Thamizh Talkies: Musings about music
The writer is a former journalist who has worked in the film industry for several years and is passionate about movies, music and everything related to entertainment
A last-minute pre-holiday ‘essential’ shopping spree saw me hop into an outlet in T Nagar with my friends. As we were browsing through the racks, the in-house juke box in the shop was playing this rather sad song, ‘Oh Maname Oh Maname’ from the film Ullam Ketkumey. The audio quality was super precise as it’s a Harris Jeyaraj mix, and to me, his songs take the first place when it comes to sounding ‘best’ via a radio speaker — or any speaker for that matter (Try listening to any song of his and you’ll agree with me).
This particular song was a rather sad one though, and didn’t quite suit the holiday mood; so we checked with one of the staff if they could change to something upbeat maybe. As we went back to sifting through the racks, we heard a foot-tapping, fresh-sounding number, like from a recent film. But then, the song was not recent at all. It was ‘Urvasi Urvasi’, which is 24 years old. And the very idea that we were listening to a song which was created two decades ago but still astoundingly sounded so new, made us think warmly of AR Rahman. The song made us smile. Two generations later, Rahman has come full circle with Chekka Chivandha Vaanam in which he firmly captures the space with songs that fit in as background score as well. Listen to the second line from Kalla Kalavaani (Azhagiya maara, vazhividu) or the soulful Mazhai Kuruvi or the haunting Madura Marikozhunthey...
So what about the music of the Post Rahman era? I confess that I, like a whole host of others, am an Aniruddh fan. I keenly look for films which have his music and latch on to his songs both for the sound and... the feel of them. Another music director whose work I have come to follow is Govinda Vasantha. While Santosh Narayanan, Imaan, Harris and Yuvan have had hit numbers and albums over the years, these days the trend in picking up a hit song seems to be in the release and success of the first ‘single’.
Take, for instance, the super duper success of the well-deserved Vaayadi Petha Pulla from Kanaa which can easily take home the award for the most Popular Song of 2018. That one song is the calling card of the film. But when it comes to the whole album, 96 was the best of this year for me. In the context of Indian films, a music album must be an evocative precursor to the film and the album of 96 lives up to being the first and most important reason why I watched that film FDFS.
There is a song in 96 — Andhaadhi — which does not feature in the film, but is a masterful ensemble of eclectic instruments and voices. I don’t know why most radio stations do not play the lines rendered by Nasser which comes at the end of the song. Im tempted to reproduce those lines here because they not only sum up the story of 96, the lines also seal what love and loving is to our own lives.
After 96, if there is one album which has caught my ear, it is Pettai. Every song is evocative of the Rajinikanth we have all liked and followed on screen. Ullaala Ullaala is a hot favourite and strangely, the gregarious and unpredictable Ahaa Kalyanam is another ear worm. Poetu Dhanush and Anirudh have a musical partnership which is hard to beat — and it lilts along soulfully in Ilamai Thirumbuthey. Each song seem to match each poster released so far — and this song for example sounds like it could be picturised on Rajinikanth and Simran? Well, it’s only a matter of days before we find out in the new year.
As for 2018, I give in to the temptation of sharing the closing lines from Andhaadhi:
Kaadhal oralavukku puriyum
Oru velai kaadhal thirumbinaal
Thoorathil thayangi nindraal