Archive | September, 2011

Sri Ramarajyam: Divine Ambrosia

28 Sep

Ilaiyaraja after composing music for 30+ years needs something remarkable to bring him back to his genius ways. The normal movie nowadays does not extract the best from him as he has composed a zillion tunes for the same situations. It was divinely destined that Ilaiyaraja should compose the score for Sri Ramarajyam, a Telugu movie based on the Ramayana.

I can say that Ilaiyaraja literally reinvents himself in this OST. When I first heard that the Maestro was composing for this movie, I was cautiously optimistic but now am delighted! The best thing about the OST is that the synth-usage is minimal and there is a generous usage of Live instruments, something akin to Uliyin Osai. I loved almost all the songs in the movie but the below ones deserve a special mention:

  1. Jaganandhakaaraka: This Shuddhadhanyasi-based tune gives a flying start to the album and as expected SPB/Shreya Ghoshal are in top form. The tune is top notch and is supported by Veena and flute interludes.
  2. Evadunnadu: This short song of 2 mins captures our attention for its variety and great rendition by SPB again. If you understand Telugu, you would also appreciate the superb lyrics praising Lord Rama.
  3. Sri Rama Lera: This is the ultimate gem in this album. The lyrics are in such chaste Telugu that it almost sounds like Sanskrit at many places. The interludes, the singing (Sriram Parthasarathy/Shreya) and the two differently-tuned charanams, all add up to the magic of this song. It is set in Pantuvarali raga and is probably the best composition of Ilaiyaraja in this raga.
  4. Seetha Seemantham: Set in Hindholam raga, this song has an old, oriental feel to it. You would imagine the Seemantham ceremony on hearing this song.
  5. Rama Rama: This folk song is a welcome change in this album. I loved the use of the traditional, native percussion instruments. As usual, the tune is amazing with unpredictable, Raja-style progressions. Special mention must be made of the good Telugu pronunciation by the singer Shwetha Mohan.
  6. Kalaya Nijama: This tune will captivate you the very first time you hear it. It is one of the best songs sung by Tippu and his voice shows how much he has improved in the last few years. I am very happy that Ilaiyaraja chose this underrated singer for this song and Tippu has delivered and how!

The greatest triumph for this album is the pure, poetic and pristine lyrics by Jonnavittula. The music and lyrics are clearly made for each other and they also sound different than the usual “devotional” albums. When the songs are played the scenes will play in your mind, such is the marriage between the tune and the lyrics.

Hats off to Ilaiyaraja/Jonnavittula/the director for coming up with such a masterpiece of a soundtrack. It is a welcome change in this age of run-of-the-mill commercial albums.