Saturday, November 14

Neelathamara (Music) - The return of Vidyasagar's magic.

Movie - Neelathamara (Malayalam)
Director - Lal Jose
Producer - Menaka Suresh Kumar
Writer - MT Vasudevan Nair
Music - Vidyasagar
Cast - Archana, Kailash, Suresh, Rima Kallingal, Samvrutha Sunil, Sreedevi Unni
Lyrics - Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma
Singers - Shreya Ghoshal, V Sreekumar, Karthik, Chethala Ranganatha Sharma
Cinematography - Vijay Ulakanath

First of all, let me inform you all that it is the first birthday of Moving Pictures. I had begun this blog last year on this day by writing reviews of Dostana and Vaaranam Aayiram. 2 weeks later, I had to leave the blog with an abrupt end. But I later took on to it in full form from this September. So technically, this is the first anniversary post of Moving Pictures. And I'm glad that I'm doing a review of a wonderful music album as the anniversary post. Thanks to all the readers (the very little people who actually sit and read all my reviews). Now, lets get to the review.

Whenever Lal Jose and Vidyasagar come together, we always get some very memorable songs which we can treasure forever. Their wonderful combination had started from Oru Maravathoor Kanavu, followed through Chandranudikkunna Dikkil, Randaam Bhaavam, Meeshamadhavan, Pattalam, Rasikan, Chanthupottu till Mulla last year. All these films had some of the most wonderful songs we've ever had in Malayalam. So when they come together again, expectations are bound to be high. And if its for Malayalam Cinema's first official remake, that too one written by the legend MT Vasudevan Nair, the expectations just double. The film has 3 conventional songs and 2 classical music pieces. And Vidyasagar gives his magic touch to all these songs yet again. The only person missing is Gireesh Puttenchery, who has now been replaced by Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma in Lal Jose's films. 

The first track is 'Anuraga Vilochananayi' by Shreya Ghoshal and V Sreekumar. It is a beautiful melody which has the Vidyasagar stamp all over it. The playful lyrics and nostalgic tune make sure that the song becomes an instant favourite of the listener. Shreya Ghoshal, the 3 time National Award winning versatile singer, sings Malayalam effortlessly. Despite being a Bengali, her diction is much more perfect than many of our Malayalam singers. It is a treat to hear her voice in this melodious song. Her vocals that come in between an instrumental interlude, is just wonderful. V Sreekumar sounds exactly like Vijay Yesudas in his earlier days (without the accent trouble of course). In fact, I thought it was Vijay singing till I saw the CD cover. Sreekumar is a singer to watch out for. He did a wonderful job in last year's 'Kanalukalaadiya' from Mulla. And he matches up to Shreya's talent in this song too. Both of them make this song a very memorable as well as nostalgic affair. Vidyasagar has repeated a lot of his instrumentation from 'Rafta Rafta' (Hulchul) {which itself was derived from 'Aasai Aasai'(Dhool)} in this song. But you dont really mind that as you have a beautiful song to listen to. Lal Jose is a master at visualizing songs, and he proves that yet again with the video of this song. (4.5/5)

'Neelathamare' by Karthik starts with a wonderful instrumental (violin, i guess) piece, which can serve as the theme music for the movie. It is a beautiful song which you will take an instant liking towards. A wonderful melodious composition, with some great instrumental pieces and chorus parts. Karthik, as usual, is brilliant with his singing. His Malayalam diction has improved tremendously and we dont feel that a non-Malayali is singing the song. He is certainly one of the best singers in the country, but yet to be popular on a national level. The song has very nice lyrics by Vayalar Sarath which describes the film's female protagonist through some wonderful words. I'm out of words to describe Vidyasagar's composition for this song. After hearing songs from Kanden Kadhalai, I was a bit disappointed with his work. But he gets back in form through this one and this song, is something which we have always loved him for - a beautiful and haunting melody, with great singing, tune and orchestration. Full Marks. (5/5)

'Needhaya Radha' by Cherthala Ranganatha Sarma is a Classical music piece which would work as a situational track in the movie. I'm not very proficient in Classical music to talk about its intricacies. But this song wasnt very interesting to me. If it was in KJ Yesudas' voice, maybe it would have worked for me. It would be interesting to see how this song plays out in the movie. (2.5/5)

The next track is 'Pakalonnu' by Balram and Vijay Prakash. Both these singers have sung 2 of Vidyasagar's best songs - 'Kaatrin Mozhi'(Mozhi) and 'Poo Vaasam'(Anbe Sivam) respectively. I think its the first time for both of them in Malayalam. The song is composed in a ghazal mood with a lot of Hindustani music in it. It is a perfect song to be played during a beautiful evening, just like a ghazal. I could hear only Balram's voice prominently throughout the song. Though his Malayalam diction is nowhere near to being perfect, the whole mood of the song and the Hindustani setting makes you overlook that. Vidyasagar has adapted a completely different style this time. He has hardly done any Hindustani based songs (except for a couple of songs in Gramophone), but he gives a beautiful composition this time. A slow, soothing melody, which grows on you. (4.5/5)

There is yet another classical music piece 'Entha Mudo' by Cherthala Ranganatha Sarma. Like the other track, there is just a faint backing by a thampuru for this song, which is based only on the classical vocals. This should also be a situational track which would serve a purpose in the movie. It is slightly better than the earlier classical music track. (3/5)

The CD also has some wonderful Lal Jose-Vidyasagar tracks from their previous movies as bonus. This makes us revisit all those beautiful songs along with the wonderful tracks of this movie. On the whole, Vidyasagar's magic touch is back after a bunch of lackluster songs in the recent past. He is the king when it comes to melodies these days and he proves worth of that title through the 3 songs in this movie. And when the director is Lal Jose, you can be pretty sure that the songs will be done full justice to, in the movie. Vayalar Sarath Chandra Varma has given some good lyrics, but one really misses Gireesh Puttenchery's presence in the team. This year has given us some good albums in Malayalam music including Bhramaram, Loudspeaker, Banaras, Pazhassiraja, Kerala Cafe and Swa Le. Neelathamara is certainly the best musical score to have come out this year. Grab it immediately. Cant wait for the film. :)

Rating - 4.5/5 (Without counting the two classical tracks which we really cannot count as songs)


  1. anuraga vilochanayayi is a brilliant song.....v sreekumar has rendered it really beautifully....shreya ghosal s also gud...

    and abt the mvie ,i think the story is the same as that of the 70's one....which incidentally had a touchin endin....

  2. it is an official remake of the 70s movie Neelathamara directed by Yousufali Kechery and written by MT Vasudevan Nair. MT has rewritten the script again for Lal Jose.

  3. Very nice songs, one of the best albums of 2009.

    Hope Lal Jose sir will re-create a box office magic with an all new star cast....The female lead looks very cute. Best wishes for the movie.

    Happy anniversary to all movie pictures members.

    I always find some time to atleast have a quick view of the reviews given by Vivek. Like the way he does it, have seen movies based on his reviews & 90 % of the times it has worked for me.

    Thanks and please continue your good work.

  4. Thank you Sam. Comments from readers like you only inspire me to do more such work.. :) :)

  5. Sreekumar has done a brilliant job.. like you said, matching the versatile shreya ghoshal would have been a tough job.. but he managed the feat efficiently ... renders the song beautifully making it to top of the charts... I am sure the song is to remain there for a long time to come and sreekumar would manage to find a lot of fan following for himself with this one!

  6. Sreekumar rocks in Anuraaga Vilochananaayi...
    and I never knew it was Shreya singing untill I stumbled upon your blog..
    It seemed intresting and I read on.. what you said about the above song was exactly what I meant..I guess our tastes meet..
    Will make it a point to go thro your past reviews soon..
    Gr8 job done..Thanks Vivek

  7. hey nice vivek....good is indeed a return of vidyasagar.........hats off to him...

    u into direction??an assistant director//? me and a couple of my frnds have a strong desire to get into movies....we dont know where to get into and whom to approach..may be u could help too.........

  8. Vivek,Thanks a lot for a wonderful review about these songs.I was also a bit surprised about P V Sreekumar's similarity on voice culture with Vijay Yesudas.

  9. @ Angel eyes, Kiranz..
    Thank you..
    @ Angel eyes,
    I'm just starting out.. You need solid contacts to get into the industry.. Otherwise its next to impossible..

  10. kudos vivek....
    thanks for this blog..
    keep writing...