Bezubaan‘s redux trades the earlier version’s Western sensibilities to desi-rap, powered by Vishal Dadlani’s vocals and ending on a similar high, like the original. The original film’s song, Sun saathiya, that the makers, for some odd reason did not add in that soundtrack, finally makes it to the soundtrack here. And deservedly so! Priya Saraiya is scintillating, expressing her own lyrics in pitch-perfect fashion, set to a gorgeous melody. Chunar‘s sweeping melancholy is predictable Ahir Bhairav, but the composers surprise with an electric guitar and mridangam jugalbandi midway! Happy birthday is a racy hip-hop birthday song, while If You Hold My Hand is competent boyband pop, with Benny Dayal ruling it. Hey Ganaraya, Shambu sutaya’s cousin, is a frenzied, rhythmic Ganesh bhajan making great use of Pantuvarali raaga, while Happy hour sees Mika Singh sing in his lazy drawl really well, with eclectic backgrounds that traverse multiple genres! Naach meri jaan is pulsating latino dance material and Shefali Alvares impressively carries the foot-tapping Tattoo. Vande Mataram, with its dramatic shifts in style and mood, is a painful listen and seems only to serve the final, jingoistic dance sequence. ABCD 2 is a Step Up on the original’s grand, showy music.

Keywords: ABCD 2, Sachin-Jigar, 200, #200

Arijit carries the title song wonderfully – he expresses the desperation in Rashmi Virag’s lyrics beautifully, set to a poignant tune by Jeet. The Jeet-sung version is a great listen as well. Jeet’s other song, Yeh kaisi jagah has better backgrounds than tune, but Deepali Sathe elevates that with her vocals. Papon is expectedly good in Mithoon-composed Hum nava, Sayeed Quadri’s passionate plea for love coming to the fore. Ami Mishra’s Hasi gains more from Kunaal Vermaa’s lyrics than the tune or singing, though Shreya’s version is a decent listen. Thematic soundtrack that aptly puts you in a wistful mood.

Keywords: Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Mithoon, Jeet Ganguly, Ami Mishra

Sunday May 24, 2015

Hitman – May 23, 2015

Originally published in The Hindu.

Athana azhagayum
Inimey Ippadithaan (Tamil)
Music: Santhosh Kumar Dayanidhi

Santhosh, who till recently was programming for A. R. Rahman (including Lingaa), makes his debut with this Santhanam-starrer and does pretty well for himself. The pick of the soundtrack is ‘Athana azhagayum’, which has a trendy pop sound sung confidently by Varun Parandhaman and incorporates a funky rock ‘n roll sound midway, besides a colloquial rap by Sofia Ashraf. The highlight of the song is the lyrics, where, for the first time in the history of films, the hero compares his lady love to a… mosquito, when he passionately pleads, ‘Korukkupettai kosu pola, enna neeyum thorathaadhey’!

Tompkins Square Park
Album: Wilder Mind (English)
Music: Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons’ third studio album is supposedly their evolution, given that their standard banjos and accordion sound has paved way to electric guitar and synth! It’s decidedly more Coldplay-ish, thanks to producers James Ford, known for his work for Arctic Monkeys, and The National’s Aaron Dessner. ‘Tompkins Square Park’, the moody break-up song is among the album’s best, with its expansive synth, bass and drum thump! It sounds great, no doubt, but not without a mild pang of what the band has left behind!

ABC ABC
Jaadugadu (Telugu)
Music: Saagar Mahati

Just when you are wondering if Mani Sharma is getting his act together after a brief period of poor form, his son enters the scene! Saagar uses his father’s tried and tested masala format aptly in his debut that includes this catchy duet by Vijay Prakash and Ramya Behara. The track’s sound is consistently engaging and with its thrumming rhythms, young Saagar seems to be on the way to a promising career!

Appankitta
Maanga (Tamil)
Music: Premji Amaren

Premji has scored music for a few Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films and, given his pedigree, is dependably good and inventive across soundtracks, though it is his most ignored talent, with him being more keen on on-screen buffoonery. He seems to be indulging in composing almost with an ‘Evvalavo panrom, idha pannamaattoma?’ attitude. ‘Appankitta’ is what you get when Premji answers a brief from director Mysskin about a situation where a male dancer leads his now-familiar yellow-sari song. Premji sings it with the same quasi off-key-ness of Yuvan, but it is oddly endearing, as is his choice of layering the song with a zingy guitar.

Chinna paya vayasu
Kida Poosari Magudi (Tamil)
Music: Ilaiyaraaja

Ilaiyaraaja, even at his peak, has helped many first-time and unknown directors by composing music for them and by being the most saleable aspect of such films. Nowadays, besides the occasional big budget films like Rudramadevi, the veteran still seems to be helping out lesser-known, smaller films, though the effect isn’t quite like it used to be. One such film is Kida Poosari Magudi and the song, ‘Chinna paya vayasu’ seems to be a pleasant throwback to Oru Kaidhiyin Diary’s ‘Pon Maane Kobam Yaeno’, probably due to a possible Sivaranjani raaga connection. The strings, the interludes all work up a lovely whiff of nostalgia!
Listen to the song here.

She Is So Beautiful is easy on the ears pop; the hook is catchy and Amal Anthony and Kavya Ajith keep things light and frothy. Pularri manjin has an interesting structure and the contrast between Kavya and Ajmal’s parts make it a great listen, as do the disjoint connect that happens eventually and Kavya singing Ajmal’s line! Vijay Yesudas carries Anaadhi yugangallai impeccably – it’s a classic melody, slightly old-style, and Deepak’s treatment makes a big difference. Cherathe is the soundtrack’s weakest, with Siddharth Mahadevan sounding rather labored, though Deepak’s sound works just fine. Dependably good music from Deepak Dev.

Keywords: Lavender, Deepak Dev

Omal kanmani is puncutuated with a lot of pauses and they all considerably add to the song’s charm, beyond the simple, pleasant tune and Sachin Warrier and Sangeetha Sreekanth’s vocals. The rhythm variations in the anupallavi too are interesting. Pathiye novayi rides on Najim Irshad’s singing, with the guitar-led tune traversing through a complex tune. The soundtrack’s best is Thalavara kurippu pusthakam! The minimal, captivating rhythm and Govind Padmasurya’s intentionally casual delivery gives the song big props, even as it moves into techno mode and native rhythms with equal confidence. Bijibal is delivering with alarming consistency in Malayalam these days!

Keywords: Bijibal, 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam

PS: The launch posters of this film, back in October 2014 announce the composer as Govind Menon! Wonder what circumstances led to Bijibal replacing him.

Aasamela aasa vechu seems tailor-made for Simbu; along with Malavika, he delivers Vaidhhy’s fast-paced kuthu number with his usual panache. Iswarya’s young, child-like vocals elevates the predictable rhythm and tune in Chinna chinna, while Kadhal sei‘s techno mix is impressively catchy. Kanavaa kanavaa‘s tune is likeable enough, but with Vandhana going, ‘kanava’ (dream) instead of ‘kaNava’ (husband) and Nakul going, ‘kobam kolladi’ instead of ‘kobam koLLadi’, it jars. Kulamagalae kulamagalae is the umpteenth variant of Dhavani potta deepavali, while the soundtrack closes with a whispery, rhythmic duet Nee variya, featuring Ranjith and Andrea. Vaiddhy displays some promise in his debut.

Keywords: Thiruttukalyanam, Vaiddhy

Maayakkaara manmadha is familiar material from Mani Sharma; his usual well-crafted melody and this one seems to border Madhyamavathy raaga too, to good effect. Its remix is a pulsating listen too. Suchitra’s funky vocals is the only thing that stands out in My name is Chandrika, while Thada thada too is absolutely outdated in every possible way. Mani Sharma, however, closes the soundtrack in style with Saaral veesidum neram, an instantly likeable duet featuring Haricharan and Reeta, with a profusion of pleasant sounding instruments coming together beautifully. After a brief hiatus, Mani Sharma seems to be intent on bouncing back.

Keywords: Narathan, Mani Sharma

Aadu annatha makes interesting use of saarangi in what’s essentially kuthu and gains spunk in anupallavi, with Velmurugan leading it in his usual style. Aavaaram povukkum‘s Aasaya kaathula ambitions are apparent, and Megha is impressive in the vocals. Sanjana Divaker Kalmanje is fantastic in singing the piano-led melody of Natta nadu iravula, even as GVP layers the strings beautifully! Tipu and Santhosh Hariharan have fun in singing the upbeat tune of Sakka podu where GVP’s choice of instruments are pretty interesting. Un kannukullara is predictable GVP-style kuthu with a surprise dash of veena! Good follow-up to Kaakka Muttai, from GVP.

Keywords: Kaaval, GV Prakash Kumar

Premji gets the retro sound perfectly in Anjathey, thanks also to Hemambika’s vocals. Hemambika continues her form in Kanne, with Premji handling the quasi-retro sound that cleverly uses modern words to funny effect. TL Maharajan pulls off a Thyagaraja Bhagavathar spoof impressively in Sriranjani. The title song has a glitzy, almost-Yuvan’ish sound and Ranjit delivers it well, while Premji sings exactly like Yuvan in Appankitta, the quintessential love-failure song, with an extra dose of guitar. Vedakozhi is more Yuvan; a power kuthu marrying nadaswaram and electric guitar in a pulsating package. Premji is again impressive in his most ignored talent!

Keywords: Maanga, Premji Amaren

The title song has Ramya Behara screaming her heart out to emulate a Bond theme style song. Sweekar Agasthi’s vocals prop up Gola cheddame, a passably catchy, street-smart tune. Kunal Ganjawala powers Kadha mudirega, a racy number with punchy rhythm and funky electric guitar. Masugudu is that standard-issue kuthu every Telugu soundtrack mandates, but Sagar adds extra verve to it, no doubt. The soundtrack’s best is ABC, a slow-burning melody with highly imaginative orchestration, and sung with the right spunk, by Vijay Prakash and Ramya Behara. Saagar Mahathi safely sticks to his dad’s masala (Mani Sharma) formula in his debut.

Keywords: Jaadugadu, Saagar Mahathi

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