"Vaaranam Aayiram is very special to me. It's straight from the heart and it's a lot about the life I have seen and lived and seen other people live. The music is a tribute to the music my parents made me listen as I grew up from ten to seventeen. My head is still filled with melodies I listened to during that period and a constant rhythm runs through my system, around which I write my stories," says Gowtham Vasudeva Menon, in a short note that accompanies the music album.
Some say it's a remake of the Hollywood movie Character. Others (including the director, Gowtham Menon) have said that it is loosely based on Forrest Gump.
Whatever that may be, there's no denying that Vaaranam Aayiram, the Aascar Ravichandran-backed Tamil project, with Harris Jayaraj setting the tunes, has been making the waves for quite some time. And now the audio's out amid great expectation of a Gowtham Menon-Harris Jayaraj combo.
Much to the delight (and relief) of many fans, the lyrics accompany the disc. Here's an overview of what the album offers:
Up first we have Adiyae Kolluthe, a heavy burst of synthesised music with Krish and Benny Dhayal singing at a high pitch. This number reminds you of bits of Oru Maalai, another celebrated Harris Jeyaraj hit. Penned by Thamarai, this number has the distinction of having Shruti Hasan on board as well. Her unyielding, strong voice suits the number, though there are no surprises in her vocal range. Come to think of it, the song, in itself, offers no surprises -- you've heard English phrases mingling with the song before, alternating with high-pitched notes that descend abruptly into the doldrums. It seems a rather watered down version of Uyirin Uyire.
Nenjukkul Peidhidum kicks off in a mellow fashion with the strings of a guitar, some humming and an almost casual rendering by Hariharan, Devan and V Prasanna. After a long time, you hear a variation in the tune and Thamarai's beautiful lyrics, as always, add to the effect. A short guitar interlude reminds you a bit of Eric Clapton but it merges into another melody.
Benny Dhayal, Naresh Iyer and Solar Sai rap and begin Yethi Yethi. Though peppered with rap, this number reminds you of the tunes of the late 80s and early 90s. Presumably that was the intention but Harris can't help coming back to his Oru Maalai tune. Na Muthukumar has written this song, which follows the formula in Harris's style.
Surya's voice begins Mundhinam with a sort of love-message, and the tune certainly changes track, giving you pleasant surprises. A sax interlude catches you unawares, as Naresh Iyer and Prashanthini perform this number. Once again, Thamarai proves that she's the reigning queen when it comes to Tamil lyrics. A catchy number.
Oh Shanti Shanti looks sort of developed from the refrain of Nenjukkul Peidhidum. It certainly is an attractive number if it can be called by such an epithet. S P B Charan's clear, melodious voice revels in this tune, ably seconded by Clinton. And, in typically Harris fashion, it changes pitch as well and makes its mark.
Even when Harris attempts a kuthu song, it ends up with his unique, up-market feel. But you still like the simple tune of Ava Enna. Karthik and V Prasanna have sung this rather fast-paced song comfortably. It's one of the most ancient tunes known to folksongs but still makes for a pleasant hearing.
It's been a long time since you heard something akin to Kaatrinile Varum Geetham but Anal Mele, sung by Sudha Raghunathan, fills a void you didn't even know existed. This one is a truly beautiful piece, which coming after a long gap is truly welcome. The gentle sorrow and slow pace that permeate the song are a delight to hear. A nice, long and enjoyable number.
Put together, you definitely feel that Harris Jayaraj has broken out of a self-imposed mould of recent times, and has set out to provide some quality music with a difference.