Browsing All Posts filed under »Music: Tamil Cinema«

Notes from the south

January 28, 2017

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Meandering thoughts on music based on a few recent happenings. When the Carnatic musician TM Krishna unveiled Chennai Poromboke Paadal a couple of weeks ago, it felt like the musical world’s answer to the fall of the Berlin Wall, facilitating a crossover between two hitherto separate realms. “Poramboke” refers to land set aside for communal […]

Aboorva raagangal…

June 13, 2016

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Thoughts on the music of ‘Kabali’, which is easily the least “Rajini-style” album since ‘Sri Raghavendra’. Listening to Santhosh Narayanan’s soundtrack for Kabali is an exercise in imagining what must have run through Rajinikanth’s head as he heard these songs. I’m sure he must have smiled at Neruppu da, even if the track is driven […]

A king and his times

May 21, 2016

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Looking back at the Ilayaraja era, which began forty years ago, with the release of ‘Annakili’ on 14 May, 1976. So Ilayaraja’s music and I, we’re both in our forties. This doesn’t mean that his is the only music I grew up with. The songs on radio and television came from the 60s, 50s, sometimes […]

Ode to a nightingale

April 9, 2016

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Reflections on the peerless P Susheela, who’s found her way into the record books. When I learnt that P Susheela had found her way into the Guinness Book of World Records and the Asia Book of Records for singing the most number of songs in Indian languages, there were two reactions. The first, a smile – […]

A few favourite things

March 12, 2016

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Remembering the list song, 25 years after ‘Paththar Ke Phool’ gave us ‘Kabhi tu Chhalia lagta hai’. Some part of me dies every time a film from my school or college days celebrates a major anniversary – I’m talking about you, Paththar Ke Phool, now 25 years old – but this isn’t a how-time-flies- post. […]

Emotion capture

November 14, 2015

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A quick trip through the nine moods – nava rasas – of the Indian film song. Which song would you pick as a depiction of Śṛungāram (Love)? There are hundreds. Abhi na jaao chhod kar, for instance. He’s saying don’t leave me yet, the heart hasn’t had its fill of you. She protests. It’s late. […]

Radio days

July 18, 2015

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The king is dead. Long live the king. Baradwaj Rangan remembers MS Viswanathan. At 7:59 am, last Tuesday, I got this sms from a friend: You have to write a great tribute. I hadn’t looked at news sites yet, but I knew who the tribute was for. We’d been hearing news about his hospitalisation and […]

Something old, something new

April 6, 2015

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Nice-ish. That’s the word I have right now for O Kadhal Kanmani, AR Rahman’s latest album for Mani Ratnam. It didn’t make me wince the way the soundtracks for Lingaa and Kochadaiyaan did. It didn’t activate every single one of my pleasure centres the way the soundtrack for I did. It’s somewhere in the middle. […]

A place far, far away from Tamil cinema

March 2, 2015

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Notes from an afternoon spent listening to the “Uttama Villain” album and talking to the composer Ghibran. A little after 12 last Saturday, I stepped into a recording studio in RA Puram. The television set in the reception area said that UAE were 36/3 in their World Cup match against India. There were a couple […]

Women and song

February 4, 2015

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So there’s a new Gautham Menon movie out this week. I look forward to his films, for two reasons mainly. One, to see the way the heroine has been shaped. I know. This is borderline-blasphemy considering it’s essentially an Ajith movie and all, but even in Menon’s big-star outings like Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu – the kind […]

I candy

September 17, 2014

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Thoughts on AR Rahman’s gloriously fun and wholly individual soundtrack for the new Shankar film. You know that familiar Tamil-cinema contrivance where a prisoner in handcuffs is being led away in a police van, and the van stops at a crossing, and the prisoner looks around furtively and sees a chance, and as the cops […]

The last of a kind

May 27, 2013

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A tribute to TM Soundararajan, the voice of a generation. To know why TM Soundararajan, TMS, was the last representative of a certain kind of playback singer, you’ll first have to consider that he rose to fame in an era where not everyone could become a playback singer – not even if you had a […]

Bitty Ruminations 73

January 6, 2013

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Every time we trot out the melody-is-dead argument, there comes a number that’s nothing but melody, effusive swirls of it, and seduces us into endless-loop listening. I love how Nandini Srikar sings this song, with its profusion of La and Zha words — she touches on them just enough, without turning into an didactic schoolmarm […]

Bitty Ruminations 72

December 16, 2012

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In this Twitter era, populated by ADD-ed twits, everything either “sucks” or “rocks.” There’s no median, no room for the “hmmm… not bad… interesting.” Reactions to the Jab Tak Hai Jaan soundtrack led me to believe that that was AR Rahman’s worst ever album, and it was nothing of the sort. Was it a middling effort? A […]

‘My films are not star vehicles’

October 13, 2012

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Chatting with filmmaker Vasanth about rule-breaking, lyrics, and the music of his forthcoming feature about three people and three love stories. At one point during our conversation where we try to fix up a time that works for both of us, the filmmaker Vasanth ends up sounding slightly sheepish. Tuesday, 3 pm, I say. He […]

Bitty Ruminations 69

September 5, 2012

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I don’t know if I will have the time for a full-fledged review of Ilayaraja’s soundtrack for Neethane En Ponvasantham. Also, after just a few listens, the songs haven’t sunk in fully — though they have left behind rough outlines in my mind. But the main reason for my inability to launch into detailed thoughts […]

‘I call it the Raja genre’

June 16, 2012

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The soundtrack of ‘Neethane En Ponvasantham’, which has been picked up for a record price, is due on July 1. Gautham Vasudev Menon talks to Baradwaj Rangan about working with Ilayaraja for the first time. There’s something Quentin Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly magazine about Martin Scorsese. “If I say [his] movies are getting kind of […]

Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The unqualified joys of lowbrow sensations”

December 30, 2011

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The point of pop culture isn’t some imagined idea of quality – just a sense of throbbing with a common pulse. The last column of the year. Should I devote it to best-of lists? A more cohesive meditation on the cinema of a year that, at the end of this day, will vanish from the […]

The Rahman Effect

October 8, 2011

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After nearly 20 years in the business, is the Mozart of Madras likely to be concerned by the reactions to ‘SuperHeavy’ and ‘Rockstar’? We think not.

About time…

September 18, 2010

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RECOGNISING A RAJA The most deserving, overdue and just decision at the National Awards this year is the recognition of Ilayaraja for best background score.