’96 – Music Review (Tamil Soundtrack)

Songs and musician credits at the end.

While the fact that Kaathale Kaathalae ends almost immediately as the title phrase begins still annoys me, there is no denying the incredible charm of the prelude that composer Govind Vasantha builds atop the minute-long piece that first appeared in the teaser of ‘96. The quiet, freeform-ish rendition by Chinmayi Sripaada (the voice of Trisha in this movie both musically and otherwise, apparently), Govind’s heart-tugging violin solo, Kiran’s flute and the assorted sounds of nature, all coming together to take you through something of a musical equivalent of an early morning walk. Version 2 has the composer replacing Chinmayi with Kalyani Menon for the initial poetry by Karthik Netha – and this is probably the only move that doesn’t quite hit the mark in the entire album – the singer comes across sounding a bit weary. The same words make yet another appearance in between Anthaathi, enabling a cameo from the wonderful Bhadra Rajin. The album’s longest song (Anthaathi lasts 7:14) starts off almost like a Ludovico Einaudi song, with that haunting piano refrain, before Chinmayi and Govind step in. And the song gradually builds up intensity, first the percussion and then the rousing chorus – both a rarity in the album that is marked by the dominant quietude. But this song too goes back to quietness as Nasser’s voice echoes across with a splendid narration of a paean to love.

The breezy Life of Ram is another song that comes across as an exception from the album’s general sound – not to imply that it is any less engaging of course. Govind’s Thaikkudam Bridge compatriot Mithun Raju, and bassist Naveen (Napier, I suppose) set up a fab backdrop for Pradeep Kumar to execute a fine rendition on his part – it helps that the composition is along the lines of multiple songs that the singer has sung in Tamil for the likes of Santhosh Narayanan. Gowri TP leads the proceedings in the desolate Yaen, and the lady sings her heart out, even as Govind’s sparse orchestration accentuates the sadness (lovely use of guitar – or is it mandolin/uke?), especially the violins growing in intensity towards the end. Uma Devi takes over as lyricist for Thaabangale and Iravingu Theevai, both of which seem to be companion pieces in more ways than just the common lyricist. Both songs feature Pradeep Kumar and Chinmayi behind the mic, both doing an equally fine job. While the former has Mithun Raju’s splendid guitar solo forming the song’s interlude, in the latter it is Rajhesh Vaidya with a short but highly effective classical-flavoured (raga keeravani-ish, I think?) cameo on his veena. Finally, my most favourite song of the album (only by a small margin, I must add), the achingly beautiful Vasantha Kaalangal which is practically a duet between Mithun Raju’s flamenco-esque guitar and Chinmayi. Barring a brief digression in the second half, the mood remains largely melancholic, and it is Mithun Raju, in stellar form here, who manages to tug at your heart strings the most, with his riffs.

’96. Months after making waves with that one released song from Oru Pakka Kathai and producing a decent soundtrack in Asuravadham that largely went under the radar, Govind Vasantha (formerly Menon) finally gets his well-deserved big break in Tamil, and knocks it right out of the park! I really hope this means that Govind Vasantha’s Kaalangal are finally here (sorry, could not resist doing this 😀 ). Also, now would be a good time to go back to some of Govind’s older works if you are unfamiliar with them – particularly the theme song of 100 Days of Love, and the work he did in Humans of Someone – both of which you are bound to enjoy if you loved this soundtrack.

Music Aloud Rating: 4.5/5

Top Recos: All of them!

Musician Credits

Song: Anthaathi
Singers: Chinmayi Sripaada, Govind Vasantha, Bhadra Rajin (Carnatic portion) Chorus and M. Nassar
Lyrics: Karthik Netha

Song: The life of Ram
Singer: Pradeep Kumar
Lyrics: Karthik Netha

Song: Yean
Singer: Gowri TP
Lyrics: Karthik Netha

Song: Vasantha kaalangal
Singer: Chinmayi Sripaada
Lyrics: Uma Devi

Song: Thaabangale
Singers: Chinmayi Sripaada , Pradeep Kumar
Lyrics: Uma Devi

Song: Iravingu theevai
Singers: Chinmayi Sripaada, Pradeep Kumar
Lyrics: Uma Devi

Song: Kaathalae Kaathalae
Singers: Chinmayi Sripaada, Govind Vasantha
Lyrics: Karthik Netha

Song: Kaathalae Kaathalae
Singer: Kalyani Menon, Chinmayi Sripaada, Govind Vasantha
Lyrics: Karthik Netha

Chorus :Sowmya Mahadevan, Veena Murali, Ala B Bala, Deepthi Suresh, Vishnupriya Ravi, Shanthini, Sindhuri, Madhumitha Shankar, Santhosh Hariharan, Yogi Sekar, Aravind Srinivas D, G.Sudarshan Ajay, Jithin, Pravin, Vignesh Narayanan, Shenbagaraj.
Flute : Kiran , Veena : Rajesh Vaidya , Guitars : Mithun Raju , Bass : Naveen , Violin : Govind Vasantha , Strings : Cochin Strings Ensemble
Mixing : Amith Bal (2,4,5,6) Rajan KS (1,7,8) Govind Vasantha (3)
Mastered By Sreejesh Nair
Recorded at : 20 db studios , Seed Studios , Rajiv Menon Studio
Engineers : Avinash Satish, Lawrence , Dhileeban
All songs Composed and Produced by Govind Vasantha

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,