Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 156: On Spotify | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has all 13, while Spotify has 11, and is missing Maestro’s Vennello Aadapilla and Moonwalk’s Oh Kinakaalam.

Ranjha – Shershaah (Jasleen Royal) – Punjabi/Hindi: Along with Bell Bottom’s Marjaawaan (the next song in this playlist), the Punjabification of Bollywood seems to be in full flow… as if it ever subsided 🙂 Jasleen’s melody isn’t all that inventive, playing to safe Punjabi melodic ideas, but her background music is very good, as is her singing along with B Praak.

Marjaawaan – BellBottom (Composed by Gurnazar Singh, Music by Gaurav Dev & Kartik Dev) – Punjabi/Hindi: Gurnazar’s melody and singing have a certain earthy charm that carries the song mighty well. Asees Kaur offers perfect company to his singing. Gaurav and Kartik Dev’s music, on the other hand, is standard-issue Bollywood ballad style.

Naanga Vera Maari – Valimai (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Given the gargantuan hype for the film, the first single seems tepid. But it has it own charm, with its persistent, rolling rhythm, though it is considerably more Anirudh-zone than Yuvan-zone. Anurag Kulkarni, a Telugu regular, infuses freshness in the song with his vocals. Vignesh Shivan’s lyrics, though well-intended, are the new-age equivalent of MGR-style do-gooder sermon.

Namah Shivaya – Natyam (Shravan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: As a very big fan of the severely underrated Telugu composer Shravan Bharadwaj, I was pleasantly surprised to hear this new song from him. First off, I’m so glad that he continues to get opportunities for composing despite his splendid music in the earlier movies hardly getting the recognition they truly deserved (search his name on Milliblog!). Shravan’s composition treats Aadhi Shankaracharya’s Ardhanareeswara Stotram as base lyrics, but musically, it infuses a vibrant and pulsating sound and rhythm that brings the stotram to a new-age outlook. Kaala Bhairava, and Lalitha Kavya, in particular, are outstanding in handling the singing, with the right pronunciation and intonation.

Vennello Aadapilla – Maestro (Mahati Swara Sagar) – Telugu: Mani Sharma’s son proves that he is a chip off the old block with a sweeping melody that hits the vaudevillian notes beautifully. Sweekar Agasthi sounds a lot like Sonu Nigam and that’s a plus for the song.

Dosti – RRR (M.M.Keeravani) – Telugu: For Baahubali, there was an understated focus on the music that helped it earn praise (deservedly) organically. With RRR, the makers seem to be banking on Baahubali’s mega-success and are going with mega marketing even for the first single, what with 5 different singers being featured in the promo music video, along with the two lead stars! Musically, while it sounds largely background’ish, Keeravani has a perfect grasp on the soundscape that seems expansive and large, befitting the film’s ambitions.

Digu Digu Digu Naaga – Varudu Kaavalenu (Thaman S) – Telugu: That trademark Thaman sound is all over the song in the backgrounds 🙂 His tune, which seems to intentionally mirror the 50-60s Southern film song sound (specifically, ‘Senthamizh ThenmozhiyaaL’ from Maalayitta Mangai (1958, with music by Viswanathan Ramamurthy), comes alive in Shreya Ghoshal’s phenomenal vocals!

Hey Rambha Rambha – Maha Samudram (Chaitan Bharadwaj) – Telugu: An instantly catchy song with a brilliant hook that seems to be built like an infinite loop 🙂 Chaitan’s sound and singing are perfectly on the mark for a fun, masala song!

Oh Kinakaalam – Moonwalk (Prashant Pillai) – Malayalam: The first song from the nostalgia-laced ‘dance’ movie and Prashant doesn’t disappoint at all. It doesn’t contain musical cues about the period it is intended to be set in, but it carries more than enough visual cues. I was a bit disappointed about the former, but I’m assuming that there’d be musical cues in the period too in other songs, particularly the ones that directly allude to the dancing part. This one’s period-agnostic, musically, but a fantastic melody led by Shahabaz Aman’s soulful singing and Prashant’s captivating yet simple music.

Vetta Mrigam – Kuruthi (Jakes Bejoy) – Malayalam: The pulsating and eerie sounding song that has the same feel and energy as Dil Se’s Tu Hi Tu Satrangi Re is phenomenally sung by Zia Ul Haq and Resmi Sateesh. Jakes nails the sound and even if it is probably going to be played in the background, the overall package is fantastic! That ‘Njaano Vettmrigam, Neeyo Vettamrigam’ hook, in particular!

Tininga Miniga Tishaa – Salaga (Charan Raj) – Kannada: Oh boy… what a song!!! Charan’s musical imagination soars and how! Not only does he rope in Girija Siddi and Geetha Siddi, two powerhouse singers belonging to the Siddi ethnic group in India that has African ancestry, but his music places them within a sound that has a distinctive African sound and rhythm! Result? A powerhouse song with immense swagger!

Sagara Shayana – Prithvi Chandrasekhar & Saindhavi: Considering Agam has already done a splendid new-age version of this MD Ramanathan classic in Bageshri raaga, I approached this new attempt with skepticism. But Prithvi does pretty well in the backgrounds and Saindhavi elevates the version significantly with her hugely involved and proficient singing.

Na Cher Malangaan Nu – Farhan Saeed & Aima Baig (Pakistani Pop): Bilal Saeed’s melody is immediately charming, with a Punjabi-Pakistani flavor but over a considerably modern musical layer that turns the folkish tune into a catchy and highly rhythmic number. The singers, Farhan Saeed and Aima Baig (who also star in the music video!) are the song’s strengths.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 155: On Spotify | On YouTube
12 songs this week. YouTube has 10 and is missing the two songs from Sandeep Chowta’s new album. The Spotify playlist too has 10 songs, but a different 10 – it is missing Kudukku 2025’s Maaran and Jagaduddhaara.

Hum Dono Yun Mile – 14 Phere (Raajeev V Bhalla) – Hindi: I really like this song for an odd reason! The repeated ‘Hum Dono Yun Mile’ hook reminded me of some other song that I previously loved, and I had to really rack my brain to finally get it 🙂 ‘Woh Ajnabi’ by Mithoon, from The Train, where Shilpa Rao goes, ‘Woh woh woh Ajnabi’! Of course, this song’s tempo is slower and more lilting than danc’y.

Bodhai Kaname – Oh Manapenne (Vishal Chandrashekhar) – Tamil: I’m reasonably sure the song’s melody is based on a raaga that I love, though I cannot place it. Vishal has a thoroughly enjoyable tune and his choice of singers makes it work even better – Anirudh Ravichander and Shashaa Tirupati. And a special mention for that first interlude that starts with Punya Srinivas’s veena and then layers the guitar and violin!

Naanum & Adhirudha – Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru (Karthik) – Tamil: While Naanum’s tune is enchanting, particularly when it moves to the captivating ‘NaaNum neramidhu’ hook, it is Karky’s lyrics that really lift the song all through! There’s so much to enjoy in terms of the lyrics. ‘kuLambi kiLappaum maNamo’, ‘pudhinam pirikkum maNamo’ and ‘thuLasi ilayin maNamo’ are my favorites, offering a series of smells that we love! Adhirudha was a pleasant surprise! With the composer declaring openly that it is inspired by Beethoven’s Für Elise, he goes on to build a really interesting melody over that terribly familiar tune! At the end of the first phrase of Für Elise, before Adhirudha begins, the tune literally seems to be on a ‘Let’s see where this goes’ mode before finding a base to extend the melody and picks up brilliantly from there.

Kaalam Azhagai – Ward 126 (Varun Sunil) – Tamil: In typical Varun Sunil style (that I have started to like), the melody is lush and easily likeable. The singers lift the song effortlessly – KS Harisankar and Shweta Mohan. The song’s structure too seemed interesting – the pallavi is started by Harisankar, and is repeated with different lyrics in the end by Shweta. There is one anupallavi in the middle where Varun uses the very catchy ‘Unai enai iNaithidum jeevan’ line just once! I would have expected the composer to repeat the anupallavi as a charanam a second time given how melodic it is.

Ninne Nenila – Merise Merise (Karthik Kodakandla) – Telugu: Of the 4 songs in the film’s soundtrack, Ninne Nenila stood out for me immediately. The spritely tune, Lipsika’s singing (Karthik’s own is not bad at all), and the rhythmic background make it a great listen. Karthik has a very catchy hook in ‘Padhe Padhe’ where he and Lipsika sing in alternate pitches like a call-and-response pattern.

Idhi Chala Baagundhile – Sehari (Prashanth R Vihari) – Telugu: Prashanth takes a full minute to launch his ‘Idhi Chala Baagundhile’ hook, but the effort pays off really well since the build-up is both tasteful and tuneful. And with Sid Sriram singing, it was bound to be. A wonderfully sweet song.

Ala Ila – Stand Up Rahul (Sweekar Agasthi) – Telugu: Close on the heels of some impressive tunes in Middle Class Melodies, Sweekar does well again in this new single from Stand Up Rahul. The melody rides on Satya Yamini’s singing (Sweekar joins in mid-way) and the tune has a calm, unhurried sweetness to it.

Maaran – Kudukku 2025 (Bhoomee) – Malayalam: I was a bit confused when I first saw the song’s title on YouTube. It said, ‘A Bilahari experiment’, so my first thought was, ‘Wow, they have done something with Bilahari raaga?’. And when I started playing the song, it seemed more like Reetigowla raaga! Then I figured that the film’s director’s name is Bilahari! 🙂 It’s a nice song, of course, though the uncredited female humming part seemed both raw and forced in. Sid Sriram’s main part is perfect, as usual.

Jagaduddhaara – Uthara Unnikrishnan, Karthick Iyer & Gautam Sengupta: For a classic like Purandaradaasa’s Jagadoddhaarana, I’d have assumed that language is hardly a barrier to enjoy it. But Prof. Gautam Sengupta reimagines the original in Hindi, beautifully delivered by Uthara Unnikrishnan and Karthick Iyer, with the latter also handling his violin wonderfully. My Hindi knowledge, despite my Bhopal upbringing, is conversational and colloquial at best. The Hindi used in this innovative attempt seems too classical for my knowledge… which makes me wonder why this attempt at all in the first place. Musically, it sounds fantastic, of course, with Uthara’s singing being spellbinding.

For context, here is the original Kannada composition, sung by another young singer, Rahul Vellal.

Kaleidoscope & The Dune Tune – Fusion Fission (Sandeep Chowta) – Indipop: As always, Sandeep’s new album is a great listen overall, but the 2 songs that appealed to me instantly are the ones featuring Abhay Nayampally on the electric guitar that uses Patnam Subramania Iyer’s Raghuvamsa Sudha, and The Dune Tune that uses Purandara Dasa’s Venkatachala Nilayam. I couldn’t figure out who plays the flute in the latter, but it seemed less attuned to the original melody and interestingly rough around the edges. Not bad at all, but unique in its interpretation. Sandeep’s overall fusion ethos envelopes both songs to give them a warm, ambient outlook.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 154: On Spotify | On YouTube
12 songs this week. Both YouTube and the Spotify playlists have all 12!

Param Sundari, Yaane Yaane, Hututu & Phuljhadiyon – Mimi (A R Rahman) – Hindi: Param Sundari could well be Rahman’s own ‘Rowdy Baby’ (Yuvan Shankar Raja) given the similar structure using a very prominent bassline to anchor the song. Rahman has a superbly catchy and addictive ‘Param Sundari’ hook that Shreya delivers incredibly. She is especially extraordinary in the more melodic antara and towards the end. Yaane Yaane is a wonderful surprise!! Rahman has had his share of Arabic-sounding songs earlier too, but this one takes the Arabic musical roots very seriously in every way. Rakshita Suresh sings it phenomenally too, totally holding the intricate Arabic-style melody.

There is SO MUCH of Rahman’s earlier musical style all over Hututu that it works equally as an Easter egg hunt as much as a lovely song. I could trace Gang Master’s Hello Hello Premalekha to Rang De Basanti’s Tu Bin Bataye at the outset before being entranced by the beautiful sitar-led ending! Shashaa Tirupati is, as usual, in excellent form! Phuljhadiyon is the real Rahman doing what he does best! The tune that seems more like an energetic march past song given the heavy brass segment morphs into newer territories in the interludes. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are truly delightful, most probably alluding to a pregnant woman’s swinging moods with references to ‘hormonal jwalamukhi’, share market’s ups and downs, being Paro and Chandramukhi, and wanting tamarind and chillies! The Spanish background chorus amps up the novelty while Shilpa Rao is an inspired choice for this song’s tempo – she’s absolutely fantastic.

Neeye Oli – Sarpatta Parambarai (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil/English (Warning: Explicit lyrics): I recall writing about Canadian Tamil artist Shan Vincent de Paul back in February 2020, for his song ‘Best Friend’ featuring Yanchan’s mridangam. In Neeye Oli, a pulsating song with obvious references to Muhammad Ali (“Float like a butterfly, Sting like a killer bee”) comes alive in Shan’s searing rap and Navz-47’s Tamil lines. Santhosh, as always, adds so much in the background that makes the song a brilliant experience, including that Tamil folk percussion that elevates the song to another level.

Bahubalikku Oru Kattappa – Sivakumarin Sabadham (Hiphop Tamizha) – Tamil: A simple, catchy song that revels in its lilting rhythm and that hilarious hook: “Bahubalikku Oru Kattappa, Adha Poladhaan Enga Sithappa” 🙂

Thooriga & Alai Alaiyaaga – Guitar Kambi Mele Nindru/Navarasa (Karthik) – Tamil: Thooriga’s clear highlight is Karthik sampling Agni Natchathiram’s Ninnu Kori, that iconic song by Ilayaraja. But, full marks to the composer for not making it stick out – the sampling fits perfectly into the new musical wrapper and in fact enhances the new song with an old, very familiar, and much-loved soul! In comparison, Alai Alaiyaaga is a beautifully calm melody that stands out because of Madhan Karky’s perceptive lines.

Kannoonjal – Payasam/Navarasa (Justin Prabhakaran) – Tamil: Considering the raaga Aanandabhairavi has been used so frequently and often in Tamil cinema, Justin’s use that carefully traverses an already familiar Tamil Brahmin-wedding song and its structure (with new lyrics extended by Uma Devi) still hold ample appeal given how the young composer uses his imagination in the backgrounds. And the way he initiates the solo violin to showcase what the character of Aditi Balan may be going through, as an ostracised young widow, is a wonderful musical touch.

Yaadho – Edhiri/Navarasa (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: Govind’s 96 hangover is apparent but I’m not complaining… yet. The output is immediately familiar because of how monumentally good 96’s music was. Chinmayi (another 96 connection, of course), in her usual, splendid self, handles Madhan Karky’s poignant verse beautifully. Lines like ‘MaNNai cheraadha mazhaiyaagave… mannippillaadha pizhaiyaagave’ are so wonderfully articulated!

Pathala – Three Songs For The Night (Sean Roldan) – Tamil/Indipop: That’s the 3rd song in the album that mentions that there are only going to be 3 songs 🙂 Compared to the other 2 songs (Namadhaan Raja and Maya), this one seemed less interesting, but only in comparison to those songs. This one is more on the lines of Sean’s Idli Chutney song. The backgrounds are, as always, delightfully engaging and it’s only the tune that seems a bit bland.

Theerame – Malik (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: When Sushin opens the song with the long, beautiful passage sung so passionately by Chithra, I felt the melody actually sounded more like a Christian hymn! Then, the composer introduces sounds that are more attuned to the Muslim locale and situation of the scene and the blend seemed so perfect! Much of the melody’s charm is due to Chithra’s pitch-perfect rendition and the way she navigates the intricacies of the winding tune as it progresses is astonishingly lovely!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 153: On Spotify | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has all 13, while Spotify is missing just one – Thaikkudam Bridge’s Backyard Sessions single.

Jaadoogari – Anand Bhaskar Collective (Indipop/Hindi): Even if I found Anand Bhaskar’s singing and the overall sound to be like Indian Ocean Lite, that’s probably a compliment in my head 🙂 Anand’s singing also has that Piyush Mishra’ish edge that makes it really interesting. The tune has a lively ebbing and flowing movement topped by that heady ‘Kaisi ajab si’ hook!

Piya Re Piya Re – Backyard Sessions (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Thaikkudam Bridge) – Indipop: The 2nd song in Thaikkudam Bridge’s Backyard Sessions is as good as the first medley. Nila Madhab Mohapatra’s singing is astounding, no doubt, but it took me some time to adjust to his relatively thinner voice compared to Nusrat’s original. The band’s music is fantastic!

Pudhu Vidha Anubavam, Semmaan Magalai, Vaazha Vaa & Naan – Vaazhl (Pradeep Kumar) – Tamil: Considering Vaazhl is director Arun Prabu Purushothaman’s second film after Aruvi, and given that Aruvi had a stupendous soundtrack, I did expect a LOT from this film too. While I’d rate this below Aruvi as a soundtrack, Pradeep still does very well! Apart from the two songs I have already written about (Aahaa and Feel Song), I really liked Pudhu Vidha Anubavamo – it seemed like the love child of Santhosh Narayana’s Cuckoo soundtrack and Ramesh Vinayakam’s Ramanujan! The way Pradeep uses vocal layering is beautiful! Semmaan Magalai, the Kandar Anubhuthi verse by AruNagirinaadhar (that I recall hearing in the form of a song by PithukuLi Murugadass long ago) gets an enchanting, albeit mighty abstract, version by Pradeep, including that surreal chorus layer in the middle! But it fits perfectly within Pradeep’s deeper exploration of AruNagirinaadhar in the form of Poorvaa, the soundtrack accompanying his documentary, AruNagiri PerumaLe. Vaazha Vaa defies descriptions, really! I found it to be a new-age, ambient variant of Simon & Garfunkel’s sound, for some reason I cannot pinpoint. But this is probably the most conventional and accessible song in the album that is considerably less abstract despite throwing enough surprises. Finally, Naan—that Pradeep writes and composes—is so very spartan in its sound and literally has one single line of a tune that Pradeep repeats over and over again almost like in live, unplugged mode. The vaudevillian sound picks up a few other layers to become a lilting song eventually!

Navarasa Title Theme – Navarasa (A R Rahman) – Instrumental: The title theme of Navarasa, the upcoming Netflix show is haunting for 2 reasons. One is of course the striking visuals by Bharatbala that capture the many leads of the 9 stories in extreme close-ups, almost like the video version of a photoshoot. The second is Rahman’s deeply affecting musical score. Led by Prabakar and Vignesh’s violin layer, the sweep of the theme is indicative of the working relationship of Rahman and Mani Ratnam (Navarasa’s producer) and how it still has that spark after almost 30 years!

Maya – Three Songs For The Night (Sean Roldan) – Tamil/Indipop: Much like Amit Trivedi, Sean Roldan seems to be moving past films as a form to produce music untethered by script boundaries! Like Namadhaan Raja, the earlier song from this album, this one too see Sean singing the song himself and that song’s funky sound is replaced with a more bluesy sound. As always, Sean’s singing/voice seems like a compromise but the man’s musical sense more than makes up for it! The prominent brass instrument that plays a key role in the interludes has not been credited – I wonder what that is and who is playing it.

Enthinanente Chenthamare – Karnan Napoleon Bhagat Singh (Ranjin Raj) – Malayalam: I recall being impressed with Ranjin’s music in Nithya Haritha Nayakan and Joseph, and this film’s earlier music was good too. This one’s a bit too conventional, but in Ranjin’s own voice the earthy lilt comes through quite well, particularly that gorgeous hook that unfortunately sounds a bit processed (vocal) for my comfort.

Mandhuloda – Sridevi Soda Center (Mani Sharma) – Telugu: A raucous song (if you disregard the bawdy video) that feels like spicy hot Andhra biryani! Mani Sharma gets the rhythm and hook perfectly while it’s good to see the lyrics being mentioned as ‘inspired by Uttarandhra folk’ after many recent songs being inspired by rural Andhra folk songs without credit.

Varavayi Nee – Sara’s (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: A very sweet tune by Shaan, made more interesting by the choice of singers – Mr. and Mrs. Vineet Srinivasan (Divya Vineeth). The ‘Nyaanum Neeyum’ hook is really catchy!

Jealous & Permission – Double Standards (Avanti Nagral) – English: The first thing that I noticed in Avanti’s new 4-song EP is the production quality – the EP is co-created with LA-based songwriter Natania and producer Austin Armstrong. The sound is brilliant and Avanti sounds incredibly confident too with her excellent singing. The tunes seemed conventional enough but they pop out with a lively rhythm.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 152: On Spotify | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has all 13, while Spotify is missing just one – Atif Aslam’s new version of Dil Jalaane Ki Baat, even though Spotify actually has a playlist by the name of “Dil Jalaane Ki Baat – Atif Aslam” which does not have the one song mentioned in the title! Sounds like clickbait.

Milaa Yun & Lakeeran – Haseen Dilruba (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: After the 2 songs last week, 2 more from the same movie (that has only 4 songs, btw!) – this is a pretty good album by Amit Trivedi, overall. Both Milaa Yun and Lakeeran are mellow, slow-rock’ish songs that Amit usually aces. He had last composed such songs in Paris Paris, the long-pending Queen remake in the South.

Purvaiya & Ananya – Toofaan (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) – Hindi: Going by the composing trio’s incredibly high standards, I was mildly disappointed with the Toofaan soundtrack. Even the motivational songs, that they usually get electrifyingly right (in films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag), here sound very average (title song). And there are other composers involved too, in 2 songs – this is quite odd for a soundtrack by the trio. But they get at least 2 songs wonderfully right. Shankar leads Purvaiya and what a magnificent different that makes, along with Javed Akhtar’s fantastic lines. The melody is almost like that of a bhajan till it is interjected by the punchy ‘Tez chali re Purvaiya’ hook. The soundtrack’s best is Arijit’s Ananya! The spartan, almost-spoken song is reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s intimate melodies and it falls upon Arijit to hold the entire melody via the power of his singing.

Socha Na Tha, Jaaye Na Tu, KTMBK, Dooriyan & Kya Karoon – Genesis 1:1 (Zaeden) – Indipop: Zaeden’s (Sahil Sharma) debut album includes some of the songs that I have previously written about earlier, including Dooriyan and Kya Karoon. Overall, this is a highly confident and accomplished album that has a uniform mood and sound all through making it very listenable, and very easy on the ears. Socha Na Tha’s pleasant ballad style is accentuated by the captivating hook and Zaeden’s falsetto-laden voice. Jaaye Na Tu almost sounds like a Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy song and that is a compliment! Hanita Bhambri joins Zaeden in Kahoon Toh Main Bhi Kya (KTMBK) and the duet works beautifully given the gentle and lilting melody.

Slum Anthem – Kodiyil Oruvan (Nivas.K.Prasanna) – Tamil: When I saw the names of the song’s singers that included Gautham Vasudev Menon (besides Premji Amaren, Vijay Antony, Nivas.K.Prasanna himself), I was pretty confused – the man is already known for his limited, staccato dialogs in the lowest pitch possible that warrants “Please wear headphones for best experience”. But trust composer Nivas to produce a highly entertaining kuthu track that gets progressively interesting given the variations he layers in the rhythm and constantly shifting tonal changes! Thankfully, Gautham has been given simple, nursery rhyme like verses that he manages competently. Nivas adds so many interesting phrases that lift the song effortlessly – that ‘Nee Yaaru’ question and response structure was the best, as also the superbly colloquial lyrics by Super Subu.

Sivakumar Pondati – Sivakumarin Sabadham (Hiphop Tamizha) – Tamil: The extended intro with limited lyrics and the overall package clearly indicate that Hiphop Tamizha wanted to emulate Master’s Vaathi Coming. While Anirudh’s song was at a different level, Hiphop Tamizha doesn’t do that bad either. It’s pulsating and very catchy, and retains the energy till the end.

Ranga Rattinam – Kuruthi Aattam (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is vintage Yuvan slow poison that he usually handles incredibly well. And I thank Goddess AngaaLa Parameswari for Yuvan choosing not to sing it himself. Anthony Daasan does the singing mighty well, even if his rustic voice seems unusual for such soft ballad.

Dil Jalane Ki Baat – Atif Aslam (Tassadduq Shad, Saad Sultan) – Pakistani Pop: What a lovely, lovely recreation of a Noor Jehan classic (composed by Tassadduq Shad)! The ghazal’s new version is given the austere backing it requires by Saad, while Atif does his vocal magic impeccably, as always. In fact, the song’s crescendo’ish ending gives him ample scope to demonstrate his singing.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 151: On Spotify | On YouTube
17 songs this week. YouTube has all 17, while Spotify is missing just one – Thaikkudam Bridge’s Backyard Sessions.

Dil Melt Karda & Phisal Jaa Tu – Haseen Dillruba (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Along with Grahan, this seems like Amit Trivedi + Varun Grover’s week! Varun Grover rocks this song with his lyrics, with lines like, “Man Mein Ferraro Rocher Futt Gaya Ji”, while Amit’s energetic tune is just perfect. Nikhita Gandhi, with her vocal shenanigans, does considerably better than Navraj Hans, though that could be intentional, given the 2 lead characters’ traits! Phisal Jaa Tu, on the other hand, reminds one of many Amit Trivedi songs of the past, particularly when the title hook appears! Manmarziyaan’s Dariya is probably a direct precursor for that hook. It’s still a good listen, though.

Chori Chori & O Jogiya – Grahan (Amit Trivedi) – Hindi: Amit creates an obviously period-style music and the effort, with those sweeping strings, works very well within the expansive melody. Abhijeet Srivastava and Rupali Moghe’s relatively less-heard vocals add to the song’s appeal, and lyricist Varun Grover aces the lines once again! I loved the imagination in,
“Chahe koi bhi gali tum chuno
Preet mil jaayegi ji raste
Jaise sarkaari kaagzaat sab
Aa hi jaate hai ji haan sahi pate”,
using the inevitability of Governmental communication reaching the intended recipients so aptly!

In O Jogiya, Amit falls back to a classical melody that seemed like Raag Puria Dhanashri to me. It’s a brilliantly deep melody and made better by the singing – by Asees Kaur and Shahid Mallya’s deeply involved singing.

Meherezylaa – Maanaadu (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: Given Venkat Prabhu’s impressive association with Yuvan over the years, that Maanaadu would have great music seems to be a foregone conclusion. The first song seemed like a nice take on Shivaranjani raaga. It’s peppy song that Yuvan peppers with some trademark Islamic templates and the package works really well.

Namadhaan Raja – Three Songs For The Night (Sean Roldan) – Tamil/Indipop: Sean unleashes a superbly funky, synth-loaded single from his upcoming album! It’s incredibly smooth and has a winsome tune that is captivating. The guitar interlude takes the song to another level! I continue to have a mild problem with Sean’s singing, though – given the overall package, I’m willing to overlook that, however 🙂

Vaazhvile – Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy, ft. Kevin Fernando (Tamil/Indipop): A warm, engaging and simple melody that is very easy on the ears. Kevin’s singing is very, very good, and Ashwin’s tune throws up pleasant surprises even within the simple melody – like that emphasised opening of,
“Saayaamal… thoL saaya vendum
KaNNum kaNN… serndhu meya vendum
Pogaadhe… endru koora vendum”

Backyard Sessions – Thaikkudam Bridge (Tamil/Indipop): The band chooses 3 delightful melodies that seem so wonderfully linked the way they sing it! G V Prakash Kumar’s Madarasapattinam song Pookkal pookkum tharunam starts the song and hands it over to Vidyasagar’s Karna classic Malare Mouname that the band don’t even mention since they start and end with the anupallavi only! Even without mentioning Malare Mouname, they move on to Rahman’s Kannathil Muthamittaal number Oru Dheivam Thandha Poove – the bridging is seamless and wonderful.

Kanmani Kanmani – Shaan Rahman (Malayalam/Indipop): This is a typical Shaan song – joyous and instantly catchy, with a fantastic vocal chorus that stays long after the song is over. Benny Dayal is perfect for the song! Great work on the music video too, with a neat suspense in the end that indicates a possible sequel 🙂

Mele Vinpadavukal – Sara’s (Shaan Rahman) – Malayalam: The second Shaan song this week and the template works effortlessly again! The same feel – peppy and ebullient, with excellent singing by Sooraj Santhosh.

Ningina Jarina – Swa (Karanam Sri Raghavendra) – Telugu: This was a zinger! The composer starts with what actually sounds like an anupallavi and the anupallavi and charanam sound like the pallavi. This extremely interesting melody is layered in excellent background rhythm that, for some reason, reminded me of Ilayaraja’s music. The singing is top notch, particularly by Nadapriya! That opening tune doesn’t appear again anywhere in the song, surprisingly!

Good Luck – Garry Sandhu (Punjabi/Indipop): This one transcended a standard Punjabi pop song for me given how beautiful the melody was! I felt it was based on Raag Pilu. Garry keeps the melody rooted in the same raag throughout and that makes the song a great listening experience.

Beautiful Mistakes, Lost, Echo, One Light & Nobody’s Love – JORDI (Maroon 5) – International: Maroon 5’s latest album is an easy, fun listen. Much of the album’s charm actually comes from the many guest artists – Megan Thee Stallion in the most catchy song of the album, Beautiful Mistakes, Zimbabwean rapper Bantu in the cool Afropop One Light and blackbear in the addictive Echo, though, as a card-carrying Coimbatorean, I couldn’t help hear it as the Tamil ‘Yakkov’ 🙂 The melodies in Lost and Nobody’s Love are lush and very likeable.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 150: On Spotify | On YouTube
Back after another week’s break. Reason? A severe shortage of new music. Many of the record labels that I track have new releases with the frequency of only one new song for the entire last month – and this is entirely understandable, given the condition of the pandemic in India, even as we hear mildly positive signs like lockdowns being eased. Yet, there is no doubt that this 2nd wave has affected every single one of us in some way or other; very personally for some, and a bit distant, for others.
19 songs this week. Both YouTube and Spotify are missing 3 songs each, but not the same 3 🙂 YouTube is missing 3 songs from Shalmali Kholgade’s composing debut, June. Spotify is missing Vijai Bulganin’s Thattukoledhey, Ashwin Renju’s Oblivion, and Anish Indira Vasudev’s Kurinji.

Theengu Thaakka – Jagame Thandhiram (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: The soundtrack already has some fantastic music – I have written about 3 other songs earlier. In Theengu Thaakka, even if the template is akin to Santhosh’s body of work in Kabali, the gangsta rap works pretty well thanks to Arivu’s lead vocals (besides GKB). ​

Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum – Netrikann (Girishh Gopalakrishnan) – Tamil: The song’s theme seems so appropriate for the times we are living in, bringing the ‘This too shall pass’ context to make us consider the larger picture. Girishh’s melody is aptly pleasant and easily likeable. With Sid Sriram’s vocals, that’s a given, but the music Girishh assembles, particularly, Joseph Vijay’s electric guitar, enhance the experience.

Thattukoledhey – Vijai Bulganin (Indipop/Telugu): I recall Vijai because of his music in the 2017 film Rendu Rellu Aaru. That soundtrack had 2 fantastic songs, the Pradeep Kumar-sung Anukundantha, and Milamilamila Mandari. I don’t think I have heard anything that great from him in recent times, so this new song is a nice surprise. Vijai composes and sings Thattukoledhey, also featuring Sindhuja Srinivasan’s vocals. Branded as a ‘break-up song’ the tune’s gentle melancholy, Vanraj Shashtri’s sarangi helps accentuate that tone. Vijai’s singing is a bit raw, but works well in the context of the song’s feel.

Yemito Yemito & Kannaye Kallu – Ee Kathalo Paathralu Kalpitam (Karthik Kodakandla) – Telugu: I missed this soundtrack when it came out in March and caught up with it recently. Composer Karthik Kodakandla does very well in Kannaye Kallu, with its soft, ghatam-infused background, and sings it confidently too along with Nutana Mohan. Yemito Yemito, despite being in the template of Kareeb’s Chori Chori Jab or Jay Jay’s Unai Naan, is still a lovely listen.

Pularikal – Pina Colada Blues (Indipop/Malayalam): While the entire album, Once Upon A Blue Moon, is definitely an interesting listen, this song, sung by Aromal Chekaver, was the one that stood out for me. It seamlessly blends Malayalam folk’ish sound with electronica and the result is fascinating!

Oblivion – Ashwin Renju (Indipop/Malayalam): Even though there seems to be significantly more attention lavished on the music video’s concept, the music by Ashwin is beautiful! In KS Harisankar’s soaring vocals, the tune’s slow, sedate sweep comes out wonderfully!

Kurinji – Anish Indira Vasudev (Indipop/Malayalam): Even though the first line of the song invokes the raaga Neelambari, I don’t think the song is set to that raaga. I’m not able to place the raaga, but the melody is incredibly soothing. Najim Arshad is a phenomenal choice for the song and he lifts the already lovely song several notches.

Mathilkakathu – Karlmarx Bakthanayirunnu (Manikandan Ayyappa) – Malayalam: After Madhuradhari from the movie (that was released in February 2021), Manikandan returns with another enjoyable song, though this is diametrically different from that one! This one’s upbeat and effortlessly catchy. And, with Sithara Krishnakumar singing it, it only gets better!

Baba, Ha Vaara & Paar Gaeli – June (Shalmali Kholgade) – Marathi: Shalmali finally makes her final composing debut and what a debut this is! Baba, in both versions (by Abhay Jodhpurkar, and by Anandi Joshi) is an outstanding melody adorned with such beautiful background music. While Aanandi’s version is guitar-led (Arbaz Khan), Abhay’s version is more varied in terms of the sound. The background chorus use and the gradual build-up of the music work wonders. Shalmali picks up Ha Vaara herself, and given the song’s pensive tone, handles it wonderfully. Once again, the background chorus is a beautiful layer. In Paar Gaeli, Shalmali’s tune is more optimistic than that other 2 songs’ overall tone. It is a feel-good tune accentuated, once again, by a winsome chorus.

Pind Khali Lagda – Amjad Nadeem Aamir (Indipop/Punjabi): A simple, earthy and catchy Punjabi melody by Amjad Nadeem Aamir. There’s nothing extraordinary about the song or the backgrounds, but the simplicity is what makes it so engaging. And of course, Palak Muchhal’s sweet singing.

So… Now Hear This, Celebration, Ballad of Krishna, Hues & Ex-Animo – Abhay Nayampally (Abhay Nayampally) – Indipop/Instrumental: Abhay is a student of Mandolin maestro U Srinivas, but uses the electric guitar to play carnatic-infused jazz! He does his guru very, very proud in his debut album, produced by himself and co-produced by Sandeep Chowta. So…Now Hear This, the opener, is a beautifully Hamsadhwani-layered melody. The Bossa Nova’ish Celebration has all the trademarks of Sandeep, given that this is the only track in the album entirely produced by Sandeep, and is a fantastic listen. Abhay attempts a new take on Krishna Nee Begane in Ballad of Krishna, and with his superb guitar work, the new ode to the classic works wonders with its delightful jazz base. Hues is my personal favorite from the album, thanks to its Abheri raaga base. Abhay starts his exposition on a sedate note till the first minute of the song and it takes off style at 1:08! Ex-Animo is a serene exploration of Madhyamavathi raaga and Abhay’s proficiency reminded me immediately of U Srinivas! This is an outstanding debut album!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 149: On Spotify | On YouTube
17 songs this week. YouTube has all the songs, while Spotify is missing just one – the Rivers of India song. I have embedded the video below.

After that long break in the middle of 2020 owing to the first wave of the pandemic, here I am, after a 2nd smaller break during the 2nd wave of the same pandemic. In 2020, the musical shortage seemed more because people didn’t know how to deal with the lockdown that put artists and producers away from their workplaces. Eventually, people coped up and improvised and we saw a lot more IndiPop releasing in the latter part of the year.

But the 2021 shortage seems to be happening for a very different, sadder reason. More people are affected, there is genuinely a break in work because people are down. And, at a larger level, I felt that more people don’t think this is a good time to produce or consume music… something that genuinely fills us with joy, but amidst a raging pandemic and raising death and suffering, publicly/visibly enjoying something seems criminally wrong (enjoying it on a personal, non-visible level is perhaps more appropriate).

After I recovered from my illness, I hardly felt it was appropriate to write about new music when there was much suffering all around. It took me more than a month to get over that state of mind and start listening to new music again.

Tohfa – Vayu (Hindi/Indipop): Vayu continues to impress with his heartfelt tunes and is a perfect foil to the decidedly more commercially successful former partner Tanishq. Tohfa is a lovely follow-up to Vayu’s song from last year, Baatein Karo. Vayu’s pensive tone in the singing and the vibrant music go well together.

Jaye To Kahan – Sharmistha Chatterjee (Hindi/Indipop):
Sharmistha does everything here – lyrics, singing, and composing! It’s a darn good effort, given the output is a highly listenable song with tastefully conjured music in the background. A special note of appreciation for Salil Charaya’s guitar and Omkar Salunkhe’s percussion.

Piya More Piya – Santanu Ghatak feat. Sharmistha Chatterjee (Hindi/Indipop): Santanu, known for his work for albums like Tumhari Sulu and the Bangla album Hingtingchhot, produces a melody befitting Sharmistha’s caliber and range. The song’s rhythm and the cascading tune make it a lovely listen.

Tum Pe Hum Toh & Rehguzar – Bole Chudiyan (Raghav Sachar, Samira Koppikar) – Hindi: Two surprisingly warm and well-written melodies from this film! Raghav’s song sounds almost like a ghazal in Laado Suwalka’s lines and gains tremendously from Raj Barman’s singing. Sameera’s song too gets a big boost from Puneet Sharma’s lyrics and while Shahid Mallya sounds fantastic, I felt Samira Koppikar’s portions could have used a different (better) female singer.

Ye Rasa – MaaManithan (Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is the kind of song where Yuvan proves that he is truly the mirror of Raja’s musical style – it almost sounds like a thathuvam song that Raja may have composed in the 80s, but the sound is 2020 fresh! This is something even Raja hasn’t been able to achieve, ironically. That “Un sogam theerum paadha maarum… vaa raasa” is so very Raja from the 80s/90s! (Note: I still think Karthik Raja is a more natural heir of Raja’s music, but his style was entirely and uniquely different from Raja’s music when he started. It’s a pity he couldn’t sustain it and chose to focus on being Raja’s assistant after the initial tries).

Kan Munnale – Varun Sunil (Ft. Shweta Mohan) – Tamil/Indipop: Varun Sunil is someone I remember hearing good pop songs in Telugu so I’m surprised to hear his Tamil song. It has a very pleasant melody and the music too has a lively vibe.

Idhu Varai – Staccato (Tamil/Indipop): After the series of covers and mixes under their ‘Freshly Brewed’ series, Staccato band gets back to originals. The soaring vocals of Gowtham Bharadwaj and Niranjana Ramanan, the wonderfully uplifting music, that ‘Na na na’ vocal phrase that punctuates the song at many places… this is a fantastic song!

Neetho – Jagame Thandhiram (Santhosh Narayanan) – Telugu: The only reason to pick the Telugu version of this absolutely lovely song by Santhosh is the choice of the singer – Vijaynarain. Versus Dhanush in the Tamil version. Now, I fully understand the commercial considerations that may have gone behind the Tamil choice, but Vijaynarain is stupendously good for this particular tune. In comparison, Dhanush’s raw and casual singing does injustice to this softer, sweeping melody. The song is delightful, with a European flair and Santhosh’s ‘aasthaana’ musical profusion.

Devi Kalyana Vaibogame – Vivaha Bhojanambu (AniVee) – Telugu: I recall not being that impressed with the 2 earlier songs from this film (ABCD and What A Man). But composer AniVee sounds considerably more confident in this song. The layering of Chinmayi’s semi-classical’ish part with Anthony Daasan’s outburst of a hook is fantastic!

Premante Enti – Pelli SandaD (M. M. Keeravani) – Telugu: A classic Keeravani song that reminded me of many other songs, mainly Thathithom’s opening humming from Azhagan by Keeravani himself (the ‘Nuvvante naaku… dhairyam’ part) and Mr.India’s Kaate Nahin Kat Te (the ‘Challaga allukuntadi’ part). The raaga effect is so very pronounced in the song and they don’t make songs like these anymore!

Entha Baavundo – Gunde Katha Vintara (Masala Coffee) – Telugu: These Masala Coffee fellows keep popping across languages when least expected! Unusually, the song has 2 male voices – Crishna Jk and Varun Sunil! The tune has a bit of a ‘Putham Puthu Bhoomi Vendum’ (Thiruda Thiruda) feel in terms of the background and the build-up, but still sounds gorgeous!

Kanmoodi Parthaal – Sam Simon George, ft. KS Harisankar (Malayalam/Indipop): If I had not seen Sam’s name, I may have guessed this to be a song by Shaan Rahman. It has the same pleasant sweep and Harisankar’s singing only makes it all the more likable!

Bareve Bareve – H34 Pallavi Talkies (Ajaneesh Loknath) – Kannada: While Ajaneesh doesn’t disappoint, it does sound a bit too simplistic for the kind of standards he himself has set. This is probably the role of a director who can extract the best from already talented composers. Ankit Tiwari’s singing and that guitar usage stand out in the song.

Have Tase – Photo-Prem (Kaushal Inamdar) – Marathi: Marathi blues! Kaushal pulls it off in superb style, thanks to Shalmali Kholgade’s spellbinding vocals.

Rivers of India – Kanniks Kannikeswaran (Indipop): The song is an ambitiously thematic attempt to create awareness about the rivers of India (the song features 51 rivers) and water conservation. Kanniks (I had written about his fantastic album, Vismaya, back in 2009!) composes the song in Yamuna Kalyani and Kiravani raagas and the flow of song goes beyond simply listing the 51 rivers they have identified as lyrics. The most interesting part is the choice of singers – 2 sets of mother and son: Bombay Jayashri with her son Amrit Ramnath, and Kaushiki Chakraborty with her son Rishith Desikan.

Englishman/African In New York – Sting, Shirazee (English): I remember seeing Sting’s new album called ‘Duets’ back in 2020, but I don’t remember seeing this duet in that album! It looks like this is a new single that was also a duet but made away from that album. As a huge fan of the original song, I thought this new version, both musically and thematically, was very well produced!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 148: On Spotify | On YouTube
14 songs this week. Both YouTube and Spotify are missing one song each, though not the same song! YouTube is missing the 2nd song from Sithara Krishnakumar’s Project Malabaricus (Pilleranu), while Spotify is missing Ilayaraja’s new song from Madurai Manikkuravan that is exclusively available only on his YouTube channel.

PS: Given the precariously rising second wave, I do expect a break in new releases. So, I may need to take a break like last year, in that case. The last 2 weeks’ break was owing to my own COVID-like symptoms that ended up as COVID-negative but kept me bedridden nonetheless!

Uttradheenga Yeppov – Karnan (Santhosh Narayanan) – Tamil: Uttradheenga Yeppov reminded me, thematically and sound-wise, of Pariyerum Perumal’s Naan Yaar. Both songs are very, very deeply meaningful within the context of the narrative arcs of the respective films, but both are also treated with a lightness that makes them very easy-on-the-ear first – like a pop song you cannot not like! That contrast, of a lighter sound to make them accessible, while conveying something so deep, seems like Mari Selvaraj’s touch, executed well by Santhosh across 2 films.

Unnale Unarndhene & Kavi Solla – Sarbath (Ajesh) – Tamil: After releasing 2 singles WAY BACK in 2019 (Karichaan Kuyile, Theera Theera), the makers of Sarbath got reminded that they have a movie to release, that too during the worst second wave, far removed from the now-seemingly-mild first wave of 2020! I do feel good for Ajesh though – he showed genuine promise also as a composer and these 2 new singles offer a great deal more of his composing mind. Unnale Unardhene is a light, racy melody that gains from Haricharan’s lead vocals and remains persistently engaging, right up to the very apt anupallavi! Kavi Solla is the opposite! A slower, more expansive ballad of a melody that Ajesh sings himself by thoroughly enjoying it. His singing and tune is a fantastic mix!

Kalyanam Senju – Madurai Manikkuravan (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: Ilayaraja has produced numerous songs based on Mayamalavagowlai raaga that another may not really make a difference… or so I thought. But the man produces yet another whopper in the raaga! The interlude is to die for, and unusually energetic coming inside this sober a raaga! Singer Karthik’s entry, in particular, is a lovely touch, while Vibhavari holds fort overall.

Thattiputta – Maamanithan (Ilaiyaraja and Yuvan Shankar Raja) – Tamil: This is a huge surprise! A new song co-composed by the father-son duo! Because Raja sings it, the simple, catchy tune does remind me of his own style. But Yuvan’s touch is all too evident in the interludes and the background rhythm, even though the violin in the first interlude is a vintage Raja touch all the way!

Kooda Vaa – Ghibran (Tamil/Indipop): Ghibran has been really busy with tons of non-film music. Beyond the many religious and folk songs he has been composing, this one stood the most for me – a very pleasant melody that’s not actually that complex (based on Ghibran’s own lofty standards) and is far simpler and easier to like!

Vaan Megam – Vasantha Mullai (Rajesh Murugesan) – Tamil: I had very mixed feelings about ‘Avalo Avalo’ from this film, earlier. But Rajesh scores far better in Vaan Megam – this is a fairly more conventionally likeable melody, and his singers (Shakthisree Gopalan, Vijay Yesudas) hold the tune effortlessly, particularly Vijay. And there are shades of Premam’s ‘Malare’ in the second interlude too!

Ayyayyayyo – Aakasa Veedhullo (Judah Sandhy) – Telugu: Good to hear Judah’s music after quite some time, and that too in Telugu! He has Sid Sriram for company, to deliver an effortless earworm!

Innale Mellane – Nizhal (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: Sooraj is perhaps the most consistently interesting new music composer from the South capable of producing within the template of large, showy film songs. His song from The Great Indian Kitchen (the final dance show song) did not work for me despite the grandness involved there, but here, in another film that perhaps doesn’t even demand anything big, his output is fantastic! The tune has an urgent edge and is constantly flipping ideas, while also being instantly catchy! Superb singing by Haricharan Sheshadri.

Kannil Minnum – Meppadiyan (Rahul Subrahmanian) – Malayalam: What starts off a predictable melody by Rahul takes off very impressively at 2 places – first at the ‘Neela veyil thaazhamidum’ phrase and then immediately, again, in the ‘oLimarantha manju kaalamo’ phrase! Singer Karthik lifts the songs considerably with this impressive singing.

Arutharuthu & Pilleranu – Sithara’s Project Malabaricus (Malayalam/Indipop): Two pulsating, powerful songs by Sithara Krishnakumar’s band, Project Malabaricus, from their new album Rithu (featuring only 3 songs). The sound is quite borders Thaikkudam Bridge’s (or even Agam, to some extent), and Sithara’s lead singing is a fantastic direction!

Chiri Paatu – Varkey (Malayalam/Indipop): Yet another Malayalam pop song in this week’s list that riffs off Thaikkudam Bridge to a large extent. The boost in the rhythm at the 1-minute mark spins a very different song from where it started! The song progressively gets more psychedelic!

Pyar Naiyon Mileya – Next Level (Bally Sagoo) – Punjabi/Indipop: THE Bally Sagoo has a new album! The album isn’t really ‘Next Level’ though, and pales in front of the man’s stellar past. The one song that stood out for me was Pyar Naiyon Mileya, with its snappy hook and brilliantly sung by Naaz Aulakh.

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 147: On Spotify | On YouTube
13 songs this week. YouTube has all 13, while Spotify is missing Ilayaraja’s Tamil song from Marutha (looks like he has restricted access only to his own label and YouTube channel) and Heeriye, by Subhadeep Mitra for JAM8.

Ishq Namazaa – The Big Bull (Gourov Dasgupta) – Hindi: It may be unrealistic to expect Harshad Mehta to sing duets with his wife, but this is a Bollywood film, and if the promos/script demands a duet, then so be it 🙂 Gourov’s melody is very pleasant, though simplistic, and built around the ‘Ishq namaazaa’ hook. Ankit Tiwari’s voice adds much to the song’s charm.

Main Aaj Bhi Wahin – Papon (Hindi/Indipop): A moody, reflective song by Papon with the melody complementing the psychedelic video (that Papon created with some Instagram filters!). His voice remains the song’s main draw even as the tune gets progressively more interesting.

Kanaa – Nucleya, 2jaym & Sublahshini (Tamil/Indipop): 2Jaym and Sublahshini were selected by Nucleya in January this year, as part of Bacardi Sessions, where the two would be mentored by Nucleya as they produce their new single. The result is Kanaa, a dreamy EDM track that has Nucleya’s stamp, particularly as it ends. Sublahshini’s singing, in particular, deserves a special mention.

Kaathadi – Anand Kasinath (Tamil/Indipop): It’s entirely coincidental that this is the second song by singer Sublahshini this week! Anand Kashinath’s music is lively and catchy, in a Tamil cinema’ish way, and it is to the director’s and the lyricist’s (Sublahshini herself) credit that they frame the song from the girl’s point of view, longing for the guy, a reasonably limited expression in Tamil Nadu.

Maruthamalli – Marutha (Ilayaraja) – Tamil: A few years ago, this song would have been composed exactly as-is featuring Pavatharini’s voice. Today, it is led by Vibhavari (and Jithin). The tune, melody, sound… everything is demonstrative of Raja’s present-day music-making style that is patchy, at best – this is less of a complaint or a rant and more of my own acceptance that people’s style evolves, for good or bad, from individual perspectives (Rahman seems to be in the same boat too, incidentally). Compared to the other song (by Sid Sriram, no less), this one at least has a tune that harks back to the better days of Raja.

Entha Entha Choosinaa – Gamanam (Ilayaraja) – Telugu: What a surprise and coincidence – two new songs from Ilayaraja, across Tamil and Telugu, in the same week, and both sung by Vibhavari! Raja seems to be reserving his better material to Telugu, and this song is a much, much stronger whiff of his best days from the past. Surprisingly enough, in the first interlude, I heard something that I could identify with Sandeep Chowta’s music, in that short bridge before Vibhavari starts the anupallavi!

Rangule – Rang De (Devi Sri Prasad) – Telugu: This soundtrack already has some fantastic music (Naa Kanulu Yepudu and Emito Idhi). While some of the other songs did not work for me, DSP easily has a 3rd winner in Rangule. Shweta Mohan is absolutely spectacular given that this is all the way her show – a solo that she carries beautifully.

Evo Evo Kalale – Lovestory (Pawan Ch) – Telugu: Pawan starts the song on a soft, melodious note and when he switches tracks to a punchy hook by dropping the beat in the background around ‘Ram pam tararampam’, the contrast works wonderfully. Jonita Gandhi and Nakul Abhyankar are in great form, and Pawan’s rhythmic music takes on a new dimension as the song progresses.

Milon Hobey Koto Diney – Shubham Shirule for JAM8 (Bangla/Indipop): Pritam’s JAM8 is on a recent Bangla pop spree, it looks like – I noticed at least 3-4 songs. This one, recreated from the original folk tune by Shubham Shirule, features lyrics by Lalon Fakir, has a wonderfully earthy Baul melody, but where it truly comes alive is in Goutam Das Baul and Shashwati Phukan’s singing, and Shubham’s lively techno musical additions. The bridge between folk tune and more modern music works beautifully.

Heeriye – Subhadeep Mitra for JAM8 (Bangla/Indipop): This is the 2nd Bangla song by JAM8 that worked for me in the recent lot. Unlike Shubham’s song, Subhadeep’s tune could have easily been in a Pritam film or even a mainstream Hindi film, without necessarily having any Bangla-centric element beyond the language in which it is composed and sung. But, not to take anything away from the song, it is still a good listen, and very well sung by Subhashree Das and Arnab Dutta.

Motoliya 2.0 & Xuronjona – Sannidhya Bhuyan (+ Aarxslan, Tonmoy Krypton) – Axomiya/Indipop: I discovered Sannidhya’s music by chance, with Motoliya 2.0, and figured out that it is in some way connected to Motoliya that he released in July 2020. Given my complete ignorance of the language and his body of music, I don’t know how the two songs are connected, but I really liked the slightly more pacy new song that musically seems to have some phrases from the older song. Sannidhya’s voice and singing is phenomenal… enough for me to go on a trip of his other songs. The other song from his repertoire that instantly worked for me was Xuronjona, from March 2020. This song showcases Sannidhya’s vocal prowess in full splendor and the tune is enchanting too. I do not understand a word being sung but the language sounds incredibly beautiful!

Milli-1 – Raf-Saperra (Desi Frenzy) – Punjabi/Indipop: A heady, ebullient, very-Punjabi song that has a catchy hook that seemed to me like the one from Mundian To Bach Ke (Panjabi MC, Jay Z) but with the pitch mildly tweaked!

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