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Category: Telugu Music Reviews

Julayi (Devi Sri Prasad)

For a Trivikram movie, Julayi has a shockingly shoddy score. Also I was hoping this synergy would produce a more than passable soundtrack considering their last collaboration resulted in Jalsa, arguably Devi Sri’s last great score. There is absolutely no redemptive quality in this soundtrack except for the breezy harmonium bits in O Madhu; another mediocre DSP tune that even Adnan Sami can’t salvage. There is some promise in the title track too but Devi Sri’s same old hackneyed orchestration grates. The others are too bad to even comment about.

A well made DSP track can be wonderful but the average one – there are too many of them it seems – is characterised by humdrum, repetitive orchestration and exasperatingly bad singing. It doesn’t help that they are unnecessarily loud; even the supposed melodies. Such a disappointment this one.     

Andala Rakshasi (Radhan)

Andala Rakshasi has a refreshingly good soundtrack more so because it follows the ear numbing mass numbers of Rachcha, Dammu and Gabbar Singh. I liked Yemito and Ye Mantramo the most. The former is a dulcet melody that begins with a small dialogue reminiscent of Geetanjali. Everything is likeable about this song be it the start-stop, swinging rhythm or Haricharan’s superb singing. The writing is excellent. Ye Mantramo is terrific and has a riveting anthemic feel to it. Too bad it doesn’t last long. Radhan makes Manasa Marchipo unbearably downbeat. It is evocative nevertheless because of the whispery recitation style of singing set to minimal orchestration. Something similar happens in Manasu Palike although Radhan gives the tune more flesh and imbues it with melody. Ne Ninnu Chera and Vennante are playful, enjoyable numbers that will no doubt gain from good picturisation. The former especially takes time to get used to because of its lovely off kilter tune and Veena Ghantasala’s dreamy, girly rendition.

Radhan is a talent to watch out for. Andamaina soundtrack.       

Endukante Premanta (GV Prakash Kumar)

Nee Choopule is a wonderful start to the album. Prakash weaves a simple yet spellbinding tune and fills it with lithe, gorgeous orchestration. Haricharan, as always, seems to get the best songs and deservedly so. Hemachandra and Chinmayee prop up Egire Pove whose cheery tone more than makes up for its indifferent tune. Chill Out and Kicko Gicko are snazzily but unimaginatively put together numbers. Cindrella is better and has the typical GV Prakash-Karunakaran breezily romantic flavour going for it, although the disconnect between the lyrical content and the tune is slightly jarring. The minute long extended classical finale must have been cathartic for Prakash, whose penchance for tucking away an operatic interlude or two, in the lulls of songs, finally finds full favour.

In his third album for Karunakaran, GV Prakash manages to hit the same thematic consistency witnessed in the earlier works and it works for most of the time.

Gabbar Singh (Devi Sri Prasad)

Gabbar Singh is one of those formula soundtracks that can be split right down the middle – the beat/kuthu songs and the melodies. Devi Sri does enough in Kevvu Keka to get the masses going; This is no Munni but who cares. The lyricist in Devi Sri does a better job in Pilla than the composer. His amusing lyrics along with Vaddepalli Srinivas’ spirited singing make this is a fun listen. Dekho Dekho Gabbar Singh is egregious; this is Devi Sri pushing his luck too far. Kota’s Mandu Baabulam is entertaining. Akasam Ammayaithe is a finely crafted melody with a flowing chorus and soothing backgrounds; easily the best song of the lot. Dil Se is one of those breezy and innocuous numbers that isn’t bad enough to be diss or good enough to rave about.

Gabbar Singh milks the formula for all its worth. Could have been better.      

Eega (M.M. Keeravani)

Nene Nani Ne, apart from the twisty interplay of verse, has a soothing, non intrusive tone going for it. Ga Eega Eega dark techno is punctuated by some interesting tune shifts. The remix is actually better; The impish subversion of vocals is closer to that of a fly and conveys the lyrics’ serio-comic intent in a better way. I would damned if I knew what Rajamouli is going for here! (The genre explanation, socio-fantasy, hardly helps in this case). Vijay Prakash breezes through the upbeat Konchemu Konchemu in characteristic fashion. Lava Lava, which falls somewhere between noise pop and punk rock,  sees Anuj Panchadara Gurwara and Keeravani  working outside their comfort zones and the results are mighty interesting (The hook is a true blue knock the socks off triumph).

Keeravani’s part experimental thematic score for Eega is not as refreshing as it should have been but is nevertheless an interesting assortment. The melodies are decent but seem to be wrapped in an ennui. The thematic pieces are fascinating though.

Dhammu (M.M. Keeravani)

Dhammu is the consummate Keeravani masala soundtrack – hyper catchy with traditional moorings. Ruler, in both its versions, is a force of nature. Keeravani constructs a cracker of a track right from the innocuous build up to the explosive, grandiose chorus. Outstanding! Oh Lilli is catchy gibberish. Raja Vasireddy’s pulsating bassline is great to listen to even though the lyrics on lineage can get tricky to follow. It also channels Simhadri’s Nuvvu Whistle Esthe nicely. Vaasthu Bagunde slows down the tempo a little but loses none of the percussive steam of the earlier songs. The title track rounds off this frenetic soundtrack on a high. The lyrics might be more than suggestive but Keeravani’s break of phrases conveys the meaning of Dhammu fascinatingly.

Keeravani goes dappan kuthu with a vengeance and doesn’t let up till the last note comes down with a resounding crash. It is nevertheless a convincing, if not masterful, exercise at working within the genre and exploiting it to the hilt with minor variations. Hardly memorable but the propulsive, driving percussion will give you a mind boggling high. 

Music Review: Rachcha (Mani Sharma)

The title song is undoubtedly pulsating and invokes mass sensibilities like few other songs do. This is not a bad thing per se except that the hook has been in circulation for a while now. Its there even in Simhadri’s Nuvvu Whistle Este. Like the latter, Rachcha is also a near perfect package of hero aggrandisation, some lines cringe worthy, some novel and some cringe worthily novel. Nevertheless the rhythm’s sway is, despite its hoary quality, understandable – It orchestrates a primal frenzy through the palpitating music and all that catchiness does not harm its prospects. (Unsurprisingly enough, even SS Rajamouli, the biggest masala filmmaker out there, seems to be a big fan of this).

The Vaana Vaana (Remix) is not quite sensational (I am not a big fan of the original itself) but it is a reasonably competent evocation. Dillaku invokes Ram Charan’s recent past (I am not sure if the kotha pelli kodaka reference is an intentional meta moment though) and family association in a not so veiled manner but beyond that it is mediocre. The train of meta-ness seemingly never stops in this soundtrack and continues in Oka Padam and Singareniundhi. Both are absolutely listless songs.

Mani Sharma, arguably the biggest composer in the Telugu Film Industry before the Thaman invasion began, is in lacklustre form. The tunes do not leave a lasting impact and the lyrics seem like they have been phoned in. Disappointing.     

Music Review: Love Failure (SS Thaman)

If nothing Love Failure shows that Thaman may not necessarily be categorised as a commercial mass masala music director. He shows a light, felicitous touch here whipping up the kind of numbers SEL would have been proud of. Parvathi’s croaky anguish is endearing and comical in equal measure. Inthajare’s exquisite tune is really aided by Karthik and Harini’s singing and the imaginative orchestration (I mean the violins actually). Melukora is as upbeat a wake up call you’ll ever hear. I especially like the way Thaman hurries it up towards the end (leading up to the Ooo refrain). The rest is just about passable fare. 

Music Review: The Businessman (S Thaman)

Mumbai sets the mood with its noir’ish undertones although the singing and lyrics could have been better. It is very Mani Sharma’ish in its approach, which also raises the question, without doubting the competence of Thaman per se, as to why Mani isn’t doing this soundtrack? Sir Osthara (or rather Saar Osthara) features Thaman’s cultured ambient sound that he perfected in Bodyguard and it is mighty addictive. I like this revamped Thaman sound a lot. It is a clean and refined sound and has shades of Sandeep Chowta’s techno oeuvre. Chandamama Navve has an intriguing tune with its alternating staccato burst of vocals and music. Thaman also nails it with the minimalist arrangements. Pilla Chao is passable fare. Bad Boyz is quite obviously the obligatory Puri Jagannath item number and its not bad. Bhaskarabhatla’s lyrics do not make any qualms about their lack of subtlety and are more or less of the run of the mill variety. Businessman theme is heavily Dookudu’ish but shrugs off the influence with Thaman’s lurid sound, Mahesh’s trademark dialoguebaazi and Puri’s adrenaline pumping aggression that brings back good memories of a certain flick that we all fell in love with.

Businessman has competent, engaging music that has enough for the masses and the connoisseur.It also marks an important evolutionary stage in Thaman’s music. 

Music Review: Bodyguard (Telugu; S Thaman)

Bodyguard surprisingly has a lot of soft melodies on offer and Thaman is in silken form here. Yevvaro and Hosannaa are fabulous ambient ditties. The former has a lovely thump to it while the latter is a pure delight with its shifts in tempo. Both are nicely sung as well. Jiyajaley is interestingly tuned and the sparse arrangement gives it a clean sound. Another good song. Endhuko leavens melancholy with an icy cool sound even as Thaman brings back echoes of Yevvaro with breath taking results. Bodyguard is a mash up of all the masala songs that Thaman has done so far; hence its low appeal. Better used as a background song. Oh My God again has a sound that has been done to death by Thaman.

Despite the tame title tracks, Bodyguard’s music is quite enjoyable what with Thaman discarding his penchant for excessive percussion for a more ambient sound.