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    ' Manja kaatu is a lovey-dovey song, but it's not very cloying, and puts some humour into its lovey-doveyness. The teasing Western oohs and aahs add to its irony



Gayathri (left) and Kaushalya star with Prabhudeva in 'Manathai Thirudi Vittai'








What's Kadalan dancing to?  

Manja kaatu mynah, the hit song from the Prabhudeva starrer Manathai Thirudi Vittai, shows Yuvan Shankar Raja's flair for simple, likeable tunes

Manadai Thirudi Vittai
Rs 45

The music of Yuvan Shankar Raja's Manadhai Thirudi Vittai was released in September. This is pre-Nanda music, and hasn't attracted as much attention. But one of the songs here is already a hit on the music channels. Manja kaatu maina by Karthick and Sadhana Sargam shows Prabhudeva doing one of his famous boneless-wonder dances with Gayatri who recently played the lead in the Kannada film Neela. The other heroine in the film is Kausalya.

Shut out from your mind the synth sounds in the background, and pay attention just to the dholak and the main melody. You'll hear the Pahadi-style Hindi film tracks of the '70s and the '80s. This is not to say it's a copy of anything, just that it has a northern flavour somewhere. The third and fourth of lines of the pallavi are distinctly southern, in a style popularised by recent Tamil film songs.

Manja kaatu is a lovey-dovey song, but it's not very cloying, and puts some humour into its lovey-doveyness. The teasing Western oohs and aahs add to its irony. Sadhana finds herself in an uncomfortably high pitch. Gave up trying to understand the words. The amazing thing is that she sounds like she is singing perfect Tamil, handling the 'zh' consonant with elan and all that, but you can't follow a word! Something that's like a morsing (Jew's harp) is the only instrument along with the flute in the first interlude. A pat on Yuvan's back for keeping things so simple, instead of overloading them with drums, violin ensembles, oboes, what-have-yous.

The song I really like next to this one is the Mehbooba mehbooba-style Chadugudugudu with its bass mesh, layered with a dance groove on the piano. Takes off in stylish short phrases of raga Sindhubhairavi, and manages to sound very Arab though it really is not. Aural illusions! Hariharan sounds very sober and sings well. He cannot indulge in his usual freewheeling ghazal mode, but he fits into the bantering tone with ease. No yuppie, Anglicised Tamil to arrive at that effect. Bhavadharani, who has been telling people how much Asha Bhonsle admires her voice, sings better here than in most numbers, thanks perhaps to the rather straight and simple notes. Her voice is clear, but it does not yet emote. What do you think?

Chitra Sivakumar's voice is deep and carries a rare resonance in her rendering of Colour colour. The bamboo dance rhythm from Assam sets the pace and the interludes are full of symphonic layers in the mode of Ilaiyaraja. Inklings of the Nanda to come, with its full acknowledgement of Ilaiyaraja's influence. The tune is entirely Celtic, Irish in its flute, in the main melody and overtones. But the feeling is far from patchy, and things sit well together.

Kutti kutti is by Sadhana Sargam, a nature song, full of celebration. More Pahadi dhun touches, and the beat is reminiscent of the famous tribal music-inspired song Bichua from Madhumati. For those who might not be familiar with that Hindi film: it starred a radiant Vyjayantimala and Dilip Kumar, and had music by Salil Chowdhury, who roamed the hill regions for six months to understand the essence of the hill people's tunes.

All day jolly day is a college-situated song. Oh not another, you might say. Shankar Mahadevan gets lots of songs like this these days. More of what they call 'masti' and less of softer tones. Wonder why. He's surely capable of more? Yuvan Shankar Raja also sings in this number.

Sujatha sings Azhagana suryan, a quiet tune with shades of raga Yaman. Lacks character in the interludes.

Yuvan Shankar Raja is not making mere party music. And there's no doubt that he is growing with each album.

S Suchitra Lata 

Published on 28 November 2001

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