While it is awe-inspiring (as always) to hear SP Balasubramaniam and Chithra deliver their lines to Ilayaraja’s orchestral grandeur, it is Kailash Kher who sounds like a misfit in what is otherwise a brilliantly executed period piece, Matthagajame. The star is of course the orchestration, strings and brass sections combining to the most majestic effect alongside the well-employed chorus, in trademark Raja fashion (there were times when mind went back to his music from Malayalam movie Guru); even the folksy twist in between fits in well. Similar to Kailash in the first song, a tired-sounding Sadhana Sargam strikes the odd sore note singing alongside Hariharan in the placid, melodic Auna Neevena. The arrangement is underplayed for most part, but rich all the same – percussion-less stretches of keys, strings and woodwinds lending the song most of its charm. Another pretty melody from the soundtrack goes to Shreya Ghoshal. And she does an expectedly fine job of rendering Punnami Puvvai. Strings rule the backdrop once again, while the chorus supports the singer well.
The taandav format of Allakallolamai is quite standard and doesn’t have much recall value despite SPB on vocals. It is fun to hear Chithra playing around with her voice in Choosukovo Teesukovo, and so is Baba Sehgal’s cameo that is very much a throwback to his yesteryear style, but the song otherwise does not have a lot to its credit. One aspect worth mentioning though is the folk-based percussion. The final track Anthapuramlu doesn’t have a particularly great tune, but the arrangement makes up for that big time, the strings as with most of the soundtrack, and also some lovely use of clarinet. The three singers Chithra, Sadhana Sargam and Chinmayi do their part well, even the vocal harmonies between them is quite neatly handled.
Rudhramadevi is the best work from Ilayaraja in a long time!
Music Aloud Rating: 8/10
Top Recos: Matthagajame, Punnami Puvvai, Auna Neevena