Milliblog Weeklies, Week 250 – July 7, 2024

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly, new music playlist.
Week 250: YouTube | Spotify

Kisi Roz – Auron Mein Kahan Dum Tha (M.M. Kreem) – Hindi: Whoa, this is a stupendous shocker from Keeravani! To produce a song like this in the age of pulsating Punjabi pop becoming default Bollywood takes courage! The melody is incredibly lush, mildly reminiscent of Kalyanji Anandji’s Saraswatichandra classic ‘Chanda Sa Badan‘. But Keeravani gives the backgrounds a delightfully modern spin. The ace up his sleeve is the choice of singer. Maithili Thakur completely owns the singing. I would have assumed that Shreya Ghoshal may have been the most obvious choice, but Keeravani’s choice works wonders. Now, if only there was a male version of this song featuring Arijit Singh or Sonu Nigam… that would be quite something!

Chaawat – Sarphira (G.V. Prakash Kumar) – Hindi: Whoa, what a surprise! G.V. Prakash Kumar already had a terrific song in Soorarai Potru for this situation – Kaattu Payale. But he doubles down on it, with Shreya Ghoshal in tow in her stellar form, and produces a fresh song that stands up to the Tamil original’s appeal! This time, GVP produces music that may not sound like Maharashtrian folk when you only listen to it (without watching the video), but when you watch it with the video, it gels beautifully. This is not the Ajay-Atul style Maharashtrian folk, but excellent music nonetheless, with a deeply rich melody to go with it, and some nuanced twang, like the one that plays along with the second ‘Chaawat tu’ in the hook!

Tauba Tauba – Bad Newz (Karan Aujla) – Punjabi/Hindi: Oh boy!! What an insanely catchy song! The song itself is terrific, with Karan doing everything right – singing and composing it with flair, with a flamboyant tune that he handles brilliantly. But the song takes on a different life of its own when you watch the music video where Vicky Kaushal literally burns the dance floor!

Yezhezhu Malai – Yezhu Kadal Yezhu Malai (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Please allow me to thank ThiruthaNi Murugan for Yuvan choosing to not sing this song himself, and instead, hand it over to Santhosh Narayanan. Though I have a feeling the brief from Yuvan to Santhosh was, ‘Sing like me, ok?’. But even beyond the rough edges in the singing, Yuvan does a terrific job with the music in the background, something that took me back to his Pudhupettai days.

Dhama Dhama – Miss You (Ghibran Vaibhoda) – Tamil: I thought the music was overpoweringly loud in what felt like a standard-issue situation where the hero ‘looks’ (gawks is the right word) at the heroine that has been done to death in Tamil films. But that’s probably the USP for this song too – instead of any predictable templates, this one goes outside all of it and coins something very different. Yazin Nizar’s full-throated singing helps the song’s appeal too!

Hey Evvaro – Vidya Vasula Aham (Kalyani Malik) – Telugu: While elder brother Keeravani is making waves in Hindi, younger, under-rated brother continues his hugely inventive music in Telugu! Kalyani Malik sings this one himself, along with Sunitha. The tune is vintage Kalyani Malik, starting with an almost whispery note. When the Trombone arrived in the first interlude, I was smiling at Kalyani’s creativity.

Kinavu Menjoru Koodu – Partners (Prakash Alex) – Malayalam: After ‘Innolam Thonna Kauthukam’ from the last Weeklies (249), Prakash Alex scores well again in the same movie! It’s a lovely, rhythmic melody where Job Abraham’s voice and Francis Xavier’s solo violin jostle for our attention equally! The background rhythm, a but incongruent to the otherwise pensive melody, made me sit up.

Mohini – Gaganachari (Sankar Sharma) – Malayalam: Sankar Sharma’s songs from this utterly zany movie (what I could figure from the teasers, trailer, and the songs) just did not work for me at all, but this short song stood out instantly! It’s way too short, but has a gorgeous ghazal-like quality that the singer Balamurali Krishna (really? That name? Who is he?) handles wonderfully!

Chinnamma – Krishnam Pranaya Sakhi (Arjun Janya) – Kannada: The typical Arjun Janya masala template, with its gently lilting rhythm! He usually gets this very right, and here he sings it darn well too!

Ibadatein – Rito Riba (Indipop/Hindi): Indian Idol-fame Rito Riba (the Arunachal Pradesh) who famously did not make it to the top 15 in season 13 despite being a crowd-favorite, shows his composing chops adequately in Ibadatein. It’s a breezy, easy to like number that helps showcase Rito’s excellent singing and composing. There is a Sitar-like musical interlude in the song that I found very appealing, but did not notice anyone credited for Sitar, in the credits. Manasquam Mahanta is credited for Guitar, though – is it possible that the sound was produced in guitar itself?

Suprabhatam, Jatra – Voyage 2 (Dhruv Ghanekar) – Indipop: Voyage 2 is a follow-up to Dhruv’s 2015 album ‘Voyage’. The whole album is very listenable, given Dhruv’s prolific, inventive sound, but the two songs that stood out for me are these. The Suprabhatam is more like a power-Suprabhatam, with Nandini Srikar’s excellent singing infusing the familiar hymn with a rock-tinged sound. Dhruv keeps the sound constantly interesting with Somashekhar Jois Konnakol and Mohini Dey’s bass. But Jatra is truly the pick of the album in my view. It’s mindbogglingly eclectic, mixing Brazilian samba, Maharashtrian Lavani, Gina Mirenda’s Portuguese vocals, and scintillating horns! But beyond all this, my favorite part in the song is at 1:18, when, out of nowhere, it brings in a jazz segment!

Nange Allava – Sanjith Hegde (Indipop/Kannada) – Much like Raghu Dixit, Sanjith Hegde seems to produce his best work when it happens to be in Kannada (though he has some delightful Hindi songs as well, like Baadal and Gulaabo. Nange Allava’s warm melody shines through easily, and Sanjith’s singing only makes it better. The English phrases towards the end, accompanied by Kishore Kumar’s Sitar, was an interesting surprise.

Alemaari, Geeya Geeya, Kudilikke Hatthidyanna – Shakkar (Raghu Dixit) – Indipop/Kannada: Aah, so the earlier single ‘Sakkare Chakori’ (about which I wrote in Weeklies 248) was part of Raghu Dixit’s new album titled Shakkar! The album is out now, and despite its multilingual ambitions, the Kannada songs (4 out of 11, there are 5 Hindi songs, besides 1 each in Tamil, Telugu) worked best for me. Alemaari sees Raghu is top form, fusing Electric Guitar’s Guitar, Rajhesh Vaidhya’s Veena, and effortlessly all through. But observe the brilliant shift at 3:18! As the Chendai gets introduced into the mix, even Raghu’s otherwise booming voice turns sonorous, in line with the shift in the sound. Geeya Geeya too gains tremendously from John Paul’s Electric Guitar, but the melody is the hero here. The song takes almost 2 minutes to begin (by which time we are also exposed to Michael League’s Gimbri adding to the delightfully extended prelude, and something we hear in the interludes too), but when it does, it’s sheer joy! The ‘Geeya Geeya’ hook has a hypnotic, Dervish-style frenzy to it that is addictive. But even here, Raghu throws a superb curveball with the Maharashtrian style rhythm introduced at 3:38! Kudilikke Hatthidyanna is the album’s most expansive, in terms of sound and in terms of the lyrical inspiration too, using Dr. Da Ra Bendre quirky verse. The song’s fantastic expansive sound comes from the horns section (Jesse Sadoc on Trumpets, Danilo Sinna on the Saxophone, and Rafael Rocha on Trombones) that has a terrific go at the backgrounds, particularly towards the end.

In comparison, the Hindi songs don’t work as well. Khud Se Naina Char is the one that I came close to liking, but it felt derivative, like the lovechild of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s Mitwa and Junoon’s Sayonee. I do understand the need for pan-Indian appeal and hence the Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi variants of the first single, but I wish Raghu had stayed with a Kannada-first album. It’s within Kannada music that his talent shines the best.