After Tanishk Bagchi's single last week (Mohabbat), it was a surprise that the makers of Fanney Khan first released another 'remix' by… not Tanishk Bagchi, but by Amit Trivedi! Trust T-series to pull off all the improbable tasks – rope in composers into a multi-composer album, and get their composers to agree to remixes! Alas, Amit's Halka Halka, using the well-loved hook from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's qawwali Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai, sounds more like a Vishal-Shekhar song (which is not a bad thing at all) doesn't do justice to Amit Trivedi or to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. But Amit does get another song right, in Achche Din! Irshad Kamil makes a cheeky reference to the now-popular election slogan and turns it into a catchy hook, even as Amit's tune—sung by himself—is a slow-burner that works with its somber appeal.
The big soundtrack of last week in Tamil was easily Yuvan Shankar Raja's Peranbu. Director Ram has worked with Yuvan for all his films in the past (his debut, Kattradhu Tamizh/Tamil M.A, followed by Thanga Meengal and Taramani). The duo is in their fourth film now and they reach the high of their debut with the music of Peranbu.
In Dhooramai, an atmospheric, beautiful melody, Yuvan's first interlude is quite literally like soaking into the beauty of a cool, green mountain, as the music simply flows. Vijay Yesudas adds to the effect with his exquisite singing too, while Vairamuthu's lyrics imaginatively allude to the maternal instincts with imaginative allegories. Karthik does equally brilliantly in Anbe Anbin! Yuvan's music here is reminiscent of his Celtic-infused melodies—particularly the backgrounds and interludes—that he used to produce with alarming regularity earlier. In Vaanthooral, an otherwise fantastic Sriram Parthasarathy seems oddly out of sorts, in the beginning, and particularly towards the end! Barring that minor impediment, Yuvan's melody, despite seeming like an after-thought for the lyrics, uses the tried and tested goodness of Kalyani raaga and manages to be deeply engaging. Setthu Pocchu Manasu too has that feel of a tune being an after-thought to the lyrics. But, just like Vaanthooral, Yuvan's evocative melody and the simple, ghatam-based percussion help Madhu Iyer deliver wonderfully well.
Like last week's double bill by singer M.M.Manasi across Tamil and Telugu, this week's double-bill is by singer Sid Sriram, again straddling Tamil and Telugu. First the Telugu song that makes for a stupendous listen!
Composed by Gopi Sundar who seems to have suddenly found his Telugu mojo again, Inkem Inkem Inkem Kaavaale, from the film Geetha Govindam, is an unusual sounding, lush melody. I understand the song uses raaga Neelambari for most parts and that probably explains its sedate appeal. The song, though, is Sid Sriram's astounding show! He is so, so good with the vocals. The choice of veena for the interludes works wonders too, incidentally.
The other Sid Sriram song of the week is an independent pop song produced by BP Collective, led by B.Prasanna. The song, Kannil Mazhai, is a follow-up to BP Collective's debut single from last year, Kaatru Veliyidai Kannamma, an original composition based on the Bharathiyar's iconic verse. The lead vocals by Sid Sriram and Jananie SV, is exquisite! The way Prasanna layers the vocals and chorus, and the way he uses FAME's Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra takes the song to a completely different, sprawling plane!
It's great to see Pritam's JAM8 doing good work across languages. After the Telugu film Touch Chesi Chudu (starring Ravi Teja) earlier this year (credited as Marc D Muse, for JAM8), here's Subhadeep Mitra for JAM8, in Bengali. The song Duniya, from the film Crisscross, has a lively, rhythmic energy that gets accentuated by Nikhita Gandhi's singing and Nyzel Dlima's guitar and mandolin.
Afsaane is, as Hariharan puts it, "my first ghazal in 4 years, and it's been 11 years since my last Ghazal music video". That's quite significant, considering how prolific Hariharan was in the 80s and 90s with his ghazal albums. It's a family affair, given the video is produced by Karan Hariharan (who also stars in it) and the music is arranged and programmed by Akshay Hariharan. While the tune is vintage Hariharan (lyrics by Ameeta Parasuram), the arrangement is decidedly more modern. Not that it is bad, but it perhaps treats the ghazal more as Indipop than a ghazal.
To close this vibrant, multi-lingual weekly round-up, here's a Kannada song from the film Ayogya. In the song, Yenammi Yenammi, even though the super-catchy rhythm that goes 'Chumpa chikka chikku jum' seems predictable and familiar, Arjun Janya's tune, and the singing by Vijay Prakash and Palak Muchhal, together, elevates the song.