You can listen to the songs at the end of the review.
Composer Ramesh Vinayakam gets everything spot on in the bhajan Narayana Narayana – a simple and retro classical-based tune, an arrangement that sees glorious use of strings (of which this is just a preview of what comes later), and a lovely combination at the vocals; that of the doyenne Vani Jayaram (one song in 1983 earlier this year, one to come in Kaaviya Thalaivan; glad to see the lady back in action and still sounding fab) in the first half and the boy Karthik Suresh in the latter. With Vinkandatha the composer brings in Western classical elements; led by piano, violins and woodwinds. The song part in contrast remains very old Tamil, both lyrically (Thirumazhisai Alwar’s words) and in Unnikrishnan’s recitation. The fact that there is no percussion adds immensely to the free flowing beauty of the song. Last of the vocal pieces comes in two versions, while one has the composer on vocals with Vinaya, the second has Kaushiki Chakraborty doing the female part. Thuli Thuliyaayi too is a beauty, that lovely time signature (7 beats, I think) and the rich orchestration once again high on strings, but also with some other nice touches like the slide guitar and the horns. The singing is top class in both versions.
And then come the instrumental tracks where more awesomeness awaits. Mystic Mind is mostly sinister, yet serene, built on that spellbinding interplay between piano and strings. Ramanujan Theme too has Ramesh Vinayakam taking the Western classical route, this time it is the oboe (or clarinet?) that sits on the intricate strings platform. One To Zero too uses the same combination as the theme but the strings rule this one, and quite beautifully at that. And then comes the best of the lot, and to me the song of the soundtrack. Ramesh’s Western adaptation of Mutthiah Bhagavathar’s English Notes. Though inspired by the Western style, as @krishashok pointed out in this adaptation of his sometime back, the piece apparently was not written from the harmonic angle hence making it rather challenging for something like a string quartet cover. Ramesh gets over this hurdle masterfully, creating a richly nuanced classical piece in the process (oh the violins, yet again!).
Ramanujan. Ramesh Vinayakam expertly draws from Carnatic and Western classical styles to produce one of the finest period film soundtracks ever. And this, as another period film soundtrack (from ARR, no less) is just around the corner! This movie has already given me enough reasons to be watched in theatre!
Music Aloud Rating: 9/10
Top Recos: All of them!