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Hay Ram! Still from the Virumbikeren jacketReview

Where's the old Deva?

Is he distracted or is this the beginning of a new avatar?

Five Star Audio
Rs 42

Starring Prashant and Sneha, this love story sees Deva donning new musical robes. Moving away from his folk-pop style he is patching together music from so many diverse sources that you might find this album a real pot pourri.

Krishnaraj and Deva sing the Tamil folk bits Enga ooru santhayile, Otharuva pottukulle, Katkatkattai, Enna achudi and Mama ponnu patha. These bits flow cohesively with the bass guitar and the rhythm.

Thuduk thuduk by Unnimenon and Nijama nijama by Sadhana Sargam and Tippu are the meeting points for the ghatam, the thavil, deep Western rhythm and bass, the banjo, Western classical violin ensemble style phrases, Arabian-Tamil folk, and the Hindustani tarana. Fashionable but requires a little more flair to make it stand out. Tipu sounds intense and makes a difference from voices like SPB and Hariharan: he's got ease and isn't overanxious with his expression.

Pathala pathala is by Ceylon Manohar and Subha (who sing the Tamil folk parts) and Unnikrishnan and Saisan (who sing the ballad-style parts). Moving away from the usual pallavi-charana structure, this tune alternates between the folk song and the ballad, perhaps to suit the situation. Unnikrishan renders the ballad's tender catch line Ido vandenamma with restrained melancholy. The strains of the sarangi and the very European accordion catch your attention.

Athili puthili by Vasundhara Das reminds you of Hollywood musicals where the song flows in the middle of dramatic situations. Vasundhara's voice loses body in the higher notes. This song has a variety of beats, and changes pace and singing style -- from low and warm to high and cheerful. The refrain of Ramayya, a Sri Lankan song popular in the '70s, forms one of the myriad parts of this number.

Hariharan and Sophy Sathish sing Kombu mulaitha muyale. This is probably the only song with traces of the earlier Deva. If this is the first time Deva has gone some distance in creating a new style, the second time round listeners should be able to make out if this was just lack of inspiration or the beginning of a new avatar.

Shailaja R

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