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Prabhu Deva and Simran star in 'Time'

Maestro in Mauritius

Ilaiyaraja's score for Time, a movie set in Mauritius, does not disappoint, but some voices lack expression

Aruna Records
Rs 42

Time is set in Mauritius, that emerald island that has caught the attention of Indian film makers these days. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was shot there, and now this Tamil film starring Prabhudeva and Simran boasts the same lush locales.

The story goes that Geethakrishna, director of Time, flew Ilaiyaraja to Mauritius so that the maestro could get a feel of the place before he made the music. Not that it was necessary, of course. Next thing he knew the director was in a fix. Ilaiyaraja had composed 18 tunes and Geethakrishna now had to reject at least lovely ones!

This tape does not disappoint, but the lack of expression in some voices does.

Sujatha in Niram pirithu is good, but the tune cries out for a deeper voice. The song, written by Pazhanibharathi, is rich in layers of violins and cellos, bringing to mind Ilaiyaraja at his contrapuntal best. The orchestra creates a big band jazz effect, and you're left longing for a strong voice that will take off in jazz-style improvisations.

Thavikiren is a love song with a dull rendering from Bhavatharini, and the usual flourishes from Hariharan. The effect is lopsided and kills the quiet romance in the tune.

Muthu nilave by Karthik Raja and Bhavatharini is stylish, with a deceptively bare sound. While he sings straight notes in a raw, dissonant, almost off-key whisper, she adds Indian graces, at which she sounds more plausible.

In Kaadal needaana, Unnnikrishnan and Sujatha sing technically correct notes, but they progress mechanically.

Shades of Ilaiyaraja's best work are evident at many places, but this tape is unlikely to take its place among his top ten albums.

S Suchitra Lata

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