Three years after she sang that delectable food-themed song in Salt & Pepper, singer Pushpavathi reunites with composer Bijibal for another folk flavoured track called Maanathe Chandanakkeeru. Penned by Engandiyoor Chandrasekharan, this one has the composer presenting an arrangement loaded with native instruments supporting the very likeable tune delivered brilliantly by Pushpavathi with the chorus, resulting in a delightfully Malayali song. Manassin Thinkale sees a radical shift in style, Bijibal going for a Hindustani setting with the specialist Shahabaz Aman in the lead. The arrangement features some lovely sarangi (or esraj?) and the singing is fab. That mild Kaanaamullaal evocation apart, the composer nails the sound in Mazhanila, making particularly beautiful use of violins as he has on multiple occasions in the past. The maappila-style twist at the end of the second and third verses is another highlight of the arrangement. Najeem Arshad and TR Soumya carry out their part wonderfully too.
The retro sound is channelled very well into the upbeat Oru Kodi, with the occasional mod garnishing. And Ganesh Sundaram, with his voice and rendition reflective of yesteryear singers, makes perfect choice behind the mic. The star of Bana Har Dil Ki is singer Krishna Bongane of Thaikkudam Bridge (whom I consider the best singer of the band) who pulls off the nuanced rendition with ease. The song works occasionally otherwise, the monotony setting in rather soon. Mekham has Madhu Balakrishnan on vocals, haven’t heard that man in a while. Madhu is joined by Jyotsna in the melodic piece that occasionally feels very 90s. Finally Vikramadithyan’s racy arrangement appears gimmicky at times, and is middling overall. Yazin Nisar’s sprightly singing deserves a mention though.
Lal Jose movies haven’t been as consistent in musical quality of late, as they once used to be, but his track record with National award winner Bijibal remains intact in their third project together. Vikramadithyan.
Music Aloud Rating: 8/10
Top Recos: Maanathe Chandanakkeeru, Mazhanila, Oru Kodi