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Music Review: Mankatha

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao
09/15/2011

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Mankatha

Producer: Dhayanidhi Alagiri, Vivek Rathnavel
Director: Venkat Prabhu
Lyrics: Vaali, Niranjan Bharathi, Gangai Amaran, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Sucharita
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Trisha, Arjun, Andrea Jeremiah, Lakshmi Rai
Singers: SPB Charan, Anitha, Premgi Amaren, Ranjith, Sucharita, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Bhavatharini   
Label: Sony Music

Mankatha, released worldwide end of August has been declared a blockbuster hit.  The ‘Thala’ Ajith starrer directed by Venkat Prabhu (son of lyricist/MD Gangai Amaran and nephew of Ilayaraja) is running to full houses and the music album has also had great success.  Yuvan Shankar Raja is the music director and has put together a mixed bag of musical offerings! 

Nee Naan – my pick of the album –marks the debut of young song-writer Niranjan Bharathi – Nirajanan is the son of Rajkumar Bharathi, noted Carnatic musician, and greatgrandson of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar and he is also the nephew of New England’s own Rama Ramakrishnan and Anu Chitrapu (co-chair for Lokvani@10).  SPB Charan and Bhavatharini sound tender and sweet in this very simple and easy melody with lovely guitar work throughout. Romantic, clean and charming lyrics are a plus point - surely Niranjan has a bright future in Tamil films –.  A lyricist to look out for….

Vilayadu Mangatha - Fast peppy, with a pantheon of young singers – has an extended dance mix too.  Sung by Anita, Premgi Amaran, Ranjith, Sucharita and Yuvan himself – The female leads are very powerful and one verse is in heavily accented Tamil and Hindi – the song grows on you with repeated listening.  It has a catchy tempo and a fairly good tune too!

Vaada bin laden, with synthesized vocals and blending of middle eastern feel and raga based melody turns out be run of the mill and while Yuvan has tried to infuse a different feel with some classical interludes with the veena, and altering rhythm patterns in the verse – it still falls under the bracket of ‘average’.

Machi open the bottle – is like the remnants of older Ilayaraja ‘thapanguthu’ songs – a bit of ey aatha and other similar songs - the song will surely appeal to the younger and dancing audiences – will make a good song for the DJ circuits and remixes.  The lyrics also incorporate some of Raman aandalum from Mullum Malarum, a Rajnikanth starrer.  The song is sung with gusto by Haricharan, Mano, Naveen, Premgi Amaran, Tippu – a song that glorifies and celebrates the ‘bottle’!!

Nanbane - Yuvan’s favourite singer with the worst tamil accent and most lifeless rendition in recent times, Madhushree shares this duet with Yuvan and both go through this song listlessly and sound lethargic and also off key in many places.  The song is lack luster and slow and the lyrics are nothing exceptional. 

Balle Lakka sounds like a typical Band song that one hears from the mobile ‘moving’ bands that accompany the baraath processions.  Balle lakka has ample doses of nonsense lyrics and has a lot of energy with strong percussion and brass sections dominating.

Mankatha theme music –with lots of violins and drums and electric guitars throughout the song give it a dramatic and grandiose effect – there is harmonized humming by the chorus section.  Incorporates the intro of the title song ‘vilayadu mangatha’.

Well, Ajit and Yuvan have given their producers a mega hit, both movie and music wise. Yuvan Shankar has consistently been giving hit albums – he knows exactly what the pulse of the young audience is – he gives them exactly what they want and the end result is while his music may not appeal to all generations, he generally shows his mettle by coming up with at least one extremely melodious composition in most of his albums.  Mankatha’s music has energy, variety and showcases some young and fresh talent and despite a few shortcomings…is certainly not boring!!

(Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao is a homemaker and singer specializing in the golden oldies of Hindi and Tamil film music. Performing for over 25 years, sings with Saptaswar (New England based group) and Friends’ Orchestra (based in Chennai) and also does karaoke based private & stage concerts. Actively involved with and an overseas advisory member of TANKER Foundation (Tamil Nadu Kidney Research Foundation) an NGO based in Chennai, that helps the deserving and needy stricken with kidney problems. Sudha's music website: www.youtube.com/user/sudsless. )

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