Originally published in The Hindu.
Padiyirangunnu – Pathemari (Malayalam – Bijibal)
Along with Gopi Sundar, Bijibal has been alarmingly consistent with his output in Malayalam this year. In Padiyirangunnu, Bijibal makes the phenomenally appropriate decision to rope in Hariharan to sing the incredibly soulful melody. It seems—in all probabilities, given it evokes strong memories of Karnan’s Ullathil nalla ullam—to be set to Chakravakam raaga. The result is sheer magic, since the mellow tune goes really well with Hariharan’s deep, sonorous voice!
Andamaina lokam – Shivam (Telugu – Devi Sri Prasad)
By now, it is clear that there’s no point expecting anything different or new from Devi Sri Prasad. He has a set of sounds – tunes, hooks and rhythm combinations that he very cleverly recycles endlessly and producing interesting music even within that. Shivam is no different, with Andamaina lokam’s jazz’y melody coming out beautifully along with the horns Devi assembles in the background.
Insaaf – Talvar (Hindi – Vishal Bhardwaj)
Pakistani singer Arooj Aftab is the soul of Insaaf. She brings her best known trait—breathy vocals that rocked her cover versions of Pakistan’s and the sub-continent’s iconic classics—to add stupendous value to Vishal’s ominous tune. Gulzar’s word play is, as always, stellar, even as Vishal concocts a haunting backdrop primarily consisting of piano and strings, along with the occasional sarangi!
Oh Madhu – Saahasam (Tamil – Thaman S)
Oh Madhu would perhaps have Crazy Mohan in tears of joy, given that the song calls out Oh Madhu as Oh Maadhu, as a possible homage to Crazy Mohan’s Maadhu, of Maadhu-Cheenu series. It’s a lovely tune, though – Anirudh gets his voice adequately digitized to sound good enough to deliver the soft, melody well, propped by Thaman really well with a cornucopia of likeable sounds ranging from a vocalized nadaswaram, a reggae-ish backdrop, sax, strings and a peekaboo thavil too!
Kannondu chollannu – Ennu Ninte Moideen (Malayalam – M.Jayachandran)
Kannondu chollannu’s tune has an obviously-sweet sound, and what elevates it to a new height is Shreya Ghoshal’s absolutely mesmerizing singing. Vijay Yesudas gives her excellent support, no doubt, but this is Shreya’s show all the way. Jayachandran’s sound is instantly likeable, echoing cues from A R Rahman’s Karuthamma number, Thenmerku Paruvakaatru, right up to better use of the sound of water in multiple ways.