The very cover of the Aascar Films Tamil album, Ananda Thandavam, captures you -- with its cloudy blue-grey sky, the hero on his penny-farthing cycle and Tamanna's come-hither look. Expectations are sure to rise as the King of Poetry Vairamuthu has penned the lyrics. Surely the music itself, tuned by G V Prakash Kumar, ought to match them. Let's have a listen:
Naresh Iyer's carefully controlled voice begins Pattu Poochi, along with a wave of synthesised music, which leads into an abrupt slow-paced beat. There are shades of Saaral from Kuselan. Mahathi provides additional vocals to the song which makes a determined effort to be different as it switches to percussion. A trumpet interlude adds some spice. Determined it might be but the song seems to meander without direction -- snappy one moment, ruminative the next. Not a very inspired song, you must admit.
Kallil Aadum begins with Benny and Shweta's voices in a romantic duet -- you can't say much for the latter's voice, which is a tad shrilly for a supposedly mellow track. A flute interlude makes a rather pleasant entrance into the rather commonplace tune, while a guitar also joins the milieu in a bid to enliven the situation. This number just manages to scrape through.
Merry strings of the guitar herald the start of Poovinai, sung by Srinivas and Shreya Ghoshal. The lyrics speak gently of the way life goes, even in the midst of a romantic number. A R Rahman's influence is quite heavy here, as the melody reminds you of the general theme of Pudhiya Mugam. Ironically, it's the end of the song that touches you a bit, with its refrain and philosophic lyrics.
Megam Pola begins, as you might expect, with reverberating cloudburst and a blowing gale. Shankar Mahadevan starts off with a bang in an angsty voice, swift and predicting doom and heart-break -- and Vairamuthu makes his presence felt, again. You don't quite know if the composer was inspired by the evergreen raga of Nanda Nandana but you can't help but enjoy the respite from syrupy love songs. The interlude reminds you of A R Rahman's work in Lagaan. Shankar Mahadevan's lilting voice pulls you into the melody.
Shubha Mudgal's vibrant voice kick-starts Kanaa Kangiren. Nithyashree pitches in with her characteristically strong voice. This one seems to be more an imaginative number on every possible style of marriage there is. The nadaswaram arrives with full gusto, while Vinitra joins the tableau, and happily, this one goes beyond the usual, providing some variation chiefly because of the snappy pace.
Ananda Thandavam's theme music is a melodious instrumental rendition of the song Poovinai and its variations; it brings together the essence of the whole album.
Taken together and barring a few moments, the album doesn't really rise to inspiring heights. There's a lot of romance and Vairamuthu's words add some dashing energy, though the tunes are familiar. It's not bad but not very good either.