A musical, clean, family movie (can't call it entertainer ;)). This movie had elaborate PR sessions conducted by Pyramid Natarajan and i think the music deserved such PR. Apparently, the sales of the album provided enough funds for the producer to complete his next movie 'Rhythm' by the same music director.
Lets get to business.....
Margazhi Thingal - S.Janaki, Unni Krishnan
The songs opens with a recitation of 'Margazhi Thingal' from Thiruppavai. This does it for the song. ARR wins over the listeners already. knowingly or unknowingly - you would already be swaying to the lilting Sindhu Bhairavi ragam.
Janaki starts of the song with Naveen (who else ?) on the flute. Simply intoxicating stuff. A brief mridhangam & Ghatam intro sets the context of the song (it is supposed to a dance number). Is the mridhangam synth ? A million dollar question. But i have *never* heard the mridhangam & ghatam produce musical notes to an extent such as this.
What is with ARR, Sindhu Bhairavi and Violins ?. Listen to any of the songs by ARR in sindhu bhairavi. His violin orchestra is out and what a terrific job they do !. All the violinists much just be salivating at the prospect of ARR unleashing a Sindhu Bhairavi. You can see the violins joining in before the pallavi ends. Can it get any better ?
The interlude is perfectly suited for a dance segment - with mridhangam & ghatam stealing the show...too lovely. Any one learning sindhu bhairavi, the essence of the ragam is captured amazingly in 5 seconds between 3.08-3.13.
The 1st stanza is cute and sorry to sound repetitive, but you can hear how delectable the rhythm at iruvarum oru murai.... That section is one notable deviation from Sindhu Bhairavi notes, and have seen many composers use that arrangement in Sindhu Bhairavi as well as in Keeravani. (As always, any suggestion as to that pattern/enlightenment welcome :-) ).
second interlude, and its Naveen's turn to charm us in the background of jathi's with his flawless rendition of Sind...
Unni starts the second stanza. Unfortunately, with such high expectations set so far, this stanza fades in comparison to the rest of the song. Unni handles himself well.
As is ARR's style, the song finishes of with Janaki's alaap.
This is ARR's tribute to Sindhu Bhairavi and i can think of the only other song that comes parallel to it is (Mile Sur Mera from the older 'DD' days. You can keep introducing umpteen subtle variations into Mile Sur... and would be beautiful)
Rating 5 out of 5 (Could have been 5.2 but for the second stanza)
Sowkiyama - Nithyashree (please find the lyrics at the end of the review)
A perfect opening on Maand greets you with a nice symphony of Veena, Dhavil & Mridhangam. The swarams by the chorus 'Sa Ga Ri Sa ni Ri Sa ni dha ni' set the tone for the song to come.
Nithyashree follows with the Pallavi. The notes (what instrument is that ? synth veena gamakam ? ) at 0.58 & 1.12 accentuate Maand in the pallavi, which immediately sets in the 'Ghanjira'. Pallavi, unlike the traditional cine industry songs, but more like ARR's style, explores a full 2 minute stretch which is quite beautifully done.
Kadri Gopalnath joins in to dish us out a perfect feast in Maand. After Duet, this has been Kadri's next collaboration with ARR, obviously to a very limited scope than in Duet. His Sax takes you on a soulful ride into the interlude with his inimitable sprightly style.
The 1st stanza continues as expected until you reach 'kOdi kaiyyil enai koLLai iDu, kOdi kaiyyil enai aLLi eDu' which is lovely twist to the tune that brings in ARR's preferred Maand phrase 'anbu nathane aNindha modhiram'. You can sharpen your ears and listen to 'suTTu vizhi kanDale' line from 'Thillana' (Muthu). There are probably couple of other places that he used this phrase with such melody. (Ofcourse, it is not copying). One more point to note here is the lyrics by Vairamuthu. If you just look at the extent of poetic exaggeration, you would realise
andha modhiram oDDiyaNamai Aagum munname Anbe azhaithaen'
Let me express my love, before my waist slims even more, that it will fit my ring
Chords have been consistenly used in the song, to set the mood and convey the emotion and they do a wonderful job in anupallavi. Kadri finishes off the song with a very standard movement on Maand.
Altogether, this song once again has been devoted to the ragam Maand in exploring its beauty. Once again ARR ambles home easily.
Rating 5 out of 5
Alala Kanda - MSV & Hariharan
MSV starts off this song and you are immediately reminded of 'ThAi nilam thandha varam thAvaram' from DD days by MSV :-), more out of his voice than anything else. But for the odd harmonium, the song is bereft of any musical instrument (ofcourse, rhythm pattern) and still with the deft use of kaapi'ish notes ARR manages to bring a subtle melodious touch to the song. Only ARR.
Rating 4.4 out of 5
Varaga Nadhi - Shankar Mahadevan
This song announced the big time arrival of Shankar Mahadevan to music industry down south. Even though he had been regular in ARR's musical journey, this was his first solo with the maestro.
As is ARR's wont, the song starts off with alaap by Shankar with shades of Yaman Kalyani. Tabla sets quite a fast paced rhythm for the song with harmonium backing the voice. (seemed to follow the style of late Nusrat....). Shankar carries with him this modern bhAgavathar style of singing, nice and fresh nonetheless that immediately caught your attention. kannil varum... brings oozes Yaman Kalyani....
Interlude.... a typical ARR piece, very nice chorus and chords - once again it teases you to join the tune, only to evade you like the river babbling all over the rocks in its bed, with unexpected turns. Simply Wonderful !
the first stanza is nicely done and once again, ARR teases you only to keep you wanting more. Listen to 'parandhu vandhu.....virundhu kudu' at the end of this line, there is a chorus hum, which when extended to a note lower can then be used to finish off the previous lines 'nee enna.....nizhala pidichikitten' -almost evoking a 'vasaanthi' feeling Listen to 4.25-4.28 that is the closest to what am explaining('Kurukku' from Mudhalvan). (i.e., sing nizhala pidichikittaen with the hum going lower by couple of notes from the virindhu kudu line)
Second interlude, ARR is back to his flute ways - does'nt look like Naveen is on there...but it is excellent with a melancholic touch, the same feeling evoked by the hum (as said above).
Second stanza is very similar to the first one, with minor differences of chorus and the song finishes off on a bit more sombre note than it promised with its opening. Once again, a expectation that can only be set by ARR.
Rating 4.6 out of 5
Mazhai ThuLi - MSV, Hariharan
The song opens to what is called 'thArai thappaTTai' rhythm base and Hariharan alaap'ing :) The pallavi is very normal with the twist to Kaapi'ish notes occasionally bringing in the softness to the song.
Interlude. A brief string piece, quite nice adorns the interlude. 'thaNiyile meen azhudha' has lotsa power chords backed into it and is quite wonderful one must say. The lyrics is well done and just before the anupallavi starts, ARR tries to bring one more violin/chord arrangement (This man never ceases to experiment !). Second interlude is once again brief and MSV steps in with superb ease and changes the tone of the song to a more mellow one. The line 'kalaikoru tholvi kidayathu' is the story of the movie in one line ;p
Rating 4 out of 5
Mudhal Murai - Srini, Sujatha
Sujatha's magical voice opens the song with the air howling. Once again mridhangam/ghaTam form the rhythm pattern.
The pallavi is so simple, cute and oozes melody. I don't know why, but it is all so simple and i don't feel like detailing the pallavi ! Interlude has lovely synth flute arrangement, only to be interrupted by ARR with his customary alaap (remember Roja? who can not ?) and a lilting bells/flute arrangement.
Sujatha is simply adorable when she goes 'kAlgilal kidandha salangayai thiruDi'...catch the rhythm pattern there, it appears only once but IMHO it is so wonderful. Srini comes in with melodious voice and the song wanders into the world of melody, cutsy sankarabharanam notes. (Which, IMHO, is one ragam that has never brought the melody via carnatic song, film music seems to bring such melody from Sank...)
The second interlude is a thaniAvardhanam by Ghanjira/claps and then synth flute - ARR is at his best when he does these kinda arrangements. Second interlude is once again excellently done, but Sujatha hijacks all the honours. Their combo (not duet, but solo) has produced one more melody that i enjoy... 'Nee Enge' from Taj Mahal.
Vairamuthu won National award for the this song
Rating 4.8 out of 5.
There had been rumours that ARR himself constructed the theme of the movie,the songs and then sold his idea. Not sure how far it is true...but songs are wonderful and soulful melodies-did not get their deserved place in the history of melodies due to the pathetic movie.
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Lyrics with Translation for the Song Sowkiyama
soukiyama kanne soukiyama...
How are you doing my dear (3)
(all dance sounds)
ena vizhigalil nandamittai
(you danced in my eyes)
pinbu idyathil irangi vittai
(then, you got into my heart)
mella mella enuirai parithu kondai
(ever so slowly, you robbed my life)
manadai thazhuvum oru ambanai
(you became an arrow that hugs the heart)
paruvam kothi vitta paravai aanai
(you pecked at my youth, and flew away)
salangayum engudhe adhkidakattum nee
(it yearns, but it can wait, are you ok my dear)
sooriyan vandhu va enum bodhu
(when the sun comes out asking)
ena seyyum pani thuli
(what can the dew drop do, but agree)
kodi kayil ennai alli edu
(grab me by crore hands)
anbu nadhane anindha modhiram valayalagave thurumbena ilaithen
(my dear, my ring has become like a bangle, i've slimmed so much
thinking about u)
andha modhiram oddiyanamai agum munname anbe azhaithen
(before that bangle becomes big enough to become the hip-ring (an
ornament) - i'm calling out for u)
en katril swasam illai
crudely put - my air has no breath (whatever it means) :)
adhu kidakattum vidu unakkenna achu
(forget that, how are you my dear...)