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Paul J makes a racy debut

By Saraswathy Srinivas
October 26, 2006 16:04 IST
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Paul J is no novice in the field of music. He has composed a number of jingles and devotional songs. The Srikanth-Bhavna starrer Kizhakku Kadarkarai Salai (East Coast Road), however, marks Paul's debut as a music director.

The seven track album is exclusively youth-oriented. Paul has introduced many newcomers, some of them quite impressive. But what catches one's attention at the very outset is Ilayaraja's influence on the composer. In music as well as orchestration, like the maestro, he tries to blend both the Indian and the western. But the comparison stops there. The maestro's touch in creating a harmonious wholesome is missing here.

The first song Kanja penne is a fascinating romantic number in the classical mode. The predominant use of flute gives it a feel-good element, but there is nothing complimentary about the choice of singers. Pallavi's voice is irritatingly nasal especially when in high pitch, but lyricist Raju Murugan uses unique imagery that rescues the track.

Kingini mingini overpowers you with a heard-this-before feeling. Not surprising, since it's a blatant and shameful copy of the superhit O podu Gemini Gemini. Starting out as a copycat is not the right way to get established. If Paul wants to achieve a firm footing, he has to develop a style of his own. The sooner he realises this, the better.

Oru kodi roja is a romantic duet celebrating the heady feeling of love. The only appreciable factor here is that the orchestration is kept to the minimum, with a solitary guitar and a drum.

Paul must believe in 'short is sweet.' Else why would he have kept the melodious Yaeno ithu yaeno so lamentably short?Raju Murugan's lyrics are full of pathos, and Jaidev's singing conveys the gut-wrenching pangs of the love-lorn. One is overwhelmed by a sense of deja-vu as Jaidev's voice and singing style bear an uncanny resemblance to Ilayaraja's. Is there a conscious effort to imitate the legend?

Next comes Aajare ajare, peppered with a dash of Hindi words. It is a foot-tapping robust number which will find favour with those occupying the dance floors. Paul has attempted a fusion between folk tunes and Punjabi bhangra here, but the blending isn't smooth. Sudden switching over to bhangra makes the number jerky. This drawback is evident even more in the very next number,Vada vangada.

Vada vangada is a peppy number rendered in full-blooded, lusty style by Jassi Gift. Surprisingly, the distinctive casual huskiness which makes Jassi's voice unique is not prominently heard; maybe it's drowned under the vibrant orchestra. Again there is a sudden breaking into percussion in the interlude, which is quite out of place.

The tendency to incorporate different forms of music both vocal and instrumental is evident in most of the songs in this album. It is a pity that Paul has not always been able to integrate them in a coherent manner.

The last song, Welcome to ECR is a vigorously rendered rock track. It is the theme song delineating the splendour of the East Coast Road.

In spite of all its drawbacks, it is a racy album. The youth will lap it up.

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Saraswathy Srinivas