varnachitram

A Blog on Cinema

Music Review: Classmates

| 9 Comments

Music is an art form. Like any art, good music doesn’t HAVE to be complicated. Take for example, the poems of Changapuzha or the heart-felt melodies of the movie Appu (Koothambalathil vachho etc.). I do not intend to compare the songs of Classmates to classics. I was simply trying to convince you that simplicity can win sometimes.Most of the songs in Classmates do remind us of older melodies, yet, are unique in their own rights. I would equate it to AR Rahman’s feat in imitating MGR-era in the songs of Iruvar (e.g. please hear Aayirathil naan oruvan). The music director, Alex Paul, is slowly getting into a groove for quality songs. In this album, almost every song reminded me of Vidyasagar’s style. As I said, each song, however has its own uniqueness.

Chillujaalaka vaathilil is composed in a very interesting manner. The song starts with a sudden piano note (D played in the lower octave), with another piano combination in the higher octave (c-sharp, d etc.). I am not sure whether it is purposefully done, but, the core tune has a sense of deep loss, parting etc. imparted by the notes used. For example, when Manjari closes her first line “Chillujaalaka…….njoriyumbol… “, the last note ends on a c-sharp. Sharp notes give you a feeling of tension and incompleteness. As if there is something else to come. Alex repeats this feat again and again in several places and so we feel that emotion throughout the song. The song features some exemplary piano playing, but we may not notice it because of the quality of the vocal-melody itself. There is some strain in Manjari’s voice. In this particular situation, this might be ok. There are shades of both hamsanaadam and brindavana saranga in the song.

Ente Khalbile is probably the “hit” song in the album. The song is instantly recognizable for its melody. It has versions sung by both Sujatha and Vineeth Sreenivasan. Both versions are good, but Sujatha’s glassy voice adds a new dimension to the song. The songs starts with the signature tune (Notes: Ni Sa Re Ge Re Ni Sa) played repeatedly. The rhythm is very peculiar in that it has a mix of clapping sounds and electronic drums. The bass support is also different with one piece playing a prominent signature while the other stays in the background. The only problem I found was when the first line of the charanam is sung (Thottu meettuvaan…..). There is a huge pause after that sudden ascend. This makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Alex Paul should have used some kind of filler melody to consolidate that part. However, the charanam ends in a very apt way. Listen to the bhaavam of the tune as it ends: Enthu maathramen aagrahangale moodivachathenno. Nicely done, especially respecting the meaning of the lyrics. I felt that Vineeth’s voice was not a good fit (musically), however, it seemed to fit the actor.

Kaattaadi Thanalum is a nostalgia evoking number taking us back to the campus days of the 90s (of which I am proudly a part!). The rhythm is a variant of the classical waltz pattern (e.g. please hear Kuch Na Kaho). The tune is simple and Alex Paul does not resort to any sort of musical acrobatics. He sticks to the basic feel of the lyrics.

Kaathirunna Pennalle is a typical love song with possessive undertones. You get the typical feel of the notes like Ma2 and Re1. These notes give you that revolting, possessive feeling at the same time conveying intense love. The song is composed in the “Bollywood”-mode. The use of chorus is well orchestrated and merged with the song. Devanand and Jyotsna do a nice job singing. Sometimes Devanand seemed to be more focused on getting the musical nuances right, rather than the lyrics.

The song Ethrakaalam is a typical jolly-campus song reminiscing the S.P. Venkatesh melodies that were so common during those days. Franko, Sayanora and Renjini sings the song with all their heart. Again, simplicity is a major strength. We are never distracted by sounds of music that stands apart from the song.

It is hard to evaluate songs like Vottu The song does its job in the movie. At least it doesn’t sound irritating.

Overall, I cannot visualize this album as a classic. But, it sure has some mellifluous tunes and simple music. It did evoke a lot of memories even without seeing the movie. The album also underlines the fact that good melodies seldom go un-appreciated. However, it also establishes that the successes of the movie and music go hand-in-hand. From the information I have received, it appears that the movie did help the songs to be hits. However, that does not undermine the quality and the hard work Alex Paul might have poured into these songs. Hence, they are worth several listening.

9 Comments

  1. I found some similarity between the Kattadi Thanalum song and a song called “Ettappam chudanam” in a movie called Daddy *ing Aravind Swamy and Gouthami

  2. Wow, great review! helped me listen to the songs in a different perspective.
    I liked Sujatha’s version of Ente Khalbile …
    Vineeth’s voice suits his dad only.

  3. Unni, agreed. Each time I hear it thats the first song that comes to my mind also. Then in an interview, I read that Lal Jose wanted to evoke the campus-feel of the 90s. I guess since SP Venkatesh was so dominant during that period, they might have givn that feel. Also, the pattern is a “waltz” pattern very commonly used…
    cheers,
    KK

  4. Karthik…
    Agree with you too. The beauty of that song was fully realized when Sujatha sang it.
    cheers,
    KK

  5. I think more than the song what evoked nostalgia was the manner in which the college tour was picturised – very realsitic

  6. Krishna, Excellent Review. Besides the good quality of the songs what also helped was Lal Jose’s visualization.

  7. Excellent review Krishna.

    The album is definitely good. A mix of every kind of song that you will expect in the college settings of the 90’s.

    The waltz pattern is very common. But the use of the instruments, especially the flute, makes the song kattadi really good to listen to.

    – Vishnu

  8. Hi Vishnu:
    Thanks. True, the album is a nice one. Nice observation on the “Kaattaadi” song. Likewise, piano is the star of “chillujaalaka..” song.
    Cheers,
    KK

  9. Krishna..

    Classmates is a good film for enjoying the middle ages. Because it leads a recollection of lot of things that had happened in that days.

    Songs are very nice , especially.. (kattadi thanallum and kathirunna pennalle etc..)

    Very thanks to Alex paul & Lal jose

    BJ

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


Get Adobe Flash player