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Vijay sings a duet

Five Star
Rs 45

When you come across a film starring current heartthrob Vijay with music by Deva, you expect to listen to some good numbers in the style of Vannanilave.

This tape doesn't disappoint. Deva comes up with a couple of interesting tunes. He has developed a pop-classical style. It uses a heavy pop beat, complete with bass and violin backup and borrows its tunes from ancient classical compositions. Rahman set this trend with En veetu thotathil from Gentleman. Deva's music does not produce that sort of patchwork effect but forms a whole scheme of musical sounds.

Manase is based on ragas Miyan ki Malhar and the Sri (Karnatak). It resembles Rahman's song in Daud -- Tu hi mere neendon mein -- and also Karuthamma -- Tenmerku paruva kattru. Unnikrishnan and Chitra sing one version, while Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam pair up for the other. Unnikrishnan with his classical training renders it with more tenderness and expression. Chitra too is good. Hariharan seems to have used up all his impressive vocal tricks and sounds a bit uncomfortable. Sadhana tries to perfect her pronunciation.

Madras dost is unremarkable. Anuradha Sriram sounds shrill and Krishnaraj and Naveen don't impress.

Prime Minister has an Arabian orchestra with occasional tamate beats. The tune, in parts, seems to be based on raga Punnagavarali.

Thanganiram begins with an Afghan folk style voice over a rhubab. Vijay sings this duet with Swarnalatha and does a creditable job. No credits have been given for the alaap bits. The tune and the heavy rhythm are in Tamil folk style, and the syncopation is interesting. The Goan-style bits have been built into the song unobtrusively and the accordion is used in one of the interludes. The lyrics take you through the various states of India as the lover tries to woo his beloved. That is a good trick to shoot the song all over India!

Hariharan's song, Ennanbe, begins with a stylish bass guitar intro, but he sounds strained and uncomfortable. The bass throughout is very well done, much in the style of rap and rock. The trumpet bits sound authentic. There is even a rap-style instrumental refrain.

Ilaiyaraja's influence was more obvious in Deva's earlier films. Of late he seems to have arrived at a more individualistic style. The strength of his songs still lies in the melody, but they are now intelligently built on modern drum rhythms. This blending of styles is very subtle and does not sound forced.

S Suchitra Lata

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