**Aga Naga Takes Ponniyin Selvan Soundtrack to New Heights**
The highly anticipated second installment of Ponniyin Selvan has brought some truly exceptional music to the table. One track in particular, Aga Naga, has captured the hearts of fans with its waltzy charm and captivating orchestration.
The use of strings, specifically the Chennai Strings & Sunshine Orchestra, steals the show in this track. With minimal percussion, it is the strings that drive the orchestration and create a magical atmosphere. The subtle “tiptoeing” of the strings every time Shaktisree Gopalan sings “Yaaradhu Yaaradhu” adds a beautiful touch to the song. Towards the end, Vignesh from the Sunshine Orchestra showcases his talent with a mesmerizing violin solo.
The lyrics, penned by writer Ilango Krishnan, beautifully convey princess Kundavai’s love for her land and her connection with Vanthiyadevan. The clever use of short phrases adds to the charm of the song. But it is Shaktisree’s sublime voice that brings everything to life. She delivers a flawless performance that truly showcases her talent.
Another standout track from the album is Aazhi Mazhai Kanna, inspired by poet-saintess Andal’s Thiruppaavai series of poems dedicated to Perumal (Vishnu). While the original composition is in the raga varaali, A.R. Rahman chooses to go for a more pleasant melody, reminiscent of the desh raaga. However, the only disappointment is that the track is done in under a minute and a half. Nonetheless, it is a joy to listen to Harini’s captivating voice after such a long time. The song’s nature and the female chorus reminded me of the beautiful bit songs from Kaadhalan.
Shivoham, based on Shankaracharya’s Sanskrit work from his Nirvana Shatakam, is another short track from the album that packs an intense punch. Rahman infuses this piece with fervor, setting it to Chakravakam raaga. The effective male chorus delivers a powerful performance, complemented by the chendamelam and edaykka combination, which perfectly captures the song’s fervor. Keerthana Vaidyanathan and Niranjana Ramanan, who previously delivered the beautiful Paapam Seiyaathiru in Iravin Nizhal, impress once again in Ponniyin Selvan. The minimal arrangements in this song allow their singing skills to shine.
Ilaiyor Soodaar, sung by Pooja Tiwary, is a lament that seemingly picks up from where the first movie left off, with the supposed demise of Ponniyin Selvan. Rahman chooses to adorn this piece with an eerie silence and a fittingly dark raaga, capturing the mournful tone perfectly. Strangely enough, at some point, my mind wandered off to Sigur Ros’s cover of “Rains of Castamere” in Game of Thrones. The composer takes an interesting approach by creating a completely different melody for the Hindi version, titled Mukti Do, which is lighter and more soulful. Gulzar’s poignant lyrics and the minimalistic arrangement, with the odd sarangi phrases, make this track a must-listen.
Chinnanjiru Nilave, inspired by Bharathiyar’s poems, is another notable track that reflects the waltz-like meter of his poems. The song comes in two versions, sung by Haricharan and Khatija Rahman, both presenting a different interpretation. However, they share the common element of progressively turbulent arrangements, highlighted by the primary contributors, the violins. The Marumurai (Reprise?) version, despite its anachronistic sound, stands out with its mesmerizing piano refrain and Khatija’s dreamy vocals.
Finally, my personal favorite, Veera Raaja Veera, is a song that pays homage to a traditional dhrupad piece in adana raaga. Rahman beautifully blends classical elements with darbari kaanada raaga, with a brief digression to hameerkalyani raaga in the middle. The vocals in this song, led by Shankar Mahadevan, K S Chithra, and Harini, are top-notch. The chorus is equally brilliant and prominent throughout the track. The Hindustani classical instruments, such as pakhawaj, sarangi, and sitar, dominate the orchestration. A standout moment in the song is the sitar-sarangi duel around the 2:08 mark.
This Hindustani flavor also seamlessly translates to the Hindi version of the song, sung by Arman Dehlvi, Shreya Ghoshal, and Kavita Krishnamurthy, with slight modifications in the arrangements. Veera Raaja Veera is a grand paean that would be a perfect fit for the climactic coronation sequence. The song leaves me eagerly anticipating its complete version onscreen.
Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 offers a spectacular soundtrack that fully embraces the period sound and brings it to life with classically rich compositions. While the first part had a more “commercial” sound, this second part showcases A.R. Rahman’s genius at its best. The only downside is the album’s length, lasting just 20 minutes.
In conclusion, Ponniyin Selvan Part 2 is a musical masterpiece that deserves recognition. A.R. Rahman and Ilango Krishnan have truly outdone themselves with this soundtrack. It is a treat for fans and music lovers alike.
– **Song Title**: Aga Naga
– **Song Composed, Produced, and Arranged by**: A.R. Rahman
– **Singer**: Shakthisree Gopalan
– **Lyrics**: Ilango Krishnan
– **Music Supervisor**: Nakul Abhyankar
– **Project Manager**: Karthik Sekaran
– **Score Transcription**: Suprava Mukherjee
– Chennai Strings & Sunshine Orchestra
– **Conducted by**: Jerry Vincent
– **Flute**: Nikhil Ram
– **Tabla Tarang**: Sai Shravanam
– **Veena**: Haritha Raj
– **Solo violin**: Vignesh (Sunshine Orchestra)
– **Additional Programming**: Nakul Abhyankar, Srikant Krishna
– **Panchathan Record Inn**: Suresh Permal, Karthik Sekaran, TR Krishna Chetan, Aravind Crescendo, Suryansh Jain
– **AM Studio**: Pradeep Menon, Manoj Raman, Sathya Narayanan, Ainul, Sathish V Saravanan
**Mixed by**: Pradeep Menon
**Mastered by**: Suresh Permal
**Apple Digital Master by**: Riyasdeen Riyan
**Musician Coordinator**: Samidurai R, Velavan B, Abdul Haiyum, T M Faizudeen
*Note: The musician credits will be updated as more information becomes available.*
**Music Aloud Rating**: 4/5 (This rating might have been 4.5 if the soundtrack was longer)
**Top Recommendations**: Veera Raaja Veera, Aga Naga, Chinnanjiru Nilave (Marumurai), Ilaiyor Soodaar