Milliblog Weeklies, Week 191 – July 24, 2022

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 191: On Spotify | On
21 songs this week! All the songs are available on YouTube, but Spotify is missing the entire Punjabi soundtrack of Bajre Da Sitta, very oddly!

Kesariya and Theethiriyaai – Brahmāstra (Pritam) – Hindi and Tamil: This is mighty rare! A Hindi-first song, one that Pritam has done a stupendous job at that, sounds as good in Tamil as it does in Hindi!! That the Hindi version by Arijit is matched by the Tamil version by Sid Sriram is not just credit to the singer alone in Tamil, but also the lyricist, Madhan Karky who writes so thoughtfully to fit a predetermined tune and lyrics package! The tune is vintage Pritam – lush, wonderfully melodic, and brilliantly staged. But what’s even better is to listen to both versions back to back and appreciate how each singer brings his own unique sensibilities to each version thereby helping us appreciate the same tune in 2 entirely different ways!

Pyali (Hindi), Pyali (Malayalam), Pyali Reprise, Noor, Toofani, Yeh Choti Si & Mando (the complete soundtrack!) – Pyali (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam/Hindi/English: Much like Kesariya, Pyali’s title song deserves attention for both versions – Hindi and Malayalam! The Hindi version is sung by Shreekumar Vakkiyil while the Malayalam version is by K. S. Harisankar. The tune is the same, and Prashant’s gentle, frothy melody is accentuated by the use of santoor and flute so gracefully. But listening to Shreekumar and Harisankar’s different articulation of the same melody is a joy in discovering 2 versions of the same goodness! As if this was not enough, there’s a Preeti Pillai version of the Hindi song too! Prashant changes the soundscape of this version and it’s a significantly different song in itself! And there’s more! The melody is used as the backdrop of Noor too and this too makes for a great listen!

Toofani has the mild edge of a non-Hindi person composing for Hindi, but Prashant’s lilting tune is full of joy. Sachin Warrier’s singing elevates the joy even further, leading to a wonderful high in the end. The sound of both Yeh Choti Si and Mando are very much like classic ad jingles that Mikey McCleary is known for. But Prashant brings his nuances to both songs and they soar gorgeously in Arun Kamath and Ashwin Gopakumar’s fantastic singing!

Pyali is one of Prashant Pillai’s best recent works. It’s a pity both the movie and soundtrack went largely unnoticed – for context, the movie released on July 8th!

Kahani (Sonu’s Version) – Laal Singh Chaddha (Pritam) – Hindi: When the first version, sung by Mohan Kannan released, I mentioned that his voice made a big difference from say, a Papon singing it. But the makers have a Sonu Nigam version of this Barfi’esque song and it sounds incredible too! This is a composer’s delight and each singer brings his own unique stamp to its articulation adorning it in different ways!

Ethikkum – Kallapart (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: The song genre is, as they say in Tamil cinema, ‘matter song’… implying a ‘song for seduction’. And Ilayaraja used to rule this genre at one point. The most interesting part about Nivas’s song is that the melody sounds like something that Ilayaraja may have almost composed! And yet, Nivas’s melody is more like he has imbibed the Raja sound (who would not, living in Tamil Nadu?) and brought out something that is a splendid hybrid between Raja’s melody and Nivas’s own additions! The singing is superb, getting the feel of the genre so well! Malvi Sundaresan’s lead vocals, and Saraswathi Menon’s rap sync so perfectly!

Megham Karukatha – Thiruchitrambalam (Anirudh) – Tamil: This is where Anirudh totally hits it out of the park! Everything about the song is super inventive! The blues’y sound, Jon-Paul Frappier’s trumpet underlining each phrase in the pallavi in a brilliantly showy way, the way to music takes over the 2nd ‘Parakka parakka’ from Dhanush’s vocals… this is an enchanting song! Anirudh just seems to be flying higher and higher!

Anbarey – Gulu Gulu (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: For almost the entire first minute, the music is very mild and the song runs entirely on Dhee’s magnificent voice and singing – she holds your attention so impeccably! And then Santhosh drops the beat and launches the ‘Anbarey’ hook! Terrific song that is a perfect combination of tastefully underplayed music and brilliant singing. What also stands out even beyond all the musical beauty is Vivek’s lyrics – every single line makes you think about and ponder deeply. That line, “Andai veettu theneer vaasamo” is a short story by itself!

Vattam Thaan – Vattam (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: This song sounds like a theme song that may be played during the credits, but even within that constraint, Nivas has such a profusion of interesting sounds and phrases! Roping in Malgudi Subha works wonders for the jazzy elements of the song and this is one of the best parts of the song. But even beyond that, there’s so much going for the song – Babu’s trumpets launch the song into a fantastic plane, while the lyrics (by Super Subu) stand out too! The ‘Thakkaali anbaala thaan pazhukkumaa?’ made me laugh out loud, both in its meaning and the way it is added in the song musically as a chorus call-out!

Etho Vaathil – Djinn (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: An outstanding song that sounds completely different, tonally, from the first single (O Manuja). This one’s a gorgeous melody with the usual Prashant-style twists, like that waltz’ish backdrop for the anupallavi! But for the charanam, he not only has a new tune to start with, but also brings the waltz’ish backdrop again eventually. Fantastic singing by KS Harishankar and Preeti Pillai, as always.

Kaanunna Kalyanam – Sita Ramam (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Telugu: What a delightfully beautiful composition by Vishal!! The pallavi reminded me of Keeravani’s recent song, Premante Enti, from Pelli SandaD, but almost like that song’s pace has been ironed out and laid out in a really slow manner! It could also be the call-and-response style of the tune that has the female voice’s question and the male voice’s answer. But Vishal’s melody is phenomenal as it progresses into the Hindustani classical mode so very gracefully! The singers, Sinduri and Anurag Kulkarni, do a tremendous job!

Mannum Niranje – Malayankunju (A R Rahman) – Malayalam: After Cholapenne, Rahman impresses once again! The almost breathlessly long pallavi is handled brilliantly by Shweta Mohan, while the other clear highlight is Abhay Sopori’s santoor, and the way Rahman uses it within the song.

Sone Da Chubara, Surmedani, Veeni De Vich Wang & Title Song – Bajre Da Sitta (Avvy Sra, Jaidev Kumar) – Punjabi: The film’s lead, Ammy Virk, himself a well-known singer, has just one song, and that says a lot about the framing of the film! The 4 songs featuring Jyotica Tangri and Noor Chahal are the highlights of this warm, lilting Punjabi soundtrack. Jaidev Kumar’s title song merely recreates the iconic traditional folk melody, by Avvy Sra’s 3 songs offer the 2 singers a bigger canvas to showcase the gentler, melodic side of Punjabi music in the best possible way.