Continuing from Part 1, here’s a brief thought on these A.R.Rahman’s albums released during 2010: Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, Raavanan, Raavan and 127 Hours.
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (VTV)
Viju (V): I wrote a long post for this album, which was long enough to be a dedicated post just for VTV itself. That shows the type of effect that VTV has had on me, as a music album, and probably as a movie too. A nadaswaram backed Omana Pennae, a mridangam/shehnai/nadaswaram backed peppy Anbil Avan, a violin backed Kannukkul Kannai, a lyrical wonder Mannipaaya, a breezy Hosanna, a soulful title track and of course an intense Aaromale make up this immensely classy, yet popular soundtrack. Another thing that was a strong point in VTV was the strong background score, which also featured a female version of Aaromale, which with its classical feel took me out of the world completely! A must-have album for any music lover, and I will soon have a dedicated post on this soundtrack.
Aishwarya (A): My take on the much talked about album – Anbil Avan and Kannukkul Kannai are songs I do not bother listening to. Why does Chinmayi sound nasal in the former? Omana Penne is a pleasant sounding song, with almost a Carnatic base, and is also synthesized. With minimal instruments, superb lyrics and Karthik’s lovely, lovely voice, the title song takes us to a different place..another world. Hosanna is the overplayed chartbuster, and I’ve grown a little sick of it. But I’ll never get bored of the “yaen idhayam” part. Rahman’s singing in Mannippaaya makes the song very special. His voice sounds so fresh! The track takes many twists and turns – a slightly unconventional melody. And finally the passionate Aaromale. It has gained a cult following, hasn’t it? The guitar work, Alphonse’s singing, the language, the experimental nature of the track, makes it stand out. The picturization and lyrics make the songs even more memorable. Let’s hope Gautham Menon, Rahman and Thamarai collaborate again soon.
V: Any Maniratnam movie, from 1992, has had A.R.Rahman’s music, and ARR hasn’t failed in providing the ace director with classy tunes ever. ‘Did he continue doing so, or did he not?,’ was a question of on many minds before the release of this soundtrack. The soundtrack released in Hindi first, followed by Tamil, with the same tracks, with a few changes in the singers, and one cannot stop thinking if the Hindi track was composed first or the Tamil one was. In any case, Rahman came up with an experimental soundtrack for Raavan(an), and the not-so-good fate of the movie probably influenced the popularity of the soundtrack, especially in Hindi.
Kalvare(T)/Khili Re(H) is a melodious romantic number rendered by Shreya Ghoshal(T)/Reena Bharadwaj(H) and caught my attention first in this album. Some wonderful tabla and alaaps in the interlude make this song very memorable. Veera(T)/Beera(H) is a different type of introductory song with some amazing beats and peps up the mood of the movie (comes during beginning credits). Kodu Potta(T)/Thok De Ghilli(H) and Keda Kari(T)/Kata Kata(H) are not particularly my favorites, but are effective in transporting you to the celebratory mood that they occur in the movie. Kaattu Chirrikki(T)/Ranjha Ranjha(H) is a delightful number, just for the sheer rawness in the Anuradha Sriram’s voice in the Tamil version, and an altogether different feel in the Hindi version by Rekha Bhardwaj. The version of the song in the movie is sung by Chinna Ponnu and Malgudi Shubha, and lends itself to the picturesque locales of the movie, while depicting the emotions of Ragini brilliantly. My pick of the album is Usure Poguthey(T)/Behene De(H), with the Tamil version being several notches higher, just because of the brilliant lyrics and was probably Karthik’s best number this year. The movie also had a last minute addition Naan Varuven(T)/Jaa Ud Jaa Re(H) sung by A.R.Rahman himself, and found an instant fan following after the movie released.
A: Beera/Veera is the instantly likable thumping opening song. The lyrics of Veera sound incredibly silly though. Behne De has a better flow than Usure Pogudhey, but I love both. And the singing… haven’t I praised Karthik enough? His live performance of the song at the music release function was just perfect. My pick of the album, Sukhwinder Singh rules Thok de Killi. It took me a while to really get into it. The violin interlude is reminiscent of Rahman’s older works. The Tamil version sung by Benny Dayal pales in comparison. Ranjha Ranjha works for me because of Rekha Bharadwaj, the chorus, and the layers. Javed Ali is a big bore. The Tamil version is best avoided – Anuradha Sriram’s rendition makes my ears ache. Shankar Mahadevan is great though, he adds his own touch to the song. I don’t like Kalvare/Khili re much, but the En Aasai/Piya re parts halfway through the song are absolutely lovely. I really like Reena Bhardwaj’s voice in the Hindi version. Naan Varuven beats all the other songs in the album in terms of…everything. It had brilliant placement in the movie.
A: A 14 track soundtrack, out of which 6 are by other artists. It starts off with Never Hear Surf Music Again by Free Blood which sets the tone of the soundtrack and the movie. Liberation Begins, Liberation in a Dream and Liberation – all three are amazing, addictive guitar-based instrumentals, and are my favourites. The Canyon and Touch of the Sun are slow and seem situational. We hear the Continuum again in Acid Darbari. There is an Indian feel to it but fits perfectly in this Hollywood soundtrack. RIP is gloomy. It starts off slowly with humming which lasts for a few minutes, picks up pace, and reaches a crescendo with a rush of violins. Reminds me of Warriors of Heaven and Earth. I’ve sadly not been captivated by If I Rise. Check out the album for Rahman and some great songs by others (I’m in love with If You Love My by Esther Phillips).
V: I haven’t had a chance to listen to this soundtrack, yet.
In total, it was a musically satisfying year for Rahmaniacs with Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya, Raavanan/Raavan, Jhootha Hi Sahi and 127 Hours delivering a great musical outing. One hopes that 2011 is also a good year with Rockstar, Paani, Hara (Sultan the Warrior) and more.