Milliblog Weeklies, Week 215 – April 2, 2023

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 215: On Spotify | On YouTube
12 songs this week. All the songs are available on both YouTube and Spotify.

Numaani – Faridkot, ft. Shilpa Rao (Hindi/Indipop): Numaani not only has a fantastic tune, composed by Faridkot’s Rajarshi Sanyal and IP Singh, but that they chose Shilpa Rao to join the singing is a terrific decision! Together, the melody is enthralling, and the singing significantly accentuates it.

Veera Raja Veera, Chinnanjiru Nilave, Aazhi Mazhai Kanna, Ilaiyor Soodaar and Shivoham – Ponniyin Selvan Part-2 (A R Rahman) – Tamil: Barring the fact that the melody sounds so very, very similar to Gundecha Brothers’ Adana Raaga based Shiva Shiva, Veera Raja Veera is a solid listen with Ilango Krishnan’s lyrics traversing through the magnificent achievements of the Chola empire on a broad level. I’m assuming this song would play during the coronation event at the end of the story, and the ‘Ootraagi sel, Kaatraagi sel’ phrase possibly alludes to the wonderful twist that follows in the ceremony where a crucial character goes seaward as part of their next duty/adventure/ambition (no spoilers! If you have read the novel, you know what I’m referring to). With Chinnanjiru Nilave, for some inexplicable reason, my mind kept harking back to Bharathiyar’s verse, despite this being written by Ilango Krishnan. The melody Rahman uses for it too is perhaps responsible for my making that connection. The Haricharan version is excellent, with the music getting more nuanced as it progresses, particularly the quivering strings that start with ‘ThuLLum nayanam enge’. The song’s other version, though, is overpowered by music and Khatija Rahman’s middling singing.

Of the shorter songs, Aazhi Mazhai Kanna, the AandaL Paasuram, seems like it was threaded out of the prelude of Rahman’s own Nila Kaaigirathu from Indira, also sung by Harini. That alone makes it worth a listen, of course. With both Ilaiyor Soodaar and Shivoham, despite their resonant sound, are at best background material, but they too, in a much larger sense add to one specific quality in this soundtrack. And that is the fact that barring Aga Naga (which I wrote about last week), this is the overall sound package that I was expecting for the first part of the movie (or for this movie overall). PS-2’s sound is more tuned to the period and milieu of what I associate with the Chola period, with a rich and notable religiosity steeped into the music, and what I missed in the otherwise thoroughly enjoyable PS-1 soundtrack. Kalki’s novels depict the Cholas as a deeply religious clan with that nature bookending most of their actions, and I’d extend that to their sense of music too. I can sense why Mani Ratnam and Rahman interpreted the music of the first movie in a very period-agnostic way – possibly to make it broadly accessible to the largest number of viewers. But the duo have infused that element that I felt was missing in that album very well here, probably confident that they have achieved what they aimed for already and giving themselves the freedom to sink deeper into the period and the cultural nuances further.

Osarattum Pathu Thala – Pathu Thala (A R Rahman) – Tamil: This is the music that played in the trailer of the film. Sunil Milner’s Western-style guitar and Deepthi Suresh’s stupendous singing (joined by Sreekanth Hariharan, and Sathyaprakash) make it a compelling, pulsating musical piece.

Kudi Kudi Thoothukudi Kudi – Bumper (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: While one can expect predictably good music from Govind, the true highlight of this song is the lines by Karthik Netha, who frames it almost like a loving tribute to Thoothukudi. Govind crafts a mighty likeable melody around those lines that Kapil Kabilan handles superbly, with really catchy phrases like that ‘Muthu nagar idhu makka’. And did I hear snatches of Charukesi raaga in that interlude featuring Bala with the nadaswaram? Gorgeous piece, that!

Sandeyela, Pailanga – Double Engine (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: I had written about this film’s song, Kadak, back in January 2023. The full soundtrack is out now and this, to me, one of the most unusual, un-Vivek Sagar albums from the man… but in a good, welcome way! The sound is unlike what I have heard in Vivek’s films so far. Even beyond the punchy sound and captivating interludes in Sandeyela, Vivek infuses a pretty lush melody that becomes more pronounced in the anupallavi, with Sarathy’s excellent vocals. Pailanga, on the other hand, has a flamboyant techno sound with Sarath Cobbler’s singing running riot.

Oh Ammalaalo Ammalaalo – Dasara (Santhosh Narayanan) – Telugu: The second song from Dasara that worked for me. This one is not too far from Santhosh’s Tamil repertoire, with the dreamy, strings sound that he dips into from time to time finding its way in the middle. Anurag Kulkarni’s vocals fit the song so very well.

Gau Nako Kisna – Maharashtra Shaheer (Ajay-Atul) – Marathi: This is the typical Ajay-Atul sound that I totally love. The melody seamlessly traverses multiple phrases, and the young boy, Jayesh Khare, is phenomenal with this singing, particularly in the middle portions when he joins Mayur Sukale. His proficiency in singing, and his diction, with the innocent edge that makes a little boy’s voice alluring, make the song so much more enjoyable.

The soundtrack of Jubilee: No, I’m not adding the 12 songs to this week’s Weeklies. But I do have a point to note about it, on why it did not work for me at all. I understand that Vikramaditya Motwane’s TV series is set in the 1940s Mumbai film industry and hence I understand why the songs seem like they were composed by the most famous music directors of that period – OP Nayyar, C. Ramchandra, Shankar Jaikishen, and SD Burman, among others. And that’s where I have a problem – they sound like songs of that era very, very evidently, but there is no Amit Trivedi in them. This was, to some extent, my issue with the soundtrack of Monica, O My Darling as well, but in that film, those songs—and lyrics, in particular—served a purpose in terms of the narrative humor and context. Sure, the lyrics here may serve that purpose here too, but they simply sound like they were plucked from that bygone era with nothing to connect a present-day listener like me to them, leading me to ask, ‘I might as well listen to those original songs, no?’. Amit managed the blend considerably better in Qala, perhaps owing to director Anvita Dutt Guptan’s brief on those lines. In Jubilee, it’s probable that Vikramaditya Motwane did not want any ‘Amit Trivedi’ in the music and he wanted Amit to directly mirror the sound of that period’s composers instead of a homage. It’s that difference that doesn’t work for me.

Here’s the soundtrack anyway (not part of the playlists):