Wednesday, September 30

Vairam - A hard hitting movie with its heart at the right place..

Movie - Vairam (Malayalam)
Director - Nishad MA
Producer - N Sivarao
Cast - Pasupathy, Suresh Gopi, Mukesh, Jayasurya, Meera Vasudev, Samvrutha Sunil, Dhanya Mary, Thilakan, Ashokan, KPAC Lalitha, Harisree Ashokan.
Music - M Jayachandran
Cinematography - Sanjeev Shankar
Story - Nishad MA
Screenplay, Dialogues - Cherian Kalpakavady
Release Date - 19th September 2009.

The director of Vairam, Nishad MA, has made some offbeat movies and an action movie (Aayudham) before this one. Here, he chooses to take a very relevant issue and make a hard-hitting movie about it. The movie takes up the issue of the increasing number of rape attempts on young girls in our state and tries to explore the consequences of such incidents. The movie has a good star cast and a superstar like Suresh Gopi has given his support for this movie by appearing in a small, but significant role. 

The story is about Sivarajan (Pasupathy), who gets sentenced for life imprisonment on the charge of murdering Josekutty (Jayasurya). But right after the sentence was passed by the court, some people try to kill him. This creates a curiosity about this case in the mind of a reporter, Annie Jacob (Samvrutha) and she starts investigating what had actually happened and why did Sivarajan murder Josekuttty, with the help of Advocate Ravi Varma (Suresh Gopi). After trying several times, she finally gets Sivarajan to speak. The story then goes to flashback mode and tells the story of bank manager Sivarajan and his daughter Vairamani (Dhanya Mary). Some shocking events are revealed, and we are gripped on to the movie by then. 

Though the movie has no suspense and surprises, the way the screenplay has been written is good. The writer, Cherian Kalpakavady managed to hold the interest of the audience till the end. The senior writer had disappointed in his last movie which came earlier this year, Bharya Swantham Suhruthu. But he has written a good script this time for the director's story. 

The whole cast has come up with great performances. Especially Pasupathy, who plays the lead role. We know what he is capable of, from Tamil movies like Virumandi, Veyil, Kuselan, etc. and a short role in the Malayalam film Big B. He plays the honest bank manager who has to go through a great tragedy brilliantly. His reactions after he finds out what happened to his daughter, and after he commits the murder are stuff that only amazing actors can pull off. Though those scenes were a little long, it is his performance that keeps you hooked in those scenes. 

Suresh Gopi is the star attraction of the movie. He plays Advocate Ravi Varma with ease, and shines in the court scenes with his trademark English dialogues as well. His flirting with Samvrutha could have been avoided, though. Mukesh comes in the second half as the crime branch officer with a good sense of humour. Mukesh and Suresh Gopi, as we know, hail from Kollam, and they make inside jokes about their college days in Kollam Fathima College and all, in one light moment, where they meet each other. Me, being a person hailing from Kollam, could enjoy those dialogues especially. Mukesh also was good, except the fact that he was using his usual term 'Dey' too many times in each and every dialogue. Jayasurya played the negative role with full intensity. His look, especially the contact lenses, suited the character very well. The ladies, Dhanya Mary, Meera Vasudev and Samvrutha Sunil have lesser screen space, but they do a fine job as well. The romantic angle between Samvrutha and Suresh Gopi doesnt work at all. What was the writer thinking when he wrote that? And finally, the veterans Thilakan and KPAC Lalitha. They are living examples of how great actors should be. KPAC Lalitha is a delight to watch in a scene where she complains to Mother Mary about the problems in her family. Thilakan also puts in a solid performance in the short role he has. Harishree Ashokan wasnt irritating thankfully. Ashokan, Sayikumar and others in short roles were decent. 

The movie has 2 good songs and one okay song by M Jayachandran. The song by Yesudas, 'Vennilavu Kannu Vecha' comes at the right place and leaves you touched. Cinematography by Sanjeev Shankar is decent. Though there is nothing new in the making of the movie, the director is successful in engaging the audience and tells the story well, thereby touching the hearts of each and everyone seeing this movie.

Vairam is a movie which has come along with another good movie in Malayalam, Loudspeaker. Such movies are a sign that good cinema can still be made in our language. And they deserve a really long run because such movies come very rarely in Malayalam these days. I sincerely hope that this movie does well because it is about a very relevant issue in our society and is a film with its heart at the right place. 

Rating - 3/5

Keralavarma Pazhassiraja (Music) - Great music for the grand movie by Maestro Ilaiyaraja

Movie - Keralavarma Pazhassiraja (Malayalam)
Director - Hariharan
Producer - Gokulam Gopalan
Cast - Mammootty, Sarathkumar, Suman, Manoj K Jayan, Suresh Krishna, Thilakan, Kaniha, Padmapriya, Jagathy Sreekumar, Devan
Music - Ilaiyaraja
Lyrics - ONV Kurup, Gireesh Puthanchery, Kanesh Punoor
Writer - MT Vasudevan Nair
Sound Mixing - Resul Pookutty
Singers - KJ Yesudas, KS Chitra, MG Sreekumar, Ilaiyaraja, Manjari, Chandrasekar, Sangeetha, Vidhu Prathap, Ashraf Thayinari, Edavanna Gafoor, Kuttappan Master, Faisal Eleittil, Krishnan Unni
Release Date - 2nd October 2009

This is a movie of epic proportions. Be it the story, or the scale it is being made in, or the technicians involved, or even the hype for the movie; everything is in epic proportions. So naturally there would be humongous expectations out of the music of this movie, especially when it is done by Maestro Ilaiyaraja. And he has done a great job. But whether it would meet the huge expectations of the audience, is a tricky question. 

The album opens in the majestic voice of KJ Yesudas, who is heard very rarely these days. He chants a sloka, 'Maathamganana Mabjavasa Ramaneem'. I am pretty bad at Sanskrit Slokas but the feel and devotion with which Yesudas sings it makes it brilliant. A great beginning to the album in the legend's voice. (4.5/5)

The second track is 'Kunnathe Konnaykkum Ponmothiram' in KS Chitra's voice. This song is an old-fashioned melancholic song with lyrics by the great poet, Prof. ONV Kurup. I didnt like this song very much when I first heard it along with the video, on television. But hearing the audio in great quality on the CD, changed my opinion. Its a very good melody made richer by Chitra's wonderfully sweet voice. This track grows on you as you listen to it again and again. The lyrics are simple and elegant in true ONV style. The picturisation may remind one of the songs from Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, the same team's (Hariharan - MT- Mammootty) earlier movie though. In short, a slow melody in Chitra's beautiful voice which grows on you. (4/5)

The next song, 'Aadhiyushassandhya Poothathivide' by KJ Yesudas and MG Sreekumar, two of our best singers, is an awe-inspiring track. Yesudas' voice itself gives a great impact to this majestic track. There is grandeur in every aspect - the tune, the singing, the orchestration and the lyrics as well. Inspiring lines written by ONV Kurup about achieving freedom for our land, is the backbone of this great song. Very rarely do we get such lines in our songs  these days. Ilaiyaraja shows that he is still capable of delivering grand songs provided he gets a challenging project. MG Sreekumar is there just as a support vocalist for Yesudas. Absolutely brilliant!! (4.5/5) 

The next track is 'Ambum Kombum Komban Kattum', a folk song, or to be more precise, an adivasi kind of song. The singers are Ilaiyaraja himself, Manjari, Kuttappan Master and team. 
This song is composed in a very interesting way, as if its like a song to inspire a teamwork or something. It has that adivasi feel throughout which is quite different from usual songs. Ilaiyaraja's voice suits the song perfectly. Manjari also does a fine job. The lyrics by Gireesh Puthanchery retain the folk flavour. Ilaiyaraja has always been a master of composing folk numbers like this, and he does a good job once again with this track. I hope the song is picturised in an interesting way. (3.5/5)

The fifth track, 'Odathandil Thalam Kottum Kaattil' is a romantic melody with vocals by Chandrasekar and Sangeetha. This song has fresh voices and a soothing tune which makes it very appealing. It also has that old world feel, and sounds from a jungle are added to give some extra depth to the track. Gireesh Puthanchery has written the lyrics and has done a nice job as well. Sangeetha and Chandrasekar are relatively new singers with good voices and they are very impressive in their singing. Sangeetha can be a good addition to our list of our female singers. All in all, a beautiful, soothing melody. (4/5)

The final track is 'Aalamadankala Mythavanalle', an Islamic prayer song. Its Ilaiyaraja's turn to do a 'Khwaja Mere Khwaja' now, we think. But he does a completely different composition going in for a much faster tune. (We should note that the songs for this movie was composed 2-3 years ago when Jodhaa Akbar hadnt released). The singers are MG Sreekumar, Vidhu Prathap, Ashraf Thayinari, Edavanna Gafoor, Faisal Eleittil and Krishnan Unni. Most of the song is sung in chorus mode with Vidu Prathap's voice being the most prominent. The Muslim flavoured lyrics about the Almighty Allah are by Kanesh Punoor. This song is also an interesting composition, with the chant 'Ya Ilaha..' repeating at regular intervals. But I dont understand the significance of sounds like 'yeah' and 'aha' towards the end of the song. Maybe they were written as something else. But it certainly sounded to me like the punctuations that hip-hop songs have. It sounded quite odd in this song which is supposed to be set in the 18th century. Other than that, this song was very good. The video also has been shot neatly. (3.5/5)

All in all, Ilaiyaraja has come up with a competent and authentic soundtrack for this epic film. But those who are expecting something on the lines of Jodhaa Akbar by Rahman and other similar works, would be disappointed. Ilaiyaraja's compositions are completely different from Rahman's. Both of them have their own unique styles. Ilaiyaraja has shown that he can still deliver amazing tracks like 'Aadhiyushassandhya', which is easily the pick of the lot. The lyrics by ONV Kurup and Gireesh Puthanchery also contribute a lot to the album. And having great singers like KJ Yesudas, KS Chitra, MG Sreekumar along with a bunch of newcomers and Ilaiyaraja himself offered a wide variety in voices. I am quite happy with the songs of the movie and I'm looking forward to seeing these songs on the big screen this friday. I really hope that this movie does extremely well. To conclude, this album is a great effort by the Maestro for this epic movie.

Rating - 4/5

Tuesday, September 29

Ninaithale Inikkum - A disastrous remake of Classmates

Movie - Ninaithale Inikkum (Tamil)
Director - GNR Kumaravel
Producer - Gemini Films
Cast - Prithviraj, Priya Mani, Shakthi, Karthik, Anuja Iyer, Bhagyaraj
Music - Vijay Antony
Story - James Albert
Screenplay - ?
Editing - Sreekar Prasad
Cinematography - Balasubramaniam
Release Date - 4th September 2009

If you thought Chandramukhi was the worst that could happen to a Malayalam classic, then you're wrong. Kumaravel's Ninaithale Inikkum is a disastrous remake of Lal Jose's contemporary classic, Classmates. But Chandramukhi can be excused as the story of Manichithrathaazhu was modified to suit the image of Rajnikanth and the movie was made simpler for the common Tamil audience to understand. It worked well with the audience and went on to become one of the biggest hits in Tamil Cinema, even though Malayalis hated it. But this movie, in the name of adapting the script to suit Tamil Cinema, the director has made an atrocious version. 

The story is about a group of friends from the batch of 2000 coming back for a reunion. 
Siva played by Prithviraj remembers his college days and the movie goes into flashback mode. Siva is a very popular student in the college. Whereas Vasu (Karthik) doesnt like him and is always doing something or the other against him. Shakthi (Shakthi) is a goody-goody guy who is a friend to almost everyone in the batch. A lot of scenes later, Siva falls in love with Meera (Priya Mani), a girl whom he always used to fight with in spite of having a secret crush. 
But during the college elections, Meera is forced to stand against Siva as a result of Vasu's scheming. And this leads to a friction between them. Then, the movie goes back to the present, to the reunion party. And in the night after the reunion party, somebody attempts to murder Siva in his hostel room and he is found by Meera just in time. Who did this, and what led to this, forms the rest of the story. (which is a very diluted version of James Albert's story of Classmates).

First of all, Classmates worked majorly because of the nostalgia factor. That movie took us back to a campus in Kerala in the early 90s, where campus politics was at its peak. The atmosphere, the dressing, the language, the tea shop/college canteen, etc. were what made that movie special. And of course, brilliant casting. The ensemble cast of that movie performed wonderfully and the movie went on to become a classic in all the senses. 

This movie's campus story is set in the year 2000, which doesnt evoke any nostalgia factor, as it is more or less the same now, except some technological advancements (like mobile phones, etc). And since Tamil Nadu, doesnt have that much active campus politics, that angle cannot be utilized well in this movie. So the fights between Siva and Vasu here are for different reasons. The whole script is diluted and made to look like silly. 

The performances dont help either. Prithviraj gave a career-best performance as Sukumaran in the original Classmates. Here, he plays Siva as if he is not interested at all. Somebody should tell him that shouting when being furious, is not what acting is all about. And his performance during the emotional scenes towards the end, is a disaster. You cannot even believe that it is the same Prithviraj who gave a rock-solid performance in the same role in the original. Very bad!! Priya Mani, the national award winning actress, should stop doing such silly roles and has to concentrate on meatier roles. She has nothing to do in this film. Kavya Madhavan had done a fabulous job in the original, and the role was much better too. The problem with this movie is that none of the characters are properly fleshed out. They do not have any depth. Karthik was decent in a negative role as Vasu. A change from his usual American Mappillai roles. The guy who played Bala, Siva's friend was also good. He acted in the recent Malayalam film, Puthiya Mukham also. But the intelligent comedy from Indrajith, who did the same role (more or less) in the original was clearly missing in this one. Shakthi didnt have much to perform. But in the one scene where he is required to act, he shows how much of a terrible actor he is. His acting was hilarious in that serious scene. Anuja Iyer, who was impressive in Unnaipol Oruvan, is really bad in this. Bhagyaraj was quite okay. The Lollu Sabha guy (didnt get his name) was also decent. There is nothing to talk about the other members of the cast. 

Certain scenes were so bad that I felt like screaming inside the theatre. The scene where Shakthi gets an asthma attack is exaggerated so much in this movie. As if an asthma attack is more serious than a heart attack. It was plain horrible. Then the scene where Shakthi advises Prithviraj and Karthik, was unintentionally hilarious because of his bad acting. And several other similar scenes. 

Music was pretty bad except for one good song, 'Nanbanai Paartha'. Songs keep popping in with no particular reason. I still dont understand why the song 'Sexy Lady' came in this movie. The Malayalis here were laughing seeing all the members of the cast dance to the song 'Allah' during the eve of the elections. The original had a wonderful song about politics called 'Vote' in that place. And another dance song 'Piya' with Prithviraj and Priya Mani also comes and goes. The last song, was really tedious to watch as I was getting really restless inside the theatre. I dont even remember the name of that song. Prithviraj's dancing has improved, but his expressions while dancing are extremely annoying. His usual good looks are also missing in this movie. Priya Mani should lose some weight and do more meaningful roles rather than insignificant stuff like this and Puthiya Mukham

The cinematography by Balasubramaniam was okay. Some frames were really nice. But I didnt like the way a certain night scene was lit up. It was looking as if the entire place had lots of light. That scene was shot in the dark brilliantly by Rajeev Ravi in the original. I didnt pay much attention to the other technical aspects of the film. Only when I left, I came to know that the veteran Sreekar Prasad had done the editing. There was nothing special in it. The background music was loud and jarring. And the direction was a complete disaster. The director is neither able to extract good performances, nor narrate the story in an interesting way. The suspense is revealed in such a juvenile manner, that you feel like laughing at it. This is when you understand the talent of one of the best directors in Malayalam Cinema now, Lal Jose. Classmates was in all ways, Lal Jose's movie. His signature was there all over that movie. 

I dont know if I'm being over-critical because I have watched the original. Even if I was watching this for the first time (without watching the original), I wouldnt have liked it I guess. 
And the thing that made me angry the most was that they have ruined such a great movie, when they had all the scope and potential to make a brilliant movie. Somebody else could have remade Classmates in a better way later on. I felt the same way, when I saw the remake of Udhayanaanu Thaaram in Tamil, Velli Thirai. In short, this one of the worst remakes I have ever seen. Now I have to watch Classmates once again to get out of the bad effect of this movie. 

Rating - 1/5

Punnagai Mannan - A not so happy love story..

Movie - Punnagai Mannan (Tamil)
Director - K Balachander
Producer - Rajam Balachander, Pushpa Kandhaswamy
Cast - Kamal Haasan, Revathy, Srividya, Rekha, Delhi Ganesh
Music - Ilaiyaraja
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - K Balachander
Cinematography - Raghunatha Reddy
Editing - Ganesh Kumar
Year - 1986

I watched this movie 23 years after its release. I had heard lots about this movie which was a huge hit in the 80s and is one of the most famous movies of Kamal Haasan. And I hadnt watched many movies of the legendary director K Balachander (The only film I've seen of his is the very poor Parthalae Paravasam). I loved each and every song from the movie composed by Ilaiyaraja. So, because of all this, I had a lot of expectations before watching this movie. But to be frank, it disappointed me. It is considered a classic, but somehow, I didnt like the movie. 

The movie is the story of Sethu (Kamal) who attempts suicide with his lover Ranjini (Rekha) since Ranjini's parents are against their love and were not letting them unite. But during the attempt, Ranjini dies and Sethu survives. This is the opening of the movie, which was very interesting. Especially the placement of the evergreen song 'Enna Satham Intha Neram' right at the beginning of the movie was great. Sethu is then taken to court by Ranjini's father where he is sentenced for one year imprisonment for attempting suicide. Yet another wonderful song, 'Ethetho Ennam' comes here and the title credits appear, half an hour after the movie started. Sethu joins Padmini (Srividya)'s dance classes as a dance master, since he cannot live with his drunkard father and his numerous wives (a subplot).  Sethu meets Malini (Revathy), a young girl who is about to suicide at the same falls where he and Ranjini once tried the same thing. He discourages her from suiciding saying that it is not the only solution to problems. Malini develops an immediate liking for him and starts following him. She even joins the dance classes to spend more time. How Sethu's second life gets affected due to Malini's presence and the development of their relationship forms the rest of the story. There is also a comedy track weaved in, by none other than Kamal himself playing another character, Chaplin Chellappa, Sethu's uncle. 

Though the beginning was interesting, the developments that happened later were not quite appealing to me. And most of the scenes were looking incomplete to me. Either it is due to bad editing, or maybe because most scenes are cut in the DVD I watched. (It was an original DVD, yet it had so many cuts). So I couldnt enjoy the movie on a wholesome level. There have been so many films which have taken inspiration from this movie and made later on, that watching this movie freshly wont create any impact on you. 

Kamal's performance had nothing much to boast about. (Maybe because I'm seeing it now, when I have seen so many amazing performances from him which came after this movie).  The thing that irritated me most was his fake beard. Even a small child can notice that the beard is fake.  I understand that stars like Kamal used to do more than one film at a time in those years and that wouldnt let them experiment with their looks. But the fake beard was looking so odd in this film. But his dancing, was brilliant in the film. And his performance during the sequence where he proposes to Revathy, was truly amazing. That is the kind of acting we expect from Kamal Haasan. The other Kamal, Chaplin Chellappa's track was quite unnecessary in the film. Tamil films usually have a mandatory comedy track, even now. In this film, the hero himself has done the comedy track, in a different role aping Charlie Chaplin's mannerisms. Though the jokes dont appear funny now, Kamal's imitation of Chaplin was endearing. Kamal shows what was about to come in Apoorva Sahodarargal through a short scene in this movie where Chellappa acts as a dwarf. That was a great scene. 

Revathy gave a spirited performance. She brought in all the spirit and charm required for a bubbly girl like Malini. She looked really beautiful and performed well in the tough dance sequences as well. Srividya gave able support and was part of a nice subplot connecting her and Chaplin Chellappa. Delhi Ganesh as Sethu's father who keeps on marrying was okay. Rekha in a short role as Ranjini, was good. The other characters and actors were not impressive. 

The movie had very nice cinematography by Raghunatha Reddy. A lot of shadows and backlight were used (like in Mani Ratnam's Agni Natchathiram which came later). The editing was pretty bad. (I still dont know if it appeared bad because the film was like that or because the DVD was badly cut). But the major factor which makes this movie interesting is Ilaiyaraja's fantastic music and background score. All the songs from the movie are superhits even now. Enna Satham, Ethetho Ennam, Singalathu Chinnakkuyile, Mamavukku, Vaanmegam and Kaalakaalamaga are amazing tracks. The theme piece where Kamal and Revathy dance before Kamal proposes to her, is absolutely brilliant. I have heard that it was AR Rahman, who played the keyboard for Ilaiyaraja in that particular theme track. The music was the most appealing part of the movie. 

I didnt quite like the way the story moved forward and the sad ending really put me down. What was the point of the whole movie if the ending had to be like this? The movie is just one full circle. It reaches the same place where it started by the time it ends. The villain track didnt work at all. All was going well till the deliberate sad ending came out of the blue, which was totally unnecessary. People may have different views on it. But I did not like this tragedy for the sake of tragedy thing. 

The thing about really famous old superhits/classics is that they are copied so much that when you see the actual film for the first time, it looks really cliched. I think that was what happened when I watched this movie. Everything looked cliched to me. Yet I liked some aspects of the movie. Firstly, the amazing music by Ilaiyaraja. Secondly, Revathy's spirited performance. Next is Kamal's brilliance in the dance sequence and the following scene where he proposes to Revathy. He makes up for a not so special performance in the whole film with that single scene. The cinematography was also impressive. And lastly, Kamal's Chaplin act was endearing. I couldnt clearly get the Balachander touch in this movie. Maybe I should watch more movies of his to understand that (which I am obviously going to). 

Rating - 3/5 
(Just for the factors I liked, which I have mentioned in the last paragraph).

Sunday, September 27

Aladin (Music) - Fun soundtrack for the fantasy film..

Movie - Aladin (Hindi)
Director - Sujoy Ghosh
Producer - Sunil A Lulla, Sujoy Ghosh
Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Riteish Deshmukh, Jacqueline Fernandes. 
Music - Vishal & Shekhar
Lyrics - Vishal Dadlani, Anvita Dutt Guptan
Singers - Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal, Sudesh Bhosle, Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravijani, Anushka Manchandani, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan. 
Release Date - 30th October 2009.

Aladin, by Sujoy Ghosh is a modern day adaptation of the Arabian fairy tale made in the fantasy genre. So it is natural that we expect a fantastic soundtrack from this film. And the composers Vishal and Shekhar almost satisfies our expectations with some great music. There are 7 tracks in the album, out of which 5 are straight tracks and 2 are remixes. Now, lets get into the review of this fun soundtrack. 

The first song in the album is 'Genie Rap' where the Genie, played by Amitabh Bachchan does some neat rap. Mr.Bachchan gives his own voice to this number. We have seen him rapping to Blaaze's voice in Bunty Aur Babli. But this time around, he has done the rapping himself. (Vishal-Shekhar made him do a similar jig in Bhoothnath as well). Anushka Manchanda gives the supporting vocals. Its a fun rap number with a steady rhythm and groovy beats. It captures your attention immediately and you'll like it on the first hearing itself. Amitabh Bachchan, as usual, does a great job behind the mic. The 'Bombiri bom..' part towards the end of the song was nice to hear in Mr. Bachchan's deep baritone. The song is less than 3 minutes, pretty less for a Hindi song. (4/5)

The next song, 'Tak Dhina Dhin' is again an interaction between the Genie and Aladin. It has vocals by 2 fabulous singers, Shankar Mahadevan and Shaan, who bring the required energy and pep to this song. The song has a club mood and the chorus part which goes 'Tak dhina dhin, Hey Aladin' is the highlight of the song. The tempo of the song changes quite often, most probably to facilitate the picturisation of the song. If you want an energetic track, then Shankar Mahadevan is the ultimate choice. He does full justice to the song by bringing loads of energy to it. He sounds perfect for Amitabh Bachchan. Shaan also does a great job in supporting him as Riteish's voice. Very impressive track. (3.5/5)

The next song is 'Ore Saawariya' by Amitabh Bachchan, Sudesh Bhosle, Shreya Ghoshal and Shaan. The song starts with Shreya's lovely voice doing a small bit from the song and Amitabh Bachchan joins bringing a folk touch to it. Amitabh Bachchan sings the first paragraph of the song, while his voice is replaced by Sudesh Bhosle's voice quite seamlessly as the song progresses. It is difficult to find out the difference between their voices but Amitabh Bachchan creates certain unique sounds which only he can do whenever he comes behind the mic. This song has him dancing with a white kurta and pink turban like in his old superhit song, 'Pag Ghungroo Bandh'. Like that one, this song is also a highly energetic track which is picturised as a dance number in the film. The song ends with a smart bit by Amitabh Bachchan which is absolutely a delight to hear. (4/5)

The track, 'You May Be' is a soulful romantic song with some Hinglish lyrics. The composers Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravijani sing the song themselves. A romantic number between Ritiesh and Jacqueline, this song gives a pleasant feel to the listener. Its the kind of song that can work very well if visualized effectively in the film. The video promo which is out no shows that it has been picturised well indeed, with Amitabh teaching Riteish to romance. The lyrics by Vishal Dadlani is nice, in spite of being a mixture of some very common words in both English and Hindi. Impressive again!! (3.5/5)

The next song is 'Bachke O Bachke' by Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal Dadlani.  A not so impressive club number with all these singers trying to raise the energy levels. Might or might not work depending on the visuals in the movie for the song. It doesnt work as an individual track. There is an instrumental interlude playing portions of the Tak Dhina Dhin song. Probably a song with most of the star cast in it. It didnt work as a stand alone track for me. A very ordinary dance number. (2.5/5)

We already heard Amitabh Bachchan, who is a fantastic actor, doing a great job as a singer also in 2 tracks. In the next track, 'Giri Giri', its the turn of Sanjay Dutt to go behind the mic. He is famous laid-back casual attitude while singing is made use of in this track as well. (I'm a fan of his songs like Rama Re, Tez Dhaar, etc from Sanjay Gupta movies). Basically a track set in the world of the villain, Ringmaster, played by Sanjay Dutt himself in the film. Sanjay Dutt brings all the wickedness of the villain through his singing in this song which has some interesting lyrics also. Again, a short track which is about a little more than 3 minutes. Have to wait for the video to see Sanjay Dutt performing to his own song. All in all, a very good track. (3.5/5)

I'm not discussing the remix tracks as usual. There are remixes of the Genie Rap song and the Ore Saawariya song. 

Vishal & Shekhar have come up with a neat package of songs for this fantasy film which looks very promising. There are not many songs and the ones that are there are good, except for one ordinary track (Bachke O Bachke). Vishal - Shekhar have been making some great music in the past few years (Om Shanti Om, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Dostana, Tashan)  and are turning into the most wanted composers these days. They do not disappoint us this time also. Rounding up, the album has some really nice tracks ranging from rap to romance to folk to situational numbers. 

Rating - 3.5/5

Dil Bole Hadippa! - Yet another mediocre film from Yash Raj..

Movie - Dil Bole Hadippa! (Hindi)
Director - Anurag Singh
Producer - Aditya Chopra
Cast - Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Dalip Tahil, Rakhi Sawant, Sherlyn Chopra
Music - Pritam
Cinematography - Sudeep Chatterjee
Editing - Ritesh Soni
Lyrics - Jaideep Sahni
Release Date - 18th September 2009.

Havent we all seen enough of Yash Raj films set in Punjab? This movie is yet another one set in Amritsar, which begins with 'Ik Onkar' and has the farms and fields, has people doing Bhangra at the slightest excuse and what not. In between all this, there is a girl/woman called Veera Kaur (Rani Mukherjee making her so-called comeback) who thinks she is a world class batsman. How this cricket-crazy girl, transforms herself and leads her pind to a victory in a prestigious cricket match is the basic story of this film. I never really had any expectations out of this movie. But somehow I was able to sit through the whole film. Now, coming to the review.  

Yash Raj films seriously have to think beyond themselves and Punjab. In each and every film of theirs they show Punjab in all its glory and also give references to most of the films they have made before. Here, we see Rakhi Sawant dancing to Aishwarya Rai's Crazy Kiya Re and Kajra Re on a nautanki stage in the first song of the movie. A lorry with Dhoom:2's poster painted on it, the Hinglish dialogues last heard in Tashan, the setting which is very similar to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and much more. And if you thought the Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge tributes ended with Bachna Ae Haseeno and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (even Roadside Romeo had a tribute to DDLJ), you're wrong. There's yet another tribute here to that superhit of yesteryears in this movie. Shahid Kapoor who is extremely good at mimicking Shah Rukh Khan (that was what he had been doing in the name of acting till Kaminey happened) does the Raj act this time in a nautanki scene. Aditya Chopra is so determined to make us hate that classic I guess. Why would he test our patience by including a tribute scene of that movie in every film produced by him otherwise? 
If the last sports movie from Yash Raj had Chak De! in its title, this time it is yet another Punjabi phrase, Hadippa!. Even Rani Mukherjee's male avtar is named after Shah Rukh Khan's character in Veer-Zaara, Veer Pratap Singh. GOD!! Please tell the people at Yash Raj to stop this self-obsession. All this nonsense in the name of paying tributes, that too in every film, would make the viewer hate these older movies which he/she once loved. 

In Chak De! India, we saw a bunch of girls bring the women's hockey world cup to India with the help of a great coach after going through a lot of humiliation and troubles. It was a brilliant film, completely different from usual Yash Raj films and was a success both critically and commercially. It had a solid story and a genuineness in it which made it work. But this film, has a very uninteresting theme itself. The theme, supposedly lifted from a Hollywood movie She's The Man (I havent seen that film. So I dont know much about it), is about a girl who dresses up as a boy just to fulfill her passion of playing cricket, because girls are not allowed to play cricket in her pind's team. And the justification for her not trying in any women's team is that there are no women's cricket teams in her village. Now, how interesting is that??

So, the girl Veera, a clone of Babli from Bunty Aur Babli becomes Veer and joins the team of Indian Tigers, who badly need to win a match against the Pakistani team, to get the Aman cup, which they have been losing for several years (I dont remember the exact number!!). Since the Indian Tigers, owned by Anupam Kher was going through a rough patch, Anupam Kher, the owner of the team, calls his son Rohan, played by Shahid Kapoor from London to help him out. Rohan plays county cricket in London and stays with his mother who is divorced from Anupam Kher. He comes to India, agrees to play in the team and lead it to victory. The rest of the movie goes on finally reaching the cricket match. Rani's true identity is also revealed, in the climax. In between all this, Shahid and Rani (the female) fall in love as well. To add to this, there are subplots about Shahid's parents' broken marriage and another one about Sherlyn Chopra's attempts to woo him. 

The film works to a certain extent only because of Rani Mukherjee's sincere performance. She was lovely when she did the role of Babli in 2005. She repeats the same kind of performance for Veera, which is okay. But the Hinglish gets too annoying at times. As Veer, the Punjabi boy, she is fun to watch. She was great as the guy in the dance number with Rakhi Sawant. But she could have at least made a difference to her voice modulation when she was playing the guy during the scenes. This film also has the major plot-hole similar to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Anybody can guess the fancy dress easily, but the people inside the film are unaware of it. A girl cannot turn into a guy just by sticking on a fake moustache and beard. She has to be convincing in her body language, voice modulation, etc, as well. Rani's performance as Veer keeps varying. In many scenes, she does a good job, and in certain other scenes, it is just like a girl acting or speaking. She does not take any effort to behave like a guy or a boy to her co-stars. Her make-up, especially the moustache and beard is so silly. Anyone with a proper eyesight can find out that it is fake. One thing I noticed is that Rani looked younger when she came as Veer compared to how she appears as Veera. She tries her best, but cannot do a fabulous job like she usually does. But in spite of all this, she is extremely lovable in the role. She is the one who makes this movie watchable, at least. I dont think this movie was a right choice for her to make a comeback. 

Shahid Kapoor is okay. He has definitely improved from the days he was just imitating Shah Rukh in the name of acting. He does not have much to do in this movie. He really tries hard to make some scenes interesting but cannot do so because of poor writing and direction. But his good screen-presence really helps this otherwise pathetic movie. The romantic pairing of Shahid and Rani doesnt work one bit. But their chemistry as 2 guys together was pretty good. Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil as the friends from India and Pakistan respectively play the roles like they have done in a hundred other movies. Rakhi Sawant has exactly one sentence to speak in the film, apart from showing her cleavage and dancing to some silly songs. She could have done Veer's part easily, as she would look very convincing as a man. (:P) Sheryln Chopra shows much more than cleavage, and gets to say some more lines as well. But her character disappears somewhere in the second half. And when that happens, the background score actually has a voice singing 'Bye Bye Soniya!!' (Her name in the movie). Hahahaha!! That was funny!! There is Vrajesh Hirjee also in an insignificant role.

The director is confused whether to treat this movie as a love story between Shahid and Rani or as a sports film where a girl achieves her dream by dressing up as a guy. The film ends up being neither of these. It didnt work as a comedy. (I didnt even laugh for a single scene). It didnt work as a sports film either as the cricket match in the end was far from exciting. It was totally predictable and boring. The final speech by Rani, though performed well, was pretty funny and cliched. The patriotic angle trying to show friendship between India and Pakistan also doesnt work. (Dont these guys know about the not-so-good relation we have with Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks? Or that nobody has been going to Pakistan to play cricket after the attack on the Sri Lankan team?  But yea, in a Yash Raj film, anything can happen). Music by Pritam is boring. Not a single song is good. Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is strictly average. I wonder if it was the same Sudeep Chatterjee who did some extraordinary work in the sports scenes in Chak De! India

All in all, this movie didnt evoke any particular feeling in me. I just watched the entire movie because I had nothing else to do. It didnt make me laugh, it didnt make me excited and it didnt make me feel for any of the characters. But at the same time, it didnt make me go away without watching it too. I would say its plain mediocre. The only things that worked were Rani's and Shahid's performances (which were quite ordinary compared to other films, but made a big difference in this one). Watch it if you have nothing else to do. 

Rating - 2/5

Friday, September 25

Robin(n) Hood - Pretty decent!!

Movie - Robinn Hood (Malayalam)
Director - Joshiy
Producer - PK Muraleedharan, Shantha Murali
Cast - Prithviraj, Narein, Jayasurya, Bhavana, Samvrutha Sunil, Biju Menon, Lena
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Sachi-Sethu
Cinematography - Shaji
Editing - Ranjan Abraham
Music - M Jayachandran
Art Direction - Joseph Nellikkal
Release Date - 24th September 2009.

I tried to watch this movie on its release day, that is yesterday, but had to go back without tickets because of the crowd that gathered to see the supposedly new-found 'Superstar of Malayalam Cinema' Prithviraj's new movie with the hitmaker Joshiy. So I could watch the movie only today, after hearing some not-so-good opinions from many people who watched the movie on first day. The crowd was lesser, but the show was house full by the time the movie began. Prithviraj's introduction was greeted with wolf whistles and huge rounds of applause, something that you usually find during the introduction of either Mohanlal or Mammootty. So this guy actually has got a fan base now, I was thinking. If he can realize what he has got now, and work towards improving his acting skills, he can definitely be a superstar in the coming years. I am not a fan of this guy and havent liked him in many films except a few. But it is good that a younger actor can actually achieve a fan base in Kerala. Whether he is worthy of that or not, only time will decide. Now, lets get to the movie. 

The title of the movie says Robinn Hood with an extra 'n'. I was wondering why they did that. But then Joshi renamed himself as Joshiy, so this one wasnt surprising. The title sequence of the movie, though done well, was a cheap copy of the Vodafone ZooZoo ads. Why would anyone copy from an immensely popular visual which has been watched by all, and show them an imitation again? People obviously wouldnt like it. Even if they wanted to copy something, they should have copied from something which was good, but less popular. The movie is the story of a thief who robs money from the ATMs of one particular bank. There is a private investigator who is appointed to investigate the crime and also an Assistant Commissioner who is in charge of this case. The cat and mouse game that follows is what makes up most parts of this movie and its story.

Prithviraj had a great opening for his last film 'Puthiya Mukham', which went on to do good business as well. He had nothing much to perform in that action film, except to give the screen presence of an action hero. Here also, he is required to do the same, along with showing some technical wizardry as well. He plays Venkatesh Iyer, an ex-IITian, who teaches at an entrance coaching centre in the morning and then loots ATMs in the night. He doesnt really have to portray great emotional changes and all in this cop & thief story. But it is his star presence and good looks, which is made use of, in this movie. He does a good job in displaying that. But in one scene, where he is required to emote, during the flashback, his acting is not very appreciable. He makes it look melodramatic, by shouting out his dialogues (something which he always does in such scenes). That was a bad scene, especially because of his acting. 

Though the film is about Prithviraj and tells his story, it gives almost equal importance to private investigator Alexander Felix, played by Narein. Narien has got a good role after a long time in Malayalam after a very short appearance in Bhagyadevatha. He was plain horrible in his last outing as hero, Minnaminnikkoottam. But in this movie his performance graph varies between average and good. He plays this casual, chilled out investigator who has a strong tendency to flirt with any female he sees. His character is fun and brings in a touch of humour to the narrative. His interactions with the female characters in the movie are funny. His voice was dubbed by Sharath, the well known television actor. Sharath's voice suits Narein very well. (Like in Achuvinte Amma & Classmates). He almost gets as much screen-time as Prithviraj, and does a decent job. I was wondering what, the first choice for this role, Ranjith (director) would have done if he was the one doing this role. 

Jayasurya is wasted. I think he agreed to do this role, just to be a part of a Joshi film. He has a very short role, something similar to a guest appearance. But he does a good job in the limited number of scenes he has, as a serious police officer. He is the better actor among the three, but is hardly given any scope to perform. Bhavana is turning into the babe of Malayalam Cinema. Her introduction was also received with lots of whistles and applause. She plays the system head of the bank, who is on deputation from Mumbai, sent to find details about the robberies. She has nothing much to do other than look good. She shows a little more skin than usual in this movie. She looks good, but has to lose some more weight to be actually called a babe. Samvrutha's character was an unwanted addition. She plays a student who is fascinated by her lecturer, played by Prithviraj. She does bring in some light moments, but they do nothing to take the story forward, and end up as speed-breakers. Her character is conveniently forgotten when the story nears its climax. She doesnt look as good as she usually does also. Biju Menon plays the villain's role with no surprises. He was plain okay. Hope he changes his acting styles, before he gets typecast in similar roles. Salimkumar and Jaffer Idukki are added for comic relief. Salimkumar does evoke some laughter. The lesser said about Jaffer Idukki, the better. The person who took him into films should be killed. This disgusting comedian is even more vulgar than Suraaj. Hope Joshi does not take people like him in his future movies. 

The screenplay by Sachi-Sethu (who previously wrote the stupid, but extremely entertaining Chocolate) is full of plot-holes. I went in for the movie ready to forgive all such plot-holes, so I didnt pay much attention to detail, as I just wanted to be entertained. The technical details regarding the ATM robberies are quite funny, but told in a believable way. The movie managed to hold my attention till the end with some predictable, but interesting twists here and there. But what makes this mediocre script work, at least to a certain extent, is Joshi's able execution. He is still the best director we have in our state to make action thrillers. His talent in making multistarrers is well-known. Here also, he gets decent performances from the cast, and manages to engage the audience for most of the running time of the movie. 

Shaji is one of the good cinematographers we have and he does a good job yet again. Ranjan Abraham's editing was neat. Nothing extraordinary, but kept the pace of the movie intact. The music by M Jayachandran was very average, with most of the songs sounding like cheap copies of Hindi and English songs. This is not Jayachandran's kind of music. He should stick to making melodies. The first song was shot well which showed the growing friendship among Prithviraj, Narein and Bhavana. Many shots were obviously inspired from Dostana. The duet song with Samvrutha and Prithviraj was totally unnecessary and it looked really funny too. Prithviraj was trying to do dance steps like Surya, and fails completely. As I said above, Samvrutha wasnt looking her best too. The third song, a party song is a mish-mash of many Bollywood numbers including a song from Race. It is not necessary to ape Bollywood to look cool. Our people should try making some cool visuals for our songs on their own. Almost half the movie is shot in Ramada resorts, most of which we have already seen in Sagar Alias Jacky and 2 Harihar Nagar. It is not really a new location now. The houses and the apartments used in the movie are also so frequently used in all our movies, that it has become really repetitive. Kochi has much more nice locations and houses. Filmmakers should utilize them rather than sticking to the usual locations. 

On the whole, it is a pretty decent entertainer from Joshi and the young guys. Far better than Prithviraj's previous release, Puthiya Mukham. This movie has the Joshi signature all over it, though it lacks the punch of usual Joshi movies. Maybe its because it is the first time that Joshi is working with younger stars like Prithviraj, Narien and Jayasurya, as he always makes superstar movies. I think Joshi decided to make this movie with these guys because he might have felt bad of the fact that they didnt get to play any significant role in his magnum-opus Twenty 20 wanted to give these guys a chance. If you are ready to ignore the technical plot-holes of the narrative and do not mind killing some time checking out this film, you can definitely spend your money on this. I wasnt disappointed because I didnt have any major expectation from this movie other than that it was a Joshi film. But the movie certainly proved all the bad opinions I heard about it, wrong. Joshi films have rarely disappointed me. The only two films I havent liked of the director are Praja and July 4. (I havent seen Dubai). Other than these, I have enjoyed almost all the other movies by Joshi. This one also was pretty decent. The youth who turned the below average Puthiya Mukham into a hit, may like this movie too. If this movie becomes a hit, Prithviraj would consolidate his position as a star. But he has to work on his acting skills and improve quite a lot before he can actually become a superstar. 

Rating - 3/5

Nayakan - My Short Film

Movie - Nayakan (Tamil)
Cast - Rahul Nair, Sudharshan Anandkumar, Vinay Govindankutty, Arthi Venkatesh, Selvan Sudhakar Ross, Chandan Govind, David Thachireth.
Special Appearance - Pooja Parasuraman, Nikhila Sukumar
Narration - Joseph Kurian
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Vivek Ranjit, Vinay Govindankutty
Cinematography - Joseph Kurian, Vivek Ranjit
Editing - Rejeesh Melethil
Creative Support - Vinay Govindankutty, Nishanth Pio
Release Date - March 2008
Music - From Various Films
Producer - Vivek Ranjit
Director - Vivek Ranjit

This is a short film which I had directed as part of my college project. It is quite a juvenile attempt as this was the first time I filmed something. So all the flaws of a first timer is there in this. It doesnt boast of a very original screenplay as well. Most of the scenes are inspired by comic scenes which I have loved over all these years of movie watching. I made it that way and I've tried to bring about my love for movies through that. It is made in Tamil and is about a terrible actor called Shakthi, who cannot act for nuts, but still aspires to be a superstar. How he goes about towards his goal and finally, where he ends up forms the thread of this short film which lasts 12 minutes. The cast and crew are all my classmates from Loyola College. This was screened at a small function hosted by Loyola College at the Russian Cultural Centre, Chennai which was attended by people like director KS Ravikumar, etc. It was received quite well by the audience there. Hope you people like it. 

Thursday, September 24

Vettaikkaaran (Music) - Catchy songs from Vijay Antony for a typical Vijay movie soundtrack..

Movie - Vettaikkaaran (Tamil)
Director - Babu Sivan
Producer - AVM Balasubramanian
Cast - Vijay, Anushka, Salim Ghouse
Music - Vijay Antony
Lyrics - Kabilan, Vivega, Annamalai
Singers - Ananthu, Mahesh Vinayakram, Shankar Mahadevan, Krish, Suchithra, Boni Killer, Dinesh Kanagarathinam, Ramya, Surchith, Sangeetha Rajeshwaran, Krishna Iyer, Shoba Sekar, Charulathamani, Sakthi Sree

This is Vijay's next movie after the disastrous Villu this year. Though Villu was a sad movie, it boasted of chartbuster tracks. This time Vijay Antony, the current hot composer, is doing the music for this Ilaya Thalapathy film. It is funny that even after repeated flops in the same genre, our hero Vijay still follows the same set pattern of songs in his movies. One introduction song, one punch song, one romantic song and 2 kuthu paattu kind of songs. The songs arent bad, but are in the same pattern that his other films follow. It is high time he breaks away from this, otherwise he would be digging his own grave. Vijay Antony gives some really catchy numbers. Now, lets get into the review.

The first song 'Puli Urumudhu', written by Kabilan, starts with a chant like portion which is obviously for the hero's introduction. It is impossible for a Vijay movie to start without such a song. Even AR Rahman had to oblige for this situation (Ellappugazhum) when he did a Vijay movie. This one is no different. I can imagine how this would be picturised with Vijay walking or dancing, and a crowd singing praises for him, announcing the arrival of the 'Vettaikkaaran'. Usually Vijay sings about himself in his introduction songs. But here, it is the rest of the people who are singing, from what the lyrics suggest. So i guess he would just be standing and giving poses and smiles all through the song. Verses from the Bhagavad Gita are also used in this song in between. The singers are Ananthu and Mahesh Vinayakram. They sing at the highest of pitches with a ferocious feel to it. An okay song, which may work well if the song is shot well in the movie. (3/5)

The second song is 'Chinna Thamarai' written by Vivega. The singers are Krish and Suchithra supported by Dinesh Kanagarathinam, Ramya and rap from Boni Killer. Its a groovy kind of track, which sounds like a rip-off from some very familiar English pop music tunes. But its an average song. Krish and Suchithra do a good job. I'm a huge fan of Suchithra's voice. She has such an amazingly sexy voice which is being used in more and more films now. Good!! The rap is ok, and as usual, undecipherable. I can imagine Vijay and Anushka dancing in some foreign location for this song. (3/5)

Next up is the punch song, 'Naan Adichaa' written by Kabilan with vocals by the National award winning singer Shankar Mahadevan. It is amazing to see how Shankar Mahadevan turns such a random song into a lively number with his energy alone. I said earlier that Vijay didnt get a chance to sing about himself in the introduction song. I think that is justified here where he sings, 'Naan adichaa thaanga maatte, naalu maasam thoonga maatte.. '. The beats are similar to Vijay Antony's own Nakka Mukka at places. The small bit by a kid and the roaring of the lion and all were interesting. Lyrics by Kabilan which is written for a typical Tamil superhero, are fun. However, most of the credit for this song being good, should go to Shankar Mahadevan, for making it so enjoyable and lively. The energy he brings to any ordinary song is unbelievable. (3.5/5)

'Karigalan', written by Kabilan, is the next song in the album. A typical Ilaya Thalapathy song where Vijay would be dancing away to glory with his heroine. Another catchy number from Vijay Antony. New singers Surchith and Sangeetha Rajeshwaran sing this dance number, which is again, fun to hear. The English parts in the beginning sound like a chorus bit from a not so famous Malayalam song. This song should be able to satisfy Vijay fans who expect a kuthu number at a certain point in the movie. But the good thing is that, though this song is folksy in nature, it is not a complete kuthu paattu. There is a very light, catchy tune running through the entire song. (3/5)

The actual 'Kuthu Paattu' comes in the form of 'Uchimandai' by Krishna Iyer, Shoba Sekar, Charulathamani and Sakthi Sree. Again, a typical song which would satisfy the fans of the Ilaya Thalapathy who want to hear such songs and watch his dance in such numbers. The ridiculous lines 'Meow meow poonai' which we heard last in the horrible Kandhasamy, find a place in this song also. A track with heavy beats and ridiculous lyrics by Annamalai as it is expected to be. The Vijay Antony signature is there all over the track. A not so bad kuthu number considering that we have heard some real weird stuff like Mozha Mozhannu Yamma Yamma in Vijay movies not so long ago. (2.5/5)

All the songs in this album are extremely catchy and they perfectly serve the purpose that an album of a Vijay movie has. Though the songs arent bad, it should be noted that these songs can be placed in any random Vijay movie without making any difference to the narrative or the story of the movie. A movie album should have some sort of uniqueness and sync with the movie's theme. Since the theme and template of all Vijay movies are the same, nothing can be done about that. It is high time Vijay changes his pattern. His earlier film, Villu also had a hit soundtrack, but the movie flopped badly. Lets hope this movie is not as bad, and I sincerely wish Vijay all the best. We can see all the songs being repeatedly played on television soon as the movie is taken up by Sun Pictures who use their channels incessantly to promote their movies. On the whole, this album has extremely catchy songs by Vijay Antony for a typical Vijay movie soundtrack. 

Rating - 3/5

Monday, September 21

London Dreams (Music) - Another great album from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy!!

Movie - London Dreams (Hindi)
Director - Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Producer - Vipul Amrutlal Shah, Aashin Shah
Music - Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy
Cast - Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn, Asin, Rannvijay, Aditya Roy Kapur, Om Puri
Lyrics - Prasoon Joshi
Singers - Vishal Dadlani, Roopkumar Rathod, Shankar Mahadevan, Feroz Khan, Mohan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Milind, Abhijeet Ghoshal, Zubeen Garg
Release Date - 30th October 2009.

Music from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy rarely disappoints. This one is no exception either. They have come up with another great album with some really nice songs. These guys have earned the No.2 spot in Indian film music right after AR Rahman. Now we know why. They have been consistent in giving good songs throughout their career. This movie is a musical and the music plays a very important role as the lead actors (Salman, Ajay, Asin) are all playing musicians in the film. The national award winning lyric writer Prasoon Joshi joins hands again with S-E-L after the wonderful Taare Zameen Par. So we expect nothing less than a great album which has 8 straight tracks and 3 remixes.

The first track 'Barso Yaaron ' opens with the base guitar and then goes into full blown rock mode. Vishal Dadlani begins the vocals in his trademark husky voice and the songs gets a highly energetic start. A complete rock track. Vishal is an expert at such songs and he does a great job here as well. Completely different from what S-E-L had done in their previous rock outing, Rock On!!. Roopkumar Rathod joins in towards the middle of the song. I was wondering what a classical singer like him is doing in a rock track by reading the inlay card. But his contribution to the song is amazing. It brings in a completely Indian feel to this rock song.  You never expect him to sing rock so well and he does it brilliantly. He also brings out an emotional angle to the song. The Hanuman Chalisa chant at the end is totally awesome. Roopkumar Rathod's voice goes to extreme high pitch by the end of the chant. Wonderful!! We can expect Ajay performing to Vishal's voice and Salman bringing in the Indian flavour with Roopkumar Rathod's voice. An excellent opening to the album. (4.5/5)

The next track is the lovable 'Manko Ati Bhavey ' by Shankar Mahadevan. It is such a fun song to hear and the lyrics are written so well by Prasoon Joshi with words which are rarely used in routine Hindi film songs. Singing fun numbers like this comes easily to the national award winning Shankar Mahadevan. He brings in that naughty fun element in this song. The video promo is already out featuring a very naughty Salman along with a beautiful Asin dancing in front of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum. Definite hit!! (4/5)

The next track is 'Tapkey Masti' by a new singer called Feroz Khan. A bhangra number with a little bit of qawwali thrown in as well. The rock pattern is still followed in the orchestration of this folk number. The instrumentation deserves special mention. But the singing is ordinary. Maybe someone like Daler Mehndi or Mika would have made some difference. Nothing special about this track. May or may not work well in the movie. Just an average song. But if it is Salman who is performing on screen for this, it might turn out to be a superhit track after all. Since he has that ability to turn average songs also to a good watch on screen. (2.5/5)

'Khanabadosh' is the next track. The song opens with a chorus piece led by Shankar Mahadevan's voice. But the track has vocals by yet another new singer Mohan. Quite an interesting track, which might be picturised as part of a rock concert again. This song has the title of the movie, London Dreams coming in it. Mohan impresses with his vocals, though his voice is very similar to the composer Shankar Mahadevan himself at many places. Prasoon Joshi writes some good imaginative lyrics as usual. A great track yet again which can work very well in the movie. (4/5)

'Khwab Jo' by Shankar Mahadevan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the best track of the album. The song has a soft rock feel and has two completely different singers doing a great job behind the mike. Great lyrics again by Prasoon Joshi. He is a wonderful addition to the list of great lyric writers of Hindi cinema. Can be the right successor for Gulzar Saab (who is still writing awesome lyrics, by the way. Dhan te nan!!). The song talks about achieving your dreams. And borrows from the tagline of Rock On in the end, when it goes; 'Live your London Dreams'. A beautiful song. The song ends with a round of applause. We also feel like applauding. :) Sure to be the highlight of the movie. (4.5/5)

Next is 'Yaari Bina' by Roopkumar Rathod and Milind, a folk number about friendship. Most probably picturised on Ajay and Salman in Rajasthan. A great track again with awesome lines like, 'Yaar kahe, aa seene se lag jaaye.. Duniya bhaad mein jaaye'. This is exactly why I compared Prasoon Joshi to Gulzar Saab. Such fun in lyrics are usually there only in Gulzar Saab's songs. Roopkumar Rathod does a great job. And the other singer Milind supports him well. Though one misses a powerful singer like Sukhwinder Singh, Roopkumar Rathod more than makes up for it. A fun, earthy number. (3.5/5)

The next track is 'Jashn Hai Jeet Ka' by yet another new singer Abhijeet Ghoshal. An interesting composition supported with heavy orchestration. The chorus part is wonderful. But the vocals by Abhijeet Ghoshal could have been better. Somebody experienced like KK would have made a huge difference. The orchestration and the chorus make this song rise from being an average track to a pretty good one. Again, sounds like a song which would be picturised as being performed on a stage. A pretty good energetic track, which can impress once the visuals are also out. (3/5)

The final song is 'Shola Shola'. Zubeen Garg (famous for Ya Ali) sounds like Himesh Reshammiya, and that puts one off. At certain parts, the tune also sounds familiar. In spite of this, it is a pretty decent track. Zubeen Garg's voice sounds like a mix of Himesh and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. An average track yet again. (2.5/5)

I wouldnt like to talk about the remix tracks as I am not at all interested in them. I do not know why every composer includes remix tracks of their good songs in their albums. Leave that job to the DJs. People interested in remixes will hear them like that. 
On the whole, the album is yet another good one from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Last year, when Rock On released, many people said the music was just ordinary, and had to change their words once the movie was out. It went on to become one of the most popular albums of the year. Some critics even re-reviewed the music of Rock On after its release. This one impresses on first hearing itself. I hope the visuals from the movie do justice to the songs. I am doubtful how Ajay Devgan is going to be convincing as a rockstar. Salman is playing a villager who later becomes a rockstar, which is interesting. 

The unique thing about this album is that all the songs in the album are performed by male singers alone. There is not a single female voice, even in the chorus, in any of the songs, in spite of having a lovely leading lady, Asin. I think this is the first music album of a Hindi film without  a single female voice in it. All in all, a great album which can sound even better once the movie is out. 

Rating - 4/5