Rajani as a modern-day Murugan
Rajanikanth is Padaiyappa in Tamil and Narasimha in Telugu. And this story is a reworking of the Murugan myth, where the innocent, poor girl wins the hero's heart and the arrogant rich girl loses out.
Since Roja, Rahman has been composing patriotic songs, film and non-film. The title song Narasimha is another such. On a strong folk beat of the tamate (dafli), the bass guitar sketches the song.
The lyrics are full of loud, patriotic sentiment:
Naa peru Narasimha
He also describes himself as "a man with a moustache who's as good as a Punjabi in times of war, born only to serve this land".
That's when you begin to wonder whether the film is a vehicle for Rajanikanth's political ambitions. Like MGR, who rose to high office by playing roles that championed the cause of the poor, Rajanikanth too has been readying to enter public life on the basis of his screen persona. Elections, let's not forget, are round the corner.
Chuttu chutti is a love song with a Scottish pipe-sarangi like instrument leading into the song. The ghatam beat throughout is very restrained and the song is soft. But Rahman is getting repetitive: you can string up his love songs, all more or less in the same raga and beat, and you won't know where one leaves off and the other begins.
Mano and Febi do a flamenco-style Kikku yekkele -- they sing, in the voice of drunks, of the fleeting nature of life, and why we must live it up. It is extremely Western in orientation, with trumpets, handclaps, violin pizzicatos and Spanish guitars. The music is catchy, not too loud, and there are interesting phrases on the Spanish guitar in the second interlude. There are some Hindi words, Sajna re, accompanied by a flute resembling the one in Gopala in Kadalan.
Meriseti Puuva by Sriram, Srinivas and Nithyasree is noisy with too many overlapping bits of music: loud sequenced violins, sitars, a monotonous mrudangam... They all clash. Hariharan's alaap on the choral bits brings up the quieter moments of the song. Nithyasree's ad lib on the bass is not outstanding either. The song sounds like it is based on Vasantha and Hamsanandi ragas.
In Yekku Tholi mettu, the Latin American take-off by Sriram and chorus urges Narasimha to fight on: Jeevathamante poratam, poratum lo undi jayam
(Life is a struggle and in the struggle is victory...)
Ninnati varuku ne manishivayya neti modalu nuvu rishivayya
(Till yesterday you were a man From today you are a saint)
A saintly image, of course, is best if you want to be in politics! Chuttu chutti is repeated on Side B.
Rahman has managed some good tunes, especially Chutta chutti and Kikku Yekkele. Even the title track is notable for its simple arrangement. And with the energetic presence of Rajanikanth, it was bound to be a box office favourite. The audio rights of the film, industry sources say, were sold for a staggering Rs 3 crore.