Hitman – May 7, 2016

Originally published in The Hindu.

Anuvai – KaLam (Tamil – Prakash Nikki)
Composer Prakash Nikki made a decent enough debut in the Jeeva starrer Rowthiram and puts together an equally decent enough package in KaLam. It’s a spritely tune—possibly based on raaga Hamsanadam—wonderfully sung by Abhay Jodhpurkar and Swetha Mohan, with lovely lines by Kabilan Vairamuthu who starts the romantic number by splitting the atom! Prakash layers some really pleasant orchestration all along, with specifically lovely interludes, the first one using flute and the stunning second interlude with a more exotic sound.

Jagannatha Suprabhatam – Chinmayi Sripada and Prashanth Techno (Single on DooPaaDoo.com)
If you have grown up in an Indian household, chances are, you’d have heard, ‘Uthishtothishta Govinda uthishta garudadhwaja’, courtesy MS Subbalakshmi’s iconic Venkatesa Suprabhatam that starts many Indian households even today. There are variants of Suprabhatam, like Ganesha Suprabhatam and Seetharama Suprabhatam. The Jagannatha Suprabhatam, sung by Chinmayi with crystal clear diction, and mixed by Prashanth Techno is a pretty unique experience, given that ‘Govinda uthishta garudadhwaja’ becomes ‘Lokesha uthishta purushothama’, amidst the myriad other variations in the verses, written by Aasukavikitaambi T Govinda Iyengar of Srivilliputhur, in praise of Lord Jagannatha at Thirupullani. The raaga is the same—Sudha Saveri—but the packaging is modern, minimal and ambient… perfect for a morning! (Click on the image to listen to the song on DooPaaDoo.com)
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Ola ola kudisayila – Joker (Tamil – Sean Roldan)
Joker’s director, making his debut in Cuckoo, had extracted stunning music from Santhosh Narayanan. Here, for this second film, he ropes in Santhosh’s buddy, Sean Roldan to produce an encore. Ola ola kudisayila is a beautiful companion piece to Cuckoo’s soundtrack – gorgeous strings, incredibly bold mix of raagas and tune shifts, and almost-Raja’ish interludes—particularly the second one!—all come together so well! On top of these, you have Murugavel and Karthika Vaidyanathan’s fabulous vocals to breathe life into the lines that has two lovers look forward to their life together in the most simplistic way, far away from the glamor of modernity or money.

Ko ko kodi – Eedo Rakam Aado Rakam (Telugu – Sai Kartheek)
Telugu films have a rich history of using a rooster, hen and the resultant egg as a not-so-obvious and no-so-creative metaphor for ‘birds and the bees’. It is bawdy, of course, but in the colorful world of Telugu cinema, it is by now an accepted euphemism and goes rather well with foot-tapping Telugu music. Ko ko kodi uses this to the hilt and the resultant musical package is heady and catchy, and brings to mind a chequered lungi and some nifty footwork – trust veteran Rajendra Prasad to don the said lungi and offer the said footwork, along with his younger counterparts.

Akka petha jakkavandi – Maruthu (Tamil – D.Imman)
“Akka petha jakkavandi”… “Mukka dhudda enna neeyum”, goes the song. Now, remember “Enga akka petha mukka dhudde paadaatha vaaya thorandhe”? Yes, the song from Alaigal Oivathillai indeed. Given the similarity in words used (including the mighty quaint ‘mukka dhuddu’ that obviously doesn’t exist anymore, and taking into the consideration the similar rhythm and pause structure, it seems more like Imman, singer Anirudh (who does a fantastic job, with Niranjana Ramanan) and lyricist Yugabharathi were out to create an obvious homage to Raja’s iconic number, like a Vaadi yen kappakezhenge 2.0. And it works – is instantly catchy fun!