Music Review: O Kadhal Kanmani (Tamil)

Composer(s): A. R. Rahman
Listen to the songs online here: Saavn

Kaara Attakkaara has a catchy conversational style going for it, and singers Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam (of Magudi fame), Darshana and Shashaa Tirupati have a great ball singing the funky rap-hip hop tune. Mental Manadhil, in A. R. Rahman and Jonita Gandhi's ebullient vocals, is similarly effervescent and pulsating, almost reminding me of Yaakai Thiri and Hey Goodbye Nanba from Aaytha Ezhuthu, the punchy electronic sounds (complete with onomatopoeic bike vrooms!) lifting the song's energy quotient to soaring heights. The latter version by Jonita in fact gets a superb melodic twist amidst all that splendid chorus!

Aye Sinamika sees Karthik doing what he does best, singing the simple yet captivating melody with élan, and wonderfully complementing him is the spell-binding orchestration by Rahman, with the guitar strums, the soft percussion and the flute in the background making it all the more enchanting. Paranthu Sella Vaa is indescribably fantabulous and a sheer musical bliss (On a side note, why does this song feel like Kadhal Sadugudu? Is it only me?). The mesmerising genre-hopping world music fusion, opening on a sensuous a capella'esque note, is instant poison, and Karthik and Shashaa Tirupati hit all the right notes with their top notch singing.

Naane Varugiraen, an astounding Carnatic fusion from the Isai Puyal, has everything going for it, the song's breathtaking orchestral grandeur and singers Shashaa Tirupati and D. Sathyaprakash's nuanced rendition working in its favour despite being musically less accessible. Yet another techno-Carnatic fusion comes in the form of the scintillating melody Theera Ulaa in Rahman, Darshana and Nikita Gandhi's spotless vocals, sounding almost like Kalyani Menon's portions in Omana Penne (Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa) and the trance-like Hindustani-techno fusion Manmohini Morey (Yuvvraaj), in a good way, that is.

The traditional Islamic composition Maula Wa Sallim is short and signature Rahman sufi music and hearing young A. R. Ameen sing brings back memories of Harini in Nila Kaikiradhu (Indira). The minimalist semi-classical melody Malargal Kaettaen is gorgeous, not only for the pleasant flute-kanjira-tambura mix in the arrangements, but also for K. S. Chithra, who is spectacular and incredibly sweet sounding as always. A. R. Rahman too chips in towards the end, joining hands with the chinna kuyil for a soulful rendition. O Kadhal Kanmani once again proves that the ever enjoyable Mani Ratnam-A. R. Rahman combination is simply the best, utterly classic and contemporary!