Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 118: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
17 songs this week. YouTube has all 17 songs, while the JioSaavn playlist has 15.

Title song, Friendzone, Taare Ginn, The Horizon of Saudade, Khulke Jeene Ka, Maskhari, Main Tumhara, Mera Naam Kizie & Afreeda – Dil Bechara (A.R.Rahman) – Hindi: My review of the complete soundtrack.

Khayaal – Abhijeet Srivastava & Prateeksha Srivastava (Indipop/Hindi): Abhijit and Prateeksha were both part of the 2009 edition of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs, though their musical journeys went in different directions since then. Abhijeet has been associated with songs like Bharat’s Chashni. This song, composed by Abhijeet, is a sweet and charming melody, made better by the spritely musical soundscape that always seems to be doing something in the background. The vocals are easy on the ear and the ‘Dera ri reera’ phrase, used later with words (Ik tere liye mein…) is a particularly lovely phrase.

Dhoop Aane Do – Vishal Bhardwaj (Indipop/Hindi): Gulzar, Vishal and Rekha… and not for a film! That’s yet another composer going independent after my list from 2 weeks ago – Amit Trivedi, Ghibran and Sean Roldan! This is a splendid trend. Dhoop Aane Do could easily be a song from a film directed by Vishal and, in another period, sung by Suresh Wadkar. The tune is rich and lush, sinking you into the dhoop effortlessly, complete with a splendid saxophone solo by Abhay Sharma to close the song.

Chandni – Vibha Saraj & Raajeev V Bhalla (Indipop/Hindi): Regardless of the number of vowels he adds to his name, I think I could recall Rajiv/Rajeev Bhalla to other songs like Bhojhal se, from I Am (2011) and Abhijeet Sawant’s pop album Farida where he scored for ‘Dil Fakira’ – both of which I remember fondly! Chandni is a great listen too, with a punchy electronic sound underlining Vibha’s very impressive vocals over the sedate tune.

Zara Thehro – Amaal Mallik (Indipop/Hindi): The differently l’ed Malik/Mallik brothers pull off a lovely melody in Zara Thehro that has only one aspect that scores badly – the choice of Tulsi Kumar, no doubt influenced by the fact that Bhushan Kumar bankrolled this effort. To the brothers’ credit, they have a wonderful tune that is eminently listenable, despite Tulsi.

Dilli Di Kudhiyaan – Amit Trivedi feat. Yashita Sharma (Indipop/Hindi): 22 years after a Punjabi sang an ode to Gujarati women, we have a Gujarati man singing his ode to Dilli kudis! Yeah, Jasbir Jassi’s 1998 Jaidev Kumar composed Dil Le Gayee Kudi Gujraat Di has its converse – Dilli Di Kudhiyaan! Both songs refer to popular folk Punjabi songs too, incidentally – the 1998 song riffed on ‘Jind Mahi Je Chaliyo Patiala’ while Amit’s song riffs on the iconic Punjabi track, ‘Mera Laung Gawacha’! With Shellee’s colloquial lines, Amit’s song is a catchy listen too.

Chinna Chittu – Quota (Allen Sebastian) – Tamil: While I haven’t particularly warmed up to Mohan Srinivaash Jagatheeshan’s singing or voice, Allen’s tune definitely has a warmth that keeps the song steadily enjoyable. Add to that Joseph Camillus’s lines that hark back to a very different, simpler times, the song comes together fairly well.

Aithalakadi – Pineapple Express (V.Harikrishna & Yogeendra Hariprasad) – Kannada: Pineapple Express appropriate (with credits and permission, of course) the 2008 Kannada film song from Gaja, composed by V.Harikrishna and turn it into a stadium-style kuthu song! Given the powerful shenanigans they layer it in, the original sounds tame in comparison!

Dirty South – Gurbax & Beats Antique (Indipop): I’m not entirely sure why the track is called ‘Dirty’ South, but it has an intriguing mix of a nadaswaram-like sound and some music that can best be described as Indian exotica 🙂 It is punchy and very interesting, though!

The title song is tantalizingly short and it’s perhaps the shorter-than-usual duration that wants you to listen to it more and more! Amitabh Bhattacharya seems to be channelizing his inner Vaali, the Tamil lyricist, who pioneered the use of English words and phrases in film song lyrics a few decades ago with Rahman and it became such a craze in Tamil Nadu that everyone there is adequately annoyed with that Tanglish trend by now. In Hinglish, it does sound corny, but if you hear it from the perspective of the love-sick youth, it perhaps is enjoyable. But some of the musical choices by Rahman within Amitabh’s verse makes for thoroughly endearing phrases – like that ‘Tere birthday dai dai dai’ part! Above all, the song’s steady thrum is massively addictive and makes you snap your fingers or move your feet impulsively.

The song gets a superbly funky remix in Friendzone that comes alive with the 80s retro pop sound, with all its synth glory!

Taare Ginn is a delightful, Disney-Alladin style sweeping melody that gains so, so well due to the singers’ prowess – Shreya Ghoshal and Mohit Chauhan, who soar magnificently in that ‘Yeh waada hai… ya iraada hai’ phrase in the antara, and change the song’s pitch! The line just before they soar, where Shreya is singing on top of Mohit seemed like a hat-tip to Alaipayuthey Yaaro Yaarodi’s “Eekki pola nilaavadikka Indhiranaar pandhadikka!”. That’s also the most interesting aspect of the song, besides the nuanced musical backgrounds – the way Rahman overlaps both the voices singing different lines in multiple places in the song making you think during the song beyond that enjoy it! The way the song steadily accentuates the music and almost comes to a halt before the antara starts, and the way it retains only one antara and lets the spritely music end it smoothly add to the charm!

Taare Ginn’s melody is also briefly explored in the instrumental piece, The Horizon of Saudade, even as it goes beyond the song and moves to a poignant violin solo heartbreakingly layered over sprawling strings.

In Khulke Jeene Ka too, Rahman extends the vocal overlap, but here, Arijit and Shashaa sing the same line together, but in different pitches! The song’s Latino twang is thoroughly charming and makes the package sound like something that jumped off an Imtiaz Ali soundtrack. This is also the most conventionally structured song of the soundtrack, with the same tune being used in the antaras twice, punctuated by lovely interludes.

Main Tumhara and Mera Naam Kizie play on the other end, breaking most conventional structures and sound like Hindi filmy songs carved out of a Western musical. Jonita and Hriday Gattani are outstanding in Main Tumhara, handling the sudden twists in the melody – the ‘Main tumhara’ that appears after, ‘Maahi mere maseeha marzi bata kya teri’ is a particularly surprising twist that works well in the context of the song. The O.P.Nayyar whiff is pretty prominent in Mera Naam Kizie that also musically (Clarinet?) takes one to May Maadham’s Palakaattu Machanukku! The singers—Poorvi Koutish and Aditya Narayan—hold the song brilliantly.

Maskhari sounds like uninhibited glee! The song’s structure has many phrases, both worded and musical, that sound almost like adverting jingles! The prominent mandolin musical phrase that opens and closes the song is one, and so is the ‘Achcha khaasa kaam’ set of lines. That set even as ‘Peeda Hari Balm’ made popular by the Zandu Balm ad jingle! Hriday and Sunidhi seem to be having a whale of a time singing this one!

Unlike the way Rahman adopted Arabic musical style in Bombay’s Andha Arabic Kadaloram, he used more conventional and familiar styles in other songs like Guru’s Maiyya Maiyya. Afreeda too sounds like a starting point like Arabic Kadaloram – not familiar, sounds new in terms of usage, and throws predictable flow out of the window… to the point that it makes one uncomfortable! But if we still stick to it, it is to Rahman’s credit, with the vibrant and edgy music, and the singers – Sanaa Moussa and Raja Kumari.

Dil Bechara is perhaps Rahman’s most accessible, most fluid, and most complete recent soundtracks. There’s a distinct sense of bringing back some of his most cherished musical cues from his early days into his newer formats, but without going all way to experiment and confound the listening experience. The result is a hugely enjoyable soundtrack that anyone can ‘get’ very fast and stay on it, absolutely besotted!

Listen to the songs on YouTube | On JioSaavn

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 117: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. JioSaavn has 14 songs and is missing Job Kurian’s Kaalam. YouTube has only 10 songs and is missing the chunk of the Bangla album, Tansener Tanpura. I highly, highly recommend this album – do listen to the full album via JioSaavn (in the playlist) or Hungama/Amazon Prime Music – links below.

Nund Banye – Uzer Khan, ft. Vibha Saraf (Indipop): Uzer, who has produced music for many TV advertisements, picks up a Kashmiri folk by Mohan Lal Aima and creates an enchanting and soulful modern recreation. The sound is haunting and Vibha’s singing accentuates it beautifully.

Thumbi Thullal – Cobra (A.R.Rahman) – Tamil/Malayalam: Thumbi Thullal is as much a Malayalam+ combination as Rahman’s Jiye Jale from Dil Se. That was a Malayalam+ Hindi, while this Malayalam+ Tamil, with Jithin Raj writing the Malayalam lines. The song has a great tune that sucks you in with its sweetness almost immediately, thanks also to Shreya’s wonderful singing. The tune’s unpredictable flow is in keeping with Rahman’s style – it throws you off gear trying to follow it and in the legendary way Rahman’s songs sink in, “it takes time to” register 🙂 And despite the profusion of sounds and instruments, it’s the rhythm that continues to be a bugbear, being trite and seeming largely regurgitated. Rahman os yore was known for coming up with vibrant sounds in this department.

And a special note on the Kochadaiyaan-style music video that I’m sure was a decision forced by the pandemic. The animation was atrociously bad.

Alavaate Ledhemo, Love-O-Ishq-O, Oh Kaadhal & Tellaare Lope – Bhanumathi & Ramakrishna (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: Shravan Bharadwaj is that composer in Telugu film industry who has fantastic music that he keeps proving movie after movie, but seems destined to be hidden, without ever reaching the big league! I have written so much about his past, impressive works, like Chandamama Raave, Malli Raava, Meeku Meere Maaku Meeme, Savitri, Okkosari, Prema Ishq Kaadhal, Alias Janaki and his debut back in 2013, Eyy. His film last year, Vinara Sodara Veera Kumara, had good songs too! Yet, big-time success eludes him!

Anyway, he pitches once again with Bhanumathi & Ramakrishna. The 5-song soundtrack is eminently listenable! In Alavaate Ledhemo, Shravan builds the backing rhythm layer by layer letting Lalitha Kavya’s sweet vocals dominate in the earlier portions. It’s a simple, captivating tune with the ‘Prema Prema Prema’ refrain remaining memorable. There’s a touch of retro in Love-O-Ishq-O’s interludes and Hemachandra keeps the melody highly engaging. The rest of the 3 songs are sung by Shravan himself, and in Oh Kaadhal, you can hear shades of his familiar style from his earlier films, particularly the way he extends after ‘Oh Kaadhal….’. This one’s closer to his incredible form from Chandamama Raave, one of my favorite albums by Shravan. The title track’s comic tone didn’t work for me, but Shravan closes the soundtrack on a high with Tellaare Lope, an instantly catchy song.

Kaalam – Hope Project (Job Kurian) – Indipop/Malayalam: Job has been silently releasing singles under the ‘Hope Project’ (or Songs of Hope) brand in his own YouTube channel. Kaalam is the 4th song, after Enthavo in July 2017, Parudeesa in April 2018 and Mulla in September 2018. As expected, Job offers very high-quality music in his independent pursuits and Kaalam is a wonderful listen, with his soaring vocals and fantastic backing from guitar and keyboard.

Rumaal Ambili – Lalbagh (Rahul Raj) – Malayalam: A somber and moody melody by Rahul. His choice of singers, the film’s lead, Mamta Mohandas, is excellent – she carries the melody really well. And Zia Ul Haq provides excellent backing vocals. A good bonus is shots of Bengaluru in the video – Outer Ring Road, Church Street etc.!

Alhamdulillah – Sufiyum Sujatayum (Sudeep Palanad) – Malayalam: The 2nd song from Sufiyum Sujatayum is not by composer M.Jayachandran but Sudeep Palanad! It’s a nice, rhythmic track that riffs on popular perceptions of sufi music, and works purely on the lilt and the voices, by Sudeep himself, and Amrita Suresh.

All 6 songs – Tansener Tanpura (Joy Sarkar) – Bangla: Tansener Tanpura is a musical-thriller web series on the Bangla OTT platform Hoichoi. For an OTT series, it has phenomenally good music by composer Joy Sarkar, probably owing to it being billed also a musical, besides a thriller! This is a wonderful labor of love music-wise, with an undercurrent of classical music presented in a more film-friendly way inventively. Aguun Choriye’s haunting tune seemed like Puriya Dhanashree/Pantuvarali to me, handled exceptionally well by Asmita Kar, Arunita Kanjilal and Pt. Tushar Dutta, backed by a spirited chorus. Pt. Tushar Dutta and Asmita work their magic in Shey Je Kon Pothe Gyalo that has all the simplicity and melodic sweetness of a song straight from Sai Paranjpye’s Chashme Buddoor! The melody reminded me of A.R.Rahman’s Pavitra number ‘Uyirum Neeye’ and I’m assuming is based on the raaga Khamaas.

Tomake Bhalobeshe is a sprawling construct! Joy’s classically rooted tune comes live in the vocal interplay between Piu Mukherjee and Jimut Roy. Even Shurey Shurey Taakey seemed to be invoking Hamsadhwani, and even Jimut Roy’s vocals are outstanding, Joy’s lilting rhythm in the background is phenomenal.

The 2 songs that don’t fit into the classical scheme include Man Kunto Maula, where Joy tunes Amir Khusrau’s verse that was made popular in Coke Studio Pakistan’s season 9 too, in recent times. Joy’s version is almost like a Coke Studio song, with a sufi-style hypnotic rhythm. Totodur Prem is the most modern-Bangla pop song in the album, and it too does manage to endear with Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury’s earnest vocals, backed by Jimut.

Listen to Tansener Tanpura on Hungama | Amazon Prime Music

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 116: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
14 songs this week. JioSaavn has 10, while YouTube has all of them!

Fursat Hai Aaj Bhi – Arjun Kanungo (Indipop/Hindi): A song that seemed like it jumped straight out one of the many Magnasound Everlasting Love Songs cassettes, considering the shades of Phil Collins’ Another Day In Paradise and Elton John’s Sacrifice. It’s a lovely ballad, with Mayur Puri’s love-soaked verse and Arjun’s sweet vocals.

Kahaniyan – Sunny M.R. (Indipop/Hindi): Sunny is the second composer to go independent this week. He already has a mighty impressive Telugu body of work and still prefers being Pritam’s assistant in Hindi! His new single sits perfectly within his Telugu repertoire with its sedate electronic sound. This is short, experimental track, no doubt, but a captivating one at that.

Adiye, What are you talking lady? & Kaatukkatha – Vairii (Anthony Daasan) – Tamil: Vairii is a surprisingly likeable album composed by Anthony Daasan. Surprisingly, because his composing range moved far beyond his usual style that he adopts even better in his non-film music. Adiye’s rustic sound seems at home with the Vidyasagar-style and VM.Mahalingam’s singing is an absolute winner. What are you talking lady? is a riot! Anthony uses snatches of familiar folk songs and constructs a very nice hybrid that comes alive with a burst of guitar. Kaatukkatha sounds most definitely like an Imman song, and Jithin’s vocals may also have a role in that perception. The jaunty rhythm and interludes even recall Raja’s style the way Imman appropriates them cleverly. The tune is lovely, even as it goes into nostalgic 80s style in the latter half of the anupallavi.

Kadhal Ecstasy – Sean Roldan, Ft. Susha (Indipop/Tamil): Two more film composers have joined the non-film bandwagon this week, besides Amit Trivedi and Ghibran from previous weeks. The first is Sean Roldan. His new single is a nice throwback to the Suresh Peters’ era of funky pop music. Susha gets a fantastic layer in the song, though the repeated use of the word ‘ecstasy’ takes time to sink in given how unique a word it is amidst Tamil lines.

Mayangi Poguthey – 2 Stories (Jeffin Joe Jacob) – Tamil: This is the kind of song that makes one question, “Damn, who is the composer?”. I haven’t heard Jeffin’s music in the past. Mayangi Poguthey, that suffers a bit from the director’s barely functional lyrics, has a thoroughly heartwarming rock melody that singer Karthik totally aces! Jeffin adds some really good vocal effects to Karthik’s singing that makes the song really good.

Marley – Tenma, Ft.Gana Muthu (Indipop/Tamil): Even if they sing ‘Red, Green, Manjaa… Thala Bob Marley Not-tu Ganjaa’, the song’s melody is borderline stoner-style 🙂 The lyrics mount Bob Marley as ‘Thala’, an honorific title made popular by Ajith and as ‘Jamaica’s Gandhi’! Cool song with an addictive, hummable tune.

Vedi Pakodi – Love Life And Pakodi (Pavan) – Telugu: A frenetically orchestrated track that seems to riff on Vivek Sagar’s style. The predominant guitar layer and Anurag Kulkarni’s energetic singing add to the charm.

Vathikkalu Vellaripravu – Sufiyum Sujatayum (M Jayachandran) – Malayalam: What a gobsmackingly beautiful song!! Right from Nithya Mammen’s astonishingly good lead vocals, the sheer exotic assortment of background sounds and the overall sufi sound Jayachandran places the whole package in… this is outstanding music!

Choolamadichu – Sanah Moidutty & Prasanna Suresh (Vidyasagar) – Malayalam: Sanah and Prasanna interpret Vidyasagar’s late 90s song in an interesting new version. Much of the 90s sound has been evened out to make the melody shine better. The original song is from Summer in Bethlehem, that was partly remade in Tamil as Lesa Lesa. Harris Jayaraj’s equivalent of this Malayalam song was Ennai Polave, incidentally.

Chal Bhatakuya – Avadhoot Gupte (Indipop/Marathi): An almost Marathi-equivalent of Dil Chahta Hai-style! Very sing-along’ish melody and darn well sung by both Swapnil Bandodkar and Avadhoot Gupte. Gorgeous video too, which works really well like a video brochure for Ford Endeavour!

Aami Banglar – Sayantika Ghosh (Indipop/Bangla): A charming melody, made better by Sayantika’s excellent vocals. The Baul vocals by Shekhar Das and the background music (featuring kanjira, djembe among others) offer fantastic backing. The video is a lovely watch too!

Birds and the Bees – Shakthisree Gopalan & Alfie (Indipop/English): Salwin Alfred aka Alfie scores a melody that seems to be beautifully mounted to showcase Shakthisree’s fantastic vocals! At the 2-and-a-half minute, after what sounds like an extended prelude where she holds fort mighty impressively, Michael Dias’ guitars kick in to take the song to the next plane. Great listen!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 115: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
16 songs this week. JioSaavn is missing only one song – Shadow and Light’s Yaarum Illai, a song I highly recommend that you do not miss. YouTube has all 16 songs.

Do Ka Chaar, Kaand, Gupchup & Koi Nahi – Chaman Bahaar (Anshuman Mukherjee, and Kalyanji-Anandji) – Hindi: A really strong and surprising outing by composer Anshuman Mukherjee, a name that doesn’t ring a bell at all! Debutant? Right from Do Ka Chaar’s dreamy sound (and hilarious lyrics by Apurva Dhar Badgaiyan!!) that Sonu Nigam aces, to the superb Amit Trivedi’ish sound in Kaand (really well sung by Mohan Kannan, to the darn sweet and lively Gupchup with a neat bluegrass’y edge (wonderfully sung by Vibha Saraf) the man surprises with the range of tunes and sound! Even in Koi Nahi, the recreation of Kalyanji Anandji’s Bairaag number Sare Shaher Mein Aap Sa, the effort is confident and very impressive!

Tum Ho – Babloo Bachelor (Indraadip Dasgupta) – Hindi: Oh wow, what a song! Indraadip’s ghazal-style melody gets a superb modern touch. But it is Arijit’s phenomenal singing that carries this song stupendously well!

Kaathodu Kaathanen – Jail (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: Much like Yuvan Shankar Raja, it is disconcerting to see GVP use singers more for their star value than for other qualitative reasons like diction. Dhanush seems to be passionately singing about penne pasta! It’s not just that – in other places too, it is incredibly jarring to hear Dhanush utter ‘KaNmaNi poo pookka’ as ‘Kanmani poo pooka’ even as Aditi Rao Hydari seems to be keener on getting her diction right! Things are so obviously bad when both sing together ‘Irukku aNaithaaye’ where Dhanush says ‘anaithaaye’ and Aditi gets it right! It’s all a pity because the tune is very, very good! It’s like reading a great essay with terrible typos in it.

En Peru Enna Kelu – Katteri (Prasad S.N) – Tamil: Prasad, a student of Rahman’s KMMC, debuted with a decent enough soundtrack in Yaamirukka Bayame back in 2014! While I don’t think I have heard anything else from him in the meanwhile, it’s good to see him get back his debut’s director for another film – that’s a good partnership. The song’s racy, swing style reminded me of Jil Jung Juk’s Red Road’u, though this song has a zing of its own, thanks mainly to Jonita’s spirited singing. Prasad adds his charm too with the mid-song turn into kuthu – good fun!

Kolame – Penguin (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: What starts off almost like a rejected/reprise tune from Kabali thankfully moves into a different zone. Susha, the singer, is brilliant, particularly in the anupallavi that starts with ‘Kulavum ezhisayum’. And true to his style, Santhosh plays around with a different tune for the charanam (Enai thodum adheedhame)! Haunting tune with an undercurrent of sadness.

Yaarum Illai – Shadow and Light (Indipop/Tamil): I noticed that this was mentioned as Shadow and Light’s (Pavithra Chari and Anindo Bose) first Tamil song. I recall their highly listenable 2018 album, Sabar. This song goes beyond Sabar’s sound, and seemed much closer to their 2016 album, Elements and 2014 eponymous debut album. Brilliant, soulful tune, and Pavithra’s singing is easily the stunning highlight, with Haricharan offering excellent support.

Muthai Tharu – Ghibran’s Spiritual Series (Devotional): Ghibran’s ambition shows, even though some of the musical interludes go so far away from the verses’ point that treating them merely as a musical piece… jars, in those places. But yes, Ananthu’s punchy singing is excellent to bring these iconic and Arunagirinaadhar’s beautifully-Tamil lines.

Katharaayadam Reprise – Gang Leader (Anirudh) – Telugu: Anirudh already delivered a knock-out soundtrack for this film. His reprise of ‘Ninnu Choose Anandamlo’ is an enchanting mix – the same melodic high, but with a wonderful restraint as against the frenetic electronic mix of the original. And Anirudh’s own singing is a great foil for Sid’s original.

Arikil – Matadoria (Indipop/Malayalam): A simple, sweet melody by Matadoria! The song’s charm is in the lively simplicity and of course, Amal Antony Agustin’s fantastic vocals. The composer’s ingenuity shows in the way the anupallavi and bridge to the Nee Yaaro hook is layered in. The video remained quite engaging too, till the corny ending 🙂

Shanto Dupur – Rupak Tiary (Indipop/Bangla): A very competent tune handled darn well by singer-composer Rupak. The prominent musical phrase that underlines the tune seems like a cop-out despite the initial catchiness, however.

Hariye Jai, Jalshagor & Ekti Meye – Porichoy (Song Route – Arnab, Apurba & Anirban) – Indipop/Bangla: Song Route’s album, overall, is a very pleasant listen. More than the racier, grungy songs that they attempt, the softer songs come out really well. I really liked the gentle, retro-rock style of Harite Jai and Ekti Meye. I also Jalshagor for a very odd reason – I imagined it as a Jatin-Lalit imitation of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita!!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 114: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
14 songs this week. JioSaavn is missing the last 3, from Kodaline’s new album. YouTube has all the songs.

Zaeden – Dooriyan (Indipop/Hindi): ‘Dooriyan’ assumes a new meaning in a world taken to social distancing, far removed from the word’s conventional usage around distance or tiff between loved ones. Zaeden’s saccharine-sweet singing and the generally tipsy melody add to the song’s charm.

Yeh Saari Baat – Rochak Kohli (Indipop/Hindi): An pleasantly sweet song that took me back to Clapton (the guitars!) and Leslie Lewis (Haseena!). The video is shot much like Oru Chance Kudu (see below), with the narrative keeping the participants in their respective homes, connected by a video call.

Morniye – Amit Trivedi (Indipop/Punjabi): It looks like Amit has moved on from Songs of Faith, to Songs of Dance. The result is very good, though. This is an instantly catchy, ebullient song that is a guaranteed foot-shaker. It also has the usual Amit-style nuance in the orchestration, particularly that superb horns-style layer. The singing is top-notch too, by Devenderpal Singh and Sharvi Yadav.

Oru Chance Kudu – Karthik & Gaana Guna (Indipop/Tamil): Ondraga Originals was going great guns in early 2018. Koova was in January 2018, Ulaviravu was in February 2018 and Bodhai Kodhai was in June 2018. Then, singer Karthik’s name was involved in #MeToo allegations in October 2018, and perhaps owing to that, the flow completely stopped. The quality of music on offer was very good, if you do not go into the allegations. Oru Chance Kudu is a really interesting effort too, with a fantastic contrast between Karthik’s and Gaana Guna’s parts (wonderfully enacted by Shantanu and Kalaiyarasan). Karky’s lines too shine with wonderful wit – I burst out laughing at, “Friend konjam perfecttu, otta jettya kooda ishtri panni maatikuvaanpola” 🙂

And unlike the song above, where I had mentioned about animated music videos, for this music video, they pick a leaf out of Gautham Menon’s ‘Karthik Dial Seytha Yenn’ and shoot each actor in their own place, all connected only by phone calls. Very clever and works perfectly for this song’s theme!

Adiye Kutty Dhevadhe – Edwin Louis (Indipop/Tamil): There’s an increasing number of pop singles that come with animated music videos, most probably because shooting for such songs has been affected by the lockdown/pandemic. This is one such song. Edwin’s tune seemed like Leon James’ style and is passably nice. But Edwin does aim higher in the interludes with some interesting semi-classical approach.

Swami Natha – Bombhaat (Josh B) – Telugu: I recall seeing some songs from this film early this year and not being that impressed with them, but this one seems much, much better. Composer Josh has a faux-classical sound that goes well with the corny lyrics (that invoke ‘surgical strike’ in the 3rd line!) and the intentionally exaggerated singing, particularly by Harini Ivaturi (not to be confused with Tamil singer Harini Tippu) who does sing very well though, along with Karthik. The melody took me to Ilayaraja’s all-time classic Panivizhum Malarvanam (Ninaivellaam Nithya) so I wonder if the raaga employed here has some Naattai or Chalanaattai base. Really good effort by both Somasekhar Jois on konnakol and Shylu Ravindran on the guitars.

Dhak Dhak Dhak – Uppena (Devi Sri Prasad) – Telugu: A very K.Balachandar style song in terms of conception and imagination! Devi uses the ‘dhak dhak dhak’ motif so beautifully inside his melody that it stops sounding like a gimmick after the first few usages and integrates itself so organically. Eventually, he replaces that with natural sounds from the scenes – like an auto horn, a dog’s bark and even a cow’s moo (there’s a lot more)! Balaji’s violin joins seamlessly with Sarath Santhosh and Hari Priya’s singing. Outstanding work by Devi who so often devolves into utterly predictable and repetitive masala music.

Nee Roopam Edurugaa – Johaar (Priyadarshan Balasubramanian) – Telugu: Priyadarshan’s melody s soulful, with a tinge of pathos as if portending something gloomy in the distant future. Gowtham Bharadwaj’s singing lifts the song significantly, with Amala Chebolu joining in from the 2nd interlude onwards in a fantastic entry.

Wedlock down – Sangeetha Rajeev (Indipop/Kannada): A fun song, composed by Sangeetha Rajeev (very glad to see another woman composer – we could do with a LOT more, in Kannada). The mock-rivalry tone goes well with the singing where Vasu Dixit pitches in beautifully along with Sangeetha. The nadaswaram-style interludes too make for a good layer.

Ganesha Pancharatnam – Ghibran (Ghibran’s Spiritual Series) – Sanskrit: It’s fantastic to see Ghibran going the Amit Trivedi way, moving away from film music and going into quasi-religious music (though Amit has moved on from songs of faith, into songs of dance). The effort that has gone into orchestrating Ganesha Pancharatnam is astounding, with a rich, intricate sound with a lot of fine detailing. Sarat Santhosh’s crystal-clear Sanskrit diction and singing is the highlight, of course, even as everything comes together brilliantly. I really look forward to the other pieces in this series, like Muththaitharu – Thiruppugazh, Harivarasanam, Om Namah Shivaya, Bhrammam Okate and Kalabhairavashtakam.

Tejas – Lead: The first single from Tejas’ upcoming 2nd album, Outlast. This is as international as Indian pop song can get. It is produced really well, with an expansive horns layer accentuating the sound so well. Very enjoyable!

Wherever You Are, Sometimes & Saving Grace – Kodaline: The Irish band’s sound in the new album is almost Coldplay and I recall them being called Coldplay-lite 🙂 It’s familiar, comforting and likeable, though. The anthemic riffs and the overall upbeat sound helps in these gloomy times.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 113: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
10 songs this week. Some of these are the ones I missed adding last week in the deluge of the backlog. Plus, a few new songs. YouTube has all the songs, while JioSaavn is missing 2.

Aana Mere Pyar Ko – Aki Kumar (Jatin Lalit/Aki Kumar) – Hindi: A very enjoyable and funny (music video) rock-n-roll remix by Aki Kumar. The bluesy edge Aki adds to the song makes it seem completely alien from the original we have heard, yet when the actual song starts, the familiarity sinks in and makes it more interesting.

Nit Khair Manga – Sona Mohapatra and Ram Sampath (Indipop/Traditional): Trust Ram Sampath to reimagine a well-loved and well-known folk song in his inimitable pop-rock sound. And Sona Mohapatra to breathe life into it impeccably. This is a beautiful labor of love and thoroughly enjoyable.
Sanjoy Das’s guitar stays in your mind long after the song is over.

Vaaren Odi Vaaren – Sathyaprakash (Tamil/Indipop): Sathyaprakash composes and sings this single that puts a lot of onus on his dependable singing. And he doesn’t disappoint on both fronts – the tune is a lively faux-folk sound that Rahman concocted long ago when working with Bharathiraja that sounded markedly different and more modern than what we had been used to till then – Ilayaraja’s more authentic and earthy folk sound. But we have gotten used to this by now and Sathyaprakash’s tune does have a lovely lilt that keeps it interesting.

No Pelli – Solo Brathuke So Better (Thaman S) – Telugu: This is Thaman magic all the way – one heck of an instantly catchy tune with the usual sounds he is known for. Add Armaan Malik to the mix and you get an earworm!

Ee Vaanavum – ASAR (Sudeep Palanad) – Malayalam: I really don’t mind composers reusing their own template, particularly ones that are very good. Sudeep seems to be confidently repackaging his own outstanding ‘Jeevante Jeevanay’ from Sameer in Ee Vaanavum. The sound anyway is more associated with Shaan Rahman, and instead of Karthik, who sung Jeevante, Sudeep sings this one himself.

Athirinmeloru Maramundenkil – Samaya Yathra (Satheesh Ramachandran) – Malayalam: Satheesh uses the sound of an ambulance siren as a backdrop for his song and when you see the music video, you can understand why. It gets on the nerves after the first few seconds, but you also forget it amidst the otherwise rhythmic song very well sung by Anil Ram.

Moti Veraana, Radhe & Pavansutt – Amit Trivedi (Indipop): It’s great to hear Amit Trivedi unshackled from the constraints of a film script and almost script his own private Coke Studio of sorts with AT Azaad label and stream. The tunes are very folksy and earthy, but also original with the impeccable Amit Trivedi touch that seemed to be on the wane, or too familiar, with this film projects. While all 3 songs released so far are incredibly rhythmic, Moti Veraana’s Gujarati rhythm easily is the best so far. Radhe and Pavansutt, modeled as Krishna and Hanuman songs are almost quasi-bhajans, but with a phenomenally catchy outlook. Amit also chooses excellent singers to join in, in all 3 songs – Osman Mir in Moti Veraana, Neeraj Arya & Arunima Bhattacharya in Radhe and Devenderpal Singh in Pavansutt. I can’t wait to see what more Amit produces in this exciting phase.

Leaders Of Men – Thermal and a Quarter (Indipop): One of the lead singles from TAAQs new album that was released in March 2020 (that was earlier released as a single in 2019), the track has the very familiar and comforting TAAQ sound with superb guitar, as expected. The bluesy rock and the searing lyrics offer a strangely interesting mix.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 112: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
From March 22nd, when I shared the last Weeklies, to this weekend… this is perhaps the longest break I have taken in writing for Milliblog since I started in 2005! It’s not just that new music literally stopped flowing from the many studios and labels across India, the mood was also grim enough to warrant not writing about music. This week’s update covers the whole period in between and you’d notice some old (relatively) songs too.I do not think the situation has changed or will change dramatically from June 1st week onwards, so I intend to wait and watch. I’m considering turning Weeklies into a fortnightly or a monthly in case the flow of new music is too slow. But it’d continue to be called Weeklies 🙂

17 songs this week. All 17 available on YouTube, while JioSaavn (that I notice has a significant UI update in the web version) is missing the 2 songs from Ponmagal VandhaaL (that has already made it to Gaana, but not JioSaavn, strangely).

Mummy – Vayu (Indipop/Hindi): After March’s Baatein Karo, composer Vayu delivers another knockout with the poignant Mummy! The lyrics and the tone of the song are so beautifully conjured, while the music is enchanting, with wailing strings in the background accentuating the sense of dread and overall mood.

Kya Karoon? – Zaeden (Indipop/Hindi): Zaeden’s falsetto-laden singing and the overall sound he concocts sounds enchantingly sweet. It’s very easy-on-the-ear and something you would love listening to again as it gets over.

Jootam Phenk & Madari Ka Bandar – Gulabo Sitabo (Abhishek Arora, Anuj Garg) – Hindi: Jootam Phenk evokes the question about who Abhishek Arora is – it’s that interesting, even within the familiar swing sounds it adopts. You can’t go wrong with Piyush Mishra as a singer either. Anuj’s Madari Ka Bandar has an unhurried lilt that speeds up to an exciting point mid-way. Tochi Raina and Anuj seems to be thoroughly enjoying singing it.

Genda Phool – Badshah & Payal Dev (Indipop/Hindi/Bangla): Badshah uses his Primary School lyric writing skills and layers them on top of a Bangla folk tune that he credited after adequate outrage. (More on that!) It’s a fantastic recreation, however – almost like a power-version of an otherwise, simple and soulful folk song. Payal Dev is the song’s X factor, handling the Bangla hook.

Move – Raftaar – Album: Mr.Nair (Indipop/Hindi): Within the largely hip hop template, Raftaar has a very catchy tune here! And that grand brass sound accentuates the tune wonderfully, amping up the catchiness.

Earth Malayalam – Ananthu Mahesh and Sreejith SJ (Indipop/Malayalam): The oddly titled song remains interesting mainly due to Ananthu’s soaring tune and singing. The template reminded me a bit of Rex Vijayan’s Uyirin Nadhiye from Mayaanadhi, before Ananthu turns the tune in a different direction.

Pookkalin Porvai & Kalaigiradhey Kanave – Ponmagal VandhaaL (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: I had already written about Vaan Thooralgal, the 96-extension song.

I’d have easily guessed Pookkalin Porvai as a Sean Roldan song, and surprisingly he sings it too, along with Keethana Vaidyanathan. There are subtle shades of Sean’s music from Joker at certain stretches. What’s particularly interesting that they chose the name the song after the phrase that starts the anupallavi! The song’s structure itself is a complex mesh of tunes that do not sound like any conventional flow, and certain choices Govind makes, like when the add the 2nd voice, either Sean’s voice, over Keerthana, or the other way around, add significant charm to the song. Kalaigiradhey Kanave is closest to Govind’s Thaikkudam Bridge output. A sprawling sound that has an almost contrastingly softer voice (of Govind himself). That works very well for the short song that somehow seems to end abruptly.

Yedho Yedho Aasai – Naan Thaan Siva (D.Imman) – Tamil: Imman hints at Charukesi raaga quite generously and roping in Shreya for the melody is a stupendous choice. Together, they produce absolute magic!

Thaththi Thaavum – Javed Riaz (Indipop/Tamil) – In what seems like an extended advertisement for Swiggy, Javed easily has a winner! The tune’s spritely sound, combined with Aarthi MN Ashwin’s superb singing is wonderfully easy on the ear. It’s also interesting that Aarthi sounded a bit like Chinmayi!

Marandhaye – Teddy (D.Imman) – Tamil: I wasn’t that into the much-publicized En Iniya Thanimaye, but Nanbiye was a great listen. And Marandhaye goes one step beyond Nanbiye. Imman springs a delightful surprise by extending the Yaaradi lines to an impressive high with just one word per line with some lovely strings for company. Pradeep Kumar is, as always, terrific, with excellent support by Jonita in the anupallavi.

Chitu Kuruvi – Aruva Sanda (Dharan) – Tamil: A surprising song from Dharan, who is more associated with relatively ‘modern’ sounds. This one is charmingly simple, almost a throwback to a different period of Tamil music… kinda like a slightly polished Deva song from the 90s! Special mention on the vocals by Ramya Nambeesan and Balaji Sree.

Seetha Momuni – MAD (Mohith Rahmaniac) – Telugu: WHOA! The composer’s name is Mohith “Rahmaniac”? A fan of Rahman, I presume? 🙂 Ironically, the melody, which is rather nice, reminded me of Ilayaraja’s Kalaignan number Enthan Nenjil Neengaatha, possibly owing to the raaga Nalinakanti. The background music is decidedly more Rahmanish, of course.

Kotha Kotha Oohalenno – Pradeep Sagar (Indipop/Telugu): The song definitely made me wonder, ‘Who is this Pradeep Sagar?’. Hemachandra handles Pradeep’s charming tune that comes alive with a lively rhythm layered on top of Sandilya Pisapati’s violin. Very good listen!

En Chaare – Nyx Lopez (Indipop/Malayalam): Nyx, who had shown some promise in the soundtrack for the Tamil film Sei (2017), gets the cool boyband sound very well here. In Mohith Shyam’s vocals, the tune gets even better. Very promising, overall, for Nyx.

Ithal – Koora (Nithin Peetambaran) – Malayalam: Nithin’s melody is haunting and has a gorgeous sweep, and along with Josy Alappuzha’s flute and Sandeep Mohan’s guitar, the tune is stirring. And then there’s Vijay Yesudas who takes the song to a next level, along with Sruthi Peetambaran. Beautiful song!

Tanishk Bagchi has been getting some well-deserved hate for his atrocious recreation of A.R.Rahman’s Masakali, from Delhi 6. He did something equally terrible with A.R.Rahman’s Humma Humma earlier.

Also, he has been shooting his mouth off with regard to ‘credits’, when he himself has gotten away with some recreations with no credit whatsoever, or with very hazy credits!

All this hate is, as I mentioned earlier, well deserved.

But, please don’t let that jump to the sweeping conclusion that Tanishk is a talentless hack, or that ALL his recreations are useless. Both are untrue. And the simple fact is that you can have both kinds of opinions about him at the same time – hate him for his terrible remixes and appreciate some of the better recreations and original songs.

To showcase those 2 points, here are 2 playlists.

The first playlist is my favorite 10 Tanishk Bagchi originals. This also includes 2 songs that he co-composed with Vayu. (PS: Song No.4 has been demonstrated to be not an original, after I posted this. Added a note in the end to this effect.)

The list of songs:Tanishk Bagchi – originals

Kanha – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (Tanishk-Vayu)

Adbhutam – Lover

Monobina – Gold

Akh Lad Jaave – Loveyatri

Bolna – Kapoor & Sons

Itna Tumhe – Machine

Main Hoon – Munna Michael

Kankad – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (Tanishk-Vayu)

Baaki Rab Pe Chhod De – Lucknow Central

Makhna – Drive

The second playlist is my favorite 10 recreations of Tanishk Bagchi. This playlist has the recreation followed by the original, as a couple – so 20 songs in this playlist. This includes recreations where the original has not been credited or even mentioned that it is a recreation, like Kesari’s Sanu Kehndi.

The list of songs: Tanishk Bagchi – remakes

Tamma Tamma Again – Badrinath Ki Dulhania

Tamma Tamma Loge – Thanedaar

Socha Hai – Baadshaho

Kehdoon Tumhein Ya Chup Rahoon – Deewar

Hawa Hawai 2.0 – Tumhari Sulu

Hawa Hawai – Mr. India

Gazab Ka Hai Din – Dil Juunglee

Gazab Ka Hai Din – Qayamat se Qayamat Tak

Gali Gali – KGF

Gali Gali Mein – Tridev

Sanu Kehndi – Kesari

Bhabo Kehndi Eh – Surinder Kaur

Hauli Hauli – De De Pyaar De

Yeah Baby – Garry Sandhu

Chatur Naar – Machine

Ek Chatur Naar – Padosan

Aankh Marey – Simmba

Aankh Maare – Tere Mere Sapne

Arey Pyaar Kar Le – Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re – Saaheb

PS: Got to know that Loveyatri’s Akh Lad Jaave is a recreation of this song 🙂 This is another uncredited recreation, like Kesari’s Sanu Kehndi!

Sunday March 29, 2020

Plucking the Genda Phool, twice!

Back in 2009, A.R.Rahman had a song called ‘Genda Phool’ in his iconic soundtrack for Delhi 6. The song was credited as “Courtesy: Raghubir Yadav” even in Delhi 6’s CD. From what I gather, the original song that goes,
“Saas Gari Deve,
Nanad Muhaan Leve,
Devar Babu Mor…
…Karaar Genda Phool”
…was supposed to have been written by a Chhattisgarh poet named Gangaram Shivarey and the music composed by another Chhattisgarh composer named Bhulwaram Yadav. The song describes a bride’s perspective in her new home and the marigold flower becomes a motif to weave in her marriage and her two families. Bhulwaram Yadav had supposedly taught the song to the Joshi sisters (Rekha, Rama and Prabha) who sang it in public concerts, to a rousing welcome. HMV/Saregama released it commercially and it became a popular song on radio and at weddings.

There is no credit to any of the original artists in Delhi 6’s CD or the film.

(PS: The Delhi 6 CD is one of the best designed that I have ever owned! The entire CD design is a labor of love!)

T-series’ 2011 YouTube upload of Genda Phool:

T-series’ 2011 YouTube upload of Genda Phool (remix):

Cut to 2020!

On March 25, 2020, as if it had astronomical significance, T-series decided to re-upload Delhi 6’s Genda Phool again. Exactly on March 25, 2020.

Why March 25th?

Because Sony Music was slated to release a new song called Genda Phool, featuring Badshah and Payal Dev.

So it was obvious that T-series was up to its old tricks again. In the 90s, T-series was notorious for getting Anuradha Paudwal to re-sing (cover versions) famous songs from other music labels and release the duplicate versions through audio cassettes with dirt-cheap prices. This used a loophole in the copyright law in India at that time.

What T-series did on March 25, 2020 was a new-age version of that tactic. The timing was to use the search interest for the term ‘genda phool’. If you see the 2-digit million views for Badshah’s new song, you know what is at stake!

Now, incredibly ironically, Badshah’s song is based on a folk song too, and has been poorly credited, just like Rahman’s cover version.

The original of Badshah’s cover version is of Bangla origin.

The credit to the original was missing when the song was first released by Sony Music.

They eventually added a weak line to give credit to the original lyrics, but not the music, which is credited to Badshah alone.

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