Browsing All Posts filed under »Music: Tamil Cinema«

The TM Krishna interview

August 3, 2017

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My video interview with TM Krishna, on Tamil film music. (The promos appear first — these are bits that did not make it to the final cut of the interview.) Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Readers Write In #13: Adho Megha Oorvalam and how Rahman gave Ilayaraja feedback

April 8, 2017

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I am a happy man these days.  My DTH provider is now offering me Jaya Max as a part of the package I have already subscribed to. Why Jaya Max?  Because it plays Ilayaraja tracks mornings 7 to 8 and nights 9 to 10.  Watching a TV channel to listen to music may seem an […]

A brief chat with AR Rahman…

March 14, 2017

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This was done when AR Rahman was in town to release the music of ‘Lake of Fire’. We didn’t get much time with him, but we did get to tour his school. My favourite part of this experience is also least “professional” aspect. We barely got any time to set up, and I used a lapel […]

Readers Write In #10: Composers languishing in obscurity

March 11, 2017

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Tamil Cinema has been blessed to have been graced by a dizzying array of music composers, right from the days of Papanasam Sivan till  may I say… Santosh Narayanan, but lost in the vortex of box-office success, many have fallen by the wayside, this article is about my personal favorites , who were not as […]

The A.R. Rahman fan club

March 5, 2017

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livemint spoke to me about 25 years of Rahman, and a small portion of that chat has been reproduced in their latest weekend issue. Link:

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 – Aaha kaadhal

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 – Kadal soundtrack

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 […]