Milliblog Weeklies, Week 208 – January 22, 2023

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 208: On Spotify | On YouTube
13 songs this week. All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Main Monica & Sapnon Ka Madari – Main Monica (Anand Bhaskar) – Hindi: Unlike Achint’s music in Monica O My Darling that worked wonderfully well for me inside the movie, but not outside of it as a standalone soundtrack that I would listen to, Anand Bhaskar’s soundtrack for Main Monica (a series on Amazon Prime) does the trick! I’m yet to see the TV series, but as a standalone soundtrack with 8 songs, this is a fantastic journey back in time, musically, using 90s pop one reference point, though a song like Shokhiyaan (brilliant singing by Zeenia Roy) also goes back further, invoking the Pancham reference that Achint did very effectively in his soundtrack. In the title song, Keka Ghoshal is superbly in control with her stellar vocals while Anand’s backgrounds, with a blaze of brass, have a whiff of the peak of Alisha Chinoy’s pop music days. The song’s jazz version, while being relatively less interesting in comparison, still has absolutely stunning vocals by Atrisa. The other song that I really liked was Sapnon Ka Madari. This one has Anand pulling off an Amit Trivedi’esque mix but retains the 90s Indipop sound intact.

Main Teri Hi Rahoon & Toot Hi Gaya – Chhatriwali (Akhil Sachdeva, Durgesh R Rajbhatt) – Hindi: Surprisingly pleasant music in this relatively small’ish film, and that too from people I haven’t heard much from. Akhil’s song, which he sings along with Shirley Setia, is a listenable duet with an understated charm and rides on the quality of the singing. Toot Hi Gaya, on the other end of the spectrum, is a pensive, Sikh prayer-like song that Durgesh handles well musically, singing it too along with Himani Kapoor.

Namma Thamizh Folku – Dada (Jen Martin) – Tamil: I had listened to some of the other songs from Dada, but they didn’t stand out. This one, though, is a different ballgame 🙂 Jen’s composition is unusually free-flowing before it gets into an incredibly foot-tapping groove (powered by Sandy Master’s entry and dance moves). The star of the song, though, is Vaisagh, who is having a dream run, coming after ThuNivu’s Kaasaethan song. He does sound a bit like Anirudh at places (that Anupallavi line, ‘My life-u journey’ for instance), but his singing carries the song’s ebullient feel, backed by Jen Martin’s singing too.

Nannu Nannu Ga Undanivuga – Rangamarthanda (Ilayaraja) – Telugu: Oh. My. God!!! Where was this Ilayaraja all this while? Did it need a director like Krishna Vamsi to ask for something as specific as this song to get to a form I associate with his heady 80s peak days? Sung by Ranjani-Gayatri, I hear definite shades of Hamsanandi raaga (think of Thangamagan’s Raathiriyil Poothirukkum, for reference) and it is a tantalizingly beautiful melody with an impish edge that only Raja can evoke (which he used to, so very often, in his 80s Telugu repertoire). The interludes have more zing than any recent Raja song. have heard. I can’t wait to hear what more Raja has in store for this movie’s soundtrack.

Madhi Vihangamayye – Popcorn (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: After Kalyanam Kamaneeyam, another Shravan Bharadwaj movie! Though the first song from Popcorn came out mid-2022, it hardly worked for me. This song is more like it – it has the spunk of what I like in Shravan’s music even though the singers—Benny Dayal and Ramya Behra—sound a bit out of place unlike their usual selves.

Oh Bangaram – Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnu Katha (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: The other Bharadwaj in Telugu film music! Fairly conventional in terms of the tune and rhythm, but Kapil Kapilan’s singing makes it quite enjoyable, besides Arun Chiluveru’s guitar.

Anuraga Madhuchashakam – Neelavelicham (M S Baburaj, Bijibal, Rex Vijayan) – Malayalam: Director Aashiq Abu taking up Vaikom Muhammad Basheer’s original short story (NeelaveLicham) is one thing. But picking up and recreating a song from the 1964 Malayalam movie (Bhargavi Nilayam) based on the short story is quite another thing. Bijibal and Rex Vijayan manage the tightrope walk of retaining the original’s (composed by M S Baburaj) period even when they have added a glossy musical layer in the background, particularly reimagining the interludes completely afresh. If S Janaki owned the original, Chithra does a stupendously good job of making the new version her own!

Kalliyankatt Neeli – Thaikkudam Bridge (Namah) – Malayalam: Namah was released in December 2019, and while writing about the album, I had mentioned that the song, “featuring Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatton Mohan Veena is the album’s most hypnotic, intense and affecting”. Now, the song has a music video. It’s equally entrancing!

Ayyo Saami – Sanuka Wickramasinghe, ft. Windy Goonatillake (Tamil/Sri Lankan Pop): I missed this song when it released late in 2022. But I came across an interview with the lyricist Pottuvil Asmin in a Tamil magazine and found that it has garnered a massive 14 million+ views! Even though the song’s appeal or success trajectory is considerably less than the other Sri Lankan-origin song that went places recently (Yohani’s cover version of Manike Mage Hithe; the original was sung by Satheeshan and has only 20 million views since its release in July 2020), in terms of absolutes, 14 million+ in 2-3 months is quite something. The song is tonally very different from Manike – this being a sad, cautionary song on not trusting men, while Manike has a more cheerful appeal. But musically both are very similar – slow, deeply tuneful, and bare-minimum instrumentation, letting the voice and singing carry the melody composed by Sanuka Wickramasinghe. The song reminded me of Vijay Antony’s musical style. Sanuka released a Sinhala version (Numbai Mamai) of the song too eventually.

Sukoon – Hassan & Roshaan, ft. Shae Gill (Pakistani Pop): Pasoori-fame Shae Gill joins Hassan Sheikh in this song that Hassan co-composed with Roshaan Sherwani. It’s a wonderfully moody melody that gains so much from the rich singing by Hassan and Shae. Hassan’s singing reminded me of early Ali Haider, and he has a solo act almost till the 2-minute mark when Shae finally joins the song. In the final act, they sing together, resulting in a warmly harmonious effect.

Ghazab Kiya – Ali Sethi (Pakistani Pop): The other part of Pasoori, Ali Sethi, has a new song too. Having previously heard multiple, ghazal’ish renditions and interpretations of Daagh Dehlvi’s ‘Ghazab Kiya’ (hear the versions by Mehdi Hasan, Mohd. Rafi (composed by Khayyam), and Pankaj Udhas, for context, I found Ali Sethi’s new-age version to be completely fresh and zany! It’s a new iteration, musically, from the ground-up, and his singing (that, to be honest, sounded a bit too fangled) added to the freshness. It’s a pulsating, captivating, listen!