A.R Rahman and Shankar have struck gold with the Sivaji audio album. They have the right mix of peppy and innovative numbers along with the right sounds and lyrics which are sure to please the mass audience of the superstar. Straight off the bat, it is the best ever album of one of the greatest combinations in Tamil Cinema- Rajnikanth and Rahman (R &R). They have worked together in Muthu, Padayappa and Baba, but here for the first time, Shankar, the showman of Tamil cinema joins the team. The trio has come out with music that is far superior, to the earlier works of the duo.
Rahman, the maestro in private has always said that he combines best with Mani Ratnam and Shankar, because both of them are excellent visualisers . How the song comes on screen is as important for them as the composition. Shankar believes that songs are one of the most important ingredients of commercial cinema and he makes no bones about the fact that he loves to make picture perfect song and dance sequences. He has a story board for his song picturisations, including a colour scheme, detailing of costumes and the dancers including the choreography and the lighting to be used!
Right from his Gentlemandays, he struck a rapport with Rahman and always goes out of the studios to a quiet place where they take days to compose the tunes. Later they sit with the lyric writer and make suitable changes to fit in with the mood of the film. In Sivaji's case it is obvious that Rajnikanth also played a crucial role and must have contributed some inputs, which have gone a long way to make the songs energetic. Well, Shankar's contribution will be known once the song videos are shown in the channels, which will further popularise the numbers.
The album kicks off with Balleilakka .. rendered by SPB, Rahanah Benny and chorus. The song (6.06) is said to be the introductory number of Rajnikanth, which makes it very important. Traditionally it is supposed to give goose-bump inducing effect to the superstar's fans, who will throw flowers and at times money on the screen. It has to be a fast number and normally SPB sings it.
Lyric writer Na. Muthukumar starts the song with the opening line-" Sooriyano Chandirano. Yaar ivano sattena sollu" and goes on to hype the mass image of the superstar. The superstar as a champion of Tamils " Cauvery aarum kaikuthai arisiyum marandhupoguma"( Can we forget river Cauvery and the pounded rice). The hero can transform the state into another America- " Annan vandhal Tamilnadu America agum. In the film Rajnikanth is coming back from US and is trying to change our system. In the song he also makes suggestions like Koovum cell phone-in nacharaippai anaithu, konjam silvandin ucharippai ketkom.. (switch off your nagging cell phones and listen to nature's sounds). Rajni has never been spotted with a mobile in public!
On the whole, the fast number with drum beats in the background is racy and vibrant, thanks to SPB. Like Mukesh was the voice of Raj Kapoor or Mohammed Rafi was to Shammi Kapoor and Kishore Kumar was to Rajesh Khanna, SPB is to Rajnikanth- Who can say so fast Sadugudu, Sadugudu ? This number is better than R&R's earlier Oruvan, Oruvan Muthalali with all its drum beats, as an introductory song.
This is followed by the racy track Style.. with a guitar base, sung by Rags, Tanvi, Suresh Peters and Blaaze. The song written by Pa. Vijay wants to establish the fact that Rajni is the original styleMannan of Tamil cinema. The song is western in feel, though it breaks into chaste Tamil to characterize the superstar. Some innovative lyrics, which the purist will yell, but children will make it their anthem- Oru koodai sunlight..
The third song in the album Sahana Saral Thoovuthu is the pick of the lot, clearly vintage .A.R Rahman has it rendered in the catchy voice of Udit Narayanan and Chinmayi. It is a beautiful melody, written by Vairamuthu with the use of Rahman and Shankar's favourite Indian instrument the Mridangam, with the maestro himself singing the dheem thana dheem thana bit. Purists may be critical of Udit's Tamil pronunciation, but it adds to the final mix. Chinmayi is fabulous. (Why is she not given more chances?). This number is going to be the chartbuster and also the top ring tone in the coming days.
A sad version of Sahana sung by Vijay Yesudas and Gomathy Sree is there in the CD, only a one-line bit is there in the cassette. What make the sad version so good is the flute and the humming of Vijay. This song may give Vijay the big ticket to playback singing. Next is the all important title song Vaaji, vaaji sung by Hariharan and Madhusree. It is comparatively a slow melody written by Vairamuthu with a rhythmic beat, that picks up as the number progresses.
The mood and the music changes drastically in the next number, by one of Rahman's favourites Blaaze, Naresh Iyer and Raqueeb Alam with The Boss a loud rap number. This we are sure would be a sort of theme music of the film, with deft camera movement as we follow the superstar. Lyrics written by Na. Muthukumar are inane like Sachin adicha sixer, Sivaji adicha puncher daanada !! Obviously it is another song to hype the superstar's larger than- life image.
Finally the last song in the album is Athiradee sung by the maestro and Sayanora. The grand old man of Tamil songs Vaali is playing to the galleries. Last time in Chandramukhi Vaali wrote what many people thought was the most popular number in the movie, which had many populist lines. So here he has made it even more funky with Thee, thee, jagajyothee, jagajyothee. Billa, Ranga, Baasha dhan ivan pistol pesum , giving our superstar a macho image, to attract the youth audience. Vaali also tries rhyming 'castro' with 'maestro'. This will be a hot dance number in the discos. Rahman has done a R.D Burman (he is a big fan of Panchim da) style rendition, with some voice modulation.
To sum it up Sivaji is one of the best albums of A.R Rahman- Shankar combination, which is sure to be lapped up by the superstar's fans.
Verdict- R O C K I N G !
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