Hori Mein – Gulmohar (Siddhartha Khosla & Alan Demoss) – Hindi: The one song that I loved from the soundtrack of Gulmohar. It took me straight back to Rahman’s Genda Phool from Delhi 6 given that both start off as gently languorous folk tunes before dropping the bass and tripping the genre to our pleasant surprise. Kavita Seth leads this one brilliantly with her singing, backed by an excellent chorus.
Shubho Shubho – Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: The soundtrack seemed, to me, like Amit was harking back to his Kai Po Che template (3 songs here too!), with a prominent regional sound as the fulcrum (Gujarati vs. Bengali). While it worked in the former, this one produces middling results, I thought. Shubho Shubho was the only one that worked, with a gentle and easy Hindi + Bangla mix and excellent singing by Altamash Faridi.
Chandirane Sooriyane – Andhagan (Aadithyan) – Tamil: For a plot that had excellent music in Hindi, and even the Malayalam remake (less interesting music in Telugu, though), the lack of appropriately good music in Tamil is disappointing, more so because Santhosh Narayanan is the composer. After the listenable En Kaadhal, the only other song that worked for me, ironically, is a classic melody from the late composer Aadithyan, from the film Amaran. Unnikrishnan’s singing is quite unique for this melody (sung by S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Yesudas in 2 versions in the 1992 film’s soundtrack). Of course, Aadithyan had reused a classic Tamil filk melody made popular by Pushpavanam Kuppusamy among others, and slowed it down to a poignant melodic style, but it still works, after 30+ years!
Kanula Chatu Meghama – Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi (Kalyani Mailk) – Telugu: Trust Kalyani Malik to change the trend in Telugu music silently – I was totally surprised by the serene ghazal-like sound of this song. But even within this genre, he adds a gorgeous faux-retro 2nd interlude and adds to the effect! Aabhas Joshi’s singing is outstanding, with superb support from Venu’s tabla. On an unrelated note, I expected the title to be ‘Phalana Abbayi Dimkana Ammayi’, if we go by the Hindi phrase 😁 (Yes, I know what Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi means, in Telugu).
Noi – Phani Kalyan (Telugu/Indipop): A fantastic song by Phani Kalyan, that too, an independent song and not associated with a movie, surprisingly! It starts off slowly enough, but beautifully segues into that catchy ‘Noi noi noi’ hook. Lovely singing by Sameera Bharadwaj and LV Revanth. This one’s a total earworm (which is the English meaning of the Tamil phrase, ‘noi noi’, incidentally).
La Koodaram – Ntikkakkakkoru Premandaarnnu (Paul Mathews) – Malayalam: Here comes yet another song from this film that released on February 24th! And, this is composed by the 3rd music director in this film, after Nishant Ramteke (2 songs) and Joker Blues (1 song)! Malayalam cinema too approaching film music the way Hindi cinema is approaching? 🙂 But this song is perhaps my favorite (so far – are there more songs?) in the soundtrack, even more than Koodey Nin Koodey). Paul Mathews sings it too, besides composing it, and he has superb support from Sumesh Parameswar on the guitar. The song’s lazy drawl and easy rock sound flow beautifully, picking from Paul’s evocative voice and singing.
Manamele Poovithalai – Pakalum Pathiravum (Stephen Devassy) – Malayalam: It’s so good to hear Stephen Devassy’s music again, after 2018’s Neiraali, if I recall correctly. The music has a certain old-world’ish calm and charm, almost sounding like a Vidyasagar song. Even the song situation seems quaint for current times – a heroine dreaming about the hero and singing on her own! Nithya Mammen’s singing elevates the song considerably.
Neehaaram – Enthada Saji (William Francis) – Malayalam: The song starts off like many other present-day Malayalam film songs, but nicely flips the genre at 1:05 🙂 Beautiful singing by Mridhula Warrier (and William Francis).
Neenena Neenena – Prabhuthva (Emil Mohammed) – Kannada: I recall hearing Emil’s songs in the past and thinking this guy has potential, but over time, I haven’t heard enough interesting music from him. This one is interesting less because it’s distinctly good (it is noteworthy, definitely), and more because of how cleverly it mishmashes Rahman’s MalargaLe MalargaLe (Love Birds) 🙂 The singers, Karthik and Supriyaa Ram, are good choices.
Baharla Ha Madhumas – Maharashtra Shaheer (Ajay-Atul) – Marathi: Imagine OP Nayyar composing a Marathi song. That’s what you may hear in this song where Ajay-Atul deftly mix Nayyar’s trademark ghoda-gaadi sound with Maharashtrian sounds that make it both gimmicky and fun at the same time!
Aaha Hero – Ghar Banduk Biryani (AV Prafullachandra) – Marathi: The second song from the film is very different from the first one. Where that one was one up on the Ajay-Atul style, this one goes one up on Vishal Bhardwaj’s style, and does it really well. The ensemble style of singing and sounds seems to confound, but it is consistently engaging and entertaining.
Bonobibi – Coke Studio Bangla: The first song from Coke Studio Bangla’s season 2 (Murir Tin) didn’t work for me at all, but I did find it to be better than Coke Studio Bharat, which continues to be underwhelming after 2 songs (Udja and Holi Re Rasiya). Bonobibi, with its rich cultural influence, fares better than Murir Tin, for me. The rock band, Meghdol’s musical print in the song’s composition and singing lifts the song significantly, bringing together a vibrant cornucopia of sounds and voices.