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Can 'crazy star' Ravichandran make music?

He's known for his zany song sequences
and absurd storylines, and he has just started
making his own music

Rs 20

Can Ravichandran compose music? Yes, if you go by this tape.

This actor-director of lavish musicals no longer works with Hamsalekha, who made the hit music for his debut film Premaloka. When they broke up, people wondered, "Can our hero make music?" Well, listen to this tape and you'll be convinced he can.

The six tracks reflect a pretty high quality. The bits sound familiar but the music is arranged with sophistication. The drum kit, the synthesizer and the other instruments are used with restraint.

Soorya suttangilla features the Chaiyya chaiyya star Sukhwinder Singh with Anuradha Sriram. The words are fresh: the girl describes her lover as one who can harvest the ragi of her heart. The sun can't turn round/ the moon can't fly/ or so you thought/ but love can make it all happen, says the song.

Sukhwinder articulates the Dharwad Kannada with ease, but the echo-enhanced recording makes some words hard to follow. The song's eroticism is captured by a sensual flute and an Arab chord build up. Anuradha too does an Arab-style ad lib. She is as always given a high key and sounds very uncomfortable, but this is still the best song in the album.

Chandagati chandada kansanne kandare by L N Shastri and Suma Shastri, is full of stylish violins and cellos. Rustic elements come in with the tamate and the ghatam playing in the charana. An interlude beat is reminiscent of Rahman's Chukku bukku raile.

K J Yesudas is back in Ellide baalina janapada, a slow song with a very well done orchestra. Sounds very pop. The bass is excellent. Yesudas's voice shows its age; it's a bit wobbly here and there. The song uses traditional images of friendship -- the peacock and the clouds, the cuckoo and spring, the soul and the body. The harmonica begins and ends the song and achieves a romantic 1970s effect.

Hrudayakke jaarida hunime (The full moon that slipped into my heart) by S P Balasubramanyam sounds very familiar. It celebrates love as a string of musical notes. The Japanese koto is liberally used as is the violin ensemble.

Jeevan embuva dariyalli talks about marching into the 21st century. Fast violin bits and a soft Spanish guitar alternate on a strong beat. SPB and chorus sing about dreams, but the words are rather insipid - no worries about Y2K or the end of the world, and no reference to the millennium baby! When the chorus asks why he has so many dreams for this particular morrow, the hero replies tamely that these dreams stand on belief!

Yaakamma beku intha loka by Yesudas is reflective and offers hope to wronged women. There is a ghatam with the piano, an unusual combination. The bass is spare and lends to the philosophical tone. It sympathises with a girl's plight in a conventional, moralistic society. A change from the songs of the '70s and '80s where the girl was told to find heaven at her husband's no matter what.

Kalyan's lyrics are simple. No smart puns in the style of Hamsalekha, but he's got a feel for words.

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