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A patchwork, frenetic style

Amarkkalam is a film starring Ajith and Shalini, who've just become a real-life couple. Bharadwaj's music doesn't offer anything particularly memorable

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Amarkkalam means frenetic activity. "Fix your enemy" is how the posters sum up this film.

Ajith, a small time crook, is hired by don Raghuvaran to break Shalini's heart. Raghuvaran wants to fix her father and his old enemy, policeman Nasser.

It turns out she is not Nasser's daughter after all, but Raghuvaran's. How the director fixes it all explains the rest of the 'amarkkalam'.

The music by Bharadwaj is predictably frenzied. Rock style guitar riffs characterise Sontha koral, an apology of a song. It is sung by heroine Shalini herself. Ketten has a breathless S P Balasubramanyam singing some striking lines:

Pulai pole panivai ketten...
Pannithuli pol oru suriyan ketten... Dhroham thangum valimai ketten...

(I asked for the humility of grass...
I asked for a snowdrop like the sun...
I asked for strength to bear betrayal...)

The voice and the heavy keyboard violins sound overdone. On lines like Idhilai edhum kidaikavillai/Maranam, maranam maranam ketten (I got none of these/ I asked for death, death, death), the crescendo is unbearably loud.

Bharadwaj sings the theme song En sethayo vidiye. The first interlude features violin phrases with a touch of raga Des. The second interlude sounds like Aerosmith because of its guitar style. The song ends up as a hotch-potch of styles. For most of the second part the song is instrumental, depending heavily on the electronic guitar (Kabul).

Meghangalal ennathotu is by SPB. A heavy beat joins the whistle of a steam engine. Drums pan and a sarangi and a distant ghostly voice fade into SPB's voice.

In the first interlude the guitar stands out, and on the second, a tambura, voice and sarangi provide some relief from the high-pitched singing.

The third interlude features a sax, and the heavy violins again. But this song, like the theme song and Ketten, is dramatic and loud.

Bharadwaj uses Bobby McFerrin's opening bars from Don't worry be happy on Unnodu vazhatha. A pleasant song.

Srinivas sings the tappanguchi-style Maha ganapathy, a song that laments that the computer has become god, and men bring up children.

Bharadwaj often lapses into a patchwork of styles, and that doesn't contribute in any way to making the songs memorable.

S Suchitra Lata

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