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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To showcase those 2 points, here are 2 playlists.

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

The list of songs:Tanishk Bagchi – originals

Kanha – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (Tanishk-Vayu)

Adbhutam – Lover

Monobina – Gold

Akh Lad Jaave – Loveyatri

Bolna – Kapoor & Sons

Itna Tumhe – Machine

Main Hoon – Munna Michael

Kankad – Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (Tanishk-Vayu)

Baaki Rab Pe Chhod De – Lucknow Central

Makhna – Drive

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

The list of songs: Tanishk Bagchi – remakes

Tamma Tamma Again – Badrinath Ki Dulhania

Tamma Tamma Loge – Thanedaar

Socha Hai – Baadshaho

Kehdoon Tumhein Ya Chup Rahoon – Deewar

Hawa Hawai 2.0 – Tumhari Sulu

Hawa Hawai – Mr. India

Gazab Ka Hai Din – Dil Juunglee

Gazab Ka Hai Din – Qayamat se Qayamat Tak

Gali Gali – KGF

Gali Gali Mein – Tridev

Sanu Kehndi – Kesari

Bhabo Kehndi Eh – Surinder Kaur

Hauli Hauli – De De Pyaar De

Yeah Baby – Garry Sandhu

Chatur Naar – Machine

Ek Chatur Naar – Padosan

Aankh Marey – Simmba

Aankh Maare – Tere Mere Sapne

Arey Pyaar Kar Le – Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re – Saaheb

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

Sunday March 29, 2020

Plucking the Genda Phool, twice!

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

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

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

T-series’ 2011 YouTube upload of Genda Phool:

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

Cut to 2020!

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

Why March 25th?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 111: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
16 songs this week. All 16 available on JioSaavn, while YouTube is missing just one – Chollamo, from Ole Kanda Naal.

I Am A Disco Dancer 2.0 – Salim-Sulaiman, Ft. Benny Dayal (Originally composed by Bappi Lahiri) – Hindi: A very competent recreation, surprisingly. It keeps the spirit of the original alive and adds some bells and whistles that are pretty good, like those strategic pauses at places. Benny is a very, very good choice to hold this version together. But yes, Tiger Shroff’s fitness-regime-turned-dance is getting a bit tiring.

Manjha – Vishal Mishra (Indipop/Hindi): A delightfully imagined tune, sung brilliantly by Vishal Mishra himself. The way he keeps things basic, to focus on the melody till the antara and breaks the flow in the second interlude, towards the end, is lovely!

O Ashiqa, Nayi Nayi, Gori Godh Bhari and Veere Kadh De – 99 Songs (A.R.Rahman) – Hindi: In the current scenario when more and more films d not have in-film songs, and even a Mani Ratnam chooses to not bother releasing a soundtrack for his film (with music by Rahman, no less), and clips songs with just a few lines in the movie… Rahman’s own film (that he has written, but not directed) has a soundtrack with 14 songs!! It seems both ambitious and indulgent at the same time! There are flashes of the earlier Rahman in Bela Shende’s Sai Shirdi Sai, but the better, more interesting songs are the ones like O Ashiqa, featuring Shashwat Singh in stupendous form (all through the multiple songs in the soundtrack) breathing life into a beautiful, steadily building melody. Nayi Nayi and Veere Kadh De are perhaps the most ‘active’ song from an otherwise somber and sedate Rahman in recent times. The soundtrack’s best is Gori Godh Bhari, sung by the trio of Anuradha Sriram, Shweta Mohan, Alka Yagnik. In what I felt like a tune based on Rageshri raaga (snatches of Bharathi Kannamma, from MSV’s Ninaithaale Inikkum, and Shubhadina Ayo Rajadulara – from Mughal-e-Azam), the mix of voices and the music produced by Rahman is absolutely enchanting!

Andha Kanna Paathaakaa, Quit Pannuda and Polakattum Para Para – Master: Besides the hyper catchy Kutti Story, Master does have an overall sound that’s largely enjoyable. It doesn’t help that someone thought it was appropriate to name a song, ‘Vaathi Coming’ without pausing to consider that it evokes thoughts of ‘Vaanthi Coming’ to anyone who hears it for the first time. Yuvan-sung Andha Kanna Paathaakaa has a really interesting background sound and the tune itself sounds like it was co-composed by both Yuvan and Anirudh! Quit Pannuda’s sound is better than the main tune, particularly the persistent use of horns! But Anirudh’s singing carries the tune too effortlessly. Santhosh Narayanan is a hoot in Polakattum Para Para, a techno-folk song that Anirudh ‘erangi kuthufies’ with relish!

Munnoru Naalil – Kamali from Nadukkaveri (Dheena Dhayalan) – Tamil: I’m assuming this is Dheena Dhayalan’s debut – an impressive debut given he is wonderfully supported by both Madhan Karky, who writes some fantastic lines that are so poignant (Yenge andha naan? – “Where is that me?” – being the best!), and Shakthisree Gopalan, who gives the melody the necessary gravitas.

Vaan Thooralgal – Pon Magal Vandhal (Govind Vasantha) – Tamil: It is obvious that Govind loves his 96 form; it’s understandable too, given how stupendously good it was. This song sounds almost like an extension, after-thought or rejected earlier version of 96. You can trace generous snapshots of ‘Konjum Pooraname’ and many other musical cues from that soundtrack. Yet, it continues to sound good. Chinmayi continues to be Govind’s voice of choice here too.

Mon Kyamoner Jonmodin – Hridpindo (Ranajoy Bhattacharjee) – Bangla: Composer Ranajoy has a clear winner in Mon Kyamoner Jonmodin and as if he realizes, he creates 2 versions of which one is sung by himself. The main version, sung by Mekhla Dasgupta, is captivating, given the sweet melody. The reprise sung by the composer has an interesting rock twist to the former’s Indian classical base.

Ole Kanda Naal and Chollamo – Ole Kanda Naal (Hesham Abdul Wahab) – Malayalam: The title song is a stellar reason why Vineeth Sreenivasan should sing more. Hesham does equally well too, handing Vineet a superb tune to sing, and adorning it with beautifully imagined interludes in violin and an unusually interesting rhythm that I thought was jarring at first, but warmed up to it eventually. Chollamo too has that sweeping sound, though it is a bit more familiar as a tune. Hesham does pretty well singing it, though, and the catchy backgrounds hold this package well.

The Guru – Is That So (John McLaughlin/Shankar Mahadevan/Zakir Hussain): This new album released back in January and I just managed to hear it. In fact, John McLaughlin’s guitar is featured only in Sakhi, though all the songs carry his stamp in terms of the orchestral flourish expected from him, and this group. The album is a stunning showcase of Shankar’s already established vocal prowess. I’d have loved The Beloved to go more on the start it takes, using the Sindhu Bharavi raaga Karunai Dheivame Karpagame, but the fusion elements take it into a different spin. But The Guru retains its aura till the end beautifully. Based on Shyama Shastri’s Thodi raaga composition, Ninne Namminanu, Shankar Mahadevan is exhilaratingly great here!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 110: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
18 songs this week. All 18 available on YouTube. JioSaavn is missing 5! 4 are from Aditya Music’s repertoire – is something wrong between Aditya and JioSaavn?

Teri Nazar – 99 Songs (A R Rahman) – Hindi: Rahman springs a mild surprise with Teri Nazar. No doubt the backgrounds go back to Pancham’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To, there’s something in Shashwat Singh’s earnest vocals that also simultaneously go back to Rahman’s own Dil Se classic, Ae Ajnabi! Definitely not one of Rahman’s best, but is pretty decent enough going by this recent standards.

Manusan – Dharala Prabhu (Kaber Vasuki) – Tamil: With 8 music composers, the film’s soundtrack is quite a record of sorts at least in Tamil. Though Anirudh recycles his own song from Gang Leader in the title song, and besides the other songs I have mentioned earlier, it is Kaber Vasuki’s Manusan that caught my attention for its fantastic electro-swing sound!

Ay Pilla – Love Story (Pawan Ch) – Telugu: This is a ‘Sekhar Kammula’ song and that much is evident even in the sound. Not take anything away from Pawan, he gets the best out of Haricharan’s already fantastic voice. And the Mickey J Meyer-style sweep in the orchestration is a beautiful touch too.

Vasthunnaa Vachestunna – V (Amit Trivedi) – Telugu: This is a pleasant surprise from Amit! Usually, his non-Hindi tunes sound primarily like a Hindi tune that has been well-translated in another language. But Shreya’s opening here sounds so very much like a Telugu song! And only when Amit makes his entry with Vasthunnaa Vachestunna does it starts to sound like this Hindi repertoire! The anupallavi has a fantastic flow too!

Manasa Manasa – Most Eligible Bachelor (Gopi Sundar) – Telugu: This is so very obviously a tune concocted for Sid Sriram. Even as the opening sounds a bit too familiar and predictably Sid, Gopi works harder for the anupallavi’s melody and makes up.

Maguva Maguva – Vakeel Saab (Thaman S) – Telugu: After the Thaman-Sid super success in Ala Vaikunthapuramuloo, this is Thaman capitalizing on the combo with a very similar sound. It works, for now, particularly with a lovely harmony section in the background/chorus.

Monja Monja Munthiri Monja – Munthiri Monchan (Vijith Nambiar) – Malayalam: Reetigowlai raaga FTW! This seems to be a raaga that can never go wrong and can take in any tune with any kind of an emotion! Oddly, the child singer now turned teenager, Sreya Jayadeep, sounds a bit hurried and out of sorts!

Chemmaname – Yuvam (Gopi Sundar) – Malayalam: This is the typical Gopi tune and sound package. You can identify it as soon as it starts 🙂 Yet, it continues to sound very, very enticing. A large part of the credit should also go to the singer, Libin Zakharia. An excellent find!

Jalaam – Jithesh Edathode (Indipop/Malayalam): A rather plain sound (the backgrounds) but I thought I heard a familiar and lovely raaga in the tune. I think I heard Raja’s incredibly lovely song, “Chithira Sevvaanam Sirikka Kanden” from Kaatrinilae Varum Geetham. And there was a distinct Raja touch to the first interlude too, evoking Panivizhum Malarvanam! The hero of the song, though is clearly the singer, Najim Arshad.

Tujyavina – Neighbours (Nishaad) – Marathi: Of the 6 songs composed by Nishaad for this Marathi soundtrack, the one song that stood out for me was this, sung by Avadhoot Gupte. The song has a nice Indipop/rock vibe and excellent guitar work too.

Worry About Me – Ellie Goulding, Blackbear: Blackbear’s influence shows in the song’s intriguing tempo and the hiphop undertones. It’s a very catchy tune and Ellie handles it with a flourish, complete with those ‘Ooh ooh’s and the way she handles,
Ooh, why you tryna put me in a different mood?
Just because I’m still out seein’ someone new?

Didn’t I – OneRepublic: A lovesick duet from the band, from their upcoming album, Human. Lead singer Ryan Tedder’s singing soaks in the lovelorn pathos, with the ‘Didn’t I’ hook being a catchy high.

Heartbreak Weather, Small Talk, Nice To Meet Ya, Cross Your Mind, New Angel and No Judgement – Album: Heartbreak Weather (Niall Horan): From OneRepublic to One Direction… or former One Direction, to be precise. Niall’s sophomore solo album is a very competent affair! The title song, in particular, is straight out of an 80s Everlasting Love Songs compilation, and I say this in a good way!

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 109: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
14 songs this week. All 14 available on YouTube. JioSaavn is missing just one song – Ningi Chutte, from the Telugu film, Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya.

Baatein Karo – Vayu (Indipop/Hindi): Vayu, the other half of Tanishk-Vayu who occasionally composes and writes songs independently, has always seemed to me like the other halves of other duos like Jatin-Lalit or Vishal-Shekhar or even Jeet-Pritam. Vayu’s previous efforts, with or without Tanishk has been mighty good. Baatein Karo is very, very good too, with a lovely melody, sung well by Vayu himself. The music video, however, goes completely overboard in espousing digital addiction and seems to say that there can only 2 extremes – with phone and without phone. Even as we have stopped using standalone cameras during our vacation and use the phone for photos and videos, the dependence on phones is now being portrayed as an all-purpose evil and no one seems to be advocating moderation in usage! But I understand that in a way that moderation doesn’t make for a great script or a narrative device – extremes do. So, throwing off your phone dramatically gets people talking, while showing moderate use is hardly noteworthy.

Kasam – Babloo Bachelor (Jeet Gannguli) – Hindi: Talking of musical composing duos, here’s a new song by Jeet, the other half of Jeet-Pritam that sounds like a poor-man’s Pritam! The tune and sweep is very reminiscent of Pritam’s highly celebrated title song from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil! And both songs are sung by Arijit Singh, incidentally! Sharman Joshi could also be seen as the poor-man’s Ranbir Kapoor, perhaps!

Kaadhal Theevey – Dharala Prabhu (Sean Roldan) – Tamil: For a song that has Sid Sriram has the star attraction, it starts with a chorus featuring Sean himself, along with Ravi G and Manoj. That chorus is a very, very effective back-up to Sid’s lead vocals, with some great lines. Vijay Ganesan’s guitar work is a particular highlight and Sean’s tune in the anupallavi is worth mentioning!

Nagarathey – Ivan Than Uthaman (Thaman S) – Tamil: Thaman ropes in fellow composer Anirudh to sing this one and that pays off pretty well. Thaman usual mix of music including a lovely and generous violin phrase keeps the song very engaging.

Lovvu Lovvu – Anbulla Ghilli (Arrol Corelli) – Tamil: This is perhaps the most enthusiastic piece of music I have heard from Arrol, who, possibly owing to his allegiance to Mysskin, conjures in my mind brooding and somber music every time I hear his name 🙂 The other surprise is Arrol calling Yuvan to sing the song as if the composer is a singer of repute! But, as is the norm, other composers extract better vocals from Yuvan than Yuvan does from himself in his own songs. This is a frothy and breezy song, and the Yuvan-Andrea combo makes it so with their lively singing.

Nenjil Oru Vannam – Srinivas (Indipop/Tamil): A lively song by singer Srinivas, even if the music video seems like an extended ad film for Nippon Paints. But the song’s theme is layered very appropriately in the choice of the music video’s sponsor through Pa.Vijay’s lyrics and the simple, heartwarming story portrayed in it. The tune harks back to an older, gentler period in Indipop, when bands like Colonial Cousins were in circulation!

Manasara Sollu – Jones Rupert, ft. Tejenthan Arunasalam and Priyanka (Indipop/Tamil): TeeJay Arunasalam seems to be on a roll! Along with the starry pop single on Valentine’s Day (Aasai Thathumbucha) directed by a movie director (Nelson Venkatesan) and co-starring a film actress (Indhuja), there was another, similar effort that I had missed – co-starring another actress, Nandita. That he also had a fantastic role on the Dhanush-starrer Asuran is another part of this winning streak. Jones Rupert’s music isn’t that unique, but TeeJay’s singing, along with Priyanka’s lifts the song significantly.

Meeko Dhandam – 30 Rojullo Preminchadam Ela (Anup Rubens) – Telugu: Anup already has 2 bumper hits from the film – Sid Sriram-sung Neeli Neeli Aakaasam (47 million views on YouTube!) and Armaan Malik-sung Idera Sneham (almost 3 million views on YouTube). While I wasn’t all that impressed with the latter, here’s the 3rd song that I like the most, among the 3. The song’s vibe reminded me of the famous song from Gulabi, ‘Class Roomulo’! This is a fun college song, with all the shenanigans that go into one, and Dhananjay and Mohana Bhogaraju having fun singing it.

Ningi Chutte – Uma Maheswara Ugra Roopasya (Bijibal) – Telugu: This is a pleasant surprise, seeing Bijibal’s debut in Telugu! The song seems very similar to his own Idukki song from Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and that makes sense since this film is a remake of that Malayalam film! Idukki paves way for Matyagundam in Araku Valley. Bijibal gets Vijay Yesudas to sing this song that has the same feel and shades of Idukki song, but there are many ways he differentiates it for Telugu. It’s also interesting to note that the Tamil remake of the same Malayalam film, Nimir, directed by Priyadarshan, went with a much larger and flashy format and different composers – Ajaneesh Loknath and Darbuka Siva (with some superb songs!), and shunned the simple, earthy narrative or music by Bijibal. And the Telugu film is mirroring the Malayalam original more than the Tamil version!

Emo Emo Emo – Raahu (Praveen Lakkaraju) – Telugu: You can add this song under songs that can and do exist only because of Sid Sriram. It’s almost like composer Praveen imagined the Emo Emo Emo hook only based on Sid’s singing. It’s a functional song that Sid elevates considerably with his singing.

Ventaade Gaayam – Hit (Vivek Sagar) – Telugu: This is Vivek’s signature sound, with a haunting, raspy and jazzy sound. He has mastered this over the years even he grew up the film music ladder in Telugu films, though with repeated usage it seems a bit too familiar. But yes, Mohana Bhogaraju owns the singing in this one and lifts it up.

Neeyum Njanum – Sumesh & Ramesh (Yakzan Gary Periera & Neha Nair) – Malayalam: The composing duo, Yakzan Gary Periera and Neha Nair, has been consistently interesting, with specific highs in films like Iyobinte Pusthakam. Neeyum Njanum sounds like a song from that soundtrack too, incidentally – a lot of ‘Raave’ in this song too, or it is perhaps owing to Neha’s voice in both songs.

Paaraake – Kilometers & Kilometers (Sooraj S Kurup) – Malayalam: Even as Tovino takes his foreign visitor across the country in his bike, the song moves from Hindi, to Tamil, to Malayalam, and English seamlessly. Sooraj has a steady, thrumming rhythm keeping the tune together and even the background chorus portions are really good. Tovino schooling the girl on some of India’s nuances (like the dead body and open defecation) are hilarious, coming in his Malayalee accent 🙂

Running Back To You – Anish Sood, ft. Lisa Mishra (Indipop): Goa-based music producer and DJ Anish Sood gets Lisa Mishra to sing this very foot-tapping EDM/House number. The song’s sound would effortlessly have you shaking your head and moving your feet.

Two perspectives, recently.

A.R.Rahman has voiced his opinion against remixes and recreations. He specifically spoke about being really annoyed with the remix of ‘Ishwar Allah’.

Tanishk Bagchi voiced his opinion that the composers who handle background scores in the films where he composes songs use his songs to create those background scores. And that this robs him of credit!

I do not condemn remixes and recreations, in general. Cover versions have always existed in music. And they help bring to fore music from another generation to a new generation. It could also eventually spur interest in an older song, both among newer audiences and older ones.

There is no excessive or limited remix quota. At any given point in time, there’d always be some remixes in India that are popular because, right now, music labels think this is a good yardstick for instant success given that those songs have already proven to have worked once, years ago.

And Tanishk’s claim is rather funny 🙂 Though he (and the music label + film producer) do their recreation officially, after seeking all necessary permission and paying the royalty, despite all appropriate credits, people would end up remembering Tanishk’s name as the composer for a recreation. The original composer’s name is a fine-print, at best.

In the case of background music, very few composers even get prominent credit! And in any case, the compositions Tanishk produces for a film belongs to the production house + music label too. So, the claim of ‘why should someone else take credit for my music?’ seems specious, considering he claims credit for a lot of other composers’ songs and is known for that trend!

In context, recently my daughter, while watching Spies in Disguise exclaimed, “Hey, that’s Will Smith, no? He was the Genie in Aladdin!”. To use Aladdin as a frame of reference for Will Smith, who has a whole body of work to remember by, is a telling statement of how younger people look at things from their limited perspective, given the lack of exposure (that only comes with age).

My son too exclaimed when he heard the remix of Urvashi Urvashi: “Hey, this is will-i-am’s song, no?” 🙂

Milliblog Weeklies – India’s only multilingual, weekly new music playlist.
Week 108: On JioSaavn | On YouTube
14 songs this week. All 14 available in the YouTube playlist, while JioSaavn is missing 3 – Amit Trivedi’s Telugu song, Manasu Maree from the film V, and 2 Malayalam songs: Sibu Sukumaran’s May Maasa Poove and Kannil, from Kappela.

Nachan Nu Jee Karda – Angrezi Medium (A.S.Burmy & K.S.Burmy/Tanishk Bagchi) – Punjabi: While Tanishk’s remix aptly catchy and foot-tapping, this is more of a visual song than aural. Radhika Madan, who was outstanding in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota with her uninhibited acting chops, unleashes all that in a single song! You simply cannot take your eyes off her in this song video 🙂

Nira – Takkar (Nivas K Prasanna) – Tamil: Nivas hits it out of the park with Nira! What starts off a somber melody gets that fantastic lilt at 1:20 and builds on progressively and steadily! There’s so much to observe and like, here: Sid Sriram’s lead vocals, Gautham Vasudev Menon (the man is suddenly everywhere and not as a director! As actor/villain in Trance and Kannum Kannum KoLLaiyaditthaal; and as rapper here!), and Malvi Sundaresan’s part later in the song! Finally, when Sid and Malvi’s voices alternate, it’s a lovely way to end the song.

Pesatha Mozhiye – Kombu Vatcha Singamda (Dhibhu Ninan Thomas) – Tamil: Despite good enough music in films like Maragadha Naanayam and Kanaa, I wondered what happened to Dhibu. Good to see him back! And it is even better to hear a song that deftly uses Hindolam Saramathi raagam in the melody. Knowing he has a really effective tune, he gets Chinmayi and Harisankar to do the honors, so appropriately.

Nanbiye – Teddy (D.Imman) – Tamil: A stunning tune that Imman layers so well with the background chorus complementing Anirudh’s lead vocals. That Imman chose 2 different tunes for the anupallavi and charanam, and that both sound so incredibly nuanced says so much about his imagination! A special note for Madhan Karky’s magnificently pure Tamil poetry, right from the use of the female form for friend!

Sirikkalam Parakkalam – Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal (Masala Coffee) – Tamil: Despite having an 8-song soundtrack shared equally between Masala Coffee and Harshawardhan Rameshwar, this is a surprisingly underwhelming soundtrack. The only song that actually stands out is the one by Masala Coffee, sung by Benny Dayal, with rap by Madurai Souljour. It’s an easy-on-the-ear catchy and funky sound.

Aayizhai – Shabir (Indipop/Tamil): Amidst the pulsating music and the lofty main melody, Shabir manages to add the “Azhagiya Rathiye’ phrase that seems straight out of Reetigowlai raaga! That this song has shades of Shabir’s own title song of the Singapore Tamil TV series, Kalaba Kadhala, could be the reason, though. It’s just that Shabir seems to be singing with his mouth half-open, the way he sounds 🙂

Manasu Maree – V (Amit Trivedi) – Telugu: That’s a surprise – Amit’s 2nd Telugu film after Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy (if you park the now-parked That Is Mahalakshmi which is a multilingual!). The song is very, very-Amit! He sings it himself too, along with Shashaa Tirupati. Very catchy, in a typically Amit way.

Kannil Kaanum – Rajath Raveendran (Indipop/Malayalam): For a non-film song, this was surprisingly so very good! Rajath has a lovely melody to anchor his tune, and the choices he makes within that, including that “Niryayaathor aasathanna prana naayike” twist that he employs, makes the song all the more interesting. The background rhythm in the anupallavi too deserves a mention. And yes, Harisankar is super effective once more!

May Maasa Poove – Sibu Sukumaran (Indipop/Malayalam): This song has the sweep of a Shaan Rahman song… almost. The jaunty and catchy rhythm perhaps takes a huge chunk of why this song is likeable, besides Najim Arshad and Anagha Suresh singing.

Thenezhuthave – Varky (Sumesh Somasundar) – Malayalam: This is the 3rd song sung by Harisankar (along with Sreenanda) and he seems to be in stupendous form yet again! Sumesh’s melody reminded me of Abhogi raaga. It’s wonderfully lush and beautifully orchestrated.

Kannil – Kappela (Sushin Shyam) – Malayalam: Sushin mounts his charming melody on that lovely whistle-led hook (by Sushin himself) and that works beautifully. The singing, by Sooraj Santhosh and Swetha Mohan, and the background sounds, using mandolin, ukelele and acoustic guitar, make it all the more exciting.

Psychedelic Maaye – Popcorn Monkey Tiger (Charan Raj) – Kannada: True to the song’s title, the song is adequately psychedelic, and Sanjith Hegde’s singing adds to that feel too! The hip-hop sound paves way for Rahul Dit-O’s rap too seamlessly.

The Other Side – SZA, Justin Timberlake: Superbly funky and totally in line with Justin’s signature sound. Justin sings alongside SZA (who sang on Black Panther’s All the Stars) and the retro rhythm keeps it darn catchy.

Stupid Love – Lady Gaga: A brand new single from Lady Gaga! And this is her first collaboration with Swedish super-producer Max Martin. It’s brilliantly frothy and addictive, with that punchy kick drum staying on your mind long after the song is over.

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