When GVM announced that Raja will score music for Neethane En Ponvasantham (You are my golden spring), like all die hard fans around the world, I was mighty excited. The London Recording only added to the excitement. The teaser of Saiyndhu Saiyndhu released 20 days back was melodious but was a bit disappointing. More than the song being disappointing, I realised I was looking at the prospect of the album disappointing me yet again! After all I have been disappointed by Raja for close to 10 years now. After Hey Ram and Virumandi, there has not been one great complete album from Raja. His best work in the last decade included rehash of his earlier work in films like Cheeni Kum, Paa and Naan Kadavul. And I started having the same feelings that my father had with respect to the thespian actor, Sivaji Ganesan.
My father was a huge Sivaji fan. Right from Parasakthi to Thirisoolam, he has watched almost every film more than 2-3 times. But after a certain point, Sivaji started hamming and started acting in bad films – one after another. My father was dejected, he just hoped for that ONE magical film, ONE magical performance after which he could graciously retire. There was a Dhaavani Kanavugal, there was a Mudhal Mariyadhai – but these were performances that pleased the fans in the respective film directors – not the critic in my father. When my father almost lost hope came Thevar Magan. I could perfectly empathize with how my father felt after watching Thevar Magan. For I have been waiting for that ONE MAGICAL ALBUM – in between there were several good songs and a few brilliant songs – but THAT ONE MAGICAL ALBUM from Raja sir eluded me. I was seriously hoping that NEP will be Raja’s Thevar Magan!!
So when I listened to NEP, I was skeptical yet hopeful. It was sheer torture, I must add! The fight between heart and mind. My heart knew why I became a fan of Raja in the first place, and refused to accept anything else. It hoped for the best. My mind knew that Raja is not in peak form anymore and heading towards twilight as an artist(like all artists do someday). Yet…
They say miracles do happen. It had happened with my father in Thevar Magan. AND BOY, IT DID HAPPEN TO ME!! Neethane En Ponvasantham…..What an album..! It was an exhilarating experience to listen to the symphony of sound by the 100 piece orchestra from London. It was a symphony of violins, violas, cello, double bass, Western concert flutes, guitars (rhythm, lead and bass), clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns and harps. And what a composition!!
The string and brass portions of the Sattru Munbu song melts one and leaves one in a state beyond words. Beautifully rendered by Ramya (the thespian NS Krishnan‘s great grand daughter), this song sounds so simple while hearing, but if you listen to it a few times, you realize what a complex tune it is. In Pidikala Mamu (which is going to be a very underrated song -I predict), the guitar composition gives an electric feel to the rock genre.
Mudhal Murai by Sunidhi Chauhan is vintage Raja. It captures the dark mood of the heart broken lover in its lyrics, tune and arrangment but the soothing chorus which adds ‘Nee thane en pon vasantham’ adds that bit of hope. Sheer genius. Ennodu Vaa Vaa has that swinging rhythm (much similar to Keladi En Paavaiye from Gopura Vasalile) and the playful mmod of the song is well captured by his rendering by Karthik.
Saindhu Saindhu by Yuvan is a disappointment mainly becuase of Yuvan’s voice. Listen to the same song Yedhi Yedhi in Telugu sung by Shaan and you will realize the quality of the composition. The piano and string combination is used so well by Raja in this song! GVM, Why dont you leave the choice of singers to Raja next time around.
I am unable to decide if I like Pengal Endral by Yuvan, only because it does not sound like Raja at all. Completely dominated by guitar (I can imagine GVM telling Raja,”Guitar thrikanum saar!”), this is pure rock genre. I am quite surprised Raja did not come up with this kind of a composition even in movies like Enakul Oruvan or Kalaignan in which the protoganist was a rock star. I remember not liking Pizza the first time I had it, mainly because I was used to Idlys and Rotis for 25 years! To be fair to Raja, this song deserves at least a few more hearings before I make up my mind.
But the icing on the cake is Vaanam Mella by Raja himself and Bela! Even as I write about it, my eyes get moist. The best thing one can write about this song is not write about it at all. Please do yourself a favour, buy the album – LIKE…TODAY!
And if I come across as an unabashed fan, what do you know? It was Salvation day for me and the thousands and thousands of other die hards! I STAND VINDICATED. Bless Raja!