Songs and full music credits at the end (thanks to @vijaynarain for helping with credits. Vijay has sung a song apiece in each of the soundtracks).
Composer Santhosh Narayanan has essentially used the same set of tunes for both Saala Khadoos and its Tamil equivalent Irudhi Suttru, but with slight tweaks in arrangement and the different vocalists who make a difference with their own personal style. So I have covered both soundtracks in this review, sort of presenting a comparison between the two.
Saala Khadoos|Poda Poda – The title song in Hindi where Swanand Kirkire extols virtues of the hero that earned him the moniker, carries a very Bollywood-tailored sound. The tune is nice, as is the guitar-laden (Joseph Vijay, the guitarist) arrangement, but it is Vishal Dadlani’s power-packed singing that raises the bar here. In the Tamil version the prelude is cut short, but otherwise things remain largely the same in the backdrop. Composer gets his frequent collaborator V Pradeep Kumar to replace Vishal, and he does an equally commendable job, his own way. (The subtle inclusion of metronome style clicks sort of reminded me of something similar Santhosh did in Prabalamagavey).
Jaaga Khunnas|Maya Visai – One track from the soundtrack that is equally effective in both the languages, Jaaga Khunnas has an immensely engaging rock base that culminates in a minute-long guitar solo from Joseph. It is Vishal who leads the vocals here too, along with Vijaynarain Rangarajan. Vijay takes over from Vishal in Maya Visai and pulls it off in style, while Santhosh and Sri Shyamalangan join him as chorus.
Jhalli Patakha|Vaa Machaney – Bluesy guitars, kuthu beats – this is trademark Santhosh Narayanan! It could be the overall Tamil flavour, the lyrics seem to fit better in the Tamil version (Muthamil the lyricist). While Sunidhi Chauhan carries off the vocals exuberantly in the former, the composer interestingly shifts to a male vocalist in the Tamil version, another of his other regular partners Sean Roldan (who also does additional guitars here). And being home territory for the singer, he aces this one, squarely outplaying Jhalli.
Dhuan Hai Dhuan|Usuru Narambula Nee – Like he has done multiple times in the past, Santhosh Narayanan chooses Kalyani Nair to deliver another of his gorgeous, sweeping melodies. That she is doing it in Hindi takes a bit of getting used to, but she aces it all the same; her voice sailing over the beautiful melange of keys and strings. Her Tamil counterpart Dhee Venka has a more earthy quality to her voice that adds to the song’s appeal.
Dil Ye Ladaku|Ei Sandakara – Song of the soundtrack, in both versions! Dhee Venka bags this one too in the Tamil soundtrack while in Hindi it is Monali Thakur. While both singers are exceptional in their parts, the use of a lower register for Dhee’s version makes it more connectable with the apparent strong-willed nature of Ritika Singh’s character. The arrangement is just top class here – the use of violins (Phil Hartl) throughout the track, punctuated by the accordion and flute – absolute winner!
Saala Khadoos/Irudhi Suttru. Santhosh Narayanan starts the year with a thoroughly entertaining soundtrack that works a tad better in Tamil.
Music Aloud Rating: 8/10|8.5/10
Top tracks: Dil Ye Ladaku, Jaaga Khunnas, Dhuan Hai Dhuan|Ei Sandakara, Usuru Narambula, Vaa Machaney