Uttama Villain – Music Review (Tamil Soundtrack)

uttama villain posterYou can listen to the songs at the end of the soundtrack (link via @7hariqcp).

As its title might indicate, Loveaa Loveaa is the only track that deviates from Uttama Villain soundtrack’s period theme, and relatively speaking, is the “massier” one, delivered splendidly in Sharanya Gopinath and Kamal Haasan’s power-packed vocals. Even while conforming to the techno-based dance song conventions, composer Ghibran fills the song with his trademark world music influences that are particularly notable in the interludes. Saagaavaram starts off with claps set to the 7 beat cycle, like many of the composer’s sufi-tinged pieces in the past, but here it goes on to take an epic sound, highlighted by its percussion and battle sounds. Kamal leads the vocals here, with Yazin Nisar and Ranjith Iyappan for support. Kaadhalaam Kadavul Mun too is set to the same rhythm, a pensive melody (Maru bihag as confirmed by the composer, thanks to @_Drunkenmunk for the tip-off) that Padmalatha does a pitch-perfect rendition of (incidentally the only vocal track Kamal is not involved in, though he has written it). Uttaman Introduction has a more light-hearted feel in its folk-based arrangement and singing, going through multiple mode shifts (there were times I got reminded of Naattukku Oru Seidhi from Anbe Sivam). Kamal Haasan and his backing singers (led by Subhu Arumugam) deliver this well too. Kamal takes out his best demonic vocal impersonation in Iraniyan Naadagam that takes on the famous HiranyaKashipu-Prahlada episode from mythology (Rukmini Ashok Kumar sings Prahlada’s part). Because of its conversational nature, the song is a melange of multiple tunes, mostly adorned with grand, orchestral instrumentation. It is only the closing segment (presumably the appearance of Vishnu as Narasimha) that strikes a slightly discordant note with its dominant Western sound.

The next tracks are the official narrative pieces of the soundtrack – stories of Mutharasan and Uttaman. Both of which Ghibran orchestrates neatly, handling with finesse their multiple transitions in line with the twists and turns in the stories. The composer particularly excels in the extended instrumental passages. Mutharasan Kadhai has some lovely use of the brass section, but my favourite bit is the brief folk segment towards the end of the song. Uttaman Kadhai starts of with something like a thottam paattu that opens a theyyam performance (Kamal does appear in theyyam costumes in a lot of promos) before going on to a much more grandiose mode. In this case it is the strings section that rules the roost, there are some truly mind-blowing moments all through the song. Best of which is the moment when a snippet of that goosebump-inducing theme song makes its appearance. Splendid narration in both songs, thanks to Kamal’s command over the language.

The only problem with Uttama Villain Theme is that it is so short. But boy the effect it has while it lasts! The ominous throat singing sounds, the mrityunjaya chants that are almost a growl and the folk percussion – brilliant combination. Guru & Sishya, Father & Daughter and Uttaman & Karpagavalli sort of belong to the same league – serene, non-invasive pieces that should work perfectly as background pieces. Father & Son too starts off sounding like all that, but shifts gears half way through and builds up intensity around a Mritunjaya (which seems to be the central theme of the movie itself) chant. Letters from & to Yamini and Dr. Arpana are both built around a hook picked up from Kaadhalaam Kadavul Mun – former being the better adaptation with its keys+strings dominated arrangement peppered with the occasional santoor and veena sounds. And of course there is the fabulous humming by Padmalatha herself (I think), making this one of the best instrumental tracks.

Of the many larger-than-life projects that Kamal Haasan has been involved in of late, Uttama Villain seems to be the most ambitious going by the trailer. And on the musical front he does manage to extract the best out of Ghibran. One hell of a soundtrack, this!

Music Aloud Rating: 9/10

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