Milliblog Weeklies, Week 243 – March 31, 2024

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 243: YouTube | Spotify

Back after another week’s break – this is getting predictable now, but what to do… it seems like a function of not having enough good-enough songs every week! 17 songs this week, and all the songs are available on both playlists.

Mirza, Team India Hain Hum – Maidaan (A R Rahman) – Hindi: Tonally, ‘Mirza’ reminded me of M M Keeravani’s classic from Zakhm, Gali Mein Aaj Chaand Nikla, but that’s more to do with the ‘returning home’ theme overall. On its own, this is one Rahman’s best in recent times and is the kind of tune that anyone can warm up to almost instantaneously. Richa Sharma’s voice, and magnificent singing, showcases more of confident happiness than the aching longing of Alka Yagnik in the Zakhm song, clearly delineating the sentiment with a solid nuance (of this being a legitimate relationship vs. Zakhm’s interfaith relationship that was frowned upon and hence making the ‘returning home’ all the more fraught with anxiety and doubts). About ‘Team India Hain Hum’, chances are that this song will become a permanent crowd favorite of any sporting event featuring Team India! It’s a rousing melody with a repeated ‘Team India Hain Hum’ reference that keeps the song steadily interesting and mounts it on an anthemic scale!

Tu Kya Jaane, Bol Mohabbat, Baaja, Vida Karo – Amar Singh Chamkila (A R Rahman) – Punjabi: Tu Kya Jaane, with its gently lilting melody, heartbreakingly lovely lines by Irshad Kamil, and Yashika Sikka’s exceptional singing, is an instant charmer. The interludes’ sound has a melancholic tinge to it and it adds to the song’s appeal. Bol Mohabbat is the kind of song where I missed Sukhwinder Singh. There’s a dervish-like vibe to the song that is perhaps needed a more impactful lead voice than Rahman himself (and Kailash Kher, who does fit the bill, is reduced to the second lead voice, surprisingly). But the song does work, despite those niggles, with its Ramta Jogi’sh (Sukhwinder!) hypnotic sound.

Baaja is brilliant in parts! There are multiple phases to it and not all of them work, or work coherently. The opening somber stretch makes an abrupt jump to the ‘Baj Baaja’ and even though the transition is nonexisten, individually, both work really well. I was also intrigued by some of the English words peppered by Irshad Kamil – “Sexy” and “Social”, in particular. Was it in vogue in the 80s Punjabi music period, I wonder. But the Baj Baaja phase is stupendously good, with Mohit Chauhan in total command! At the fourth minute where I think it is Romy’s voice that takes the song in a different path and breaks the gorgeous build-up till then.

Vida Karo is perhaps the soundtrack’s best! Irshad’s poignant lyrics are soaked with achingly beautiful singing by both Arijit Singh and Jonita Gandhi. There’s an old-world SD Burman’ish/Salil Chowdhury’ish quality to the haunting melody that makes it incredibly alluring. There was one line, in particular: when Jonita sings “Main toh main hoon rooh bhi meri paagal kar dena”, I could imagine myself singing, “Aaja re… Pardesi” from Salil Da’s Madhumati. Together with the earlier two songs, Chamkila sees the Imtiaz – Rahman combo hitting the high of their earlier collaborations easily once again and setting the bar high all over again.

Har Karwate – Good Morning Sunshine (M. M. Keeravani) – Hindi: This is vintage Hindi-zone Keeravani and the guitar layer took me back to many of his earlier classics in Hindi films! He also picks two singers who handle the pleasantly joyous melody so beautifully – Neeti Mohan and Madhusree Bhattacharya! The way the song starts on a conversational note, with Riya Mukherjee’s lines, and moves to the actual tune at the one-minute mark is a brilliant touch by Keeravani, as if he is taking his time to build the momentum.

Naina, Kiddan Zaalima – Crew (Raj Ranjodh, Vishal Mishra) – Punjabi/Hindi: Despite all the familiarity from the remixes/recreations, it is the new songs that stand out in Crew’s soundtrack. Diljit Dosanjh’s effortlessly breezes through Naina given the melody’s warm vibe that composer Raj Ranjodh concocts. Vishal’s Kiddan Zaalima is the soundtrack’s real surprise, though. The retro sound is thoroughly alluring, with the rhythm producing an absolute banger in the background!

Jazbaati Hai Dil – Do Aur Do Pyaar (Lost Stories) – Hindi: Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi, who form the ‘Lost Stories’ duo, definitely have an earworm of a song here, particularly the faux Nadaswaram-like sound they infuse the song with. But there’s an unmistakable whiff of Pakistani band Call’s ‘Laree Chootee’ (Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, 2007) here that comes in my way of fully enjoying this song and repeatedly takes me back to the older song. Also, while Armaan Malik was perfectly fine, Ananya Birla’s contribution seemed uninspiring.

Maayoney – Inga Naan Thaan Kingu (D. Imman) – Tamil: If Imman was given Ajay-Atul’s Sairat title song (Sairat Jhala Ji) as a reference and asked to compose something similar in Tamil, this would be the song! It has every hallmark of a typical Imman song, and Jonita Gandhi lords over the lush melody, with minimal interference by Sean Roldan.

KolluraaLe – MaaNavan (Ghibran) – Tamil: The jaunty, catchy tune is something that is long pending from Ghibran who seems to have completely vanished off the scene after an impressive start long ago! Pradeep Kumar’s singing too is on point. But then, the opening lines also remind me so much of Santhosh Narayanan’s Jagame Thandiram number ‘Enna Mattum Love Pannu Bujji’ that once I figured out of the similarity, it was very difficult to remember this song on its own!

Madhuramu Kadha – The Family Star (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: Gopi is on a roll here with this film, as if rediscovering his lately-lost form, thanks to the film’s director Parasuram. Even as Shreya Ghoshal is the song’s highlight handling the sweet melody with total control, the female vocal chorus (Sony Komanduri, Nada Priya, Sindhuja Srinivasan) does a terrific job too!

Ika Na Maate – Manamey (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Telugu: Whatever Hesham does in Telugu is turning into gold these days 🙂 But unlike his sweeping melodies, he produces punchy dance number not very different from Hi Nanna’s Odiyamma. It works, very easily! Well sung by Hesham too.

Edan Poove, Naam Chernna Vazhikalil – Little Hearts (Kailas Menon) – Malayalam: I think the last time I added a song by Kailas Menon on Milliblog was ‘Yaathonnum Parayathe’ from Vaashi (2022). After his prolific streak earlier, he seems to have settled down to a limited range. But these two songs from Little Hearts did make me sit up now that the full soundtrack is out. Edan Poove’s winsome melody comes alive in the vocal interplay between Kapil Kapilan and Sanah Moidutty, with the heavy lifting done by the former as per the tune’s needs. Vijay Yesudas and Judith Ann are fantastic in Naam Chernna Vazhikalil, where Kailas gets Vijay to sing the same tune in a higher pitch and Judith in a far lower range in comparison. That mix, along with the tabla base of the song make it a lovely listen.

Enna Akhiyan – Neha Kakkar & Tony Kakkar (Punjabi/Indipop): Normally, this is not the kind of downtempo music I associate with the Kakkar siblings, Neha and Tony. In terms of the tone, the shift reminded me of UK-based Punjabi singer Juggy D’s Akheer that I recall falling totally in love with, way back in 2004. Away from the high energy Punjabi numbers, Juggy D had crafted a Hamsadhwani raaga based melody that was almost akin to a prayer! Enna Akhiyan’s serene vibe too felt so unusually—and richly—rewarding