Barring Kausar Munir’s use of ‘kathai* aankhen’, Rabba is pleasant, but contrived, with Mohit Chauhan valiantly trying to save it. Ditto with Tabah – Mohit is the bright spot in the familiar melody. Sajid-Wajid get their 3rd song right though – Raat bhar‘s foot-tapping techno sound works. Mustafa Zahid and Bilal Saeed’s Tere binaa is very Roxen, very droning. Ex-RDB Manjeet Ral’s Pappi song sounds like a sub-standard Honey Singh ditty. The soundtrack’s winner is Manjeet’s other song, Whistle baja**, that uses Hero’s flute theme in a pulsating Punjabi dance format! This soundtrack’s heropanti belongs to ex-RDB Manjeet Ral Singh!

Keywords: Heropanti, Sajid-Wajid, Manjeet Singh Ral, Manj Musik, Mustafa Zahid, Bilal Saeed

*The word ‘kathai’ was last used in the 1998 film Duplicate, in the song, ‘Kathai aankhon waali ek ladki’, by Javed Akhtar. Music was Anu Malik, of course!

**The official soundtrack of Heropanti, released by T-series, doesn’t include ‘Whistle Baja’. The song uses the Flute theme from Subhash Ghai’s 1983 film, Hero, with music by Laxmikant Pyarelal. Ex-RDB Manjeet Singh Ral, credited as Manj Musik, has used the Flute theme to create Whistle Baja, and since Saregama has the rights to that song, they have released the new song under their own label, as a single. But the song is of course part Heropanti – it’s just not part of the T-series owned soundtrack.

Anbu dhaan seems like a web 2.0 version of classic Raja songs like Uchi vagundheduthu, the guitar’y addition and Krishnaraj’s soulful rendition making an impression! In Aagaasa nilavu there is a clear influence of Deva’s Ilayaraja-style music (!) – pleasant throwback to the 90s, however! Ayyo ayyo is at best a serviceable kids chorus. Paathu paathu is a nice listen – earthy sound and good vocals by Hariharasudhan and Vandana, though it, much like Karthik’s Sattena, is very Imman’ish with the latter is much less impactful! Interesting to see Raghunanthan take another leaf out of Raja’s repertoire, different from Imman.

Keywords: Manja Pai, Manjapai, N.R.Raghunanthan

Haricharan sounds fantastic in the tranquil Vellai pandhu, with Rahman’s influence written large over the song orchestration. Ennamo edho has a nice lilt with the accordion sound and a catchy hook; the song’s structure too is interesting, with extended interludes with Hindi verses and rap connecting the beginning and end! Yemaathukaran’s tune is strictly functional, though the backgrounds try hard to make a difference. Adaikkalam is the soundtrack’s highlight – a spirited evangelical gospel style fabulously rendered by El Fé Choir, before Gana Bala brings his brand of vocals to dramatically interesting effect! Capable composing debut by KMMC student, S.N.Prasad!

Keywords: Yaamirukka Bayame, S.N.Prasad

Laka laka is from Sri of the 90s, with no improvisation, sadly. Moonlight girl is more like present day Sri, lilting song that has incredibly long breaks within the flow! Mano’s Bahuparak is a nice throwback to the street theater-style music, while the short Yarukaga is a curious one – using Vasantha Maaligai’s iconic Tamil song, instead of its Telugu original, Prem Nagar. Rojulu Marayi’s legendary Eruvaka sagaro gets reasonably interesting modern variant in Yeruvaga. Sai Srikanth does well in the short Phata phata and its English-accented version, Ghalan ghalan, both aping music from Telugu mythologicals. Passable score by Sri.

Keywords: Amrutham Chandamama Lo, Sri, Chandamama lo amrutham

Pradeep nails the sound in Kadalakunda, a lively track sung wonderfully well by the composer himself. The pitch perfect drums and sax sound goes fabulously with the tune and seems like a new age variant of classic Ilayaraja music of the 80s! Sean Roldan breezes through the captivating kuthu fusion in Ee prema manakoddhu – the tune is thoroughly engaging, with nifty touches like corny Hindi dialogs, superb harmonium accompanying the tune and a hilarious Tamil ending! Shwaase nuvve is simply delightful! Shakthishree is in her impeccable form, with excellent support from Pradeep, while the backgrounds offer a tantalizing soundscape. In Ningilona, the way Pradeep integrates the baul’ish string instrument, violins and a distinctly Keralite percussion is fascinating, particularly because the tune seems very 50s Tamil – tone heck of an imaginatively conjured song! Kalyani Nair’s other version is serene with a lovely chorus. Abhay Jodhpurkar and Kalyani Nair get a stunning tune in Adiginde, enchantingly orchestrated with a stunning violin and sitar mix mid-way! Pandu theme is very, very Santhosh Narayanan – bizarre, funny and funky dialog mix. Looks like Santhosh and Sean Roldan’s association has rubbed off on Pradeep really well – his debut is assured and fantastic!

Keywords: Maine Pyar Kiya, V. Pradeep Kumar, 200, #200

Tequila wakila is a competently foot-tapping rehash of the typical Enrique/Ricky Martin sound, with great vocals by Shreya and Ankit. Ankit’s other composition, Sawaalon mein soars with its intriguing, sweeping tune thanks to Shreya’s fantastic vocals. Gopal, Anand, Pawan composed title song is adequately background’ish. The soundtrack’s highlight is Mithoon’s Shukra tera, a gorgeously serene ballad sung from the woman’s perspective. Chinmayi sounds completely different from her usual self, but Arijit seems a bit out of sorts! Its other version, O hum navaa is neat variant, with better male vocals by Mithoon and Gajendra Verma. Nice little soundtrack, this one!

Keywords: Samrat & Co., Ankit Tiwari, Mithoon, Gopal, Anand, Pawan

Kisse lambe depends a lot on Gulzar’s verses and Sukhwinder’s free-flowing vocals; the mid-way shift to Pakistani pop style are good, but the chorus is jarring. Lakeerein fares much better with a uniform texture and fantastic vocals by Papon (along with another, uncredited singer, like Hariharan, perhaps?), not to forget lovely lines by Gulzar. The poet’s lyrics are even better in the poignant Jo dikhte ho, powered by Shafqat’s searing voice, while his lyrics complement beautifully with the lilting melody of Kaleje mien, sung by Ustad Hamid Ali Khan. Sandesh Shandilya makes excellent use of the soundtrack’s true hero, Gulzar!

Keywords: Gulzar, Sandesh Shandilya, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore

Ice Cream, despite cringe-worthy lyrics, is an enjoyable Pancham-Shankar Jaikishan mash-up. Himesh’s fascination for Tum hi ho is apparent in Dard dilo ko, while the Xpose theme is banal. Despite Honey Singh and Himesh’s fangled vocals, Hai apna dil‘s captivating tune salvages it! Its Blues Mix cranks up the speed, to impressive result. Ditto with Surroor – Shalmali and the sweeping melody soar beyond Himesh’y nasal’ness. Catch me badly apes Kaminey’s Dhan the nan, but Ankit Tiwari and Rekha Bhardwaj excel in their respective renditions of the lovely Sheeshe ka samundar. Surprisingly tuneful soundtrack by Himesh, barring standard nasal annoyances!

Keywords: Himesh Reshammiya, The Xpose

Idhayam’s sweet melody is perfectly handled by Sivamani, undone only by Javed Ali who seems to be occasionally mincing Tamil words. Naanum unnil paadhi is straight out of Sivamani’s pop album, Mahaleela… pulsating world music influences, headlined by the Latino sound. Neeyae is mighty unique, with the composer using water as one of the persistent backdrops – Shreya is her dependable self in the mellifluous tune. Shabbir Kumar is fantastic in the catchy rock track, Yaaro yaar aval, significantly spiked by Sivamani’s punchy percussion, much like the way he does in the Theme too. Competent solo film debut by Sivamani.

Keywords: Arima Nambi, Sivamani

Intha porapudhan’s lyrics are significantly more appealing – or, tastier – than the simplistic tune. Eeramai eeramai is vintage Raja – an absolutely delectable melody, beautifully sung by Ranjith and Vibhavari, complete with trademark sweeping violin interludes. Therintho theriyamalo too has a lovely tune to engage with, and here the man scores even better with the interludes and the overall orchestration! The composer’s withered voice seems apt for the longing pathos of Kaatru veliyil, even as the guitar-backing of the song and the extended flow of the song’s pallavi accentuates the overall feel. Short, but pleasant soundtrack from the veteran!

Keywords: Ilayaraja, Un Samayal Arayil

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