Saturday August 29, 2015
Originally published in The Hindu.
Khuda mere – Shukriya (Hindi – Shraddha Shree, featuring music by Gulraj Singh)
Shraddha Shree (and Shivam Ahuja) are winners of a young stars singing contest conducted by an Insurance company and the smartest thing—insurance, if you will—that the organizers equip the kids with is by the choice of music composer for their debut album. That happens to be the severely underrated Gulraj Singh, and his regular partner for lyrics, Manoj Yadav. Together, the duo hand the kids a fantastic set of tunes that treat them as adults in a competitive world, not just as children. Khuda Mere is a great example of this – a wonderfully flamboyant tune that the young Shraddha devours gleefully. It compares with any catchy and multi-layered film song, and the song’s reprise version goes one up on the original too!
Listen to the song on Gaana.
Aana oona – Andhra Mess (Tamil – Prashant Pillai)
Prashant Pillai—at least technically—made his Tamil debut with Bejoy Nambiar’s David in 2013, though it was a multi-composer album. Now, he makes a solo Tamil debut in Andhra Mess, and while the overall soundtrack is rather tepid, he has a standout song at least in Aana oona. It’s sung with super verve by another composer Amrit Rao, of the band, Live Banned fame, and the one composing for Gitanjali Selvaraghavan’s debut, Maalai Naerathu Mayakkam. Prashant, in his inimitable style, loads the song with a funky, racy sound that centers on an addictive Na na na chorus and generally escapes genre-classification, while remaining intriguingly catchy.
Chiryan Da Chamba – Suraiya Khanum & Anwar Maqsood – Coke Studio Pakistan, (Season 8, Episode 2)
Chiryan Da Chamba is a classic Punjabi bidai song (that’s a song that’s sung when the bride leaves her home and heads towards the groom’s home – cue for a very sad father and loads of women crying, in 80s films) that has been sung by the who’s who of the subcontinent, including Noor Jehan, Arif Lohar, Runa Laila, Musarrat Nazeer and Shazia Manzoor, among others. The new season of Coka Studio has Suraiya Khanum attempting her version and she is mesmerizing in her rendition of the pathos-laden tune. The highlight of the song is however Anwar Maqsood—Bilal Maqsood’s, of Strings-fame; Coke Studio’s producers this season, father—and his incredibly heartfelt recitation of a girl’s letter to her father on how she misses her home. This is emotionally touching folk music at its best!
Endaro – Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Telugu – Gopi Sundar)
Now, many composers have attempted fusion variants of classical Carnatic kritis and traditional songs in films, with or without playing with the source’s tune. A R Rahman’s Alai paayuthey (from Mani Ratnam’s film of the same name) is a good, recent example. Some composers took generous liberties and brought their unique stamp on their recreations, like Vidyasagar’s Entharo, in the Malayalam film Devadoothan and Sandeep Chowta’s Bhagyada Laxmi Baramma, from the pop album Mitti. Gopi’s recreation is less ambitious and sticks faithfully to Thyagaraja’s iconic Sri Ragam based kriti, but his nuances and choice of singer—Renuka Arun—elevates the song to a new level. He treats it like a classic rock song, with the drums and violin dominating impressively, even as Renuka is in scintillating form bringing classical chops to what is treated as a complex, contemporary pop song!
Vasoottan – Jamna Pyari (Malayalam – Gopi Sundar)
Gopi Sundar is the man of the moment, moving across Andhra Pradesh and Kerala with consummate ease. His Vasoottan is an instantly catchy song featuring Franco’s thoroughly enjoyable vocals and featuring Thrissur dialect, as the lyrics remind us many times. It does start with a musical phrase that’s seems to echo A R Rahman’s Rangeela number, Yayi re, but Gopi owns the charming tune eventually.