Musical Exploration: Ponniyin Selvan – I Tamil Music Review

The recently released film “Chup,” directed by Balki, has created quite a buzz among cinephiles and music enthusiasts alike. While the movie itself has garnered attention for its unique storyline and direction, it also pays a heartfelt tribute to the legendary filmmaker Guru Dutt. One of the most compelling aspects of this tribute is the use of iconic songs by the maestro S.D. Burman from Dutt’s timeless classics “Pyaasa” and “Kagaz Ke Phool.” In this article, we delve into the musical homage and explore the intriguing use of a specific musical instrument that has caught the audience’s attention.

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An Echo of the Past: “Jaane Kya Tune Kahi”

One of the standout elements in “Chup” is the subtle but evocative use of an unusual musical instrument. A wooden percussion sound reminiscent of a cricket’s chirp finds its place in the movie’s soundtrack. What’s remarkable is that this instrument, rarely heard in mainstream music for a long time, makes its presence felt not only in “Chup” but also in another unrelated film around the same time. While the exact nature of this instrument remains a bit mysterious, it bears resemblance to Chinese temple blocks or a similar percussive element. This reemergence of a forgotten sound adds a unique layer of nostalgia to the film’s musical backdrop.

“Ponniyin Selvan”: A Melodic Journey

Another film that features the same distinctive percussion instrument is “Ponniyin Selvan.” In this cinematic masterpiece, composer extraordinaire A R Rahman draws inspiration from traditional boat songs for the musical composition. One of the highlights is the enchanting song “Alaikadal,” which perfectly complements the character of Poonguzhali, a boatwoman. Rahman’s melodic brilliance, combined with the poignant lyrics by Siva Ananth, creates a mesmerizing atmosphere. Antara Nandy, in her debut performance, delivers an exceptional rendition, while the musical arrangement, primarily driven by percussion, Lydia Stankulova’s harp, and subtle strings, adds to the song’s ethereal quality.

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The Playful Rhythm of “Sol”

Continuing our musical exploration, “Ponniyin Selvan” offers yet another gem titled “Sol.” This composition is brimming with sounds reminiscent of rowing and underwater bubbles. Vocalist Rakshita Suresh, credited for multiple tracks in the album, skillfully mimics the sound of bubbles in her delivery. The song exudes charm and a delightful retro vibe, with humming alternating between the foreground and background, creating a captivating auditory experience.

“Raatchasa Maamaney”: A Percussive Extravaganza

“Raatchasa Maamaney” is a rhythmic marvel dominated by percussion and driven by the spirited performances of Shreya Ghoshal, Palakkad Sreeram, and Mahesh Vinayakram. Kabilan’s lyrics come to life as Ghoshal flawlessly renders them, with Sreeram and Vinayakram contributing fittingly “demonic” chants. What makes this song even more fascinating is the distinct shift in the choice of instruments for the female and male segments. Ghoshal’s portions are accompanied by percussion that resembles a khol, adding a layer of depth and uniqueness to the composition. Notably, a children’s chorus accompanies Ghoshal in both her verses, imparting a special charm to the track. Towards the song’s climax, Sreeram and Mahesh engage in a frenzied vocalization of percussion known as konnakol, providing a mesmerizing auditory experience. Interestingly, while listening to this track, one can’t help but recall Anu Malik’s “O Re Kanchi” from the film “Ashoka.”

“Devaralan Attam”: Melody Meets Dialogue

“Devaralan Attam” sets a different tone with its soulful flute prelude by Kamalakar, creating a striking contrast to the lively and playful track that follows. This song, designed as a dance drama, features a captivating dialogue between characters Krishna and Kamsa. Shreya Ghoshal once again shines, delivering a flawless rendition of Kabilan’s lines, while Palakkad Sreeram and Mahesh Vinayakram provide the “demonic” chants that add depth to the composition. The percussion-driven nature of the song showcases a notable shift in instruments accompanying the female and male segments. The lead percussion for Ghoshal’s segments evokes the sound of a khol, while the inclusion of a children’s chorus enhances the overall appeal of the track.

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“Chola Chola”: A Heroic Anthem

While the “Ponniyin Selvan” album boasts several musical gems, it also features a track titled “Chola Chola,” which comes across as a standard heroic anthem. However, lyricist Ilango Krishnan deserves credit for effectively adapting Kalki’s prose, contributing to the overall narrative of the film.

Conclusion: Rahman’s Musical Brilliance

In conclusion, “Ponniyin Selvan” stands as a testament to A R Rahman’s musical genius and his ability to craft evocative compositions that complement the narrative of the film. The subtle use of traditional and unconventional musical elements adds depth and richness to the soundtrack. As audiences eagerly anticipate the release of “Chup” and “Ponniyin Selvan,” it’s clear that the music will play a significant role in enhancing the cinematic experience. Rahman’s ability to seamlessly blend tradition with innovation continues to captivate listeners and transport them into the world of storytelling through music.

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