Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 125: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has 12 of them, and is missing one song from Raat Akeli Hai. Saavn has 10 songs, and is missing the 2 songs from Maniyarayile Ashokan (which has released under Dulquer’s own label… that has a history of releasing music only on YouTube, like Varane Aavasyamund, and on other platforms much later), and Sooraj Santhosh’s new single.

Aadhe Aadhe Se & Ghoom Charkheya – Raat Akeli Hai (Sneha Khanwalkar) – Hindi: Aadhe Aadhe Se is almost a Vishal Bhardwaj composition! And Mika seems like a severe misfit in this song, even though he sings well – his voice sounded to me like the male version of Rekha Bhardwaj, in a not so interesting way. The tune though, and Shilpa Rao, keep the song very engaging. Ghoom Charkheya picks up the pace after the first minute and gets progressively better, with its frenetic energy. Sukhwinder Singh is perfect for the tune.

Ezhara – Tea Kada Pasanga (TKP) ft. Kaizer Kaiz (Tamil/Sinhala): That frenetic background kuthu rhythm could easily make you sit up. The tune is simple and catchy, and gets a superb high when the rap portions start, first in Sinhala, and then in Tamil. Pulsating mix, and a beautiful blend of languages.

Ranga Rangeli – V (Amit Trivedi) – Telugu: Now that the film is releasing on OTT, the soundtrack finally releases fully. The 2 additional songs are no patch on the earlier 2 songs. But yes, Ranga Rangeli has a pulsating sound that keeps it engaging.

Hey Idi Nenena – Solo Brathuke So Better (Thaman S) – Telugu: The Thaman-Sid Sriram magic continues! Thaman seems to have cracked the formula for Sid’s vocals, in Telugu. This is not Samajavaragamana-level, of course, but a thoroughly fun track, nonetheless.

Tharagathi Gadhi – Colour Photo (Kaala Bhairava) – Telugu: M.M.Keeravani’s son, Kaala Bhairava, who made his composing debut with Mathu Vadalara last year, gets to compose and sing Tharagathi Gadhi. The gently lilting song’s highlight is the Tharagathi Gadhi hook that reminds me a bit of DSP’s musical style. Very listenable song.

Thani Malayalam – The Gypsy Sun (Sooraj Santhosh) – Malayalam: The first single from Sooraj’s debut (after his moving off the band Masala Coffee) solo album. The music is oh-so-gorgeously Kerala and the second the nadaswaram (by Rajkumar) ends, the guitar by Sandeep Mohan starts, leading Sooraj to do his magic with the beautiful melody. His voice is delectable, as always!

Peyyum Nilaavu & Olu – Maniyarayile Ashokan (Sreehari K Nair) – Malayalam: Sreehari, who sang Seetha Kalyanam from the Telugu soundtrack of Ranarangam (in Prashant Pillai’s music), makes his composing debut in this film produced by Dulquer Salmaan. In Peyyum Nilaavu, he has a really alluring bird call as a persistent backdrop and that’s a lovely layer on top of what is already a very pleasant melody. KS Harisankar singing is the icing on the cake. Olu, on the other hand, is another level, thanks to Sid Sriram’s singing! In both tunes, Sreehari shows enormous promise!

Eadanin Madhu – Varayan (Prakash Alex) – Malayalam: Prakash Alex, who had an impressive soundtrack in 2018’s Kalyanam, returns with a very-Vidyasagar’ish song! The sparse backdrop reminded me me so much of Vidyasagar’s style. Sanah Moidutty’s singing is, as always, fantastic, particularly the chorus’ish line.

Kathorthu Kathorthu – Karnan Napoleon Bhagat Singh (Ranjin Raj) – Malayalam: I picked up strains of Reetigowlai, so I’m totally inclined to love the song instantly – it’s that beautiful a raaga 🙂 Haritha Raj’s veena expands on the Reetigowlai magnificently all through the song, and Unni Menon’s singing too is a fantastic addition. Composer Ranjin Raj is on a consistent run, after a blank 2019, but good music in 2018, with films like Nithya Haritha Nayakan and Joseph.

Maley Maley – Ninna Sanihake (Raghu Dixit) – Kannada: A soulful melody that is handled in Raghu’s own inimitable voice. Vasuki Vaibhav’s rain-soaked lines make an additional impact too, but it is Raghu’s tune and singing all the way that aces the song.

Relentless – Passages (Pineapple Express) – Indipop: Pineapple Express’ new EP, with 4 songs, is a great listen overall, even if all the songs didn’t work for me uniformly. There’s a lot to like, the sound is extremely interesting and the Indian elements work beautifully. My favorite is Relentless, with the lovely ‘Kitna haseen hain yeh manzar’ refrain amidst blazing sitar. The twist at 2:43 is stunningly handled, with a superb guitar in the backdrop!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 124: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. YouTube playlist has 14 songs, and is missing Shukriya from Sadak 2. The JioSaavn playlist has all 15 songs!

Ganpati – Amit Trivedi, ft. Adarsh Shinde (Indipop/Devotional/Hindi): Very timely addition by Amit under his ‘Songs of Faith’ series. The jaunty rhythm lends a superbly dance’y bounce and makes the devotional song a song of joy and celebration! A special note on Amit’s role as the music video’s creator – he has put together a very impressive dance narrative to go with the song; it is really imaginatively choreographed!

Jhalle Kalle – Denny & Nikhita Gandhi (Indipop/Punjabi/Hindi): This sounded almost like a hip-hop version of Rahman’s adaptation of the folk song that became Genda Phool in Delhi 6! It’s aptly catchy and Nikhita’s singing elevates it wonderfully.

Shukriya & Ishq Kamaal – Sadak 2 (Jeet Gannguli and Suniljeet) – Hindi: Mahesh Bhatt and Vishesh Films seem clearly past their prime here, as far as music sense is concerned. The music, by assorted composers, is from an earlier recent era and is only passably interesting. Among the songs, Jeet’s Shukriya, in 2 versions, is the best! Jubin Nautiyal is brilliantly restrained in the rendition of the sweeping melody, and that first interlude is fabulously mounted. Ishq Kamaal, despite the allegation of plagiarism (which I do not agree with), is the other good listen, with its lilting sound.

Nenjame – Doctor (Anirudh) – Tamil: Anirudh seems to have found his magic formula for films starring Sivakarthikeyan! You hear the song and you can actually picture Siva in your mind already! The melody is enchanting, with a superb cornucopia of sounds that just come together perfectly!

Edho Solla – Murungakkai Chips (Dharan Kumar) – A lively melody with a faux semi-classical sound that Sid Sriram seems like an excellent choice (of singer) to handle. It’s interesting that the preludes and interludes remind me of Rahman’s sound. Also, that they chose to name the song, ‘Edho solla’ and not the actual opening of the song, ‘Nerunjiye’!

Thada Thada Raila – Ganesapuram (Raja Sai) – Tamil: Even though this is Shakthisree Gopalan’s show, composer Raja Sai makes his presence felt too with his unhurried and gorgeous melody that gets better in the anupallavi too, with a graceful guitar backdrop!

Veesadha Kaatre – Akash Chandran (Tamil/Indipop): A surprisingly competently song that deserves better promotion for better reach. Akash’s composition and singing (along with Pooja Santhanam, who makes a fantastic entry mid-way) make for great listen. The song’s repetitive use of a catchy musical phrase and the overall sound too is mildly reminiscent of Anirudh’s musical style.

Chennai Paattu – Ramshanker (Indipop/Tamil): A really well done theme song for Chennai, on Madras Day (August 22nd)! The lyrics are on expected lines, espousing the many things and places about the city, but the music is what keeps it so very interesting, with a lively, funky groove, particularly in the interludes.

Prabho Sri Gananatha – Singer Srinivas (Devotional/Tamil): Singer Srinivas’ new devotional album on Lord Ganesha makes for a very good musical listen too, besides the devotional aspect. It’s got a fantastic range of singers – Madhu Balakrishnan, Bombay Jayashri, Sudha Raghunathan, Tippu, Vijay Prakash, Haricharan and Srinivas himself. My favorite is the song by Srinivas, Prabho Sri Gananatha (sung by Mano in Telugu). The early-morning raaga took me to the famous Doordarshan film ‘Purab se surya uga’, composed by Ashok Patki (of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara fame; that was arranged by Louis Banks), in raaga Bhatiyaar, I presume.

Here’s Ashok himself explains how Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey came to him seeking a tune for the verse he had written!

Mama Mama – Kanabadutaledu (Madhu Ponnas) – Telugu: I recall Madhu’s name from his listenable soundtrack for the 2017 film, O Pilla Nee Valla. I don’t what else he has composed in the meanwhile, but he seems to have a captivating winner here. The simple tune has glitzy background music that smoothly segues into kuthu rhythms too and remains consistently interesting.

Kolumande – Chandan Shetty (Indipop/Kannada): Chandan Shetty is on a spree! After the massive success of his single from Pogaru (Karabuu; though with a terrible music video), this song’s rhythm is insanely addictive, and the tune, that I thought is in Pilu raaga, is incredibly catchy as well! Complete ear-worm, this!

When We Feel Young – When Chai Met Toast (Indipop): A wonderfully warm song about thinking back… about reminiscing! Vivek Thomas’s blissful vocals sound perfect when he sings, “At fifty nine… when we feel young”! The music video too is a great watch, with animated illustrations by Anjali Kamat.

Haari & Naina – In Other Words (Anhad+Tanner) – Indipop: Anhad Khanna and Tanner Willeford’s debut album is a truly wonderful listen! The sound is uniformly ethereal, with a beautiful mix of Indian classical music and world music. I got the feel of Ram Sampath’s outstanding score for Let’s Talk in more than one song. But, interestingly, I was also reminded of Mithoon’s music more than once too! For instance, snatches of Haari (featuring vocals by Pavithra Chari) took me to The Train’s Zindagi Ne Zindagi Bhar Gham Diye, while it was Tose Naina from Anwar, for Naina (featuring Isheeta Chakrvarty’s vocals). But make no mistake, this is a very personal connect – and I fully understand if you do not get it too, and the songs make for fantastic listen, as also the full album!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 123: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
15 songs this week. YouTube playlist has all 15 songs, while JioSaavn is missing 2 of Dhruv Vishvanath’s songs – Wildfire and Write.

Pachtaoge – B Praak, ft. Asees Kaur (Indipop/Punjabi): B Praak recreates his own tune from last year (that featured Arijit Singh’s vocals) into a bit more edgy version, this time featuring Asees Kaur. The melody’s searing pathos continues to be very engaging and the new elements that the composer adds, like that momentary silence added at 1:53 and the new music that follows (missing in the original), make this variant a lot more interesting.

Lifafe – Sunny M.R. (Indipop/Hindi): Sunny once again brings his Telugu repertoire to Hindi, where he seems more content to assist Pritam instead of going independent. But the pandemic-induced lockdown seems to have unleashed his interest in going on his own. So, after Kahaniyan and Chaubaare, here’s the 3rd single from him! This one’s decidedly more enthusiastic and fun than the other 2 that seemed more brooding!

Aatishbaazi – Rocky-Jubin (Indipop/Hindi): Composed by the singer-lyricist combo, Rocky Khanna and Jubin Nautiyal, the music is flamboyant and offers ample scope for Jubin to excel in the singing. He does really well, with a confident edge in his voice, even as the swinging music behind him swells.

Vaan Thirakkindra Pozhudhil – Karthik KT, ft. Darshana KT (Indipop/Tamil): Well, this is a pleasant surprise! A soft jazz number, beautifully sung by Darshana… the melody and music reminded me of Shankar-Ganesh’s musical style for some reason!

Aaka Pirandhavale – Sean Roldan, ft. Vignesh Ishwar (Indipop/Tamil): Sean’s rousing tune is expectedly fantastic, but the music in the background that he truly excels and makes the overall song so much more enjoyable! It’s an eclectic mix, defying genre, and a dash of classical music thrown in when Vignesh expands on the tune. I’m just very surprised Sean or Jyothika did not want this tune for the film Raatchasi!

Vada Kadha Kelu Magane & Hostel Song – Monkey Donkey (Sooraj S Kurup) – Tamil: Sooraj in Tamil too, besides Malayalam, this week (see below)! The contrast is incredible. If in Malayalam, his music seems measured and nuanced, he does what we call in Tamil, “Get down and do the job”! But even in the raucous kuthu sound, the tune goes in interesting directions that defy a conventional kuthu song: that ‘Sottu sottah’ 4-liner joins another 8-liner in ‘Panamum peNNum’ and that entire set works effectively as an unusually tuned central portion. Anthony Daasan is, as usual, in his elements! In Hostel Song, Sooraj includes a mandolin’ish background that keeps the song constantly enjoyable, even as Uthara Unnikrishnan’s child-like vocals seems too young for what is a pulsating song with grown-up ambitions.

Thelinje Vaanaake, Thaane Mounam & Diname Diname – Kilometers & Kilometers (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: After the release of the lead single, Paaraake, just before the pandemic-induced lockdown, Sooraj’s full soundtrack for the film is finally out! As expected, the composer’s music continues to thoroughly enjoyable and highly nuanced. With a ebullient folk rhythm and equally catchy vocal chorus, Thelinje Vaanaake is a superb listen! Sithara Krishnakumar’s main line is truly memorable, in this mix. Thaane Mounam (and its other version, You And Me) is mounted brilliantly, raising the music progressively amidst the stunning chorus (and back-up vocals by Sooraj himself). Diname Diname is the soundtrack’s most pensive, with a serene backdrop that lets Mridul Anil hold fort mighty impressively. The quietude in the song makes as much music as the audible sounds!

Madhuranombaram – Sujith Kurian, Ft. Madhu Balakrishnan (Indipop/Malayalam): Sujith calls this experimental track as an ‘Electro Poem’, where lyricist Viditha Madhu’s lines come alive in his music. The music is vibrant and allows for the lyrics to thrive, but what truly holds this song together, and makes it a ‘song’ is Madhu Balakrishnan’s highly impressive rendition. The tune gets complex given the free verse that doesn’t seem to constrain the melody to any convention, and Madhu handles the flow beautifully!

Dark, Wildfire, Write & Carry – Dhruv Visvanath (Indipop): Dhruv, after his 2 earlier album (Orion and The Lost Cause), has been steadily creating singles. The 4 singles from May, June, July and August this year, respectively – Dark, Wildfire, Write and Carry (April’s Dear Madeline did not work for me) – are highly listenable! Dark starts off on a serene note and literally bounces into that rhythm at 1:35, while Wildfire’s winsome melody carries it through all the way, along with stunning guitar phrases (the Electric Guitar is by Shubh Saran). Dhruv’s guitar and warm vocals lead Write and Carry’s wonderful melodies, with the latter also including a beautifully realized chorus that adds tremendous value to the song. Dhruv’s music generally reminds me of Rob Thomas’ style (Matchbox Twenty) and since I love Rob’s music, I can understand why I like Dhruv’s too.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 122: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
12 songs this week. Terrible coverage across the 2 platforms – YouTube doesn’t have Mann Ki Dori from Gunjan Saxena (it’s inside a jukebox), and is missing 3 songs from Asalu Em Jarigindhante for the same reason (full jukebox of both films embedded below). JioSaavn fares even worse – has only 7 of the 12 songs.

Khuda Haafiz Title Song – Khuda Haafiz (Mithoon) – Hindi: With its steadily thrumming rhythm and Vishal Dadlani’s dependably soaring vocals, this is a lovely listen. It did take me back to Mithoon’s best days from the past when he was on a roll with The Train.

Asmaan Di Pari & Mann Ki Dori – Gunjan Saxena (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Amit’s soundtrack for the film is so surprisingly derivative… every song harks back many other of his own songs, and also a bit of A R Rahman (the Shehnai in Bharat Ki Beti, in particular… yes, I’m talking about Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera). It’s the singers who salvage some of the songs – Jyoti Nooran is the life of Asmaan Di Pari with her incredibly lively singing, while Armaan Malik pleasantly breathes life into the soft melody of Mann Ki Dori.

Duniya – MojoJojo (Indipop): The new single from MojoJojo’s new album AndarRated. It’s as zany as it can get, as usual. It sounded almost like Viju Shah composing after waking up from being frozen in ice (like Captain America) immediately after Mohra, taking into account the current trends. Solid fun!

Annathe Sethi – Tughlaq Durbar (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: Vijay Sethupathy’s “Eppavume Main Switchdhaan Must-u” (written by Karthik Nehta) is bound to join so many other dialogs of his and would no doubt be used in countless memes. The song wears its ‘revolutionary sound’ up-front, but Govind’s music is pulsating and very catchy, particularly when the chorus joins Arivu’s rousing singing.

Closer Than Ever/Yaavum Nandraagum Naalai – Cover by Shakthisree Gopalan (originally by A.R.Rahman): Rahman’s original tune from Taal’s Nahin Saamne morphed into Closer Than Ever for Bombay Dreams and gets another version thanks to Shakthisree, with Tamil lyrics by Arivu. It is as exquisite as I heard the tune in Taal many years ago – the original’s poetic beauty helps this cover version in Shakthisree’s wonderful singing as well!

Suththam Seithe Yuttham Sei – Singer Srinivas, ft. Rahul Nambiar and Sharanya Srinivas (Indipop/Tamil): Singer Srinivas composes a wonderfully foot-tapping and enjoyable song on a theme that everyone is keen on propagating these days during a pandemic – cleanliness. He takes a fun, entertaining approach to the tune and that works very well. The anupallavi, with its long, snaking flow, is particularly lovely and joins the main tune really well.

Hatheri Sehari, Adhigadhigo & Ale Ale Hai – Asalu Em Jarigindhante (Charan Arjun) – Telugu: This is the kind of soundtrack where I was so pleasantly surprised that I was forced to look up who the composer is and if I have heard something from him in the past that impressed me! The overall soundtrack is pretty listenable, and I liked these 3 songs the most. Hatheri Sehari and Ale Ale Hai have the zing of a Joshua Sridhar composition, while Adhigadhigo pitches higher, genre-hopping in the interludes and retaining a predominantly semi-classical/folk sound very well, in the voices of Charan Arjun himself and Harini Ivaturi. This is a very good soundtrack and I would definitely look forward to Charan Arjun’s compositions in the future!

Kajla – Pav Dharia, ft. Tarsem Jassar (Indipop/Punjabi): A predictably Punjabi tune that composer Pav Dharia spikes up wonderfully with a fresh, rock sound. And Tarsem Jassar’s crystal-clear intonation is superb. The music video too is a great watch, as the artist, Wamiqa Gabbi traverses through Bengali and Rajasthani landscapes and outfits, before getting back to Punjab. That she actually does Malayalam and Tamil movies with the same ease makes it all the more credible.

70 Rupak – Varijashree Venugopal & Aman Moroney (Indipop/Classical): If you asked me to name my favorite classical raaga, I’d name Charukesi even in my sleep. It’s right on top, in my list. This composition by Varijashree and Aman expands on the raaga beautifully, bringing its soul to the fore in a captivating manner. No lyrics or words – just the exposition of the raaga done brilliantly!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 121: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
19 songs this week – another bumper musical week, like last week! Both playlists have all the songs, in a happy surprise!

Sajan Bin, Mastiyaapa, Chedkhaniyaan, Couple Goals, Dhara Hogi, Garaj Garaj Jugalbandi, Garaj Garaj, Virah, Labb Par Aaye – Bandish Bandits (Shankar Ehsaan Loy) – Hindi: My music review of this fantastic soundtrack.

Jaan Ban Gaye – Khuda Haafiz (Mithoon) – Hindi: Mithoon’s lasting legacy, beyond everything he has scored and continues to score, would remain the 2 songs he composed for Anwar – Maula Mere and Tose Naina Lage. Jaan Ban Gaye gently touches upon Maula Mere to produce pleasant memories of that classic and continues to delight with its moody, melodic sound. Asees Kaur is particularly fantastic with her part, while Vishal Mishra is predictably good too.

Beech Raaste – Salim Sulaiman (ft. Armaan Malik & Nikhita Gandhi) – Indipop/Hindi: A song that could have easily been in the soundtrack of Band Baaja Baaraat. Salim and Sulaiman may not be composing for movies actively but have kept their lively, enjoyable sound alive through singles like this. Very upbeat and good fun!

Karmugile – Sathyaprakash (Indipop/Tamil): After his earlier single from June, Vaaren Odi Vaaren, singer Sathyaprakash proves once more that his interest in composing, and not just singing, is here to stay! The melody he composes this time is even better than the last time – a wonderfully soft and lilting tune that gains tremendously from his singing. Abinandhan R’s guitars too add a lot of charm to the song.

Rakita Rakita Rakita – Jagame Thandhiram (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: This is one heck of a ‘mass’ song, as they say in Tamil Nadu 🙂 Santhosh layers an instantly dance-worthy brass-led sound to help him, Dhanush and Dhee power the captivating tune. Santhosh’s and Dhanush’s raw voices add to the song’s lively feel, while Dhee makes a superb entry mid-way. Lyricist Vivek runs riot too in the background, with whistle-worthy lines like, “Enna thokkadikka oruthan mattum varuvaane” and ending it with “Mannikanum maamse… ada avanum inga naandhaane” 🙂

Engenge Theduven – Manja Satta Pacha Satta (Ganesh Raghavendra) – Tamil: How would it sound if Chandrababu sang in an electro-swing song? That seems to be the idea behind Ganesh Raghavendra’s song here that he himself sings, along with Krishna. The first one minute stays true to Chandrababu’s style and period, but the song leaps forward in style to the electro-swing style at that point and gets snazzy and catchy!

Aanandam & Repavalu – Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya (Bijibal) – Telugu: I had mentioned back in March, while noting Bijibal’s Telugu debut (and the song, Ningi Chutte) how the Telugu remake of Maheshinte Prathikaaram seems closer to the original than the Tamil remake starring Udhayanidhi and directed by Priyadarshan! To see the Telugu remake, from an industry known to revel in its over-the-top flashiness, be as understated as the Malayalam original, and Tamil going over-the-top for a change is a nice twist. The full soundtrack now cements that further – the Tamil version had really good music, but the soundtrack did not specifically map to the original in any – but the Telugu soundtrack maps almost directly to the original and is also composed by the original composer: 4 songs in each!

Repavalu’s approach seems almost exactly similar to Theliveyil too, incidentally, using the Christian hymnal sound. Sangeetha Srikanth and Bijibal himself sing this one that sounds straight out of Bijibal’s Malayalam repertoire that I wonder why he even chose a different tune! Aanandam, however, is more like Ningi Chutte, with Bijibal working harder to incorporate a more Telugu sound, particularly that background rhythm.

O Kalala Kathala Reprise – Dear Comrade (Justin Prabhakaran) – Telugu: This is a superb surprise to mark the first year of the film! A new version of the soundtrack’s best song, sung by Bombay Jayashri and Vijay Yesudas (originally sung by Sathyaprakash and Chinmayi Sripada), where the female voice leads the song, unlike the original. Justin’s tune remains a compelling listen even now.

Mayanagaraa – Lalbagh (Rahul Raj) – Kannada: Yes, the film is called Lalbagh and is set in Bengaluru, but to expect the makers to include a full-fledged Kannada song, that too composed by Rahul Raj, is a wonderful surprise! Sulekha Kapadan sings it in diva-style, gloriously enunciating each word that she herself has written along with Sruthi Uthappa.

Taragele Samsara – Kaalachakra (Gurukiran) – Kannada: Just when we are warming up to the new blood in Kannada film music, veteran Gurukiran dashes into the scene with a searing Shiva number done in total style! The manic rhythm in the background and Kailash Kher’s high-pitched singing along with the powerful chorus lifts the song tremendously.

After Rahman went ‘youth’ all over again recently with ‘Friendzone’ in Dil Bechara, it is heartwarming to see more 50+ years dudes go ‘viral’, ‘selfie’ and more, courtesy Divyanshu Malhotra’s competent lines in Sajan Bin. The song’s highlight is, however, the trio’s excellent jugalbandi of sorts, blending the lead characters’ musical preferences, clearly delineating the girl’s music as ‘pop’ and the boy’s music as ‘classical’, by blending Shivam Mahadevan’s classical portion over Jonita’s. The girl’s music has an upper hand, though, since Shivam sings within the catchy, pop rhythm that stays on and the fact that Jonita doesn’t enter the classical territory for her part. It’s a superb blend, overall, and is the only song in the entire soundtrack to attempt this fusion. Shivam is phenomenal in his brief classical portion that sits on top of the pulsating pop song like a crown, even as Jonita’s segment is wonderfully lively.

Shivam gets down to the non-classical, filmy sound in the next song, Chedkhaniyaan – he is excellent, once again. The frothy and highly rhythmic sound continues here too, as Pratibha Singh Baghel joins Shivam in the second half of the song.

Couple Goals is the trio’s comfort zone, with that amped up folk sound that they excel in. The song features Armaan Malik and Jonita Gandhi in great form, feeding off each others’ energy, and here Jonita does what Shivam was doing in the earlier song, enter the boy’s musical zone, albeit for a brief, classical closure.

Mastiyaapa is the last of the non-classical songs in the soundtrack, with a sound harking back to the trio’s Karthik Calling Karthik number Uff Teri Ada. Immensely catchy, with a zingy sound and a bouncy hook, handled impeccably by Jonita.

The soundtrack’s stunning highlights are the classically oriented songs.

Javed Ali is force behind the highly melodic Labb Par Aaye, backed by a beautiful harmonium layer. The song is in line with the sound the trio produced for their fantastic Marathi soundtrack, Katyar Kaljat Ghusli.

The 2 songs in which Shankar Mahadevan takes center-stage, the results are spellbinding!

In Virah, he takes on what sounds like Purya Dhanasri raaga, with a deeply affecting and poignant melody, magnificently. The absolute desolate nature of the melody evokes Ismail Darbar’s Tadap Tadap (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam), though Shankar’s vocal prowess considerably turns this one into a classically rooted tune.

In Dhara Hogi, Shankar is in absolutely stunning form! The melody seems like Megh and/or Madhmad Sarang raaga to my untrained ear, and also works on the premise of invoking the rain. The jaunty rhythm provides a splendid canvas for Shankar to unleash his delightful singing. The trio’s music is particularly brilliant in the 2nd half when they aid Shankar with the classical exposition, leading to an ecstatic ending!

But Garaj Garaj Jugalbandi is easily the song of the soundtrack! Farid Hasan and Mohammed Aman completely run riot with their stellar singing all over the song. The song continues with the rain theme, and seemed like raaga Mian Ki Malhar, to me. The trio let the music help the two hugely accomplished singers at the top of their game. The way they complement each other is a joy to listen to! The final 2-odd minutes of the song is goosebumps-inducing, with the singers demonstrating absolute mastery over their voices, bending it to will to flow like the water they are invoking from the rain! This is music that brings tears, in the sheer joy of hearing such a profusion.

The song’s other version, even if it could be called the ‘Lite’ version of the jugalbandi, is still a very, very good listen given the source tune is so very impressive. Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty and Javed Ali are no lesser singers either, but within the brief they have been given, they produce a lighter, common-man variant of the song, that too, is aptly enjoyable.

Shankar’s handling of the traditional Gujarati Rajasthani folk melody, Padharo Maare Des, is highly evocative, with that lovely, authentic backdrop. The Bandish Bandits Theme closes the soundtrack on a haunting note, though too short.

The first surprise is that the trio composes music for a ‘TV series’, though that phrase has become very respectable with the onset of OTT platforms. Just 2 weeks ago, I had written about another classical-music based TV series in Bangla, Tansener Tanpura, with outstanding music by Joy Sarkar. It is so heartening to see the return of classical music in the mainstream, and that too at the hands of such accomplished musicians like the trio. They had already proved beyond doubt what they can do with a classical music base in Katyar Kaljat Ghusli, and produce an effortless encore here! This is the kind of music where age helps, and with their exposure, they bring gravitas to the songs, and the soundtrack. This is one of the best soundtracks in Hindi in recent times.

Listen to the songs on YouTube:

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 120: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
21 songs this week – a damn good musical week! All 21 on YouTube, while 20 in JioSaavn – just one song missing (Justin Prabhakaran’s Amazon Prime Music Hyderabad Gig single).

Titli Trippin – Meri Pyaari Bindu (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi: Now, that’s a surprise! An unreleased song from Meri Pyaari Bindu, that, in a different world of 2017’s Milliblog, got a #200 🙂 I loved the soundtrack and even if this song is constructed around one hook, it is still one incredibly catchy quasi-Bangla hook that is geared to be a dance-floor scorcher. Arijit and Neeti seem to be having solid fun singing this one!

Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi, Rani Hindustani, Paheli & Jhilmil Piya – Shakuntala Devi (Sachin-Jigar) – Hindi: Is this Sachin-Jigar’s week? After that unreleased song from Meri Pyaari Bindu, here’s a full, excellent, new soundtrack from the duo! There are only 4 songs, so this is a compact soundtrack. It’s also compact in another way – the longest song is 3 minutes and 21 seconds! Only. All 4 songs have a simple mukhda-interlude-antara’ish-closure structure, making them rather different from the songs of yore that were markedly longer in comparison.

Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi is Sunidhi’s flamboyant show! Vayu’s number-driven lyrics and the punchy rock hook is perfect for her to deliver it in superb style! The chorus does a darn good job too! Considering Shakuntala Devi moved to London in the 1940s and traveled the world in the 50s and 60s, it seems apt that composing duo the O.P.Nayyar’ish sound for Rani Hindustani. This too is Sunidhi’s magnificent show. The background accordion and the ebullient music lend her a great platform even as the mid-way electro-swing sound adds a touch of modernity to the song so well. In Jhilmil Piya too, the duo goes for a retro sound evoking a mix of Guru/Geeta Dutt and the Central Asian dance/festive sound – the mix works very well in the vocals of Benny Dayal and Monali Thakur. Paheli is the odd one out, but a very listenable song nonetheless. Priya Saraiya’s lyrics seem to indicate that this is being sung by Shakuntala’s daughter where she even asks her to ‘be my mother’! Very interesting framing, and a beautifully lullaby’ish melody, aced by Shreya Ghoshal.

La Ilm – Samira Koppikar (Indipop/Hindi): Samira Koppikar, who was very promising in songs like Bairaagi (Bareilly Ki Barfi) and Maati Ka Palang (NH10), returns with a new single that has the same warmth of Bairaagi, but is also more melancholic. Samira herself takes the lead well in the singing, while Stebin Ben’s Arijit-style is functionally helpful too.

Har Dafaa, Bhedi & Khudkhushi – Yaara (Gourov-Roshin & Shaan, Ankit Tiwari, Siddharth Pandit) – Hindi: This is interesting – for a film (directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and starring Vidyut Jammwal, no less) that is premiering on Zee5 on July 30th, to have the audio on arch-rival T-series, instead of Zee Music!!

The soundtrack has 5 songs, of which Siddharth Pandit composes 3. The one good song from his lot was Khudkhushi, that has a rebellious rock sound with a touch of retro, though that “Khudkhushi Ki Taish Hai Dil Ke Mazaron Mein, Bazaron Mein” seemed way too similar to the musical flow of M.M.Kreem’s Jism song, Chalo Tumko Lekar – “Jahan Meetha Nasha Hai Taaron Ki Chaaon Mein”. It’s also interesting to see Gourov-Roshin and Shaan get co-composing credit for Har Dafaa, a warm, soft and instantly likeable melody. The tune seems to allude to a shade of the 60s/70s Hindi music style, though the chorus and the backgrounds keep it rooted to current times. The soundtrack’s best is Ankit Tiwari’s Bhedi, with its almost hymn-like tune that he layers in a pulsating rock sound.

Iraada, Tu Mujh Mein, Umeed & Savera – Iraada EP (Vinayak Shukla) – Indipop/Hindi: Vinayak’s 4-song EP is one of the most interesting music I have heard in recent times. Vinayak has roped in star singers like Hriday Gattani and Shashaa Tirupati too, but the highlight easily is his tunes and the enthralling electronic sounds he adds. Iraada’s melody is familiar and likeable within the Hindi film world with a full-fledged and highly melodic mukhda-antara pattern, but the electronic interlude Vinayak layers in is at once uncomfortable (with a slowed down tempo that doesn’t fit the song’s pace otherwise) and alluring! In Tu Mujh Mein, Vinayak’s grand electronica makes an appearance much earlier, after the first 3-4 lines, and is more showy and expansive. The tune continues to be very engaging, sung very well by Tushar Joshi, and Harjot Kaur who joins much later in the song.

Shashaa Tirupati is excellent in Umeed! Vinayak’s melody is wonderfully warm, with him adding an equal blend of his captivating electronic sounds and Indian backgrounds like the tabla, played by Mitali Vinchurkar. Savera too is a lovely listen, with really good singing by Akhila Mamandur and Aswen Sri, handling a breezy tune even as Vinayak’s blends their vocals together to create a nice effect. The electronic interludes here are akin to Tu Mujh Mein.

Kaattu Payale – Soorarai Pottru (G.V.Prakash Kumar) – Tamil: In what seems like a song meant for Vaikom Vijayalakshmi, GVP hands over to Santhosh Narayanan-camp’s Dhee! She does really well, though, and GVP’s choice of tune-twist for ‘Mundhiyila Sorugi Vecha Sillaraya Pola’ makes the song really interesting!

Rani Theni – Kavalthurai Ungal Nanban (Adithyha – Soorya) – Tamil: I missed this song when it came out in March this year, and think this deserves a listen! Who is this duo, Adithyha – Soorya? The melody is very, very pleasant, and the backgrounds featuring the strings and guitar make for excellent accompaniments. And the choice of Haricharan is always a great move! He is fantastic, as always!

Ee Maya Peremito, Kurisena & Krishnaveni – Orey Bujjiga (Anup Rubens) – Telugu: Nothing like a new Sid Sriram song to signal the (tentative) back-to-normal (though this song was released 4 months ago, of course)! Anup Rubens has Sid cry his heart out in Ee Maya Peremito and that alone carries the lilting song to respectability, besides, of course, thanks to the affecting melody by Anup. In Kurisena, Anup has the trusted vocals of Armaan Malik, and Meghana, to propel his melody that already shines with a catchy, though predictable, lilt. Krishnaveni is where Anup gets down to dance-floor business in true Telugu-style! This is DSP territory, but Anup has a firm handle on the thoroughly enjoyable song.

Yen Madodu Swamy – French Biriyani (Vasuki Vaibhav) – Kannada: I like Puneeth Rajkumar the singer than the actor, consistently. His unusual voice and singing have improved and made enjoyable many songs. Yen Madodu Swamy joins that list effortlessly. Vasuki constructs this as a ‘bar’ song, starting it with opening of a bottle of beer and lets the fizzy fun stay till the end.

Chilipi Choopu & Yetuvaipunna – Amazon Prime Music Hyderabad Gig (Gopi Sundar and Justin Prabhakaran) – Indipop/Telugu: It’s good to see Amazon Prime promoting non-film music by top music composers, and that too in Telugu, with a full-fledged set and video! The first 2 songs sound very in line with those respective composers’ repertoire. Gopi’s song sounds straight out of his extremely familiar template that he uses often in Telugu (not so much in Malayalam). It’s sedate and pleasant, though he struggles in the higher pitches, as a singer. Justin’s song too suffers from his own singing, and perhaps deserved a better singer. But the tune could easily have been part of say, Dear Comrade.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 119: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
A short, 10-song playlist this week. YouTube has all 10 songs, while the JioSaavn playlist has 8.

Yun Kyun – Shashwat Singh (Indipop): After his playback repertoire, Shashwat debuts as an independent music composer and singer! The song’s easy and fresh vibe, his impeccable singing, the occasional retro phrases and the background electronic layer makes it a great listen.

Barse Badariya – Nikhita Gandhi (Indipop): Nikhita’s rendition of this familiar Meera bhajan reminded me of Rahman’s Nila Kaaigirathu from Indira. The feel is equally light and feathery, in terms of vocals (that one was by Harini), and Nikhita’s arrangements too complement that tone beautifully.

Ek Tarfa – Darshan Raval (Indipop/Hindi): A nice, lilting Pakistani-pop style melody. Darshan is, as always, very good with the singing, and composes this too. It’s a bit more mopey lyrically than what I usually can tolerate, but the music makes it listenable 🙂

Chellamma – Doctor (Anirudh) – Tamil: The song, written by hero Sivakarthikeyan himself, starts off normally enough, but with/from the ‘Mezhugu doll nee’ phrase, Anirudh amps up the kick in the song much like how he did in Gang Leader’s title song. That film too had Priyanka in the lead, by the way, and featured Anirudh himself in the promotional video 🙂

The Bengaluru Song – French Biriyani (Vasuki Vaibhav) – Kannada: A superb ode to Bengaluru, the city I made my home and call home now, since 2000. Aditi Sagar’s rap portions are the song’s highlight, while Vasuki’s spritely music is a joy to listen to.

Happy Song – Law (Vasuki Vaibhav) – Kannada: The second Kannada song by Vasuki this week where the film is going straight-to-OTT on Amazon Prime. Vasuki and Madhuri Seshadri sing an enjoyable tune that has a winsome chorus amping up the happiness factor.

Genda Phool: Pahari Version – Priyanka Meher & Rongpaz, Badshah (Indipop): Despite and beyond the controversies over credits, I love the song. So, I find this Pahari version really, really good, and timely. At a time when people from North East are facing a completely misguided hatred given the anti-China sentiment, bringing them to the mainstream through music is a welcome move. Very well-timed and incredibly catchy as well!

Kurta Pajama – Tony Kakkar (Indipop/Punjabi): A typically Tony Kakkar song that includes a prominent easy-on-the-ear hook that is hard to ignore. It’s simple and catchy, and addictive.

Girlfriend – Charlie Puth: A phenomenally catchy, retro-vibe that sweeps through the song that is so fresh in the sound. The synth notes and Charlie’s perfect falsetto vocals, all add significant charm!

Smile – Katy Perry: Upbeat and expansive sound that signifies the stature of the singer she is – it’s larger-than-life and wonderfully delivered!

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

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