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Impressive debut from Rahman's nephew

By Shyam Balasubramanian
September 18, 2006 13:25 IST
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Composer G V Prakash Kumar's mama also happens to be a music director. His name is A R Rahman. It is to Prakash Kumar's credit that he manages to have something to show for himself beyond his uncle's colossal shadow.

Prakash Kumar, the child voice in Chikku Bukku Rayile, the national hit from Gentleman, makes his debut as music director for S Pictures' Veyil, directed by director Shankar's ex-assistant Vasanthabalan and starring Bharath, Pasupathi, Shreya Reddy and Bhavana.

The first thing you notice when you play the Veyil album is that the start section of the first track Veyilodu Vilaiyaadi is almost the same as the middle section of Sandakozhi from Aayitha Ezhuthu (music by uncle Rahman). You listen in dread but the song develops well and you breathe a sigh of relief.

Veyilodu Vilaiyaadi actually has you swaying on the inside. The choice of voices is exceptional. Kailash Kher, Jassie Gift, Tippu and Prasanna Rao lift the song and Jassie Gift's voice really captures your attention. The beat, which is very simple and folksy, strikes a chord immediately. It is a potential hit.

Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Ghoshal croon Uruguthey. It is a very soft and simple song that is soft on your ears. Shreya's pronunciation is good and Shankar Mahadevan is as reliable as ever.

Ooranthottathila is also a song that makes you sway. The vocals are led by the trusty voice of Palghat Sriram, singing with Rakesh. What strikes you most about this song is the use of a guitar in a rhythm with a heavy beat. The song contains complex multi-layered beats and other sounds you wouldn't notice unless you really paid attention, but they really enhance the song. This is almost a sure hit.

Kaadhal Neruppin Nadanam is the next song on the soundtrack, sung by Karthik, Chinmayi and Nitheesh. Here Prakash Kumar has taken the Harris Jayaraj way out and added sections where, try as you may, you just cannot make sense of the vocals. It is just an average song where the music director tries to do too much, with limited success.

Iraivanai is a flowing melody replete with pianos and flutes. Prashanthini's voice completes the melody. The problem is that the song may be too short for a radio or television programme.

Setthavadam is ideally a background track. Manickavinayagam's voice is perfect for the short and earthy song by Ekadhasi.

The next song seems to come to you straight from the village locales around Madurai. Thankfully, it is not by Pushpavanam Kuppusamy who has come to personify this genre of Tamil music. The title of the song, Aruva Minuminunga, gives the impression of it being a song set in a festival to honour one of the many village deities in Tamil Nadu. The song is laced with humour and some sections will make you smile if you listen closely. The last section featuring the female voice is hilarious. It is a conversation between a distraught woman and her drunken husband. This is a song you may not like but you will definitely not hate it.

Naa Muthukumar impresses again. In Veyil, he has maintained consistency with simple lyrics that are soothing to your nerves and ears. There is no kitsch. At the end of it, he comes out with poetic elegance.

With his debut, Prakash Kumar promises a lot. Yet it is important to read the fine print on the cover. A large part of the musical and technical crew is borrowed from Rahman: Sridhar's mixing is exceptional; old-Rahman crew members 'Flute' Navin and guitarist Kabuli do their jobs with graceful perfection.

A good album considering it is the music director's first. It remains to be seen if he can assemble his own crew and work outside the influence of his genius uncle for prolonged periods. But for now, all we can say is: Good job, mate.

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Shyam Balasubramanian