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Kelayo..

VC was  a warrior , in fact  a fighter pilot , the ultimate alpha adrenaline junkie , so how could Leela even think of leaving him. How could she even – He’ll show her . He will show all of them . And then he meets her at the party , the one he attends , the one she attends but not with each other. He wants her back , but without losing face and thus the song starts Kelayo…

 

There is the warrior and there is the lover boy and what better way to emphasize this than to use singers with two different vocal qualities. Diwakar , with his restrained singing and dominative Shankar Mahadevanesque vocal quality represents the warrior who tries saving face by acting all tough and then Haricharan with that voice that would melt the insides jumps in to beg , plead and serenade our senses – what a brief sirjee.

 

Then comes the tango tadka with the 2/4 , 4/4 rhythm ,brilliant violins , guitars , piano , violas and bass. Where is the accordion you wonder . Is it there hiding away until you notice it on the 500th listen or has it been replaced or done away with you wonder. There this refrain reminds you of Sundari , and oh this chord progression reminds you of Arima – This is the Tamil equivalent of Hawa Hawa , more sedate and equally brilliant. The words are a mumble at this point as you try to identify every single instrument and nuance in the song and tap your thighs in 2/4 , 4/4 and there , there is the accordion or so you think..

 

You don’t notice the words until the fifth day or so . All of a sudden , during the traffic filled commute back home , you notice the lyrics and sit up . How apt , how romantic and then Wham you go – Oh Vairamuthu is broadly painting VC’s character and the film’s story. The En Kuraigal Edhu Kandai makes you go – How arrogant you fool – and that unnai pirindhaal uyir vaazhaa line makes you go hmmm. So will they end up living together or dying together – why do you mind – Wherever they go they will end up together.

 

Thus ends Kelayo – one of Kaatru Veliyidai’s top songs for me at least until now. After a long time , a song that paints characters , storylines and narratives for you – straight out of that magic factory jointly owned by ARR , Mani and Vairamuthu . The lyrical quality of the whole album has been brilliant , the singing has been exemplary and the sound production is the best among the recent ARR albums and Kelayo brings all that together with a brilliant tune and imagination. Seldom has a song made me imagine the story so there job well done holy trio of the Tamil movies.

 

P.S. ARR should have christened Haricharan’s female voice with some fancy Spanish sounding name , so that our single music crazy youths got a new kanavu kanni.

 

P.P.S . Please raise your hand if this reminds you of Jordan and Heer at a happier place. Happy Listening.

P.P.P.S The transition between the two male voices is seamless and brilliant as if to prove that the lover and the warrior reside inside the same man . Take a shottu ARR . Bale Bale !

Sandi Kudhirai and Serenading mogana

Imagine songs having personas ,imagine they have feelings –  imagine that  Vishwanathan vela venum and nadodi poga venum ododi met each other at dinner , fell in love , eloped and had a baby who was put on a crack / dope diet – imagine all this and you end up with “Sanda Kudhirai” the new sensation from Rahman’s newest soundtrack .

A goat bleats pitifully , the koel coos , the horse neighs and then Haricharan starts crooning to the Congo drums . The accordion and the Congos  then take a backseat and let the vocalists take over up until the first interlude . Come the interlude , they take the center stage and steal the stage. You start nodding your head to the beats and stop as soon as the various yaanai kuttis , poonai kuttis , aatu kuttis , aandha kuttis, maan kutti and muyals make an appearance . All these animals then join you in the dance , where you serenade an imaginary Mohana who laughs at your dancing skills.

The animals then start making these weird noises and the xylophones soon join in. You soon start stalking the imaginary lady as she walks off in anger . You jump , hop and trip , all in the pursuit of the lady , lost in the beauty of the song. Soon the lady too trips thanks to the beauty of the song and you catch up.

All her indignation is lost on you as you are lost to the song – the animals and the chorus catch up with you soon and you see them off to the zoo and mental asylum as the song ends on a pulsating crescendo

They say songs that captivate you are pretty rare. Songs that captivate you and paint strong visuals as you grasp the beauty of the song are rarer. Sanda Kuthirai belongs to the latter quality . As I looped the song again and again and again , I could visualize yesteryear heroes from the eastman era serenading their ladies with their smiles and steps . I could visualize the merry making that probably happened in the recording session as easily as I could visualize MSV , ramamoorthy , valee and kannadasan nodding with approval at this effort. Rahman knocks the song off the park and people all over the world hail mogana.

She came , She saw , She captured and She won – All hail Mogana the new beauty.

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The Raanjhanaa Distraction!

The Release of an AR Rahman soundtrack is like a festival for his fans . Rahmaniacs like self liken it  to being served with a feast after starving for a week. The wait for the album gets even more desperate when the music company decides to go for single releases. With the case of Raanjhanaa , the desperation , wait and the gamble seems to have paid off as the album is a winner. The songs hit your soul , creating an impact which will last forever and leave you smiling .This is not the review of the OST , and not a critique either. What this post is , is an acknowledgement of the sheer musical genius of  a stalwart and a nod to a director who knows how to get the best out of the said stalwart. Before you start reading further , I should warn you about disjoint sentences , abrupt exclamations and high number of spoilers – for reader , I am still listening to the songs on a loop as I write this !

You know you are in for a winner when a brilliant Sarangi wafts in followed by lilting percussion (the tic tic tic sound , kartal may be), mild strings and the ever dependable tabla – all within the first 20 seconds . That the song stars the ever dependable Shreya Ghoshal and the splendid flute (Naveen) is a very welcome addition. Banarasiya has super hit written all over it. Shreya Ghoshal nails her brief and I am sure that the lady will have a slew of award nominations this year , for this splendid outing.The Sarangi , flute and tabla set a sedate pace for Shreya and co to showcase their talents and cometh the interlude – the tabla hands the baton over to dhol even as you are blinded by the brilliance of the flute. The Dhols take center stage at this point and takes us through the latter half of the song which is equally brilliant. The bits and pieces of strings , the muffled kanjira and the thavil (not sure) vie for your attention even as Shreya lures you with her voice and you keep discovering more every time you repeat the song.

Rahman can hardly go wrong when it comes to sufi . Team him up with Irshad Kamil and you have a winner. Get Sukhwinder to render the vocals , and you have a classic . Piya Milenge is a classic example of a sufi ace from the Maestro. Right from the piano , violins and the backing vocal support from KMMC Sufi Ensemble – Rahman gets every thing right The sound of the ghungroos , the tabla and strings provide ample support to Sukhwinder , who hits the ball out of the park with his rendition.KMMI sufi ensemble shine equally and the segment from 2:04 – 2:40 where they take center stage is captivating to put it simply.The lesser said about this song  the better as the divinity and the musical brilliance deserve to be experienced rather than being read about. It was quite difficult for me to move on to the next song , as I kept hitting the replay button for quite a few hours. Raanjhanaa may have nine songs , but when one thinks of a stunner , Piya Milenge is the only song which comes to mind.

Aye Sakhi is rendered by an all female quartet – but Madhushree is the one voice which I could recognize very easily. I am sure I can recognize the other voices with multiple replays , but at the moment Madhushree is the one which comes to mind – for her spotless rendition. A fun song , along the lines of naina milake , this one makes for an engrossing listen and the verbal embellishments added by the maestro add to the masti element.I’ve been going tyu tyu tyu pe pe pein all over the house – so much so that the room mate has threatened to take away my sennheiser earphones and shut my mouth up with tape if I repeat it another time 🙂

Nazar Laaye sounds like a left over from Jhoota hi Sahi at the first listen . Is it because of Rashid Ali’s fluid vocals ? I am not sure and I do not want to take that road. Nevertheless , the song grows on you – thanks to Neeti Mohan , Rashid and the guitars ( Kebah Jeremiah – am not sure on this too). Nazar Laaye might not be the stunner that Piya Milenge is . It does not grab your attention and make you speechless neither does it make you wax lyrical.It eats you heart little by little and only when  you start swaying to the guitars you realize that this melody has taken hold of you.

Tu Mun Shudi to me has an RDB air about and I mean it in the best way possible.The percussion , the part-techno , part desi string work , the shenai and Rabbi’s vocals scream energy and wow what an energy pack this number proves to be.Rahman and Rabbi provide a fitting reply to the criticisms received for their earlier collaboration and  fans can feel relieved for the fact that Aanand Rai has better sense of music  when it comes to Rahman. Tu Mun Shudi is one number which will play on my music system if I end up taking the cross country trip I’ve been wanting to for a while.

ARR dons the singing hat again for the jazzish Aise Na dekho – a song which has vintage written all over it. The strings are a winner and the accordion makes a lovely cameo yet again . The whistle and the accordion in the interlude are soon going to become a rage and while this is not the best song of the album , this is the loveliest.

Land of shiva is all about percussion. The Damrus , the holy chants and the tinkling bells take you back to the 16th century Kashi in all it’s glory preparing for maha arthi. Short and impactful , Land of Shiva will serve to be a superb visiting card to Benaras where the movie is based.

Raanjhanaa is one of the two songs which were released as singles. Much has been talked about the Shenai and the singing featured in the song on which I’ll take a pass. What i’ll focus on is the strings you hear in the background and the sitar which appears in a cameo and takes your breath away. I do not know who played the Sitar , but whoever did merits a special merit. The kinikinis , the shenai motifs and the dholaks pale in comparison to that sitar and just for that Sitar , I’d sing Raanjhanaa hua main tera 🙂

Last , but not the least comes Tum Tak – the song which released first , the song which drew a lot of flak for the composition , the song I fell n love with almost immediately. The kinkinis , the strings , piano and sholkis providing ample support to Javed Ali , as he worships his lady love like a goddess. The shenai in the interludes give lead to the female vocalist Pooja AV mesmerizes one and all with her lovely voice. The song shifts into a bhajanish pace when Javed goes into the Nainon ki baant leja phase making you go Ada.

And thus ends my take on Raanjhanaa – which has completely erased the blemish that JTHJ had created in my mind. It is an album that belongs in the league of other classics like Delhi 6 and rockstar and Anand Rai deserves a pat on his back for giving Rahman full freedom and for his musical sense.

Rahman and Rai – Take a bow please !

PPS : Isn’t  Dhanush a lucky bugger ? Nothing for 13 years and then two back to back masterclass albums from ARR .

Maryan – The deep and mysterious ocean…..

If there is a musical equivalent of magic , it should be Allah Rakha Rahman’s music . This may not be the universal truth , but it does sound true when one listens to some of his soundtracks which deserve to be called classics. This evening when I laid my hands on Maryan’s OST – I had a question on whether it will be magic to the ears . It took some time for me to get my answer , but once I had it , i felt it had to be shared and hence this blogpost.

Nenje Ezhu kicks off with chords and percussion which remind you of Rahman’s earlier works . The man himself takes center stage thereafter to sing about eternal hope , a hope which is born out of divine love. The song talks of never ending hope and eternal love and the superb lyrics make you repeat the song again and again and again. As ARR croons kadhal endrum azhivathillai , the song reaches it’s crescendo and takes you another world – a world where fairy tales come true. Yet this song is not without glitches. The tune has a heard before feel which I couldn’t shake off and I felt that the pronunciation of the inspirational words could have been better. That said , the flaws seem minor when compared to the feel of the song.

Innum konja neram is true to its words. By the time the song ends you wish that the song could have lasted longer , that lovely it is. The ghatam , accordion and the flute create a lovely menage e trois , which becomes all the more lovely thanks to the fantabulous lyric and the superlative singing by Vijay Prakash and Shweta Mohan. As the song goes on , one is taken back in time to a journey in a bullock cart , with the lovely bells from the bull’s anklets ringing in your ears .The singing , tune and the orchestra work is so very reminiscent of MSV , so much so that one wonders if this is ARR’s tribute to the maestro. The song clocks 5 minutes and 14 secs , yet once the song ends , you wonder why the song was short. Innum Konjam Neram Irunthathan enna indeed.

Vijay Prakash is on a roll these days. He completely pwns Innum Konjam Neram with his Hariharan-ish rendition and nails down the brief completely with Netru – so much so that , when one listens to this songs with eyes closed , his rendition reminds one of a young K.J yeshudas in superlative form. Vijay creates magic with the mellifluous tune , Chinmayi and the orchestral work adding to the glory. The orchestral work is very minimal but sweeping – like a banked fire , if one can call it that. In a matter of hours , this song has become a favorite and to me its one of the best songs of the OST , if not the best – you know you’ve hit pay dirt when you listen to a song for 30 minutes on loop.

Sonna Pareeya is the masala song of the album , if one can call it . To me it is that song of the album , where people take a break from the analysis and just go ho hum to the tune. To me it is one of the weakest song of the album and sounds almost like a kuthu song. What redeems the song is that nayanam in the interludes and the guitar work in the background in addition to the orchestral work. May be it’s because the song appears after two killer melodies , it didn’t stick with me at all.

Sakthisree Gopalan sure can make a living out of angsty tracks . She is almost as heavenly as she sounded in Nenjukulle and it is her singing which redeems the song along with the splendid tune and superb string work. Just like Aditi Paul’s version of ayyayyao was called a lady and the violin , Enga Pona can be called the Siren and the guitar – as they are the only things that stay with you even after the song ends.What works against the song are the horrendous lyric – wonder if the lyricist was not paid enough or on time , to turn in such third grade work .That said , a superb sophomore effort from Sakthisree.

Africa can as well be used by Africa’s tourism department or by the African Cricket team – cheenu mama able and willing. Blaaze collaborates with AR Rahman after a long time and ends up creating an almost Carribean sounding visiting card for the African Continent.One need not be an oracle to know that this song will be placed when the titular character lands on Africa and the song may sound better with Visuals.

Last but not the least comes Kadal Raasa. When I heard that yuvan had sung this number for AR Rahman , I thought it was prone to be a disaster but Yuvan surprises ( with or without processing) and how ! Kadal Raasa is all about a man’s yearning for his land and roots. The nadaswaram makes an appearance yet again and segues infinitely with the percussion work which goes on to take center stage.The lyrics are again crafted beautifully and give away the titular character’s feeling and condition and an inkling of the story. The song is a keepsake , just for the nadaswaram in the interludes , which stays in one’s mind hours after one is done listening to the song. While Kadal Raasa is not the best song of the album , its not the worst either and may be could have sounded better had Velmurugan sung it as initially planned.

To sum up , Maryan is not the masterclass that kadal was but its not mediocre like Jab Tak hai Jaan. What it is , is the musical equivalent of magic , thanks to innum konja neram , netru and yenga pona raasa.