Milliblog Weeklies, Week 190 – July 17, 2022

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.