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When music runs in the family

Yuvan Shankar Raja not only has to match up to competition but also live up to the legacy of his celebrity father, Ilaiyaraja

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This was to be A R Rahman's film, but Yuvan Shankar Raja bagged it. As he did Mani Ratnam's Dum Dum Dum, which was originally to be Dhina's. For those unfamiliar with these names: Dhina is the music composer for serials like Chitti, whose title song, Kanninmani, has become a part of the daily diet of Sun TV watchers. (That long-running Radhika starrer, with over-etched black and white characters, has been dragging on for over a year, making Nithyasree Mahadevan's title song a 9.30 p.m. regular!). Yuvan Shankar Raja is Ilaiyaraja's son.

Star children may have it easy when they want to get into the industry, but living up to a father's legacy is among the biggest odds they face. Karthik Raja and his younger brother Yuvan Shankar Raja not only have to match up to competition, but also face the mortification of being compared with their father in every score they compose. It's not easy being star children!

The younger of the two sons, Yuvan Shankar Raja, has already made the music for a couple of films. This film stars Ajit and Laila. Nagma, who starred in such hits as Kaadalan, features in an "item number".

The opening track Kathal website is techno-trance all the way, including the distant sounding voices. Shankar Mahadevan and Harini deliver the song competently. The song is repeated on Side B. Vaali's words are sprinkled with images of Donald Duck and Disneyland.

Nee illai enral has unusual voices in Murugan, Miyar and Bhavatharani. Far from being "acceptable" dulcet tones, each of these voices is interestingly rough, flat and even atonal. The song is loud, as is the orchestral arrangment with its electronic bass, drums, and synth jive together. Rather rock in its effect.

Sollamal thottu by Hariharan shows up the strain in his voice. But the pained love song about the beloved's killing silence gains from this, while the subdued piano and the rather exploratory way the tune builds up gives it an impromptu effect.

Ennenjil by Harish Raghavendra is Jamaican flavour all over, with swinging trumpets and samba drums. Harish, who came on a TV show recently, spoke about how hard his struggle had been to get into the film music industry. He does a good job as in his earlier songs in Ilaiyaraja's Bharati and Harris Jeyaraj's Minnale.

Vathikuchi by S P Balasubramaniam has a Spanish touch, thanks to prominent guitar sounds. Not a heavy violin sort of song. The drums are packed in to the inch. SPB does this aggressive sort of song well, rolling out the 'r's with relish. This is the "item number" with Nagma.

Yuvan Shankar Raja's score for Dheena hasn't created the kind of excitement that Harris Jeyaraj's Minnale has. A quick initial impression: Raja Jr seems too far inclined towards currently popular Western idioms, and hasn't quite figured out how to bend them to his style.

S Suchitra Lata

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