Aami – Music Review (Malayalam Soundtrack)

You can listen to the songs on Saavn. Have included a couple of song videos and partial credits at the end.

As the visuals of Neer Maathalam flit between the idyllic Kerala village and the streets of Calcutta where Aami’s subject Madhavikutty aka Kamala Das aka Kamala Surayya grew up (the song’s title is a nod to one of her most popular works, for the uninitiated), so too does composer M Jayachandran’s predominantly Malayali soundscape see the occasional introduction of Bengali folk elements. While it is Shreya Ghoshal’s honeyed voice taking you through a large chunk of the delightfully rustic tune in spotless fashion, Arnab Dutt joins the singer for the brief Bengali phrases. The Malayalam-peppered-with-Bengali structure of the song took me back to this Debojyoti Mishra composition from Calcutta News. Shreya does an even finer rendition of the melancholic and more nuanced Pranayamayi Radha; here too she takes up majority of the song; Vijay Yesudas chipping in occasionally with a short but effective supporting role. Lyricist Rafeeq Ahammed is in fab form here as well, while the composer embellishes the winsome melody with a lush backdrop of violins and Dilshad Khan’s sarangi.

Making his debut in Malayalam nearly twenty years after his brother did (Vaanaprastham – 1999) composer Taufiq Qureshi creates his three songs out of Gulzar’s poems. I managed to find older instances of Chand Hoga (a version sung by Manna Dey in 1967) and Umr Saalon Se (from Jagjit Singh’s 2006 album Koi Baat Chale), both sung here by Javed Ali. Qureshi’s treatment of both songs is different from the aforementioned versions of course – the pleasantly lilting Chand Hoga’s arrangement once again sees the sarangi employed brilliantly and prominently. Ali’s rendition isn’t without lapses, but it works. The singer does a better job in Umr Saalon Se which is more sparsely orchestrated (once again the sarangi taking lead) and largely relies on his free-form rendition. I have not been able to figure out if the final song Aadhi Raat also has appeared in some other form before this, but this too finds an elegant tune at Taufiq Qureshi’s hands. Roop Kumar Rathod leads the vocals here (credited as just Roop in most places, oddly), and not sure if it is owing to the slow pacing of the song, but the man’s singing sounds oddly laboured here and that works against the song big time.

So barring the misstep in that last song, wonderful album from Taufiq Qureshi and M Jayachandran. Not sure how the movie will turn out to be, but director Kamal does manage to add yet another fine soundtrack to his illustrious portfolio, in fact his best in a while.

Music Aloud Rating: 4/5

Top Recos: Neer Maathalam, Pranayamayi Radha, Chand Hoga

Musician Credits

Neer Maathalam

Lyrics : Rafeeq Ahammed
Music : M Jayachandran
Singers : Shreya Ghoshal & Arnab Dutta
Movie : Aami
Movie Director : Kamal
Producer : Raphael Thomas
Banner : Reel and Real Cinema
programmed by Midhun Ashok, Sushinsyam & Gulraj Singh.
Orchestra conducted by Unni Elayaraja
Orchestra manager: Vincent
Mixed & Mastered by Ranjith Rajan at Muzik lounge studios Chennai

Pranayamayi Radha

Lyrics: Rafeeq Ahammed
Music: M Jayachandran
Singers: Shreya Ghoshal & Vijay Yesudas
Song programmed by Mithun Ashok
Song conducted by Unni Elayaraja
Voice recorded by Amey londhe at
Aravind audio garage,Mumbai.
Flute: Naveen
Sarangi: Dilshad Khan
Song mixed & mastered by Renjith Rajan at
Muzic lounge studios & assisted by Midhun Manoj.

Chand Hoga

Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: Taufiq Qureshi
Singer: Javed Ali

Umr Saalon Se

Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: Taufiq Qureshi
Singer: Javed Ali

Aadhi Raat

Lyrics: Gulzar
Music: Taufiq Qureshi
Singer: Roop Kumar Rathod

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