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Review

An opportunity missed

Deva has let go an opportunity to make memorable music

Mugavaree
NIC Audio
Rs 42

Mugavaree stars Ajith and Jyothika (Nagma's sister). It's about a young music composer who longs to make it big in films. Which means you could call the film a musical.

Musicals offer composers a wider canvas than usual; and composers usually respond by creating at least a couple of memorable songs among the many they are called upon to produce. R D Burman loved Nasir Hussain's musicals and made lasting tunes for him, as in Teesri Manzil and Hum Kisise Kum Nahin. Ilaiyaraja grabbed the opportunity in Payanangal Mudivadillai, an '80s movie with a singer as its central character, and composed gems like Ilaiyanila. Can't say the same of Deva. In Mugavaree, he gives you some so-so tunes, and some forgettable ones.

The only song that caught my attention was Keech kili. It comes in two versions - one by Hariharan and the other by Harini. The melody has an Indian accent, and the back-up chords and bass guitar are neatly interwoven on a pop beat. In the brief alaap at the beginning, Hariharan's voice sounds real deep, and then when the song begins, you notice a sudden break, and the treble shoots up. On the stanzas he attempts a strident tone, very different from the soft tone he usually sings in.

Unnikrishnan and Anuradha Sriram sing Poovirinchachu. Call it fusion-rock if you like. The first interlude is heavy with a distortion guitar; the bass guitar is followed by Chitti Babu-like veena phrases playing with a mridangam. Anuradha is uncomfortable and shrill, unlike Unnikrishnan, who breezes through.

Unni Menon's Nilavae nilavae sounds like it is going to be raga-based now, the next moment it gets a Tiruda Tiruda feel. Unni Menon can't quite handle the high pitch. In the film, when Ajith the music director is called upon to prove his mettle impromptu, he breaks out into this song.

The situation: a silent lover's anguish. Deva explains through Ajith that this can be interpreted through Karnatak and Western music. It jumps abruptly from one to another with nothing linking the two styles. The poet pleads for a sign, as the heart can't bear the silence, though it might bear the sound of thunder.

O Nenjae is obviously 'inspired' by the 1999 pop chart lingerer Get down. Within the film the music director turns out what one believes are originals. But when he sings with his girl he merely copies. Why waste inspiration on real life? The rock effect of Poovirinchachu hangs on. Swarnalatha and Hariharan sing in a mechanical fashion. The lyrics by Vairamuthu affirm undying love. I had difficulty following Hariharan's songs, his pronounciation does not lend itself to easy deciphering.

Aande nootrande by Naveen (the flute player?) is sung in an Anglicised accent, with layers of melodies. It welcomes the millennium and seeks that it should draw rangoli at our doors. The rhythm features lots of cowbells and other high frequency percussion against a heavy bass drum and bass guitar. The bass guitar reminded me of Kaallemellam kaadal vazhga from Kaadal Kotai. But the tune is nowhere as good.

S Suchitra Lata



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