Milliblog Weeklies, Week 214 – March 26, 2023

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 214: On Spotify | On
All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Raawadi – Pathu Thala (A R Rahman) – Tamil: This song is interesting because it mixes Rahman’s occasional sojourn into Middle Eastern/Arabic music (Humma Humma, Maiyya Maiyya, among others), but doesn’t go the whole hog even though the starting indicates that. The Raawadi hook is addictive, and uninhibited, unlike any recent Rahman song I recall. I figured the singer is not Malgudi Shuba, and is an Indian-American singer by that name 🙂 She does chew and spit out Tamil words much like Udit Narayan, though she does sing with the requisite verve.

Aga Naga – Ponniyin Selvan 2 (A R Rahman) – Tamil: While Rahman did have some interesting background music pieces in Ponniyin Selvan 1 (my favorite was the one he scored for the tension-filled, dramatic meeting of Nandhini and Kundhavai), overall, the background score in the first film did not work for me. So I wasn’t particularly paying attention to the expectations of which score from that film may be converted into full-fledged songs for the sequel. And when I heard Aga Naga, it didn’t strike me immediately as a fulfillment of any expectations since there were none. If anything, it did sound familiar since I had registered this musical piece only in the back of my mind.

But he does a terrific job in the full song; or rather, he crafted this as a full song in the first place, and eventually used a phrase from it for the first film’s background score. I also liked the anupallavi more than the pallavi that we heard in the first film – it’s more interesting, and the shifts in pitch (like “unai ninaikkayile, manam silirthiduthey”) make it even more so.

Shakthisree Gopalan is, as always, absolutely fantastic. On that note, I do wonder if/when Rahman would ever call Chinmayi to sing again.

Athana Per Mathiyila – Raavana Kottam (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: The film’s music release function happened last week and I was waiting for the entire soundtrack to go live online, and yet, all we have is just one song, more than a week later! Vandana Srinivasan is brilliant with her vocals, but the real star is Justin. When he inserts the contrasting ‘Appa paarthadhu unna, katta dhaavaNi puLLa’ line by Yazin Nizar, after Vandana’s opening lines, you know you are listening to a song by Justin Prabhakaran! The anupallavi has some terrific vocal interplay between Yazin and Vandana, and this layering is almost a hallmark of a Justin song, as you’d know by now.

Seenikaari – August 16 1947 (Sean Roldan) – Tamil: While the first single from the film didn’t work for me, this one does, even though I don’t associate the sound with Sean at all! It sounded more like Ghibran or Justin Prabhakaran, with generous references from the Rahman school of music. But it’s a lovely, love tune, handled by Sathyaprakash wonderfully, along with Punya Srinivas’s Veena playing a significant part!

Nachavule Nachavule – Virupaksha (B. Ajaneesh Loknath) – Telugu: I started listening to this song without going into the credits and when the line ‘Edhuru padikooda, yevarola nanu choosthaave’, I knew that this has to be one of the composers I have previously liked 🙂 And of course, it was Ajaneesh. To be sure, this is a bit lighter in terms of his already high standards, but it does make for a breezy, lovely listen, thanks to Karthik’s wonderful singing.

Kafeefi – Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: Well, this is a surprise! The film’s soundtrack by Kalyani Malik is already a very good listen, so the makers roping in Vivek Sagar for a single seems to be pushing the Hindi model of film music/soundtrack! For some reason, the song instantly took me back to Rahman’s Khalifa from Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, but beyond the catchy dancefloor sound, there’s nothing similar. But it was good to see Vivek roping in Ben Human to sing the song (along with Vishnupriya Ravi), since I have tracked many of his Tamil pop singles and find them to be very good. It’s a surprise that he is singing in Telugu – has he sung in Tamil films already?

Ninnu Choosi Choodanga – Katha Venuka Katha (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Shravan, in my view, one of the most underrated composers in Telugu cinema, continues his good run in this listenable song. It’s a simple, sweet melody, with competent singing by Sri Krishna and Ramya Behara.

Sugar Lochan – Purusha Pretham (Ajmal Hasbulla) – Malayalam: If this is Ajmal’s debut, then color me impressed! The sound is fresh and instantly absorbing! Sooraj Santhosh’s singing is, as always, stupendously good. The background music is really interesting since that is the one that drew me in first even before the tune! Really looking forward to more from Ajmal.

Insha Allah – Kadina Kadoramee Andakadaham (Govind Vasantha) – Malayalam: The second song from this film too (after Kuthithiruki) is a great listen, and very in line with what you’d expect from Govind. In fact, if you close your eyes and listen to it, the song would feel just like a Thaikkudam Bridge song with band members overflowing from the stage 🙂 The song’s build-up is the one that has the Thaikkudam Bridge trademark, besides Kapil Kapilan’s impressive singing.

Thanaro – Kasargold (Niranj Suresh) – Malayalam: The ‘Thanaro Thannaro’ refrain is a folk tune from Kerala, popularly associated with Sree Kurumba Bhagavathy Amman at Kodungallur, Thrissur. The tune has seen so many versions already, including purely devotional variants like this one:

… and lighter versions like this one from Kappa TV’s Music Mojo, by composer Bijibal’s Down To Earth:

But what Niranj does with that refrain is truly fantastic… and supremely entertaining 🙂 He layers the ‘Thanaro’, usually sung in a slow, lilting manner, into a frenetic dance number!

Incidentally, the same folk song is also the base for another new Malayalam song, from the film Nalla Nilavulla Rathri, with music by Kailas! I liked this a lot less than the one by Niranj since this one approaches the melody the way the actual folk song does. But there’s one connecting link between both recreations – they are both picturized on men getting drunk on alcohol!

Manasilum Pookkaalam – Pookkaalam (Sachin Warrier) – Malayalam: A joyous, lively melody composed and sung by Sachin Warrier, who I wish would compose a lot more given how good he is.

Paragame Paragame – Higuita (Rahul Raj) – Malayalam: Rahul opens the song on a serene note, with Poornasree Haridas’s vocals. But close to the first minute, he introduces the punchy twist led by Sangeeth (joined by Poornasree immediately) and turns the song into something else. The anupallavi, in particular, is a lovely, melodic, touch.

Title Song – Bad Manners (Charan Raj) – Kannada: Trust Charan to rope in Usha Uthup to sing a 1980s-style funk number in total style!! While I’m generally tired of Kannada cinema’s obsession with hero-worship songs that usually follow a standard, loud template (much like Tamil cinema’s largely banal and templatized hero-worship songs), it’s efforts like this one that make a difference. That ‘He’s got the bad… manners’ hook alone is worth the song!

Baanadariyalli Hode Yelli – Baanadariyalli (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: Before this song and film arrived, for most Kannadigas, the phrase ‘Baana dariyalli’ would evoke visuals of a young Puneeth Rajkumar singing the song from the 1981 film, Bhagyavantha.

The title song of Baanadariyalli is a complete contrast, moving into Ram Sampath’s Let’s Talk zone.

Rajesh Krishnan’s singing and the pulsating background music for what is essentially a lush melody makes for an interesting listen.