Friday, June 14, 2013

Naadi Thudikuthadi

Naadi Thudikuthadi is another obscure film from Ilaiyaraaja. I do not have any details about the film, so let me cut away straight to my thoughts on the album. This one again seems to be a low-key film with no big stars or production houses. The sound canvas, as expected, is more on synth rather than acoustic instruments.

1. You & I Young Forever: The male singer who starts the song sounded very much like Ramana Gogula, a music director and singer from Telugu Film Industry, who assaulted us in few films. Though it is not him here, the overall feeling is not that better. The song is built on Caribbean rhythms largely with heavy bass and drums and synth trumpets. The tune is just about hummable with more emphasis on some  percussions loops and some strong bass guitar work. The chorus work is extremely disappointing and it sounds almost like the stuff done for ad jingles. This is one of the rare instances where Ilaiyaraaja fails to internalize a genre, like how he usually does with his signature style, and ends up giving a typical Latino-Caribbean flavoured song where melody lacks meat and the flavour is more by percussions, the usage of which is pretty straight and  un-raaja-ish. This song is sung by 5 singers. 

2. En Poo Nenjai: The synth violin chords (and waw guitar sounds on keyboard) which open the song disappoint me big time because this is the sound I usually hear in tv-serials or low-budget devotional albums by some struggling singers. My expectations were lifted by the rhythm and the melody which actually sound much better. The best component of this song is the melody. The rhythm, though unique, has some tin sound in it which makes the song a bit mechanical. The interludes on the other hand flow flawlessly in Raaja's style that he typically reserves for some Malayalam films. Some flute, some piano and some chorus. The charanams are also constructed beautifully. If there is anything wrong in this otherwise good song, it is the sound of the percussions which are throbbing out of the song than needed for this kind of soft melody. It is not about the volume levels or mixing issues but more about the sound of the percussions used, which seem to be a bit harsh on this gentle melody. Rita, the singer, rendered it well. 

3. Kaadhale Illadha: Here comes the most cringe worthy song of the album (i use cringe-worthy here because of that atrocious opening of the song). I read a Ilaiyaraaja fan's tweet that this song has the faux-rock style and I agree with that. Right from the word go, the song sounds odd in every bit and the various elements in the song do not appear to be cohesively sticking together - like how they usually do in Raaja's music. Raaja's vocals do not appear to suit the tune. The chorus is absolutely cheap. The tune does not strike well. In constrast, the 1st interlude is good and the charanams seem like the left-over pieces of "Thaavi Thaavi" song from Dhoni. The shift from Charanam to Pallavi is too abrupt and it feels like a decent tune in charanam is bludgeoned to death with that pallavi and that chorus. 

4. En Devadai: Ilaiyaraaja flips our listening experience completely with this mind boggling composition, sung by Karthik and Anitha. Beautiful guitar strumming and a synth guitar prelude making way for an awesome tune embellished with some groovy keyboard chords. It is amazing that Raaja's style of chord progression continues to give goose bumps. The 1st interlude is a western classical piece that builds on a motif and completes a crescendo after which Raaja continues to shower his magic in the charanam. The way raaja used cello and strings in charanam - you can probably create one more composition out of those pieces alone. And yet, it all fits well and holds it all together brilliantly. The 2nd interlude however, is surprising because it relies only on scale changes. Yet, the song makes for a fantastic listening experience. Overall, this song is the pick of the album. I am afraid this song might end up as the underrated gem, if the film flops and this song doesn't grab as many ears. 

5. Velinaatu graama: The song has nice tune in pallavi although I feel there is nothing much "village-y" in the song that seems to be singing about/in a village (graama). This is surprising given that it is Ilaiyaraaja there holding the baton. What I find completely dissonant in this song is the heavy western classical based interludes, particularly the trumpets, that sound very much out of sync with the melody in the song. This could be a situational song, going by the dark theme reflected in the interludes. The charanams flow well with a melody consistent with the pallavi and they are backed by beautiful arrangements with strings and Piano. The rendition by Haricharan and Swetha is adequate. While this song is not bad as such, i doubt if this will really have as much shelf life as En Devadai. 

Overall, Naadi Thudikuthadi is a very average fare from Ilaiyaraaja although En Devadai's brilliance and the melodic quotient in En Poo Nenjai and velinaatu can tilt that. But the listening experience is mixed, empirically speaking. Ilaiyaraaja delivers the goods amazingly well only in En Devadai - the most brilliant one in the album. The other good songs have some misgivings and then, there are songs where Ilaiyaraaja disappoints big time. 

Bottomline: Ilaiyaraaja's mixed bag ranges from awesomeness to pointlessness. 
Not to miss: En Devadai

Note: My opinion is strictly based on how I enjoyed the album now and how I might enjoy it in the long run. 


Anonymous said...

Oh! Aakarsh not at'll impressed..
with Isaignaani's music!

U can try to get tooooo smaarrt..
but ur review is nothing but sick!

Anonymous said...

excellent analysis. 2, 4, 5 are total standouts. happy to see the great man still going strong at 70!

Anonymous said...

and just to add - 3 is a guilty pleasure since IR sings in English, making it quite a rare treat. :) and the percussions in 2 didn't bother me. kinda reminded me of 2 of his old songs - Rathiri from gundello godari (itself a remake of his old Tamil song), and Ponmeni Urughute.

reviewer is SPOT ON about chorus of 2 sounding a bit like IR's amazing song from Dhoni.