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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

[Song Watch] Anniyan

Shankar's new movie Anniyan is the buzz maker in kollywood. Multi-crore project, rumored to have been insured for astronomical sums is expected to be released late may'05.

Shankar for various reasons, had replaced his 'aasthana' music director ARR with Harris Jayaraj. That being an onerous responsibility, let us see how HJ has responded to it.

Iyengaru Veetu Azhage - Hariharan, Harini

The song starts with Pancharatna Keerthanai, 'Jagadhanandha' set in Naattai (*Correction* it was earlier noted as Gambeera Naatai) ragam, at cinematic tempo rather than the classical tempo. The trend of fusion'ising classical songs, (of late) was set off by ARR with Vanajakshi (Andhi Mandarai) & Alai Payuthe (Alai Payuthe), which was promptly followed by Vidyasagar's Endaro Mahanu (Devadoothan). All of them were quite compelling, notwithstanding the purist's critiques.

The pallavi takes off from where the classical singing says bye. Hari simply steals the show, his Ghazlish touch definitely lends credence to the raga. The stanzas are quite run-of-the-mill stuff. It has foot-tapping rhythmic mood, but does not quite sustain the melody from the pallavi.

IR, ARR have all belted our chart busters in this raga. This song does not come close to them.

Deva had done one in 'Maane Maane' from Senthoorapandi & his son Srikanth Deva's 'Chennai Senthamizh' from M Kumaran.....were prety neat.

I am afraid that HJ would not like to see him clubbed with the likes of Deva&co, but unfortunately, that is what it is.

Rating 4.1 out of 5

Oh Sukumari - Shankar Mahadevan, Harini

Shankar Mahadevan must have jumped up in glee when he heard the track played to him. It suits his style of rendition and he comes out on top. The song has Arabhi touch to it. It is quite a cool song, the melody is retained throughout the song. One wonders why Shankar has to use those accents (may be the movie situation ?)
Sax joins in for the second half of the song. The structure of the song is very similar to 'Kaadhal vanducho' from Hey Nee....This is the best song of the album.

Rating 4.1 out of 5

Andangakka - Jassie Gift, KK, Shreya Gosal

Language neutral musical babbling starts this song off..and once again, you think you have heard this song before. It has 'kapi'ish notes. Shreya Gosal asserts herself comfortably. The interlude is quite nice, Stanzas are constructed with foot-tapping rhythm. The lyrics are outright horrible.The use of instruments & the tune itself reminds you of 'Kuchi Kuchi' from Bombay. But for the lyrics, this song would be best song of the album.

Rating 3.9 out of 5

Kaadhal Yaanai - Nakul, Nelwyn, GV Prakash

This is a typical HJ number, nice chords, cool voice selection and lyrics dont need to mean anything. HJ cant keep away from using his favorite sequences like at 4.00 etc. From the even'ness of the song, rhythm and catchiness, this song seems to be right there on the top within the movie. Definitely a fancy disco number that teenagers are gonna ga-ga aover.

Rating 3.9 out of 5

Kannum Kannum Nokia - Leslie Lewis, Vasundhara, Andrea

Techno pop song...seems to be the counterpart of Shakalaka baby. 'Cappucino Coffeeaa'...man am no tamil pundit, nor do i worry that much about lyrics...but it atleast has to sound pleasant...should never have to go back to the golden lyric days like 'pannadha ravusu, palapalakudhu blowsu' kind of lyrics ;p
Eminently passable...would wonder if it would ever be played again by any listener.

Rating 3.2 out of 5.

The entire album has a 'heard it somewhere before' feel to it. It is definitely not called copying, but it seems the creative inspiration did not fully click for HJ this time around.

From the expectation of Shankar's movie & past offerings from HJ, the music is definitely a letdown, but from a saleability perspective my guess is that it would still sell well. It has the catchy'ness & foot-tapping quality to it.

IMHO a director is the person who selects the song from the variety offered by the music director. Good or Bad, the director also has a share in it.

We know Shankar has better taste than this. We also know HJ can do better. So is it a case of HJ & Shankar not hitting the right 'chord' (pun intended) ?. The listener returns Disappointed :-( !

Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5

29 comments:

theonlyap said...

dei.. eppoda endha maadiri ellam musical analysis panna aarambicha..i knew u were interested in this for a long time.. keep writing..

ap

Raman said...

Well analysed and reported daa. This album seems to be a 50-50 with listeners. Either they like the songs or they don't.

I for one found some of the songs too noisy. But like you mention, that's typical HJ fare and there are lots of folks who enjoy that kind of music. Unfortunately I am not one of them.

Maybe watching it with visuals would capture the mood of the song. So, lets wait for the movie to hit the screens!

P.S. BTW, would have appreciated if you had mentioned something about my favorite Harini in Iyengaru Veetu Azhage! As I had mentioned to you, her songs in recent years seem to remind of Vani Jayaram. Dunno why ...

Raman said...

Well analysed and reported daa. This album seems to be a 50-50 with listeners. Either they like the songs or they don't.

I for one found some of the songs too noisy. But like you mention, that's typical HJ fare and there are lots of folks who enjoy that kind of music. Unfortunately I am not one of them.

Maybe watching it with visuals would capture the mood of the song. So, lets wait for the movie to hit the screens!

P.S. BTW, would have appreciated if you had mentioned something about my favorite Harini in Iyengaru Veetu Azhage! As I had mentioned to you, her songs in recent years seem to remind of Vani Jayaram. Dunno why ...

Raman said...

Arvi. Sorry about the repeat messages. Blogger seems to refuse accepting my web page and name.

- Raman

Arvind said...

Raman,

Nothing to be sorry about...indeed thanks for bumping up the number of comments on blog :-))

Harini, yes even though, as agreed earlier, she sounded occasionally like VJ, i still did not find the 'maturity' as explained in my blog earlier. I actually had one more comment saying the Iyengar veetu song should have been given higher rating atleast for the excellent singing by Hari/ni.

Infact, the scope the raga provided, was IMHO, diminished by the 'structure' of the song. Look at innum ennai from Singaravelan or chale chalo from lagaan....the structure of the song itself has some much scope for the singers to really unleash their creativity. This song however was quite constraining I would say.

But it is a good song, nonetheless.

Arvind

Arvind said...

AP,

Thanks for finally opening your account with comments. I expect you to dig through the previous reviews....

If you are interested in music, my reviews in music will interest you !

Keep visiting.

Arvind

dinesh said...

Arvind,

Very interesting. Here are my thoughts on this.

Iyengaru veetu azhage - It felt like the "Jagadhanandhaka" start was given so that people don't mistake this as a copy of "chennai senthamizh" or "Mahaganapathim". Or it could just be me !I agree that this doesn't matc Alaipayudhe or other classical based fusion songs and had an "intended melody" feel to it.

Oh Sukumari - I thought you were a little too harsh with the scoring. I thought this song had good creativity and a nice flow. Would have ranked higher than 4.1 in my score.

Andangakka - I had no idea this was kaapi. I have to disagree with your lyrics comment. I don't think it was as bad as you project it ! And for some odd reason, the tune "randakka randakka" stays on your lips long after your done listening to it.

Kaadhal yaanai - was definitely my pick for the best song. Good bass guitar usage. Was a 4.5 atleats in my book.

Kannum Kannum Nokea - I agree. Pretty average song. Didn't need a leslie lezz lewis.

I think the scoring overall was a little harsh. To me, the listener wouldn't have been disappointed. I'd say, would be reasonably satisfied but not thrilled.

It's good to know a fellow music enthusiast. We are a small group of music enthusiasts here and we're always looking for more.You might like to check this out. It's a friend's blog.

http://musicpaithiyam.blogspot.com/2005/05/bassic-instincts.html

Arvind said...

Dinesh,

A detailed response later...but to quickly point out...disappointment is a factor of expectation rather than absolute enjoyment of the songs themselves.. as noted

'From the expectation of Shankar's movie & past offerings from HJ,
the music is definitely a letdown'

and also 'We know Shankar has better taste than this. We also know HJ can do better. So is it a case of HJ & Shankar not hitting the right 'chord' (pun intended)'

The emphasis is on the ability of the music director & what he has actually produced.

If you looked it from the perspectives highlighted above...am sure you would want to revisit your comment on 'disappointment' :-)

Anonymous said...

I love the way you comment ..

dinesh said...

Arvind,

If you ask me if HJ has done better before, yes, he has. A high profile combination like Shankar-HJ is expected to better than this. Yes, agreed.But I still stand by my asessment. It wasn't a disappointment. I believe that the "growing on you" factor will make one change views on the quality of the music album.

Arvind said...

Dinesh,

I agree the 'growing on you' factor has not been counted in.

Iyengaru....i think that the situation of the song would have necessitated the use of 'Jagadananda'. And if you read carefully, i did not even judge that piece, because, but for the tempo, there was nothing that HJ had done to the original :-)

To your point that HJ needed to include to prevent people from thinking that it is a copy is moot. Think of it this way. The goal of music director is to creatively adapt the notes as if to not sound like an existing tune.

IR/ARR did not feel the need to include a carnatic song ahead of their regular composition to distinguish between a song they have done & their competitors.

Hence i will not agree with the argument that it was included to dispel the notion of copy !

The hummability of the song andangakka was clearly visible by the effect it had on anyone. That is why i had felt (not sure whether i said it, that this was one of the best in the album). BTB, it is not proper kaapi. The shift from the Ga3 to Ga2 immediately brings that effect. That is 'the' favorite structure ARR uses and has done it successfully zillion times without letting people feel 'heard that somewhere before'

Once again, lyrics...i will leave it to your judjgement about words like 'saa boo three' in that song.

Overall, the sound of the words sometimes definetely off-puts the melody. Take the example of 'Kuchi Kuchi' and suddenly from 'arasar maganakku val pidikum' nice tamizh to 'aahh aaah potta pilla pethukodu' and immly the next line 'podhum ennai vittuvidu'. This IMHO, definitely reduces the rating for the song then & there.

I partially agree that the rating was not quite lavish. It was more like the rating of a language paper than of a math/science paper.
But music is indeed art !

And am happy to know that we can have a constructive conversation about music without letting loose the emotional who is better than who kinda discussions. (IR is better than ARR is better than HJ etc)

Keep the comments coming :-)

Arvind said...

To 'Anonymous', who loves the way i comment..

(assuming i don't know the person)

If it is my review that you love...dhanyavanan aanen.

If it is the way i comment on the blog, even better ! :-)

Thank you ! continue to express yourselves :-)

Zeppelin said...

arvind,

awesome analysis buddy... havent listened to all the songs in Anniyan... just heard 'em..

but "iyengar" and "oh sukumari" ..... repeatedly kettu paathen.... liked them ... U have mentioned that "oh sukumari" has a "Arabhi" touch to it... I also felt the same, however felt that it has a stronger touch of "Sama, Durga/Suddha Saveri.."

lemme know, if u find out more on this..

cheers !
Arun

Arvind said...

Arun,

Thanks for your comments :-)

Arabhi/Durga/Sama/Sudha Saveri...they all show up in passing phases of the song...there is no single ragam to identify with the whole song....may be we will work out a 'predominant' ragam to the song :)

You may already be aware, the thing of it is, the 'swaras' that are used may belong to that raga (Janaka raga to be precise) i.e. aTana is but janya ragam from Sankarabaranam, so is Hamsadwani or Mohanam.

(In this context, Janaka means father, Janyam means born-of or child)

But 'ragalaskhanam' is what can conclusively clinch the ragam. From that angle, I still feel there is a mixture of ragas.

Not sure, whether this song was intentionally created with multi-layering of ragas or otherwise.

Will spend sometime on the keyboard trying to 'uncover' (not the keyboard cover ;)) some patterns...


meanwhile, please do visit my other reviews via this link

Zeppelin said...

dude,

thanks a bunch man.. i will read ur other reviews... i am writing sort of on a similar note, but just some of my favourite songs in cinema and their raagas and interludes and stuff....

really amazed at your knowledge in carnatic man... could use your help a lot.. esp. on the keyboard... :)

cheers mate !
arun

Arvind said...

Anytime Arun especially for music paithiyams ;)

...holler me :-)

VIP said...

I think only two tracks stand out in the entire album, which means I would keep them in my collections - Iyengaru Veetu Azhage - Hariharan, Harini (rating: 8/10) and Oh Sukumari - Shankar Mahadevan, Harini (rating: 9/10). These two numbers definitely show sparks of brilliance.

S Iyer

SV said...

Arvind, good review on "Iyengaru Veetu Azhage" but the fusion / mix of carnatic with film music is a good old technique invented years ago by the great legend Illayaraja - there are lots of songs in this category - "Idazhil kadai ezhuthum neram idu" - Unnal mudiyum thambi - Hamsanandhi, "Poo malai Vangi Vandal" - Sindhu Bairavi - Kanada, "Punjai undu nanjai undu" - unnal mudiyum thambi - sudda danyasi to name a few. ARR has just followed the trend that's all.

Arvind said...

SV,

First up, to your point about IR being the trendsetter - "The trend of fusion'ising classical songs, (of late)"".. there is a (of late) caveat in the post :-)

Secondly, even by that definition, MSV and KV.Mahadevan and even earlier composers had done that long time before IR stepped up on the dais.

Thirdly, in context of this post -it was specifically about carnatic songs 'ported' as is with fusion - not just played 'as is'

Fourthly, "Idazhil kadai ezhuthum neram idu" is Lalitha not Hamsanandhi - there is only a difference between M1 (Lalitha) and M2 (Hamsanandhi) - LOVELY SONG !

Fifthly, thanks for your time and comments, hoping to see you around here more often :-)

SV said...

Thanks Arvind for the info on "Hamsa..." and "Lalitha". Yes -MSV and KVM lived in the ERA of playing karnatic music dominated songs without changing its trend / application but IR brings out a totally new perspective to that Raga - you need not know the basics of any Raga but still you can enjoy the features of it - a classic example is that "Aasai athigam vechu" - Marubadiyum - is composed in Sindu Bairavi - I read in a review - these kind of transformation require high level of skills - that to in those days where people are not very much welcoming any different trend.. they were happy with MSV himself but today people like ARR already have their strong road in place and they just improve the same - that's was I was pointing out - Thanks for the update.

Arvind said...

SV,
Ofcourse, every music director builds on the work on the previous generation with his creative genius.

Actually it applies to everything. If someone invented a space craft today - they had to rely on 'electricity' - they could not have invented electricty and then also invent space craft. We all build on top of the work done by the previous generation.

Where should the credit go ? - IMHO, to everyone of the previous inventors :-)

What proportion ? - IMHO, don't think it really matters :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Arvind,

I really amazed by your analysis and gud report. I happen to get your blog through google. grt8 show dude.

Just to add your report harrish jeyaraj copied Arasatchi- Saiyo Saiyo songs tunes :)

Sung by Sriram Parthasarathy and Srilekh..

Thanks
sadha

Arvind said...

Thanks Sadha :-)

Balajee said...

good analysis.. but i thot oh sukumari was more on the lines of sudha saveri and saama than arabhi...

Arvind said...

Balajee,
After all these days, i feel that you are right that it is more suddha saveri/sama than arabhi - but yet again - me no expert in this ragam.

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