Milliblog Weeklies, Week 206 – January 8, 2023

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 206: On Spotify | On YouTube
19 songs this week given that I had closed 2022 mid-December. So the songs released in the 2nd half of December 2022 are in this playlist, the first in 2023. All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Duniya, Ghanghor Connection, Netflix & Chill and Tabah Tabah – Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Duniya took me back to Mujhko Khuda Ne De Diya from Sandeep Chowta’s Pyar Tune Kya Kiya (2001) – both seem to have the same steady thrum and melodic approach. Abhay Jodhpurkar’s singing is truly the highlight here, though – his vocal texture seems completely fresh in this tune and also helps accentuate Shellee’s Hinglish lines peppered with so many ‘in’ words! Ghanghor Connection too has a seamless Hinglish flow, a bit more than Duniya, at that, but it works well for the pleasantly soaring melody that has Amit’s signature written all over. Abhijeet Srivastava’s singing goes beautifully with the melody’s flow.

Netflix & Chill has me wondering if (a) Netflix officially worked with Anurag for this ‘placement’, (b) this film would premiere on Netflix, and (c) if it ends up some other streaming platform, would they consider beeping the brand name 🙂 As a song, with the wonderful profusion of the trumpet, this is stupendously catchy, with punchy singing by Sharvi Yadav. Tabah Tabah is the other song that I found noteworthy! This is the kind of tune that composers would usually seek Sukhwinder Singh with their eyes (ears?) closed, but here we have Shehnaz Akhtar, Altamash Faridi, and Anand Bhaskar deliver a zingy, high-pitched, and often hypnotic melody.

As a soundtrack, overall, given the past collaborations of Anurag Kashyap and Amit Trivedi (Dev.D, Bombay Velvet, Manmarziyaan, among others), the soundtrack holds a lot of expectations, and I should say it is uniformly listenable, though not as good as this combo’s prior high.

Haseen Mushkilein – Faadu – A Love Story (Santhosh Narayanan) – Hindi: I had written about the film’s first single (Saath) earlier. The full album is out now and it has 2 songs and 8 instrumental pieces (of which, ‘Daughter’ is quite a listen too). The 2nd song, Haseen Mushkilein is as good as, if not better than, Saath! Santhosh sticks to his familiar, lush sound that we have come to expect and love from him in Tamil – I could imagine Santhosh himself singing this tune if it was in Tamil, with his gruff voice. But Aditya Ravindran’s singing in Hindi transforms the song’s texture into an entirely different one – hugely listenable and warm.

Aashiqui – Cirkus (Badshah) – Hindi: Cirkus may have come and gone swiftly, but this song by Badshah was a surprisingly nice listen! The sound is very similar to the Nordic dance-pop, the likes of Ace of Base and Aqua. There’s some autotune, of course, but the overall sound has a charm.

Besharam Rang – Pathaan (Vishal & Sheykhar) – Hindi: Considering SO MUCH has happened with regard to this song ever since it released in the 2nd week of December 2022, it feels odd to write about it now 🙂 But I closed 2022 around mid-December to share my annual music summary (in which this song was part of, incidentally), and this has to be done only now. At its very basic, the song feels like a ghazal draped in a shiny, golden bikini, not very different from the one Deepika is showing off in the video. And to handle a song like that, you have the impeccable Shilpa Rao! She is the real star of this song, easily. Considering the other song from this film (Jhoome Jo Pathaan) was so utterly outdated and embarrassing, this song seems like a surprise. I do hope the makers and the composers consider releasing an austere version of this song sung by Shilpa Rao without the glitzy techno trappings.

Zara – Farhana (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: Oh wow! After Orr Kadhal Kanaa, Justin strikes again in Farhana, and how! Like Adnan Sami in that song, he picks Goldie Sohel, another non-Tamil singer, for Zara. But Goldie seems fairly decent with the diction and even better with the singing! Justin’s melody is enchanting, built like an unplugged song played live (of course, it is not). Observe the small nuances, like the ‘Angum ingum sandham sindhum’ line where the ‘sandham sindhum’ repeats for the 2nd time in the background even as Goldie has started singing ‘Zara’. Looks like Justin reserves his best for director Nelson Nelson Venkatesan (Oru NaaL Koothu).

Kasethan Kadavulada – Thunivu (Ghibran) – Tamil: Of the 4 songs in Thunivu, only one song worked for me, and full marks to Ghibran for picking Vaisagh for the vocals! His singing and style are perfect for this steadily lilting song with some catchy musical phrases. I thought I also heard shades of Nayagan’s iconic song by Raja, ‘Nila Adhu’ – particularly the lines,
“Ponnukkum PoNNukkum Adithadithaan
Mannukku Pogira Olagathilae
Pasikkuthu Pasikkuthu Dhenam Dhenamthaan
Thinnaa Pasiyathu Theernthiduthaa” 🙂

Adiye Raasaathi – Bommai Nayagi (Sundaramurthy KS) – Tamil: Trust Sathyaprakash to handle songs like this! Sundaramurthy’s ‘Adiye Raasaathi’ hook is easily the best part of the song.

Ho Egire, Ayyo Ento – Kalyanam Kamaneeyam (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: I’m thrilled to see a new soundtrack from Shravan, after having followed, and loved, his work for so many years, right from his debut in 2013 (Eyy) and including many severely underrated and unheard works like Chandamama Raave, Malli Raava, Prema Ishq Kaadhal, Okkosari, Meeku Meere Maaku Meeme, Savitri, Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara, and most recently, Natyam, in 2021. The first song from the film, Oh Manasa, did not work for me, but Shravan gets both the subsequent songs very right! Kapil Kapilan’s involved singing in Ho Egire combined with the captivating music Shravan layers makes it a great listen. Sweekar Agasthi gets the mood of Ayyo Ento perfectly.

Neeye Nenjil – Mindiyum Paranjum (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: Sooraj S Kurup was oddly absent in 2022 (with only one song from the Malayalam film Iru). 2023 starts on a better note for him, with this deeply melodic number! It’s a bit unusual for his style too that, with a long-winding tune that takes time to follow. The melody seemed quite a Karthik Raja composition to me and the singing by Mridula Warrier (in particular), and Sooraj himself is outstanding.

Thiramaalayaay – Oh Meri Laila (Ankit Menon) – Malayalam: Ankit has an almost Arijit’ish tone handling the melody in Thiramaalayaay, and given the gradual way he builds the tune, it gets progressively better! The interlude too is a lovely piece of work.

Kavitha Ezhuthum – Afzal Yusuff (Indipop) – Malayalam: The waltz’ish background music is sparse and a bit too plain, but Afzal has a gorgeous tune at the core. This is not something out of Vidyasagar’s repertoire, for context. Nakshathra Santhosh’s singing is brilliant and she totally surrenders herself to the many twists in the tune admirably.

Thiru Thiru Thiruvananthapurathu – Kaapa (Jakes Bejoy) – Malayalam: What starts off as a gently lilting song gets a dramatic twist at the 1:30 point 🙂 Jakes amps up the rhythm and, with an 80s disco sensibility, takes the song into a totally different zone! The singers, Subhash Babu B, Anugrah Digosh, Akhil J Chand, and Jakes himself, seem to be having a solid time singing this one!

Pathu Njori – Dear Vaappi (Kailas) – Malayalam: There’s a sense of calmness in Pathu Njori’s sound, and the unusually slow rhythm accentuates that feeling. But the song’s star is Sanah Moidutty who sings the lush tune magnificently.

Yaake Sikke – Padavi Poorva (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: I have heard the other songs in this film and while Nee Nagutiralu was interesting enough, Yaake Sikke is a different ballgame altogether. Arjun has an almost Ilayaraja’ish melody here, particularly the ‘Yaake Sikke’ hook that is at the heart of the song! Arjun layers it with a superb vocal humming in the background and the singer, Nihal Tauro, is a great choice for this!

Ninnanu Nodida – Baanadariyalli (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: This is Arjun entering Shankar Ehsaan Loy territory… well, almost! He gets Sonu Nigam to deliver a fantastic melody that demands quite a bit from him and the veteran he is, he handles everything brilliantly! There’s quite a bit of non-singing portions, including a catchy humming-based phrase and free-form ‘Ta ra ta ra ta ra… oooo’ humming too – I wonder if it is Sonu’s doing or did Arjun get someone else to do it.