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Discernment. Online

Given the high cost and non-availability of celebrity music directors, there seems a much healthier chance for new composers these days
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Debut without lustre  

With Sri, one more music director enters Tamil filmdom. T S Muralitharan's is no Harris Jeyaraj-style debut 

T S Muralitharan is the latest to join the tribe of Tamil film music directors. Sri is his debut film. He has earlier worked on albums by Meena and Manoj (16 Vayadinilae).

Given the high cost and near non-availability of celebrity music directors, producers in Chennai are now more open to new talent. How many of the new names can make an impression and find their own identity? And how many can avoid sound like a mix of Deva, Rahman and the computer?

Let's look at what this new find offers. Vasantasena has an attractive bass pattern. The sarangi strains remind you of Deva of a decade ago. Harish Raghavendra and Chitra sing this pleasant number. The phrases are short and have an easy tunefulness.

Yamirukka bayam en seems to be a rip off of some Western number, with its rhythm and very disco guitar riffs and the dissonant chords in the refrain. Techno-dance in Tamil? The stanza is apparently Muralitharan's addition to the song with its varying tempo stress. Vikram, Sankar Mahadevan and Tippu sing this one, and I was surprised at their very half-hearted rendering. This song is written by Pushpavasagan, the director of the film.

Kanne mozhi is also by him, and is sung by Tippu. A quieter sort of song, which, after a second hearing on Side B, could stay in your mind for sometime. The first interlude is done on guitars and the second features lots of strings. A mandolin comes up with a Moorish effect.

S P Balasubrahmanyam sings Kalakalavena. The lyrics here, as in Vasantasena, are by R V Udaykumar.

Angela is by Vasundhara Das, Yugendiran, Sriram, Ganga and Timmy. The song changes modes so often that no singer or the tune registers. Strangely too no singer seems comfortable except Yugendiran perhaps. The second interlude has the Celtic sounds -- now so common in Tamil movie songs -- and then goes on to become rock, with heavy distortion guitar phrases. The acoustic guitar then comes on, and the heavy violin ensemble punches out straight notes. Vasundhara sounds strained and unnatural. A pitch shift goes off smoothly and this now Latino sounding number finally ends. Phew! You think fusion needs definite musical direction to hang together? Not this song!

Bhavatharini sings Karthikai thirunal. Her singing is very uncertain and her Karnatak phrases sound far from convincing.

Rehana (of Male male fame from the film Chocolate) and Karunas sing the number Madurajilla  in the tappankoothu style, often flat.

"Music co-ordinator" A N Basha gets credit on the inlay card. Does he work in the capacity of a music arranger?

Talking of debuts, it is hard not to compare this one with another recent debut in Tamil films. It must be said that this is no sensational debut, like Harris Jeyaraj's Minnale. I liked just one number here, Vasantasena, and found the rest just filling up space on the cassette.

S Suchitra Lata

Published on 21  April 2002

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