Saturday November 6, 2021

Milliblog Weeklies, Week 164 – Nov.07, 2021

Posted by Karthik

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 164: On Spotify | On YouTube
16 songs this week. All 16 are available on both Spotify and YouTube! 🙂

Tumse Bhi Zyada – Tadap (Pritam) – Hindi: I do know that Tadap is a remake of the Telugu film RX100 but it is uncanny how much Ahan Shetty looks like/made to look like Kartikeya Gummakonda from the original! The similarity in look is perhaps intentional given the character arc. But there doesn’t seem to be any point in trying to map the songs to the original – Pritam’s first single is a rather generic T-series material, but the music is energetically melodic and Arijit, as usual, breathes life into it so well.

Mann Kesar Kesar, Vaada Machaney & Tu Yahin Hai – Meenakshi Sundareshwar (Justin Prabhakaran) – Hindi: Justin has an almost A R Rahman’ish flavor and sound all through the soundtrack that seemed so very surprising given that he hasn’t demonstrated this trait in his earlier Tamil work or even the Telugu debut in Dear Comrade, a phenomenal soundtrack! I recall reading about Karan Johar being very interested in remaking Dear Comrade in Hindi but dropping that idea eventually after the film’s Southern misfire – is that the route how Justin landed in Karan’s/Dharma’s line of sight? Regardless of the ‘how’, this is an excellent outcome in every way!

In Mann Kesar, while I had a really difficult time managing Shashwat Singh’s ‘Suno kanmani’ instead of ‘Suno kaNNmaNi’ even as he pronounced the other Tamil line properly… or was that Tamil line sung by (a different) chorus team? But Justin’s melody is fantastic and is something you may have expected from his Tamil work too! That’s the trait with immensely lilting Vaada Machaney too – almost language-agnostic melody that could work across languages. The only awkward North-looks-at-South flavor was the ‘Vaada Machaney’ callout in the lyrics, but Benny has a way of selling that too so well! Tu Yahin Hai is the strongest ‘is-this-Rahman?’ flavor in the soundtrack, though! The dreamy and sweeping backgrounds, in the beginning, indicate that but Justin makes the song his own with the punchy beginning of the first interlude, something I may not have expected from Rahman. The song’s antara is such a melodious follow-up to the mukhda!

And while Tittar Bittar, Ratti Ratti and Down and Dirty (and the other instrumental and shorter songs) didn’t work for me as well as the first 3 songs, I still thought this was leagues ahead of what Hindi film industry produces these days counting the success based on 2-3-digit million YouTube views. I hope Justin gets more opportunities that are pan-India, if not Hindi.

Luv Ju, Tattoo Waliye & Dhik Chik – Bunty Aur Babli 2 (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: Without a doubt, the sequel’s music doesn’t seem to be a patch on the original, but there’s also a 15-year gap between the two because of which liking the original’s music could also be categorized as nostalgia 🙂 The 3 new songs in the album also seem low-key, literally, compared to the original that (in hindsight) seems louder and unabashed! Even Dhik Chik, the dholak-tabla-driven folk sound that SEL is known for, seems lesser amped compared to Kajra Re. But within the low-key’ness, the trio gets their tunes quite well for these 3 songs.

Sendumalli & Thala Kodhum – Jai Bhim (Sean Roldan) – Tamil: The two songs that worked for me in the soundtrack are both very Pradeep Kumar and Raju Murugan in feel; the latter is written by Raju Murugan and sung by Pradeep too, incidentally. In Sendumalli, Sean has a lot going on in the background in multiple layers that require a few listens to fully absorb and unpack the beauty. The singing is excellent though Ananthu sounds like Sean Roldan Lite (in a good way) and is a good foil to Kalyani Nair’s sweeter voice, particularly because of the unusual tune shifts that demand so much from both. Yugabharathi’s lyrics are striking, with lines like ‘Kodam Kodama Vervayil KuLikkayilum Thodaithida NeeLum KaikaLaal Asadhiyilla’! Thala Kodhum is comparatively simplistic but is equally melodious and pleasant and something you may expect from a Raju Murugan film.

Chenguna Chenguna – Varudu Kaavalenu (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Telugu: The soundtrack is already very good, with songs like Kola Kalle Ilaa and Manasulone Nilichipoke by Vishal, and Digu Digu Naga by Thaman. Now that the full soundtrack is out, there are two more songs by Vishal, but out of the two, I liked only one (and What To Do didn’t really work for me). Chenguna is every bit a Vishal song, with its faux-Carnatic/classical melody and Sinduri’s singing… besides that catchy hook!

Darshana – Hridayam (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Malayalam: The song joins a niche genre in Indian film music that are songs using the name of the leading lady in the lyrics. Examples include Vaazhve Maayam’s Devi Sridevi, Annamalai’s Kondayil Thaazhampoo, Naattaamai’s Meena Ponnu, Poovellam Un Vasam’s Yuktha Mukhi, Ghatothkachudu’s Jajjajja Roja, Gang Master’s Nagumomu Naghma, Nanbenda’s Oorellaam Unnai Kandu, among others. This one’s a bit extra special because Darshana has sung parts of the song too, along with Hesham’s lead vocals. It’s so good to see Hesham get the kind of opportunities he deserves and with this song, he composes and sings a wonderful melody that gains so much from his high-pitched rendition.

Pakaliravukal – Kurup (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: Sushin really hits it out of the park with this song! Not only does he have Neha Nair beautifully handling a mesmerizing melody, but his background music amps up the mood significantly. The rhythm is haunting and the interludes are so very unique and memorable!

Eeran Nila – Meri Awas Suno (M.Jayachandran) – Malayalam: There are 5 songs in this film’s soundtrack that I gave a spin after being adequately amused by the spelling of a Hindi title for a Malayalam film (that’s not a typo – that’s how it is spelt online!) 🙂 Also, the 5th song, Vellichillum Vithari, stopped me in my tracks! After a bit of Googling, I figured it is a recreation of a 1982 Malayalam song (with the same name/lyrics) by the composer A.T.Ummer from the film Ina (supposedly a remake of The Blue Lagoon). The reason it stopped me in my tracks was because it sounds adequately like Ilayaraja’s cult classic Putham Puthu Kaalai from Alaigal Oivathilla that came out in 1981! And the recreation’s recreation is released in 2021!

Anyway, back to Eeran Nila – Jayachandran layers guitary goodness to accompany Haricharan’s likeable singing. The melody, particularly in the anupallavi, seems old-fashioned in a good way.

Pinnenthe – Ellam Sheriyakum (Ouseppachan) – Malayalam: I understand this is composer Ouseppachan’s 200th film – that’s quite a record! I did get a more-than-generous hint of Vidyasagar in this song, though 🙂 It’s a lovely melody, though, with K S Harisankar anchoring the song’s considerable appeal in the high-pitched ‘En ViNNile Thaarame’ anupallavi!

Maruthai – Renuka Arun (Malayalam/Indipop): While Renuka’s tune shifts tone and mood more often than I can trace, I could, within my untrained ear, discern a couple of raagas including what sounded to me like Dharmavathy, particularly in the beginning, before the melody progresses to a calmer zone. The switch makes the song constantly interesting as also Renuka’s impeccable vocals, besides the majestic backdrop mounted by Fames Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra.

Thonnal – Govind Vasantha (Malayalam/Indipop): Thonnal is a very, very unique audio-visual experience that starts like an extended ad film for Taj Green Cove Resort & Spa in Kovalam, but goes on to prove what an imaginative story-teller actor Ahaana Krishna is considering she is the music video’s director. Haniya Nafisa’s sweet vocals and Govind’s serene melody almost seem like side attractions in the music video’s narrative that is set around a tantalizingly and exquisitely filmed food item that is best seen and not described by me 🙂 Ahaana’s imagination comes to the fore beautifully when she connects her childhood memory and ends the video with a wonderfully surreal touch (connecting the earlier shots when the vessels operate on their own)! I know this is a music playlist, but here, the music and the visual story-telling are integral to each other!



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