KAATRU VELIYIDAI (MUSIC REVIEW) : Southern Spice – Tamil (Tamil Special)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: A.R. Rahman
♪ Lyrics by: Vairamuthu, Madhan Karky, Navneet Virk & Shellee
♪ Music Label: Sony Music
♪ Music Released On: 20th March 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 7th April 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Kaatru Veliyidai is an upcoming Tamil language drama/romantic thriller which stars Karthi and Aditi Rao Hydari in the lead roles, and written, directed and produced by Mani Ratnam. The film is a romance between a military pilot and a doctor. Since I do not know Tamil, I cannot make out anything else about it, but I can make out that the film is a Mani Ratnam directorial and that means that it is also an A.R. Rahman musical. Scoring six songs for this movie, Rahman is expected to have taken the magic of the Ratnam-Rahman combo even further. So let’s see how far this album sticks to that!


1. Nallai Allai

Singers ~ Sathya Prakash & Chinmayi, Backing Vocals ~ Arjun Chandy, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu

Rahman starts off the album with a charming love song, that will surely please your senses. The composition is a breezy romantic one, with all the elements of a successful romantic song included in it. The mukhda is an apt introduction into the song, with a very soft and soothing sound, and very minimal arrangements. The hookline, when it comes, blows your mind. It is vintage Rahmanish magic — the kind where he gives something utterly simple (and which fake Rahman fans will call ‘Rahman being out of form’) and making it extremely catchy and soothing at the same time. The antara is wonderful, with its low and sombre notes. One bar of notes in that stanza sounds a lot like a bar from ‘Tu Hai’ (Mohenjo Daro). There are two antaras, composed in the same way, something we find Rahman doing very less — sticking to this convention. The arrangements are just as breezy and soothing as the composition, especially the guitars (Keba Jeremiah) which are the highlight of the arrangements. The first interlude has that guitar piece, which resembles the guitar piece in the interlude of ‘Enna Sona’ (Ok Jaanu) so much! Again, I’m not complaining. The vocals are amazing, Sathya Prakash hits the nail right on the head, and his variations and nuances are amazing. Chinmayi, though having no words as such to sing, hums a beautiful tune in the second interlude once, and once at the end of the song. Both times, her voice gives you the goosebumps very efficiently. As I’m not well-versed (what well-versed? I’m not even versed) in Tamil, I cannot comment on the lyrics, but I’ve heard from many people that Vairamuthu has used very archaic Tamil, from the Sangam Age, in this song. That is interesting, Tamil being one of the oldest languages of the world. 🙂 A breezy, love ballad that will soak you with its sweetness.

Rating: 5/5

 

2. Azhagiye

Singers ~ Haricharan, Arjun Chandy & Jonita Gandhi, Backing Vocals ~ Sid Sriram, Bawa Sahni & Keerthi Sagathia, Lyrics by ~ Madhan Karky, Punjabi Lyrics by ~ Navneet Virk

After the breezy romantic track, we have an upbeat youthful romantic song, and whatever Tamil albums I’ve heard, I’ve heard atleast one such song in each of them. And yeah, most (maybe even all) of them were by Rahman, so I guess Rahman loves to add such songs in his Tamil albums. Anyway, the composition redefines the meaning of ‘fresh’. A breeze of fresh air blows over you as you immerse yourself in this youthfully magical song. The hook composition is insanely catchy, and without understanding it, I loved it more than a lot! The way Rahman seems to have composed separate, individual mini-songs and put them all together into one song, is amazing. The seamless flow from Tamil to Punjabi and back, is something that I’ve experienced for the first time! (Yes, my mother tongue, Marathi, does have songs where Marathi and Hindi are mixed into one song, and it sounds horrible!) The humming portions by Jonita have been composed so majestically! She provides a splash of water in the fresh air that the song is. (Sorry if that was cheesy, but get my feelings!) The composition isn’t all-in-your-ears and determined to be on top of the charts, and that’s what I appreciate about it. Rahman has very humbly put a very medium-sized guitar riff (Keba Jeremiah) in the background, and decorates the rest of the composition with amazing strings (Murali, Mohan, Basker, John). The digital beats too, sound great. The harmonium and dholaks in the Punjabi interlude sound amazing, and I wish Rahman had composed such a song (I mean a whole song out of the Punjabi part) in Bollywood before the Tamil industry! The a capella backing vocals are amazing, and I wish more of it would’ve been there. The vocals are simply awesome. Arjun Chandy is in charge of the hookline, and he renders that beautifully, and charmingly. Haricharan does well in the Tamil portions, while Jonita hums her part impeccably well! Those nuances!! 💘 I wish she had more portions! (I guess I just wish everything was of more quantity in this song!!) A song effervescing youthfulness from every note.

Rating: 5/5

 

3. Vaan

Singer ~ Shashaa Tirupati, Backing Vocals ~ Arjun Chandy & Poorvi Koutish, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu

After two breezy romantic songs, it is time to get more intense, because here comes the vintage Rahmanish heavy composition, that just manages to find its way into every one of his albums. This composition is surreal, something that you just can’t ignore or dismiss as boring. It has some divine energy in it, which makes it universally appealing. The song has been composed on a very slow pace, and that makes it grow like slow poison. It starts with repetitions of “vaan varuvaan varuvaan…” which fade off. The sultry composition picks up even more at the “kadhal vandhaal..” part. The antara is just more entrancing. The magic is just unbelievable; it soothes you from head to toe. The arrangements are a masterpiece. There are no live instruments, except the flute (Kiran) and the piano, and the rest is digitally produced sound, which sounds amazing. I like the reverse sound effect that Rahman has added at olaces, where the sound seems to be sucked in towards the end. Sparkling, heavenly sounds accompanying the melody are just beautiful ‘tune-side’ attractions. The interlude with the vocal “ta ta ra…“, Sounds odd at first, but sets in later. The vocals by Shashaa are amazing; she has sung it very soulfully. An amazingly intense romantic song, that will leave the listeners in a trance.

Rating: 5/5

 

4. Saarattu Vandiyila

Singers ~ A.R. Raihanna, Tipu & Nikhita Gandhi, Backing Vocals ~ Arjun Chandy, Nivas, Santhosh, Aparna, Deepti Suresh, Abhay Jodhpurkar, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu

A traditional Tamil wedding song is up next on the soundtrack, and this is something I’ve never heard before. It is so beautiful to drown into some other wedding song, than the typical Punjabi wedding songs we hear in Bollywood. The composition is aptly upbeat, and trademark Rahman composition styles find their way into this one too. The hookline is really catchy, and the folksy beat really makes you dance hard. The arrangements are really vast, and awe-inspiring. The percussions (T.Raja, Yash, Kumar) are what stand out right away, the thavil resounding beautifully. Right from the beginning,the percussions are present. The santoor (Subhani) enters next, and its folksy sound makes everything sound even more beautiful. The flute (Kamlakar) is really sweet, and the solo interlude on the flute is amazing, where the ukulele (Lokesh) joins it. Again the guitar (Keba Jeremiah, Chris Jason) plays an important part in the arrangements. The vocals are really energetic, and the way the female singers, A.R. Raihanna and Nikita Gandhi, bring that sharp edge to their song, to sound more rustic, is really commendable! Tipu is great as the male singer. Backing vocalists play an integral role in the song too. A nice trip to a traditional Tamil wedding.

Rating: 5/5

 

5. Tango Kelaayo

Singers ~ Haricharan & Diwakar, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu

Now, from here, I felt the album slipping out of my hands. (Or ears.) The next song is a Tango, named ‘Kelaayo’. Rahman has provided a very efficient tango song, and the composition is aptly sensuous, and sultry. The sharp pauses and smoothly flowing notes, that usually define Tangos, are all present, yet I felt some barrier preventing me from loving the song to infinity, like I did the previous ones. Might be because of the composition, which is a quite typical one, if you compare it with other Tangos. The “unnai pirindhaal” effect has increased the song’s viability, without which it might just have become staid. The antara is a bit below expectations too, but that crescendo taken by Haricharan is beautiful. The arrangements are heavenly, getting the Spanish theme right. The accordions (Karthik Devaraj) and the strings hit the bullseye. The jingles and castanets too, are intriguing. There is one complete musical piece at the end which is basically a Spanish music showcase, and it provides a hard-hitting end to the song. Haricharan sings it well, and as Rahman cleared in one of his Facebook replies to a fan, Haricharan’s voice itself has been tweaked and pitch modulated to sound like that female voice you can hear in the song. Interesting fact! A song that is good, but you connect to it only partly.

Rating: 4/5

 

6. Jugni

Singers ~ A.R. Rahman & Tejinder Singh, Rap Vocals ~ Rajakumari, Shikara, Lyrics by ~ Shellee

The last song is the song I liked the least, from the album. Yes, it is also the only song from the album I totally understood as far as language goes. However, I guess I didn’t understand it as far as its composition and arrangements go. The song is such a typical Punjabi affair, that I am confused whether I like it or not! The composition is very, very monotonous, and that “JUGNI! JUGNI OH!” hook sounded quite irritating. The beats are groovy, but that didn’t make up for the flawed composition, which I just couldn’t catch up with. It goes all over the place, in the usual Rahman way of composition, but this time, I couldn’t grasp any of the tunes, except the aforementioned one, because it was irritatingly catchy. The arrangements consist of gratuitous bass, which sounds good for some time, and gets boring later on. The stereotypical “oye oye” which has been added in many places, is weird. But Rahman has used more great flute work here, and an entrancing sound. The arrangements on the most part are intriguing, but the composition is at fault. Tejinder Singh, “Voice India 2” finalist, excels with his rendition, but again, the composition doesn’t let him marvel too much. Rahman’s parts are those irritating outbursts of “jugni!“. Shellee’s lyrics make it out to be some kind of introductory song for the female lead, where she’ll be shown as a badass main character. A song where the composition plays the spoilsport, and how!

Rating: 3/5


Kaatru Veliyidai is an album that radiates the Rahman-Ratnam combo’s magic out-and-out. With the exception of one and a half songs, all songs are something that will go down in Tamil music industry’s history. Rahman has tried to finish up that small link which was missing in his last album for Mani Ratnam, ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, and covers it up beautifully with this, which definitely supersedes ‘OKK’. For me, as a Hindi music listener, I found this album an intriguing mix of Western tunes, Tamil folk rhythms, romantic tunes and mixes of world music. Another masterstroke from the Mozart of Madras! 

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 4 + 3 = 27

Album Percentage: 90%

Final Rating For This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Nallai Allai = Azhagiye = Vaan = Saarattu Vandiyila > Tango Kelaayo > Jugni

 

Which is your favourite song from Kaatru Veliyidai? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

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