As expected, the 1st half of September saw a lot of releases leading up to Onam on Sep 11. But the outcome is quite a mixed bag.
Kando Kando – Ittymaani Made in China – Deepak Dev – Goodwill Entertainments
It is interesting to see the multiple composer concept catching up to the Malayalam industry as well. Apart from the 2 songs by 4 Musics, this album has one each by Deepak Dev and Kailas Menon.
‘Kando Kando’ is an adorable composition and it only gets better the moment Vaikom Vijayalakshmi joins in. Deepak extracts the best from Mohanlal and the unique sounds he adds, especially the wind instruments (Blues Harp, Irish Penny Whistle, Melodica, etc., by Nikhil Ram) & Ukulele (Deepu Sasidharan) is a delight. The strings (The Chennai Strings Orchestra) and the male chorus give the song a sweeping texture.
Rating – 9/10
Vaikom Vijayalakshmi, born visually challenged, is an expert in playing a rare instrument called Gayatri Veena and plays the Kazoo as well. Known for her unique and powerful voice, she rose to fame with the song ‘Kaatte Kaatte’ from the period drama ‘Celluloid’.
Vennilavu Peythalinja – Ittymaani Made in China – Kailas Menon – Goodwill Entertainment
This is a gorgeous melody and each of the 4 singers (Najim Arshad, Harisankar KS, Manjari & Devika Sooryaprakash) are superb. Devika, in her first brush with film singing, holds her own confidently amongst the other accomplished singers. The lilting Veena (Biju) provides complements admirably.
Rating – 9/10
Raathein – Love Action Drama – Shaan Rahman – Muzik 247
Zee SaReGaPaMa contestant Narayani Gopan makes an assured debut in this ‘Hinglish’ number and showcases her range well. Narayani’s Hindi diction may need some polishing, but I am only nitpicking here. Shaan himself is excellent with his portions and nails the jazz sound!
Rating – 7/10
Aalolam – Love Action Drama – Shaan Rahman – Muzik 247
This is another easy winner from Shaan. Laced with a sedate Mridangam (Prashanth), Harishankar K S & Gowri Lekshmi ease through this easy listen track.
Rating – 7/10
Oru Swappnam Pole – Love Action Drama – Shaan Rahman – Muzik 247
Shaan picks 5 contestants (Bharath Sajikumar, Aswin Vijayan, Sreejish CS, Nanda J Devan & Narayani Gopan) from the Zee show he judges and hands them a song brimming with exuberance. This is easily the pick of the album with its jaunty rhythms and lively singing by the youngsters and has all the ingredients to be a companion piece to ‘Thudakkam Mangalyam’ from Bangalore Days.
Rating – 8/10
‘Varavaayi’ sung by Shaan himself is a lively song from the album and makes for a good listen.
Patiala Peg – Happy Sardar – Gopi Sundar – Manorama Music
What starts off as a racy trance track morphs into a full-blown bhangra number, which is the only interesting thing about this track. Zia-Ul-Haq exhibits infectious energy but his Hindi/Punjabi diction leaves a lot to be desired. An interesting attempt, in the midst of all the mellifluous melodies, that doesn’t make use of the scope on offer!
Manipravalame – Oru Mollywood Journey – Sreekumar Yadav – Goodwill Entertainments
A track that lists the specialties of ‘God’s own country’ and ably sung by MJ Rajmohan, takes a lovely detour midway to include a Kathakali vocal bit (Amachal Suresh, also credited for the percussion). The Nadhaswaram sets the tone nicely and the ‘Reethigowla’ raga base gives the song instant likeability. There is also a nod to the famous boat song. But beyond the halfway mark the song sounds a tad contrived and fails to sustain interest.
Rating – 5/10
Jane Man Fida – Independent – Akbar Khan – Nazal Media
This is not a Malayalam song. Akbar & Jasim are contestants in the Malayalam version of the Zee SaReGaMaPa show. Akbar made an excellent debut recently with ‘Ennuyire’ from ‘Margam Kali’. The 2 talented singers come together for this pleasant song that has a nice Sufi touch to it that kindled memories of ‘Maula Mere Maula’ from ‘Anwar’.
Rating – 7/10
‘Swaravismayam’, an album released by Zee Keralam, featuring the contestants of its music reality show featuring compositions by Alphons Joseph & M.Jayachandran among others, is a middling effort at best and looks to be hastily put together to meet the demands of the festive release. Apart from Alliyambal (Alphons Joseph) which is a good song, only Nandhanandanam & Sumangali Bhava evoke some interest. With such talents at their disposal, this feels like a squandered opportunity, by Zee Keralam.