Saturday, 17 March 2018

Mohanam Raga - Tamil songs in Mohanam, the mystical raga.

Mohanam raga has an other-worldly feel to it. It is a mellowed raga, perfect to listen on pleasant and breezy evenings. The beauty of this raga has been personified in many Tamil film songs. Music composers have taken a special liking to this raga from time immemorial. If you want to chill with some good music after a long day at work, go for this raga. It is sure to detox you. Here are some Tamil songs composed in Mohanam raga. 

One of the oldest compositions to have Mohanam raga was the spiritual Giridhara Gopala song from the 1945 movie Meera. M.S. Subbulakshmi's top-class rendition elevated the spirituality of the song. Another ethereal composition in this raga is A.M. Rajah's Nilavum Malarum from the movie Then Nilavu. Crooned by A.M. Rajah and P. Susheela, this song is the perfect number to calm your mind. There are also other old songs like Pazhaga Theriya Venum from Missiamma (sung by A.M. Rajah), Aaha Inba Nilavinile from Mayabazar (sung by Ghantasala and P. Leela) and Mahakavi Bharathiyar's Kaattru Veliyidai Kannamma from the Gemini Ganesan starrer Kappalottiya Thamizhan. Pure Mohanam is also visible in the T.M. Soundarrajan's song Vandha Naal Mudhal from the movie Paavamannippu.

There are N number of songs in Mohanam raga composed by Ilaiyaraaja. In the classically rich Kannan Oru Kai Kuzhandhai from Bhadrakali movie is an evergreen example of this raga. Then there is the famous Idhayam Oru Kovil from Idhayakoil, which is a heart-touching number. Romantic melodies like ABC Nee Vaasi from Oru Kaidhiyin Diary, Geetham Sangeetham from Kokkarako, Kanmaniye Kaadhal Enbadhu from Aarilirundhu Arubathu Varai and Nilavu Thoongum Neram from Kungumachimizh are classic songs that have this raga in its purest form. Ilaiyaraaja also experimented this raga by giving it a contemporary touch in Ninnukori Varnam from Agni Natchathiram. Especially the catchy interludes display the raga in its quirky form. Another beautiful folksy composition is Oru Thanga Rathaathil from Dharma Yuddham. Other evergreen songs include Poovil Vandu from Kaadhal Oviyam, Vandhadhey from Kizhakku Vaasal and Vaan Pole from Salangai Oli.

Songs of the 90s and early 2000s too were based on Mohanam raga. Thanks to A.R. Rahman in that case. The ideal example of this raga is the sad version of Poraale Ponnuthaayi from Karuthamma. Swarnalatha would have sung this song mellifluously in her melody-dripping voice. Paarkathey Paarkathey, an enjoyable number from the movie Gentleman, also displays Mohanam in its fullest form. The mesmerizing romantic melody Snehithane from Alaipaayuthey also has traces of Mohanam. A.R. Rahman also based the stylish number Samba Samba from Love Birds in this raga. The more recent song Ennodu Nee Irundhaal (sung effervescently by Sid Sriram) from the 2015 movie Ai is a good example of Mohanam raga. 

Other famous songs include:

1. Aasai Nenjin Kanavugal from Mugathil Mugam Paarkalam
2. Enga Maharanikku from Thalaimurai
3. Indha Poovukku Oru from Poovarasan
4. Iru Paravaigal Malai Muzhudhum from Niram Maaradha Pookkal
5. Kaathirundhen Thaniye from Rasamagan
6. Kekalayo Kekalayo from Kasthuri Maan
7. Meenkodi Theril from Karumbuvil
8. Oru Ragam Paadalodu from Anandha Ragam
9. Thirutheril Varum Silaiyo from Naan Vazha Vaippen 

14 Must-Listen Albums of Yuvan Shankar Raja

Yuvan Shankar Raja is well-known for his catchy youthful numbers that become a craze within days of their release. Many of his soundtracks have gone on to become chartbusters just because of the commercial foot-tapping numbers present in them. But there are few albums which are musically-rich and have versatile songs in them. Each song from these albums are definite gems and are tailor-made for lovers of good music. Here are 14 must-listen albums of Yuvan Shankar Raja that you must absolutely have in your playlists.

1. Poovellam Kettupaar

Before Yuvan Shankar Raja became a household name with the release of this album, he composed for a few forgettable movies where the songs didn't make any impact. But the songs from this album became instant hits upon its release. Yuvan composed this album with an equal spread of melodies and peppy numbers. Be it the romantic melody Chudithar Anindhu or the catchy Senoreeta and CBI Enge or the soulful Irava Pagala, Sevvanam Vetkam Kondadhu and Poothathu Poothathu or the enjoyable Poove Poove, all the songs had a separate charm to them. 

2. Dheena

This Thala Ajith movie didn't have any commercial songs that portrayed Ajith in the limelight. Even his introduction song En Nenjil sung by Harish Raghavendra was a lighthearted number that didn't have any blaring music. Yuvan also pushed the envelope by composing danceable romantic songs like Kaadhal Website Ondru and Nee Illai Endraal. Then there was this heart-melting number Sollamal Thottu Chellum which became every lovestruck youngster's anthem. And what more? Yuvan topped the album with the scorching item number Vathikuchi Pathikadhuda sung by legend S.P. Balasubrahmanyam.

3. Kaadhal Kondein

Yuvan Shankar Raja became a classic composer with this evergreen album. This was the first Selvaraghavan directed movie where Yuvan composed music and the combo moved on to do many successful films later. The album had memorable numbers like Devathaiyai Kanden, Nenjodu Kalandhidu, Thottu Thottu, and Kaadhal Mattum Purivathillai. Other striking songs were Manasu Rendum and 18 Vayadhil. What went on to become a huge hit was the movie's theme music, which is still used as ringtone by many people. Other excellent montage songs and theme pieces were released later. 

4. 7G Rainbow Colony

Another mesmerizing album from Yuvan-Selvaraghavan combo. Songs and background score played a phenomenal part in the success of this movie. Yuvan Shankar Raja won the Filmfare Award for this soundtrack. Some of the popular gems from this album were the pathos Ninaithu Ninaithu (both versions), the semi-classical Kanaa Kaanum Kaalangal and the lovely Kan Pesum Vaarthaigal. Other songs like Naam Vayathuku Vandhom, January Maadham, and Idhu Porkalama fared well with the visuals. Instrumental pieces like Walking Through The Rainbow and Music of Joy were heartwarming to listen.

5. Pattiyal

Upon its release, this album became a superhit. However, it didn't stand the test of time and many people don't remember the songs well nowadays. But this is a cult classic soundtrack that requires enormous praise for its beautiful songs. Be it the folksy Dei Namma Melam or the soul-stirring Yedhedho Ennangal and Kannai Vittu or the enjoyable Poga Poga Bhoomi or the catchy Namma Kaatula, this was the best example for a versatile album. Almost all the radio stations repeatedly aired these numbers till they were on everyone's lips.

6. Pudhupettai

Considered as one of Yuvan Shankar Raja's out-of-the-world works, this album gained immense popularity when it released. Songs like Enga Area, Variya, and Pul Pesum became a rage among the youngsters. However, it was the song Oru Naalil which pushed the album to the top charts. This one remarkable along with the theme pieces Survival of the Fittest, The Beginning, Prelude, and The War Cry made the soundtrack a musical milestone in Tamil film industry. This was also a Selvaraghavan directed movie.

7. Deepavali

This 2007 movie worked well mainly because of its commendable music. Each song had a different dimension to it and each played a significant role in the progress of the movie. Heart-melting love songs like Kaadhal Vaithu and Pogadhey were every hardcore romantic's favourite numbers. There were also some foot-tapping numbers like Dhol Baje and Thoduven Thoduven. Another popular song Kannan Varum Velai became every girl's dream song of the decade. Though it was a short album, it still remains as an evergreen one.

8. Chennai 600028

This sports comedy movie had an amazing soundtrack and it also fared well commercially. Foot-tapping numbers like Jalsa and Saroja Saman Nikalo became instant chartbusters, while melodies like Yaaro Yaarukkul, Un Paarvai and Natpukullae called for repeated listens. There were also a couple of underrated songs like Ulle Va and Oh Oh Ennamo which spiced up the versatility of the album. Yuvan Shankar Raja hit the bull's-eye with this one.

9. Kattradhu Thamizh

This is that one phenomenal album in Yuvan Shankar Raja's career which made him a sensation all over. The soundtrack featured the mesmerizing melody Paravaiye Engu Irukkirai sung by Yuvan's father Ilaiyaraaja. Apart from this number, other soulful melodies were Unakkagathane Intha and Para Para Pattampoochi. Situational songs like Innum Oru Iravu and Vazhkai Enbathu played a significant role in the progress of the movie.

10. Yaaradi Nee Mohini

Though Yuvan reused all the tunes from the original Telugu movie Aadavari Maatuluku Arthale Verule, this album was widely appreciated as a standalone soundtrack in Tamil. Each and every song is a classic in this album. Be it the heartwarming melodies Engeyo Paartha Mayakkam, Venmegam Pennaga and Oru Naalaikkul or the catchy Nenjai Kasakki, Oh Baby and Palakaatu Pakkathile (remix), all the songs turned out to be all-time chartbusters. All the background scores from this movie also deserve a standing applause.

11. Paiyaa

This can be considered as the highly successful album of the decade. It broke all the records upon its release and Yuvan Shankar Raja was considered as the original hero of the movie. All the songs in the album became sensational. Especially melodies like Thuli Thuli and En Kaadhal Solla are still aired in many radio stations. Other popular songs were Adada Mazhaida, Poongatre Poongatre, Suthudhe Suthudhe and Yedho Ondru. The last number was added as an additional song after the immense popularity of the album.

12. Baana Kaathadi

This was a lighthearted album that gained popularity by word-of-mouth. Songs like Thaakuthe Kan Thaakuthe, Oru Paithiyam Pidikudhu and En Nenjil were remarkable, while the other songs Kuppathu Rajakkal and Ullara Poondhu Paaru played a huge role in the progress of the movie. Though it was an underrated album, all the songs are must-haves in your Yuvan Shankar Raja playlist.

13. Mankatha

This is the only commercial album of Yuvan Shankar Raja that is worthy to be mentioned in this list. Though it had groundbreaking numbers like Vilaiyaadu Mankatha, Vaada Bin Lada, Machi Open The Bottle, and Balle Lakka, it was the melodious numbers like Nee Naan and Nanbane which made the album an overall success. This was the last wholesome Yuvan album before he lost his charm and paved way for other young music composers.

14. Taramani

After a long hiatus, Yuvan Shankar Raja came up with an astounding album for this Ram directed movie. Though only the songs Yaaro Ucchikilai, Un Badhil Vendi, and Kaadhal Oru Kattukkathai became chartbusters, other numbers like Unnai Unnai, Oru Koappai and Paavangalai are sure to find a place in your playlists. Give the other songs a listen and decide for yourself. Hope Yuvan continues this magic with his upcoming albums too.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Gowri Manohari - Tamil songs in Gowri Manohari, the divine raga.

Gowri Manohari raga is a spiritual raga which brings in a sense of calmness to the listener. This is the perfect raga to be played during rituals at home and devotional festivals in temples. There are some soulful melodies in Tamil films which have been composed using this raga. In fact, this is one of the favourite ragas of Ilaiyaraaja and he has based many of his songs on this raga. Let us see some of the amazing Tamil songs in Gowri Manohari.

One of the oldest compositions in Gowri Manohari is the ever-popular Paattum Naane from the 1965 superhit movie Thiruvilaiyadal. Composed by K.V. Mahadevan, this divine song was rendered flawlessly by T.M. Soundarrajan. Even the interesting interludes display the awesomeness of this raga. Another mesmerizing song in this raga is Malare Kurinji Malare from the 1975 Sivaji Ganesan starrer Dr. Siva. Sung effervescently by K.J. Yesudhas and S. Janaki, this wonderful song was composed by M.S. Viswanathan. The music composer used this raga effectively in an astounding semi-classical song Gowrimanohariyai Kanden from the movie Mazhalai Pattalam. With the raga's name as the starting phrase, this number displayed the raga at its purest form. All the sangadhis were incorporated and crooned ideally by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and Vani Jayaram.

As mentioned before, Ilaiyaraaja used Gowri Manohari meticulously in his compositions. There are many addictive numbers in this raga. A brilliant example would be Boopalam Isaikkum from Thooral Ninnu Pochu. Rendered perfectly by K.J. Yesudhas and Uma Ramanan, this song has Gowri Manohari flowing throughout it. Maanguyile Poonguyile from the movie Karagaattakaaran also has touches of this raga. Unlike other melodious songs, this is a unique folk composition in which Ilaiyaaraja cleverly used this raga. Another enchanting composition is Muthamizh Kaviye Varuga from the Superstar Rajnikanth movie Dharmathin Thalaivan. K.S. Chitra and K.J. Yesudhas would have sung in their pleasantly honeyed voices. Adhikaalai Nilave from Uruthi Mozhi, sung by Jayachandran and S. Janaki, also has traces of Gowri Manohari. Other ingenious compositions are Solai Poovil Maalai Thendral from Vellai Roja, Sandhana Kaatre from Thanikattu Raja, Dhoorathil Naan Kanda Mugam from Nizhalgal, Thaazhampoove Kannurangu from Indru Nee Naalai Naan and Kannan Naalum from Ilamai Kolam. 

Gowri Manohari raga also incorporates the Hindustani raga Patdheep in many film songs. One of the famous composition by Ilaiyaraaja with Patdheep touches is the song Ponvaanam Panneer Thoovudhu from Indru Nee Naalai Naan. The song Kanna Varuvaaya Meera Ketkiral from the movie Manathil Urudhi Vendum also has traces of Patdheep. 

Other beautiful Tamil songs in this raga are:

1. Anbe Va Arugile from Kili Pechu Ketkava
2. Endhan Vaazhkaiyin Artham from Chinna Kannamma
3. Thendralai Kandu Kolla from Nilave Mugam Kaatu
4. Vaarayo Vaanmathi from Pagal Nilavu
5. Solai Kiligal Rendu from Kovil Kaalai

Charukesi raga - Tamil songs in Charukesi, the mesmerizing raga.

Charukesi is a heart-melting raga that is used in melodious compositions. Right from the 50s, this beautiful raga has been used to compose songs that render a feel of pathos as well as warm the hearts of the listeners. Though this raga is extensively used in Classical music, it was adopted by music composers to provide a classical touch to their songs. Charukesi's charm was popularized by many film songs and it is used even in today's compositions.

The first song to have Charukesi as its base was Manmadha Leelaiyai song from the movie Haridas. Composed by Papanasam Sivan, this song was rendered flawlessly by M.K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar. There are many sangadhis in this song which perfectly reflect the astounding raga. Another golden number is Aadal Kaaneero song from the movie Madurai Veeran. This song was composed by G. Ramanathan and crooned meticulously by M.L. Vasanthakumari. This number too has lots of layers of sangadhis and Charukesi is heard at its purest form. Then the popular song Vasantha Mullai from the movie Sarangadhara also has Charukesi evolving from every line. Interestingly, the remix version from the 2007 movie Pokkiri also is based on this raga.

While there is the popular notion that Charukesi is best suited for mellifluous songs, there are some foot-tapping numbers which prove otherwise. The best example is M.S. Viswanathan's Azhagiya Tamizh Magal Ival from the movie Rickshawkaaran. When it comes to the 80s era, Charukesi wasn't left behind. Ilaiyaraaja used this raga beautifully in his evergreen compositions. Songs like Aadal Kalaiye from Sri Raghavendra, Thoodhu Selvadhaaradi from Singaaravelan, Mayanginen Solla Thayanginen from Naane Raja Naane Mandri and Chinna Thaayaval from Thalapathy are perfect examples of this raga. Music composer Deva indulged this raga in the playful romantic number Engengey Engengey from the movie Nerukku Ner. Sung by Asha Bhosle and Hariharan, this song had a rich classical feel to it, despite being a fast-paced melody.

A.R.Rahman, too, used Charukesi in some of his soothing compositions. The best one is Udhaya Udhaya from the movie Udhaya. This sangadhi-filled number was perfectly rendered by Hariharan and Sadhana Sargam. Another soulful song is Yedho Yedho from Enakku 20 Unakku 18 movie. Karthik and Gopika Poornima's voices flow like honey along with this heartwarming raga. In Bollywood, the song Ahista Ahista from Swades has traces of Charukesi in it.

Some of the new-age songs like Thaiyya Tha from Thiruttu Payale and Nenjil Nenjil from Engeyum Kaadhal are good examples of Charukesi raga.

Other Tamil songs based on this mesmerizing raga are:

1. Amma Nee Sumandha Pillai from Annai Oar Aalayam
2. Maapillai Ragasiyam Sollava from Arangetram
3. Muthuthaaragai from Oru Kai Osai
4. Kaadhalin Deepam Ondru from Thambikku Entha Ooru
5. Siriya Paravai from Andha Oru Nimidam
6. Chinnajiru Kiliye from Mundhaanai Mudichu
7. Manamaalayum Manjalum from Vaathiyaar Veetu Pillai

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Kaali Music Review

Movie: Kaali (2018)

Cast: Vijay Antony, Anjali, Sunaina

Director: Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi

Music director: Vijay Antony

1. Arumbey - Nivas, Janaki Iyer

Vijay Antony is back to form with this mesmerizing melody that oozes love from every corner. He proves his mettle with the ebullient violin piece in the prelude and continues to weave magic in the interludes with the brilliant strings and accentuated flute pieces. Honeyed voices of Nivas and Janaki Iyer add immense value to the mellifluous tune. The base of the song reminds us of Nenjorathil from Pichaikkaran, but the comparisons end there. Gem of the album!

2. Amma Alugiren - Nivas

Like all his previous movies, Vijay Antony brings in a sentimental mother song in this movie too. The orchestration of this number is top-notch, while the tune meanders off the trail as the song progresses. This song might do better when listened along with the visuals. Nivas once again yields the megaphone and he emotes well with his mellowed rendition. What stands out in the song are the flute sections and the moving lyrics.

3. Noorai Yugam Noorai - Vedala Hemachandra, Sangeetha Rajeshwaran

A song that sounds much like Vijay Antony's Unnai Kanda Naal Mudhal song from the 2014 movie Salim. Since this one is also sung by Vedala Hemachandra, there is not a slight difference between the two songs. It is refreshing to listen to Sangeetha Rajeshwaran after a long gap. The violin and strings in the interlude spice up the romantic mood of the song. Since Vijay Antony repeats his own template, this number doesn't make that much impact. Makes for a good listen on breezy evenings.

4. Poraayo - Deepak

This song is a melancholic pathos with a sleepy pace and an easily forgettable tune. The haunting flute and string sections elevate the song and Deepak's gloomy rendition matches the mood of the number. It's a short track which is worth a listen.


This album begins on an amazing note and loses steam midway. However, it is good to listen to the old Vijay Antony, who used to enthrall listeners with his catchy compositions. One track from this album is sure to stay on your playlists for a long time.

Rating: **3/4   (2.75 / 5)

Picks: Arumbey

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Karu Music Review

Movie: Karu

Cast: Sai Pallavi, Naga Shourya

Director: A.L.Vijay

Music director: Sam C S

1. Aalaliloo - Swagatha S. Krishnan

A heartmelting number that evokes strong emotions of motherly love. Sam C S hits the bulls-eye with this beautiful composition. He indulges various instruments like the haunting wind chimes and a concoction of strings in the interludes. The violin piece in the prelude sets the whole mood of the song. Swagatha S. Krishnan's lullaby-like sweet voice feels like honey to the ears. She sounds like singer Chinmayee in many places. Madhan Karky's lyrics are apt for the situation of the number. First gem of the album!

2. Konjali - Sathya Prakash, Neha Venugopal, JKA Shalini

Here comes a Rahman-ish wedding song. This short and sweet track has everything to become the next hit celebratory track in Kollywood. The effervescent background in the song is spiced up by the cacophony of Nadaswaram, flute and violin. Sathya Prakash's ebullient voice stands throughout, while Neha Venugopal's mellifluous tone adds to the beauty. Once again, Madhan Karky spreads his magic with his lyrics. This number might fare better with the visuals.

3. Karuve - K.S.Chitra

A gloomy and haunting melody that is sure to stay in your playlists for a long time. This highly emotional number has the astounding vocals of K.S.Chitra, who modulates her voice to a crying tone and enhances the melancholic mood of the song. One can vaguely make out the storyline of the movie with this number, as Madhan Karky's moving lyrics reveal the central theme. Sam C S scores once again with his exhilarating orchestration and the flute in the interludes are sure to evoke goosebumps in the listeners. Another pick!

4. Voice of Karu - Instrumental

This is the thematic version of the previous number. Sam C S' orchestration is top-notch here, as he plays effectively with the strings and violin. Towards the end of the instrumental, the pace picks up with some light rhythm and suddenly drops to a mellowed ending where the eerie violin, strings and flute drive the theme to an emotional finale.

5. Sound of Revenge - Instrumental

Unlike the previous theme, this is a spine-chilling composition that brings in a sense of dread with its haunting bell gongs, eerie chorus, frightening voiceover of a child and spooky orchestration. Chennai Orchestra proves their mettle once again.


Sam C S proves once again that he is a promising composer to look for. His songs are experimental and have a classic touch to them. Hope Kollywood gets to listen to more of his breathtaking compositions.

Rating: ***3/4   (3.75  / 5)


Aalaliloo, Karuve