‘Neethane En Ponvasantham’ has been in the spotlight right from the day GauthamVasudev Menon announced his first ever collaboration with the one and only Isaignani. The teasers featuring ‘Saindhu Saindhu’ and ‘YennoduVaaVaa’ only added to the euphoria leading up to the audio launch, which yours truly had the good fortune to attend in Chennai. But more on that later as we dive straight into the CD of NEP.
The album starts with the by now immensely popular ‘Saindhu Saindhu’ by Yuvan Shankar Raja and Ramya (Granddaughter of Kalaivanar NSK). To start with I have to disclaimer that I am not a great fan of Yuvan’s singing thanks to his pitching and pronunciation issues. That said the composition is very soulful, melodious and spontaneous, especially considering that it comes immediately (in the background) after the heroine abruptly proposes her love to the hero in a car. The icing on the cake is the violin ensemble before the 2ndcharanam. Textbook Raajaism indeed.
‘Katrai Konjam’ starts with a very Raaja household style arrangement with a fastish string piece and Karthik Raaja’s vocals. Following this Karthik’s voice(not the Raaja one) sits in the backdrop of a nice rhythm and a smooth jazz arrangement, especially on the trumpet front. To me this one goes a few notches over the opening track thanks largely to a much more trained singer.
‘Mudhal Murai’ definitely seems to be much more of a situational song than a pure play audio stunner. The orchestration is still pretty rich, especially on the violin and piano fronts. Sunidhi Chauhan who renders this song has come a long way on her pronunciation front, but the tune by itself, atleast in the first few hearings, doesn’t impact in a major way.
Next up is the song of the album for me. Raaja Sir himself takes stage along with Bela Shende for ‘Vaanam Mele’. The lilting melody and great violins in the interludes are all great as expected, but, having had a chance to see the visual of this song, what takes it to another level is how the Maestro teaches us the sheer feeling of high school romance through his magic. Special thanks to Bela for her great feel and pronunciation and as for the male vocals, just listen to the line ‘kaadhalaanaullam renduuyirileinayum tharunam tharunam’ multiple times. Bliss!!! Move over Anirudh, the granddad of youthful romance is at work.
At this point the album takes a bit of a nosedive with ‘Pudikale Maamu’, which is apparently an intro song featuring Jeeva and Santhanam. There is nothing exceptional about the song though it may be saved a bit if it is set in the 80s or early 90s as the sound is more from that time. Also it weirdly goes for a western to folk transition with no smooth transition in place. The kuthu section by Karthik is even more ordinary in impact.
The album firmly comes back on track with ‘YennoduVaaVaa’(Karthik again) which is a lot in the Kadhalukku Mariyadhai mode in terms of melody and orchestration. Easy on the ears, steadily paced and very conducive for repeat hearing would be the best way to describe this song. The 2ndcharanam starts a bit like the ‘Chinapponudhan’ charanam of ‘Aasaiadhigamvechu’ from Marupadiyum, but the song is undoubtedly in the top league of this album.
‘Pengal Yendral’ symbolizes what all I despise about Yuvan’s singing and I would happily skip the song. The tune too is nothing home to write about. Yuvan’s pronunciation has improved slightly but that doesn’t save things in a large way. ‘SatruMunbu’ by Ramya NSK is the climax song of the movie and that is pretty evident due to the heavy instrument arrangement. Ramya has a voice well suited for western compositions and it looks like the song would work much more in the situational context.
Overall the album with 2 great songs, 2 good ones, 2 situational numbers and 2 very ordinary outings is no 8/8 stunner but is still a pretty good experience overall. It is probably no VTV in terms of chartbusting quality, but if the expectation out of the venture is a Raaja sound, that is comfortably met and if the few minutes of exclusive movie footage shown during the audio launch is any indication, boy do we have a great background score in store.
Also do check out the theatrical trailer of the film-