Monday, October 5, 2015

Tamilselvanum Thaniyar Anjalum - the music

Maya O Maya

  • Catchy number that hooks on the moment it starts , thanks to the thumping beats and the familiar whistling which lead into the Pallavi through the pleasant piano filler.
  • Chorus catch line has a good zing to it and sets up an nice little finale to the pallavi.
  • The trumpet portions evoke deja vu of hello hello from joota hi sahi ( the fact that the latter had Karthik crooning might have been the catalyst )
  • The transition to a gentler and more melodic anupallavi aided by  karthik's soft vocals is a delight.
  • The mild manner in which the tune reaches an off note in the unnodu pesamal line gives it a distinct feel
  •  Oru velai aval maruthal line was a perfect blend of mood that the lyrics and tune try to convey.
  • For all the pep and pleasantness its interludes could have had more depth and flavor.
  • Catchy and pleasant , although familiar.

  • Trance elements and riffs in the kalakku kalakku catch line backed by celestial synth sounds set up a unusual mood for what seems like one of those million songs about girls and booze (a subject usually  conveyed  Only with kuthu music).
  • Gains a fair share of momentum from the resonating techno beats  that are improvised well in the end  .
  • Not a lot to savor tune wise , something that's restricted to a few lines, only to be spiced up by variations in background music .
  • Simple tune colored with some interesting instrumentation and unusual mood.


  • The abrupt ending lines at the start sound Harris-like but the song gets past it with the super catchy Vellai lines. 
  • The soft beats , crisp guitars and quick changing chord progressions add more sweetness to the song that already pleases with its Hamsadhwani-ish scale. 
  • Turning off the chords at the start of the first stanza and bringing them back in the middle enhances the impact. 
  • The vocal loops ending in the same word (here its Vellai)is not uncommon in tamil film songs - New title song, No problem (Love Birds) to name a couple. And the tool works well here too.
  • Easy on the ears.  
Genuinely peppy , pleasant and unassuming. Karthik keeps it simple ,short without over experimenting at the same time not dumbing it down for the "crowd".

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Urumeen - the music

Hey Umayal
  • The vulnerability and innocence of the hey Umayal line (with its haunting harmony) gives it a refreshing feel and made me want to listen to it over and over again .
  •  Ore oru theneer sandipal enna izhuthuvittal immediately reminded me of aathu meenuku kulir adikkum line from kuchi kuchi  rakkama, I was however able to get past that familiarity due to its contrasting feel compared to the previous line.
  • The song's Anupallavi is a breeze, with beautiful arrangements of the strings and guitar section superimposed with  the swift vocals. 
  • The  starting guitar section sounds groovy at first but then gets repetitive as it plays over again as an interlude.
  • The gentle way in which the first stanza joins back to the Hey Umayal line is captivating to say the least.

Hey Umayal unplugged 
  • Achu Rajamani's unassuming singing of this unplugged version charmed me more than the original did.
  • The string section that is selectively played at key portions of the song comes like a breeze.

Siru nadai reprise
  • Roshni's sujatha-isque expressions and the ease with which she glides through the complex sangathis is mesmerizing .
  • The beauty of the song comes from the subtle variants that Achu rajamani infuses in an otherwise straightforward composition. Sometimes all you need is a simple song handed over to a brilliant singer!
  • The gentle touch of the electric tremolo guitar from time to time creates a very warm soundscape. The resounding veena portion whose tone carries the nostalgia of 90 s rahman (the awesome veena interlude in En Mel Vizhunda)  is an apt addition.
  • Song ends too quickly, a complaint that is not specific to this song alone.

Siru nadai 

  •  'Jessie's land' BGM from VTV.... was all i could think of when the song started... This surprisingly continues throughout the song as a background. The addition of strings is not going to hide the striking resemblance. 
  • Karthik does a neat job and adds some rustic flavor with his aalaps, but doesn't come close to Roshni  in offering anything more exciting. 

Baby Baby
  • Oodha Coloru ribbon meets Gana Bala& Santhosh narayanan in this pretty ordinary composition made slightly more interesting with some fun guitar layers and interludes.  
  • Pure folkish vocals sung over accoustic guitars and soft drums is an interesting idea, and its a saving grace that the composer did not resort to the regular crass and heavy kuthu beats for such a song. 
  • The additional arpeggios and chords in the second half of the song kept me hanging on to it without skipping to the next track.
Yaadhum oore 

  • The soft vocals (with the mild electric guitar sounds) at the start building up to the wild and explosively sung catch line  produces a nice contrast.  The coarse vocals, drum rolls and the heavy metal music give the song some rawness.
  • The trumpet-like music sounded okay at the start but got jarring when it was used again as an interlude.
  • Achu Rajamani's forte is clearly his usage of guitar and the versatility with which he evokes different emotions in each song with the instrument.
Urumeen made me look forward to Achu Rajamani's next and revisit his earlier malai pozhudin mayakathile. If only the songs had been longer and more elaborate..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Iruvar- Part 1

I had for long wanted to write about this magnum opus , the first and last of its kind . I have never seen a movie portraying politics or rift between the thickest of friends so subtly yet effectively.
Brilliance of the maker is evident in every single frame of it. Technically superlative, the film benefits immensely from a very powerful characterization of the protagonists. It would be unfair to write a review as it is more of an experience which perturbs the viewer for a long time after the film ends. Hence I would like to express my thoughts on several scenes of the film which made a huge impact on me .

Scene 1- Madipukuriya ediriya illa pasathukuriya nanbara
An interesting friendship is flagged off the very first time Anandan and Tamizhselvam meet . This single scene succeeds in etching the contrast in the characters so strongly in our minds. On one side is a God fearing actor struggling to get a break to earn his bread while on the other end is a Tamil fanatic with strong sense of atheistic thoughts and disregard for God. This scene portrays the desire in Anandan to make it big and the faith and confidence Selvam has on his language and beliefs. However the highlight is the begining of the scene where Anandan sits on the throne hesitantly in the begining and shows an air once he is seated. The music changes pace from a slow trumphet solo to a heavy orchestration which adds to the intended symbolism on the future of the actor.

Scene 2- Ellathayum Maathuven
A scene involving the two lead characters discussing their theories of the changes either of them will bring about in the soceity if bestowed with the power. The discussion takes place on the terrace of a magnificient old palace which marks the regular meeting place of the two . This structure in the latter part of the movie gets portrayed as a symbol of their friendship. It starts off by a casual question which Anandan asks Selvam about his dreams of a changed soceity. Initially hesitant to reply, Selvam gets aroused after he is put forth the question repeatedly. This moment of arousal is powerfully expressed thanks to the heavy beats which start to play in the background. Selvam instantly expresses his desire in bringing about a Tamizh soceity where minorities come to power and where the rich and upper class people are thrown out. He gets lost in his dreams as he continues and gets interrupted when Anandan says that basically poverty and hunger should be eradicated. This reinforces the contrast in ideologies and thoughts of the two, but this time politically. Though Anandan barely says more than a sentence or two about what he would like to change, the earnesty in his voice speaks volumes about his political and social priorities which cater to the common man.

Scene3 - Naan verum nadigan daane!
It is ironical that it was Selvam who had actually sown the seeds of political desire in Anandan . Of course, it had an inner intention of exploiting Anandan's popularity for their party to benefit. Selvam forces Anandan off his meal and takes him to the terrace. Anandan slowly walks towards one corner to see what s in store. He is taken aback when he finds a huge crowd of people gathered down to catch a glimpse of him. He is puzzled and asks Selvam why he , being just an actor,enjoys so much of a following. . Selvam makes Anandan realize his popularity and hints at exploiting it to the needs of the party. He also uses the reference of Karl Marx and Lenin to emphasize. Anandan feels nervous to react to the public at first, but once Selvam catches hold of his hand and lifts it,he looses his apprehension and gets confident. As a consequence, he throws his shawl at the people which marks the birth of his realization about the significant place he holds in the people' heart. Not as just an actor, but as an icon!
The camera makes an amazing transition from the blankness of the terrace as the crowd slowly come into the frame once Anandan reaches the edge. This crane shot combined with Rahman's soulful humming as the crowd comes into picture produces goosebumps. The shot of Anandan and Selvam facing each other with the people seen in between can be considered as the best in the history of Indian cinema.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wake up directors, its time to write!!

A worrisome discrimination between commercial and parallel cinema exists constantly in Kollywood. Even matured critics have got themselves entangled in the confusion as to which genre is generally more appealing and successful in terms of critical acclamation as well as box office success. However, now the situation is changing(for the better) and the haziness is getting cleared up as there seems to be no such apparent bifurcation amongst the current tamil films.Its been realised that ,films which have blended interesting commercial aspects with a genuine and solid script and characterisation have worked wonders in recent times. Sadly, only the critics (and not all directors) seem to have realised this as there are only a handful of such meaningful and sensible films . Films lacking in solid content which have sheer gloss and irrelavent commercial aspects are aplenty and continue to dominate in numbers. Though this infuriates me on one side on the shamelessness of the makers, it equally makes me sympathise with them for refusing to come out from the darkness they are in .

Lets recollect a few films in the last couple of years which are memorable, not due to their commercial success alone, but also because of the interesting content and substance value. The conclusions I am going to make from these could have been easily made from the films of the past decades also. Just that I wanted to take up the current scenario and discuss the prospects.

Mozhi- This is one of my favourites in recent times. A beautifully and poetically narrated film which had a serious theme about the attitude of a physically challenged lady. On paper,it is indeed a grave subject without any apparent room for "commerial aspects" like humour, romance, dream song sequences etc .Surprisingly it had its relavent share of all these. However, thse factors only enhanced the film and never tried to stand out odd or hinder the main storyline. Every aspect of the film like music, comedy gelled so well with the story that they were like gems studded on a necklace. I could nt but only thoroughly enjoy every moment of watching the film.

Chennai 28 - Another refreshing movie which had a never before dealt subject-gully cricket. Most of the faces were fresh and the director was a debutante. But this in no way afftected the wide reach of the film. In fact the movie ended up becoming the talk of the town despite the poor opening. Though there were too many characters in the film, the characterisation was superbly effective and the humourous sequences were a part of the main story without the need for a separate comedy track. Like the previous mentioned film, the technical aspects succeeded in enhancing Ch-28 and and stayed obediently "behind" the script.

Anjathey- This film was a big success though the "commercial aspects" were less in content. Thanks to the powerful characterisation and gripping screenplay. The main reason for its appeal can be attributed to the loyalty of all aspects of the film to the main story right from casting to music.

Analysing the success of the previous films, one thing becomes very clear. A film's success doesnt demand a powerful starcast or out of the world technical aspects costing a fortune . An engrossing screenplay along with the relavent commercial aspects and a good marketing strategy are enough to do the magic. Even a new comer can become a household name if he is true to his script and works hard on it.

I personally feel that this lack of a sensible script is the prime area where Sivaji failed. Though the film might have been a blockbuster,it is a milestone cinema neither for Shanker nor Rajini. The USP s of the film might have been the extraordinary technical aspects along with lavish sets, rocking music and of course ,Thalaivar :), but certainly not the story or the way the black money theme was dealt. This is why the movie can never be remembered for its content. Only the sensation over the budget and other superficial aspects stay in our minds still. However, Shanker was intelligent enough to make sure that he can completely bank on the magic name-Rajini...Same can be said of Dasavatharam. A blockbuster declared,its high point is the 10 roles and the 10 roles alone.Of course apart from the superior technical part of it.

But Rajini and Kamal are two big forces in Kollywood who have the capability of single handedly bringing about the success of their films with their remarkable performance and their screen presence, irrespective of the story. This is especially true with Rajini. So ,by just considering one film of each, their case cant be blatantly equated to that of the one we are discussing now. They have given marvellous films in the past with strong storylines. We can just hope that they dont get carried away by the enormity of the success of their recent films both of which are weak story wise.

The actual culprits are people like Vijay who simply try to emulate others giving absolutely no consideration for the story. Eventually, this ends up in repeated failures. As is clearly evident from the latest 2 mega flops from ilayathalabadi(vidi). He is one actor(??) who doesnt bother to bring about a difference in his films.This is the case even with his costumes...leave alone the performance or story. He infact,once shamelessly told in an interview that he goes from the shoot of one film to another in the same attire. Admittedly,a graceful dancer, he gives plenty of importance to his dance movements in the songs. Had he taken even half of the same efforts in improving his histionic skills or choice of scripts, he could ve achieved reasonable heights as an 'actor'. But its useless talking about such an impossibilty as his refusal to change is apparent from the stills of his forthcoming film where he holds the same old porikki...err...Pokiri look..

Now lets leave 'Mr. Do the same ' alone to dance and see why even meaningful films like Evano Oruvan have also failed in the recent times . This film did lack in masala stuff like songs/comedy and did bear a grave feel throughout. Nonetheless, it was gripping. The main reason might have been the poor marketing and wrong time of release. The film was running in the same cinema houses where the much hyped fashion show Billa was tasting great success. While releasing such an offbeat and lesser expected film along with an overly sensationalised flick , the distributors and the producer ought to have taken extra efforts to market the film effectively, which they failed at miserably. Thus,Evano Oruvan did remain true to its name.

From the above examples, it gets very clear that the script has to be the driving factor for any film to succeed.The converse is also true. If the script becomes the mainstay, the films success follows path automatically irrespective of the other superficial aspects like starcast, technology etc provided a wise marketing strategy is adopted. This not only helps the collections to reach the break even and go beyond, but also makes the film a memorable and widely acclaimed one. It stays in the minds of many for long, for the novelty and substance.

As someone rightly said ,a 'separate script writer culture 'can be adopted in Kollywood lifting a big burden from the directors head. Without having to take up all the work in his hands, the director can pay good attention to aspects other than the script , leaving the headache to someone else. However, such a turning point in Tamil Cinema seems nowhere at sight in the near future.

So,its high time directors start slogging over the script ( story, screenplay and characterisation including) trying to make it as novel and interesting as possible till they get it right. They can start thinking about other secondary matters like casting and scope for technology after this . However, they must constantly remind themselves of their responsibility to ensure that these secondary aspects including the "commercial aspects"are just servants who must stay faithful to their one and only master- THE SCRIPT!

Its time film makers give importance to us gaining value for our money than them valuing their gain.