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! 🙂

MILLION DOLLAR ARM (MUSIC REVIEW): Firangi Paani (International Special)

Million Dollar Arm Album Cover

Million Dollar Arm Album Cover

This being my first review for an international album, I was a bit nervous about how I would review it, but the songs are mostly connected to India, so it was pretty easy to write this review! 😀

Soundtrack Details:-

♪ Music by:- A.R. Rahman
♪ Music Label:- Walt Disney Records
♪ Music Released On:- 12th May 2014
♪ Movie Released On:- 9th May 2014 (in India) / 16th May 2014 (abroad)

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

Million Dollar Arm is a Hollywood biographical sports drama film which released on 9th May 2014 in India. It has been directed by Craig Gillespie, written by Tom McCarthy, and distributed by Walt Disney Motion Pictures. It stars Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma (‘Life of Pi’ fame) in main roles. The music of this film has been scored by A.R. Rahman, making it his fourth international venture after ‘Couples Retreat’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, and ‘127 Hours’. I wasn’t expecting much from the music of this film actually, and it came as a surprise to me when the soundtrack got released in India as well. So I decided to review it! 🙂

1. Makhna:- Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh, Neeti Mohan

The combo of Rahman and Sukhwinder Singh always produces great songs, and that is the case here too! The song starts with tumbi, and after Sukhwinder starts, you cannot even think of missing it. The composition is an ordinary Punjabi one, but the music is awesome! Neeti Mohan just has some backing vocals, which have been broken up but she does even that well. It is a short track, and whoever has written the lyrics hasn’t been credited. Maybe Rahman himself wrote them. A short Punjabi track, with awesome singing by Sukhwinder! Go for it!


2. Million Dollar Dream:- Singers ~ Sukhwinder Singh, Iggy Azalea

This is another Punjabi track, with use of tumbi and dhols, but this one has some English rap blended in with the Hindi part. Both the parts have been blended together very well, and make this track a very nice hear. Iggy Azalea, a rapper from Australia, has done her part very well. Sukhwinder also sings what he is best at, Punjabi songs, in this track, so it is no surprise that he has performed well. Another fun-to-listen Punjabi track, with two very contrasting parts blended in a very genius way by the maestro.


3. Unborn Children:- Singers ~ K.S. Chithra, Unni Krishnan, Lyrics by ~ Vairamuthu

This song is a Tamil song, ‘Thirakkatha Kaattukulle’ from the 1999 film ‘En Swasa Kaatre’ which was composed by Rahman himself, and it has been featured in this film too. It is a calm and soothing track, which I would have missed had it not been for this movie. Chithra and Unni Krishnan have sung beautifully! The musical arrangements are great and the composition is timeless, which proves how consistent Rahman was even fifteen years ago! Only problem is that I couldn’t understand a word! 😀  However, this just proves yet again the phrase, ‘Music is a universal language’! A must-listen song, with great music and a sweet tune! It is a  #5StarHotelSong!


4. We Could Be Kings:- Singers ~ A.R. Rahman, KT Tunstall, Lyrics by ~ KT Tunstall

If you have ever seen a Disney movie, you will immediately recognize the Disney effect which is very prominent in this song, in the form of the English chorus by KT Tunstall. A.R. Rahman has fused the contemporary English lines with the classical lines sung by him very, very well. The most magical line is ‘If I have your hand, I have a million hands…’ I don’t know why, actually, but it is the line which made me love this song instantly! IIt is an inspirational song, and it mostly focuses on teamwork, which is a main theme of the movie since it is about baseball. The tablas have been used exceptionally! Rahman’s sargam will blow you away! KT Tunstall, a Scottish singer-songwriter, also performs amazingly! A fantastic composition, fantastic music and awesome vocals! A must-hear for all those who need motivation! #5StarHotelSong!


5. Taa Taa Tai:- Singer ~ A.R. Rahman

This track is an awesome example of good fusion! Sitar is the main instrument, and along with Rahman’s extraordinary vocals, which are some classical tabla bols, it is an exemplary piece of music. The techno beats help in generating interest for the international listeners. I wonder how it has been used in the movie! Definitely worth more than a listen!


6. Keep The Hustle:- Singers ~ Wale, Raghav Mathur

It starts with too many techno sounds, which did not impress me all that much. This track is purely meant for only international music lovers, and not people like me who love classical touches in music. The famous rapper, Wale, has collaborated with Rahman in this track, and he does great! Raghav Mathur also carries out his part very well. Actually Raghav Mathur is an Indo-Canadian so he is very comfortable singing electronic hip hop songs in English. The female singer has been uncredited. I don’t know why Hollywood likes to leave the names of the people who have done backing vocals a secret, because they actually do a great job! After ‘Wanna Mash Up?’ from ‘Highway’, Rahman is back with a praiseworthy attempt in making an electronic hip hop track, this time for an international project! A great effort by Rahman, but strictly for hip hop lovers!


7. Nimma Nimma:- Singer ~ Jaspreet Jazz, Lyrics by ~ Jaspreet Jazz

This song, you might remember, if you watched the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, in which this song was featured. Since this film is a sports film, it is natural that the makers of it will want the song which Rahman had composed for the Olympics. It is another Punjabi song. However, it is a very nice composition with great use of instruments, like dhols, and sitars. Though you might not start dancing in the first listen itself, this song will surely grow on you in the successive listens. Jaspreet Jasz’s lyrics seem to have no connection to the movie. His singing is energetic and he sounds a lot like Daler Mehndi. Try it at least one or two times, you won’t regret it!


Instrumental Tracks:-

Bobbleheads:- This track is not actually instrumental as it has some sargam sung by a female voice who is uncredited. :/ Her vocals are not even that great, and out of pitch in most of the places. The music is good, though, and this saves the female singer. Guitar, manjeeras and flute have been used very nicely.

♪ Never Give Up:- This track starts with mild piano notes, followed by great violin orchestration, which A.R. Rahman had showcased in ‘Rana’s Dream’ from ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ as well. It completely changes track few seconds into it, and becomes a fun and quirky song, with just as fun music. The percussion used is very mild, but also such that you will start grooving along with it!

♪ Lucknow:- This track sounds like a tabla baithak, like those which are held in Lucknow, as the name suggests. A.R. Rahman is an expert at such songs, ‘Kun Faaya Kun’ from ‘Rockstar’ being the best recent example. The harmonium, sitar and tablas have been used very brilliantly, and you feel as if it has ended too quickly. Rahman’s voice adds to the magic. By far, the best of the instrumental tracks.

♪ Farewell:- Starting with tanpura and flute, it is another classical-based instrumental track, but it would definitely fit in the movie. The aalaaps by a female singer, again uncredited, are beautiful this time, and Rahman succeeds in making a sad track which would suit in the background of a ‘farewell’ scene in the movie.

♪ Desi Thoughts:- This track only has an electric guitar which seems to be muted playing all throughout the track, which does not make it sound that ‘Desi’. However, the guitar is played in a classical way, like a sitar. The track gives a bit of a haunting feel, but it does fare as well as the other instrumentals of this soundtrack.

♪ First Tryout:- Another track using harmonium, and also piano notes, this track is slow and soft. It is a confusing track, maybe describing the confusion in the head of the person who is giving his first tryout. It ends very abruptly before you can understand a thing, so I say you should skip it.

♪ Calling Scouts Again:- Such a sound was last heard in the instrumental tracks of ‘Jal’, with great folkish percussion. It sounds very nice and quirky, and you will immediately start dancing or moving to the beats. Definitely try this one!

♪ Welcome to India:- This is a calming track, and it will give you lots of mental peace. Again, traditional Indian instruments have been used, creating an Indian ambience which I am sure the international listeners will be blown away by! At the end, the flute comes in to add in to the peacefulness. A great track!

♪ The Final Pitch:- This is the longest instrumental in the album, and another peaceful one, too, like the previous one. Piano has been used very mildly throughout the song, giving the feel of a piano recital abroad. At five minutes, though, this track is too long. Rahman’s vocals are also featured in this track. Violins also come and go, and they have been orchestrated very, very well! Towards the end, the suspense builds, like a suspense movie’s climax, and the tempo also increases. Percussion and horns are introduced towards the end. Maybe this is when the main character hits the baseball finally. Thank you for hitting it and ending the song! 😀 With this track, the album also comes to an end.


Overall:- Rahman has shown the world that he is capable of composing for nearly any type and genre of movies, with this album. Though it is a Hollywood film, he has shown us that he has the capacity to score for Hollywood films, yet again! Out of the songs, though having an overdose of Punjabi tracks, they have been composed and arranged very well, and it has been a good attempt by Rahman. The Tamil song is the sureshot winner out of the songs. Where the instrumentals are concerned, Rahman has delivered exactly what was needed in each situation, like for ‘Lucknow’ and ‘Welcome To India’ and of course ‘The Final Pitch’. The only problem is that the Indian audience won’t be able to connect with some songs, and neither will the international audience with others.  Again, Rahman shows his versatility with this album, and it is a very good attempt by him. According to the Hollywood standards (which are anyday less than those of Bollywood) this soundtrack is great!


Final Rating for this Album:- सा < रे < ग < म < प <  < नी

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


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