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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the songs on YouTube:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the songs on YouTube | On JioSaavn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to Tansener Tanpura on Hungama | Amazon Prime Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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