A terrific musical week, at last, both in terms of quality and variety! 15 songs in this week’s playlist, 1 of which is missing in the Spotify playlist – Bhingori, from Naal 2. Also, for some bizarre reason, I couldn’t find the original Telugu version of ‘Ammaadi’ from Hi Nanna on Spotify, even though the Tamil version is present! Have added the Tamil version of the song in my playlist.
Va Va Voom – The Archies (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: While I continue to be completely zapped that someone actually thought that situating the Archies in India was a good idea in present-day India (I’m open to being pleasantly surprised, of course), I was also underwhelmed by the first song (‘Sunoh’, by Ankur Tewari & The Islanders). Thankfully, the veteran composing trio is totally dependable as always! There’s a whiff of La Bamba, but only as a mild marker of sorts, and the overall tune works effortlessly in Tejas’s vibrant vocals backed by an excellent chorus.
Theekuchi – Jigarthanda DoubleX (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: Finally, here’s a song where Yuvan doesn’t sound off-key, and in fact, his singing style and voice adds tremendously to the tune’s style! While the melody is totally Santhosh’s zany zone, it also took me back to a song that I’m yet to identify (in terms of singer/composer’s name, country, etc.) – what I know as ‘Riva Riva Riva‘ song and which was elegantly Indianized by Vijay Ebenezer in Sundar C’s Kalakalappu song, ‘Mokka Manusha‘.
Naracha Mudi – Dhruva Natchathiram (Harris Jayaraj) – Tamil: What a pleasant surprise from Harris! This is good old Harris zone, with a solid, tuneful melody taking precedence over everything, something that he used to do often early in his career. Srilekha Parthasarathy’s singing, along with Thamarai’s lyrics (which is also wonderfully representative of the female gaze), is the song’s asset. In fact, I’m glad that Harris didn’t go to his other usual, Bombay Jayashree, for this song. Srilekha’s voice, with a decidedly younger sound, works in favor of this song.
Ammaadi – Hi Nanna (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Telugu: Hesham is perhaps in his best year in his Telugu (and he debuted in Telugu only this year!), with this soundtrack and much of SPARK (and Kushi, before this)! Shakthisree Gopalan is in stupendous form, but Kaala Bhairava is not far behind, offering excellent support starting with the anupallavi. Hesham’s use of D. Balasubramani’s nadaswaram elevates the already lush melody wonderfully.
Cheli Mohame – Shantala (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Telugu: Without knowing the composer’s name I’d have guessed it to be Vidyasagar’s song!! It sounds like a less impressive version of Karna’s classic Malare Mounama. But SPB Charan’s singing leaves something—that I’m unable to pinpoint—to be desired even as the tune mounted for his vocals is pretty good.
Humma Humma – Ooru Peru Bhairavakona (Shekar Chandra) – Telugu: A thoroughly lilting song from Shekar Chandra who usually gets his hooks right. This song’s hook seems like the entire song was built around it and for a good reason! Ram Miriyala totally sells the song (and the hook) with this singing.
Vayasaa Aagave – Raa Raa Penimiti (Mani Sharma) – Telugu: Everything in this song screams ‘Ilayaraja’!! It’s almost like Mani was given the brief to create a Raja song in Mani Sharma’s style and the result is a delightful mix! The melody is lovely, and there’s Raja’s signature everywhere – the backgrounds, the interludes, and the choice of instruments! Great listen, also thanks to Charumathi Pallavi’s singing.
Nanage Neenu – Upadhyaksha (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: The part sung by Vijay Prakash felt so very familiar, within Arjun’s repertoire, but I wasn’t able to place it immediately. But the interplay between Rakshitha Suresh’s parts that completely dominate the song, and Vijay’s short hook is lovely! Vijay does get to sing the main part towards the end, but Rakshitha Suresh’s earlier parts literally define the melody that felt like Keeravani raaga to me (brought back memories of Chinna Thambi’s Povoma Oorkolam).
Olave Olave – Sapta Sagaradaache Ello, Side B (Charan Raj) – Kannada: After his outstanding work in the first part’s soundtrack, Charan’s first song from the second part is very promising. In a way, the melodic approach is very similar to Harris’s song in Dhruva Natchathiram, above. There is a simple, soulful melody that is left with intentionally sparse music that lets the tune come through, and both songs are female solos, with Srilakshmi Belmannu handling it brilliantly here. But the difference is the style and tone of the songs – while Harris’s song mixed a faux-folk melody and modern sounds, this one remains true to its semi-classical outlook in every way. The slide guitar in the interlude, layered over tabla, is a lovely touch.
Bhingori, Darav Darav – Naal 2 (AV Prafullachandra) – Marathi: The 2018 Marathi film Naal was the first time I noticed a spark in composer AV Prafullachandra’s music. From that point onwards, he has always been consistently interesting. Bhingori fits the bill perfectly as a soul sequel to Naal’s Jau De Na Va! The joyous, ebullient tune, and the nuanced layering of the voices (Kadubai Kharat, Manish Rajgire, Nagesh Morvekar, and the child singer Master Avan) make this a terrific song! Darav is brilliant too! The singing, by Jayesh Khare, and Master Avan, in particular, is so very good in the antara! The gradual build-up of music in this song, starting with the tranquil first interlude, is stupendously good!
Baaki – Shalmali Kholgade, Rajan Batra (Indipop/Hindi): The composition, by Shalmali and The Yellow Diary’s Rajan Batra, could easily pass off as a standard-issue The Yellow Diary song. But the duo’s singing takes the song to a gorgeous high, starting off as a conversation in the beginning, and merging towards the end.
Bhaavam – Job Kurian (Indipop/Malayalam): Job’s singing and composing skills have always been absolutely top-notch, and it’s a pit that we do not hear enough of either. Bhaavam’s beautifully tempered rhythm, along with its guitar base, reminded me of Rahman’s Pachai Nirame. It’s possible that there is a shade of Kharaharapriya raaga link too between both songs. But this is a splendid song in every way! Job’s stupendous vocals, the background chorus, the brilliant music that tastefully adorns the tune, everything just works in perfect unison!
Sweet Mistake – Muzzle x Malo on the Beat (Indipop/Punjabi): A moody, soulful melody, with a captivating musical package. The restless rhythm and the vocal chorus make it all the more interesting.
Jheeley – Satinder Sartaaj & Beat Minister (Indipop/Punjabi) – Along with the use of the sound of water, this is an incredibly calming song! Satinder’s singing (and lyrics), even in the higher notes, is serene, perfectly maintaining the song’s feel, almost like a prayer, if you observe the lyrics (written by Sartaaj himself).