‘Arabic Kuthu’ begins with Anirudh’s vocals (which sound deeper than usual) before an instrumental segway that’s straight out of Arabic pop. Both in terms of the mood and rhythm this is similar to, say, ‘Mettalaa Hajbo’ by Moroccan artist Karima Gouit, setting up a catchy loop on top of a shifty rhythm. So, from the way it begins, ‘Arabic Kuthu’ sounds like an interesting fusion of Arabic and kuthu styles, repurposed to his own sensibility by Anirudh.
But after the brief opening, both lyricist Sivakarthikeyan and Anirudh shed the Arabic conceit and create a solid dance number for Vijay. The song is only as ‘Arabic’ as, say, Vidyasagar’s ‘Hey Shabba’ from Karna. Though he uses a few occasional phrases of gibberish Arabic like ‘Halamathi Habibo’, ‘malama pitha pithadhe’ and ‘balhabeedha balhabi’, Sivakarthikeyan soon falls back to his natural style of short, rhyming lyrics perfect for a kuthu song: “holi holi pakkathula sirikkum rangoli”, for instance. Anirudh too just maintains only a basic Arabic flavor, and after a minute into the song it starts to sound more and more like a mellower version of ‘Paalam’ from Vijay’s Kaththi.
Like previous musical collaborations between Anirudh and Sivakarthiyan, ‘Arabic Kuthu’ works as a no-frills earworm that promises to get better with the visuals and choreography, especially if the glimpses of Vijay and Pooja Hegde we see in the lyric video are anything to go by. It feels like Beast’s ‘Selfie Pulla’.
Listen to the song here:
Beast is Anirudh’s third film with Nelson after Kolamavu Kokila and Doctor. Vijay’s 64th film Master, with Lokesh Kanagaraj, released on Pongal 2021. Nelson’s debut Kolamavu Kokila, starring Nayanthara was a big hit and his second film Doctor, starring Sivakarthikeyan and Priyanka Mohan, released last year.
Before the launch of ‘Arabic Kuthu’, the team had put out a promotional making-of video on 7 February 2022. It features Anirudh, Nelson, Sivakarthikeyan apart from actor Vijay’s voice over a phone call the voice of Vijay, to documents the song’s making.
After 2021’s Master, this is just the second film of the superstar’s with an English title. Before these, his most recent English title was Youth, back in 2002. ‘Beast mode’ was also a term that was used in Gautham Menon’s Ennai Noki Payum Thotta.
The film is being produced by Kalanithi Maran of Sun Pictures with cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa. It is expected to release in April.