Nadia – Coke Studio India, Season 2, Episode 4 (Nitin Sawhney)
The least impressive episode so far, in my opinion. Nadia is the only song that I could relate to and enjoy, thanks largely to the nifty additions to the original thumri and Nitin’s own earlier version, like the Kasturi tilakam prelude and the vocals by Nicki Wells & Ashwin Srinivasan.

Vaayamoodi – Mugamoodi (Tamil – K)
This is a fairly unexpected kind of song in what is billed as a superhero film. But it is a beautiful listen – the lyrics, the harmonious and repetitive chorus and the vocals… all make it a charming experience.

Saiyaara – Ek Tha Tiger (Hindi – Sohail Sen)
The only song that stands out in the soundtrack. Usually, Yash Raj films have been known for their populist music, but the choice of Sohail Sen and the resultant soundtrack (with one sorry and templatized song from Salman loyalists Sajid-Wajid) leaves a lot to be desired. Mohit Chauhan single-handedly saves Saiyaara, incidentally.

Chhi chha ledar, Kaala rey & Moora – Gangs of Wasseypur 2 (Hindi – Sneha Khanwalkar)
A fitting follow-up to the eclectic first soundtrack! Chhi chha ledar is the pulsating highlight of the song… it is relentless in its rhythm and fervor and works perfectly. Kaala rey is haunting, setting its mood intriguingly along with its lyrics and Sneha’s unique singing style, while Moora’s calypso base has been used brilliantly.

Maula & Abhi abhi – Jism 2 (Hindi – Arko Pravo Mukherjee)
Even as Arko gves interviews explaining that the title song is not lifted from any other source (quite unconvincingly, given blatant evidence to the contrary), he does have two other songs that he can be proud of. In particular, Maula – the choice of Ali Azmat is brilliant and he delivers wonderfully.

Koorapodava, Theeyum theeyum & Ennennamo nadakkudhe – Amara (Tamil – D.Imman)
Yes, Ennennamo nadakkudhey could be clubbed into many other recent Imman tracks given that the template seems very similar, it is still a lovely listen. Koorapodava’s joyous sound is infectious and Theeyum theeyum rocks with Naresh Iyer’s vocals, despite the familiar pop sound with Harris Jeyaraj’ish phrases (Ival paarvayil…) and English intrusions.