Archive | November, 2008

Vishal Bharadwaj—A rare talent

25 Nov

If there is any composer in India who has continuously defied stereotypes it is Vishal Bharadwaj. He made his debut with Maachis in the 90’s and it was a refreshing musical score at a time when Hindi film music was largely sounding like pop music. I loved the sound that Vishal created in Maachis in the songs Chhod Aaye Hum (a song that makes you imagine the mountains) and Chhappa Chhappa (great hilly folk tune) and his choice of singers too was spot-on—Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar, Lata Mangeshkar etc. Since then Vishal has proved that his promising debut was no flash-in-the-pan. Though he composes for only 2-3 movies in a year, you can be sure that most of the songs would be radically different. Be it the frenzied energy in Beedi or the lilting O Saathi Re (both from Omkara) or the boisterous Kash Laga (No Smoking) or the symphonic Aasmaan Chhathri (Blue Umbrella), Vishal has shown his mettle in diverse genres. I hope we get to listen to more wonderful scores from this unsung composer, who definitely deserves more chances than he gets now!

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Vijay Antony

11 Nov

Vijay Antony is one of the newer composers in Tamil, who made his debut with Sukran (a horrible movie) about 3 years back. It was a forgettable debut in my opinion and when I heard the commercial songs of Sukran (director S.A. Chandrashekharan, who has no place for melody songs), I dismissed Vijay as another run-of-the mill composer. But the real talent of Vijay came to the fore in the songs of Dishyum. I realized that Vijay was a composer with a bright future. Though, all the songs of Dishyum were not good, Ninjankootil was a cracker of a tune with superb orchestration. What I like about Vijay Antony is that his sound is very melodious and different. He uses an assortment of guitars, pianos and flutes.From then, Vijay has given some great tunes, though, I feel he has to get more movies which exploit his talent to compose great melodies. I hope he gets more subject-oriented movies. Here are my favourite Vijay Antony songs:

  1. Ninjaankootil-Dishyum-a song in Raaga Brindavanasaaranga
  2. Azhagaa-By 2-this movie had great songs by VA
  3. Roja Poovin-By 2
  4. Naanthaana-Ninaithaale-a song in the rare Amruthavarshini raagam, wonderful song!
  5. Thaneer Pookalaey-Ninaithaale-amazing orchestration
  6. Thozhiya-Kadhalil Vizhundhen-so catchy and peppy yet melodious!
  7. Solladi-Kadhalil Vizhundhen-superb guitars and a great tune.
  8. Natta Nadu-A Aa E Ee-what a song in raagam Hamsadhwani

Saroja, Jeyam Kondaan: Worth a watch

7 Nov

I recently saw 2 tamil movies-Saroja and Jeyam Kondaan and was pleasantly surprised that they were indeed very good.

  1. Saroja-First things first, Saroja is a remake of a Hollywood thriller called “Judgement Night”. So I had minimal expectations and did not see the movie as I had watched Judgement Night quite recently. But when I heard from a few friends about Saroja, I decided to give it a try and was completely bowled over. This is one of those rare times when I feel that the remake entertained me more than the original, though JN was a brilliant movie. Where Saroja scores is the amazing humour which the original didn’t have at all! Saroja is a fantastic joyride alternating between tense moments and rib-tickling genuine comic moments. The humour is very decent and Premgi Amaran displays great comic timing. According to me he is the soul of the movie. Everytime he appeared on the screen, I started laughing. Apart from the humour, a couple of songs, the cinematography and the excellent background music are the other strengths of Saroja. If you have not seen this movie, please see it, you will not be disappointed. It is miles ahead of the commercial fare that we are exposed to, nowadays.
  2. Jeyam Kondaan-Jeyam Kondaan was a revelation. This movie has avoided every damn cliche that we are used to in Indian films. It had a wonderful script, good humour by Vivek and gang, melodious songs (Vidyasagar) and very decent acting by the entire cast. It is a very racy movie sans any violence until the climax fight, which too, is short. The film very subtly depicts the relationship between a brother and sister. Some scenes did bring tears to my eyes. The director is a former assistant of Maniratnam and it shows in the way the scenes have been skilfully crafted. Jeyam Kondaan was a very satisfying experience.

Agam’s Music

5 Nov

Agam was one among the six winners in the ooh la la la competition held for music bands. The concept of the competition was spearheaded by none other than A.R. Rahman. Agam actually has been existing for quite some time much before the contest started. Their music is an amazing fusion of classical-based tunes wrapped in superb orchestration. I was very impressed on hearing their songs which are available for free download here in their blog. The details about the band members too can be found there. There are 6 tracks:

  1. Mystical Abheri-My favourite one, a tamil song, where Reethigowla and Abheri raagaas have been used. The flute interludes are mesmerizing.
  2. Path of Aspiration-This song is called “Lakshiya Paadhai” based on Naatai raaga. This too is a beautiful song with a faster tempo.
  3. Nothing but Hope-A song that begins in English and moves to a ghazal-like tune in Hindi.
  4. Amma-This is a lullaby to the mother, set in Kaapi raagam. It has very poignant lyrics praising the Mother. The tune is so soothing that you will fall asleep if you hear it!
  5. Brahma’s Dance-This is an instrumental piece interspersed with vedic chants.
  6. Amma Instrumental-The instrumental piece of the “Amma” song on violin.

One common thing among all the songs are the very meaningful lyrics. This is a fantastic effort from the Agam team. Soon, we can expect another album from them which will be sponsored by KM Music from A.R.Rahman’s stable. I am eagerly waiting for it after listening to these songs!

Laptop:Music Review

3 Nov

Laptop is a Malayalam movie which released about 2 months back. The movie sank at the box office but the music of the movie by acclaimed Carnatic vocalist, Sreevalsan Menon, was fantastic! The album had all soft, ghazal-like numbers, which is quite common in Malayalam films. Almost all the numbers are very soothing but there are 2 melodies which were outstanding- Etho Jalashankkil and Maymassame. The first one is a duet sung by Amal Antony/Sonia and the second one is sung by Amal alone. The tunes are so celestial that I am addicted to them and listen to them almost everyday, atleast once. Its pure bliss!
Sreevalsan Menon has already released many carnatic-based albums-the best one that I have heard is Monsoon Anuraaga(compositions in all rain raagaas) which is a brilliant album. I really appreciate Sreevalsan in Laptop because, being a great singer himself, he has not sung all the songs but has given an opportunity to Amal Antony (winner of Gandharva Sangeetham 2006), whose singing is fabulous. I hope and pray that Sreevalsan Menon gets more such chances to compose and Amal gets to sing more. The varnachitram blog has a great detailed review here of Laptop’s music.