Sunday, March 04, 2007

Shiva 2006 - A music review


In 1990, RamGopal Varma made his debut as film-maker with "Shiva", which went on become one of the cult films.The music of that film was by Ilaiyaraaja, who was the most sought composer in those days.The music was a superhit although i feel the Background score of that film was much better than the songs composed. Yet, RamGopal Varma never worked with Ilaiyaraaja again. So, after a full 16 years,when he announced that Ilaiyaraaja would compose music for his new film "Shiva(2006),", it surprised many. So, what the does new album offer?
The album has 6 songs, each having a different mood.A small review of each song:-
1. Dheeme Dheeme: Shyeya Goshal
Shreya Goshal might credit Ismail Darbar for dicovering her, but i feel that no composer has extracted her best and showcased her talent better than Ilaiyaraaja. Right from 'Julie Ganapathy', she is the only female singer who is seen in all ilaiyaraaja's albums till date. Coming to this song, she shines as usual. Ilaiyaraaja uses his typical violin layers and keyboard chords. Any ilaiyaraaja fan would like this song for two reasons:(a) it is set in 'Suddha Dhanyasi' and (b)ilaiyaraaja's trademark embellishments.
this is probably the first distinctly sounding 'suddha dhanyasi' hindi song i have come across. the song is soft-mellow, mainly because of Shreya Goshal.
2. Kaise Kahen: Sadhana Sargam, Roop Kumar Rathod
the prelude of this song are borrowed from the opening lines of "Edhalo tholi valape" from 'Erra Gulaabeelu", a late 70s film of Ilaiyaraaja.Lookslike thats Varma's favourite song.The main tune of Kaise Kahen is "emani nee cheli" from "Manthri gaari viyyankudu", an 80s film of chiranjeevi directed by Bapu.The music was by Ilaiyaraaja himself.The old version is one of the very good and less remembered songs of ilaiyaraaja and this is probably his attempt to revive it. The keyboard chords, with which he backs up the mukhda of the song remind the early 90s ilaiyaraaja.If there is anything that is misfit in this song, its only the "I Love You" part. The 1st interlude has complete ilaiyaraaja character. it sounds little irish in execution but then, the violins have his stamp.
I like the background synth guitar sound which glides over the 1st two lines of anthara and ofcourse the tune of the lines "kya kya hum kehthe hain...khwaabon mein rehthe hai"(this is something which i like in the original version too..sounds melodious). The bass lines pick up towards the closing lines of anthara.and its ilaiyaraaja's signature to bring the end of anthara to standstill silence. So, he is very much in touch with his ideas.
The 2nd interlude is a very innovative starts with simple harmonium sound (on keyboards) and builds a replays and does one more. The last time, a solo-violin and bassguitar join the loop. brilliant sound there.
Overall, the song is impressive anough, except for the 'I Love You' part. and though Sadhana Sargam seems perforct choice, Roop Kumar Rathod fails to strike a chord. or proably i am biased, because i never liked his pale voice.
3. Josh Mein: Yesudas and Chorus
I am seeing ilaiyaraaja working with Yesudas after a very longtime. This song is built from the main tune of "Jagada Jagada" from "Geetanjali".well, definitely you would like to hear the original itself, even after ilaiyaraaja makes an attempt to improvise it on new sound. this song fails to replace the original.However, this song execution has few plus-points. Firstly, some amazing keyboard work has been done on this song. that ofcourse, could be credited to technology. And the song ventures into the same mood as "Ram Ram! hey Ram" from the film "Hey! Ram". Its not the chorus alone, but the execution, the soundscape and the overall feel potrayed.
I dont know why Yesudas was given such a high-pitch in the antharas.the basslines take a different plane while the singer tries his best to maintain the sur right, inspite of the high-pitch.the 2nd interlude evokes the early 90s ilaiyaraaja because of the he gives the same treatment to the chords. Despite his best attempts to maintain the fire in the song, somehow the song fails to register.
4. Police Police: Shweta Pandit & Minad Kamat
The least we talk about this song, the better.its revival of "Botany Class" from original Shiva and lets admit, the original was better.
5. Shapath: Ilaiyaraaja
This is probably the 1st hindi song by ilaiyaraaja. it tries to take the anthemic way but the tune doesnt linger even after you switch it off. nothing great can be written about this song and you can conveniently skip it.
6. Saara Yeh Aalam: Shreya Goshal & Roop Kumar Rathod
This song probably requires a separate post.This song stands as an example for his mastery over orchestration and compells you to call him "Maestro Ilaiyaraaja".right from the 1st second, ilaiyaraaja proves what he is capable of, even today, in this technology-computer-gadgetry driven music world.although he uses synthesizers, he plays more on his strengths - Acoustic music.Brilliance is the only word that is apt to describe this song.
The song is a rehash of "Aanandha Raagam" from an 80s tamil film "Paneer Pushpangal".ilaiyaraaja retained some portions and improvised a lot.and mind you, this song is really a fantastic improvisation. Try to listen to original and you will know the difference.
The song prelude will be one of my textbooks, if ever i want to compose starts off with 4 different sections of violins, each starting in a cascade and they are joined by the wind-section. By the time, the wind-section emerges, you are convinced that it is a philharmonic orchestra.i just love the mathematics he shows in the structure of wind sections and string sections. the wind-section overtakes strings and plays the perfectly structured loops(symmetry here) and then gives the baton back to strings, which play the main melody of the song in short and then violently complete the elaborate loop.Shreya Goshal is right choice again. the synthesizer sounds backing her vocals are typical ilaiyaraaja, and so are the counter-melodies on strings.Its all there, the vintage raaja.
the 1st interlude has an impressive array of instruments. Starting from synthesizer and bass notes(these deviate from the tune, and thats what he is famous for). The string sections play. I cant review this piece. all i can write is that 2-3 sections(violins and cellos) play different tunes, overlapping with each other. they sound together but when u listen keenly, there are 3 tunes. One is on cellos giving the base, the 2nd section is the 2nd layer potraying violent emotions and a solo-violin passing through them all and joining with a flute. whoa! ideas! the flute again ends and the violins take an extenstive (no short-cuts with ilaiyaraaja) crescendo, violently.
The anthara has counter-melodies, which the listen by now can predict because the song is already filled with lot of violins and thats natural.ilaiyaraaja raises the colour with the tune "Milne lage hai yeh dono jism-o-jaan" (see the violin play in the background) and then gives a completely unexpected/new twist to the tune bringing down the flight to join the main tune. this is an exquisite piece.
Ilaiyaraaja gives a small peek into western classical music with his 2nd interlude. String sections again, backed by keyboards. the same tune with different scales is something westerners identify a lot and everything gets back to indian violins, his trademark stuff.the 2nd anthara replicates the 1st one, in all ideas.
With this song, ilaiyaraaja proves that even a rehash of an old song can be done with new better ideas without boring the listener who has heard the original one. Infact, i wish he reworks on many such old songs of his, if he can really polish them with such immaculate orchestration. every piece of music in this song, be it the magical prelude or the astounding interludes and even the counter-melodies - every piece is a polished diamond. and thats ilaiyaraaja!
Overall, the album could be termed as 'average' but then, one 'saara yeh aalam' is enough to raise the worth of the album. the other two good numbers "dheeme dheeme" and "kaise kahen" also sound musically good, with interesting ideas. Ilaiyaraaja once again shows what orchestration really is and we listeners must admit it that he is the best in orchestration. Who says ilaiyaraaja's talent has fizzed out.his capabilities are very much on high notes and this album is just a sneak-peek into that.Waiting for more!!!!