Originally published in The Hindu.
Nila nila – Yaanum Theeyavan (Tamil – Achu)
Achu Rajamani has time and again proven himself to be a nifty, dependable composer in Telugu films. His Tamil efforts haven’t been all that successful, though, despite fantastic music in Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathilaey, back in 2012. After Urumeen, he tries again in Tamil with Yaanum Theeyavan, and Nila nila is the pick of the soundtrack. The charming melody builds up really well, with Swetha Mohan’s eventual entry and the tabla layer add to the song’s appeal.
Pranaamam – Janatha Garage (Telugu – Devi Sri Prasad)
By now it seems completely pointless to dwell on Devi Sri Prasad regurgitating his own tunes and sounds since (a) it seems to be working for him and (b) talking about it doesn’t produce any meaningful outcome anyway. So, Janatha Garage is more of the same from the composer. Within that limitation, Pranaamam works perfectly as a nice pop bhajan. Shankar Mahadevan’s deep voice is apt for the song, and Ranina Reddy’s background vocals merge well too.
Kanasalu/Gamanisu – Mungaru Male 2 (Kannada – Arjun Janya)
That Mungaru Malu is getting a sequel is news by itself, but the bigger news is that the composer of the first film—Mano Murthy—is not composing for this one! The currently in-form Arjun Janya does the honors and he does a great job! Perhaps owing to sentimental reasons, Arjun ropes in Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Nigam to sing the same tune in Kanasalu and Gamanisu, respectively, like they sang Mungaru Male’s Araluthiru and Anisuthide, (though Jayanth Kaikini wrote both versions in that film; he writes only the latter here, the former written by the film’s director Shashank)! An outstanding melody, wonderfully sung and even evoking A R Rahman’s anupallavi from Duet’s En kaadhale in its own anupallavi.
Judaiyaan – unIndian (Hindi – Salim-Sulaiman)
Going by the lyricsaan that go overboardaan on the ‘aan’ suffixaan to every wordaan, this does seem like the typical Bollywood sad (usually called ‘pathos’) song. But Salim-Sulaiman’s music simple, lilting and earnest faux-sufi, with a nice dash of Sarangi. What works significantly in the song’s favor is the spirited singing by Digvijay Singh Pariyar, who had earlier sung Jaago Mohan Pyaare in Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s Katti-Batti.
Purza – Akira (Hindi – Vishal-Shekhar)
Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani seem to be on a comeback streak of sorts. After a contextual and enjoyable soundtrack for Sultan, they produce a good soundtrack for the gender-altered Hindi remake of the Tamil film Mounaguru (which had good music by Thaman, incidentally). Purza, the soundtrack’s best, is vintage Vishal-Shekhar. It flows smoothly with a breezy tune, is brilliantly sung by Arijit Singh and has a dash of Latino. The most interesting and surprising element in the song, though, is a smattering of thavil in the second stanza!