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A glimpse of Ilayaraja

Pavithra Srinivasan | September 16, 2008 11:09 IST

Along with laugh riots and commercial fares, the Tamil industry seems to be gearing itself up towards movies based on novels and short-stories, together with author-backed roles. One such movie is Nesagee Productions' Poo, directed by veteran film-maker Sasi, back after a long hiatus, starring Srikanth and Parvathi.

The movie is said to be based on the short-story Veyilodu Poi, by Tamilselvan. To see if the music, tuned by S S Kumaran, reflects the tone of the movie, read on.

Strains of nadaswaram begin Sivakasi Rathiyae, rendered typically in an enthusiastic rural fashion by Periya Karuppu Thevar. It throws up memories of a lot of early rural compositions of Ilayaraja, complete with lyrics about a girl who refuses the singer's charms, which bring a smile to your face not to mention the singer's voice itself.

Parts of it remind you of Gori tera gaon bada from Chitchor -- especially the instrumental interlude. Still, the fast pace and smirking lyrics do work, as the nadaswaram and whistles follow right to the end. Teamed with the right picturisation, this might just work.

Paasa Mozhi also carries a rural flavour, beginning with a flute's notes and casual pace. Sung by S S Kumaran, the music director himself, this piece reminds you a lot of the theme song of Paruthiveeran [Images]. The singer's voice seems untrained and wavers in pitch -- but it isn't so bad that it puts you off the song. Penned in an emotional, angsty fashion, this one is mostly a sad piece.

A child's lisping voice starts off Choo Choo Maari, which then segues into a violin-chorus segment. The setting and lyrics of the song strongly reminds of the village-introduction sequences; vivid pictures of children playing at trains spring into your mind. The image strengthens as you hear children's voices at play, their laughter, and bubbly flute notes. It's a simple, nursery rhyme-esque song, with an equally uncomplicated rhythm, rendered by Parthasarathy, Mridula and Srimathi.

Shankar Mahadevan [Images] and Hemambiga's Dheena begins with a sort of mysterious air, its flute notes and rumbling beats signifying a turn for the different. You appreciate the fact that the composer has tried to bring a note of newness into an otherwise familiar tune.

Maaman Engirukka too, begins with a faintly Scottish feel and then merges into an eighties composition; the rhythm is faster. Rendered by Harini, Tippu and Karthick, this piece is pretty straight-forward, with no pretension to high-falutin' melodies and different notes. Having said that the song doesn't quite sustain the momentum and anticipation the first few seconds raise.

Chinmayi's Aavaram Poo starts off with a bang, and the melody is certainly different from the general tone of the whole album. This one easily seems the most sensuous song of the collection, even if it descends into a medley of flutes, violins and percussion. This again, is a melody you've heard often -- though it's been some time since composer used it. The lyrics also seem to be very close to that of the original Aavaram Poo.

What can be said of the whole album is that when asked to produce a collection with a completely rural feel, S S Kumaran has tapped into his reservoir of Ilayaraja favourites and come up with songs that sound different for the first ten seconds -- and then merge into oft-heard melodies.

You can see the effort the composer has put into the songs and, though they're not exactly scintillating fare, they're worth a listen. Perhaps, if teamed with great picturisation, their appeal will increase.

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