Sunday, December 2, 2007

Billa 2007 Music Review: Appalling Misjudgment by Yuvan

It’s finally out- The music for the remake of Billa starring Ajith as the eponymous character. It has been the subject to a lot of hype and hoopla- understandably so, considering its an old Rajini super hit we’re talking about being remade, and to frankly put it- its just not lived up to the expectations.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has composed five songs and the Billa 2007 theme, and amazingly, he has not sung any of them- might be the result of all the criticism he gets regarding his imitating A R Rahman’s style in singing. Anyway his voice wouldn’t have fit well with the macho Billa.

Yuvan has infused his best efforts on Vethalaiya Pottendi and it shows. In fact it is easily the best song of the album. It is a medley of Digital Electronica and it has so many different, infinitesimal, yet distinct sounds that an electronics student could very well do a project on dissecting the various sounds (signals) in the song.
Of course Shankar Mahadevan’s voice is digitally enhanced giving it a cool techno feel. It is a quintessential “Techno Kuthu” (portmanteau of Techno and Dappankuthu- my little invention) song, and it is bound to be the latest party number. Shankar Mahadevan and Yuvan Shankar Raja pull it off again in the “Techno Kuthu” genre. (Remember Saroja Saman Nikalo from Chennai 600028)

If Yuvan had spent atleast half the energy or enthusiasm he has shown for this song, on the Billa score, he would’ve a winner in his hands. As it is, this is going to be the most inconspicuous song of the movie- meant only as a peripheral addition to interface with viewers of a cruder taste (or in non-technical terms, it is an extraneous fitting meant to appease the B and C center audience).
It’s like hitting a century in a dead rubber; and half of the accolades actually go to Shankar Mahadevan. He carries the song like Atlas carries the World- nobody else could’ve sung this number so well. He’s got a voice that has “Let’s Party!” written all over it that you subconsciously unwind as soon as the song begins.

The Billa theme is most disappointing. After having listened to the Theme of Don, expectations were running high for this, but sadly, it scores way below them. Someone’s gotta explain to Yuvan what a Theme song is. The key to any theme song is a short portion (maybe 5-10 seconds long) of the whole song that sounds best, is easily identified by the audience (who hum it all day long), and repeats itself at various points in the movie.

This theme starts off like The Stranger In Black (Anniyan Theme), then traverses various dimensions, transgressing into different directions and finally coming back where it started and you still can’t find music anywhere, let alone a theme music! Trying to be futuristic and techno cool, Yuvan botches up the whole score. Pathetic! I can’t imagine Ajith smashing villains with that music behind him!

The Seval Kodi is a pretty good number; in fact it’s good enough to be an intro song for Vijay (an implied reference to the lack of sophistication in his intro songs) - a typical folk song invoking a God. Enough said!
Naan Meendum is a song that owes its tune to the Billa theme, and I guess it’s the song where the Kamini character seduces Billa. It’s a bouncy track with dark shades, mysterious tunes and complete with philosophical lyrics. Worth listening a couple of times- passes muster, some of you may like it. It is like
“Entha Kuthirayil” from “Satham Podathey”.

The surprise package is the song Sei- it’s a complex, highly versatile Arabic style number (that gives us the feeling of having heard it before) with highly suggestive lyrics and an overdose of the various versions of the Guitar. Neha Basin’s strange Tamil accent is another lovable feature. It’s the kinda song you find is incredibly slow, yet you can’t stop liking it!

The other most talked about remix from the original is the highly popular “My Name Is Billa”- every Rajini fan worth his salt would’ve heard it at least once. I safely say- the original is better anyday. He has retained the same tune of the original, added a few digital novelties and credited a new song to his name! The song has the traits of the typical discotheque number, but still you feel its not moving at all.

It’s pretty disappointing that Yuvan should waste one of his biggest breaks like this, and one wonders why he even took up the offer in the first place. Any composer must create music to gel with the movie.
Stand alone singles might be the craze in the US, but they don’t go well with the Tamil audience. Unless Yuvan can create masterpieces (which we all know he can’t) like “Munbe Vaa” he’d better concentrate on complementing the film. We can see that he has overlooked those regions vital to the movie- Billa Theme, My Name Is Billa (it's the song that establishes the hero), the Kamini dance number etc. Or he has been heinously lazy in composing these.

Final Verdict: Overall Average.

Vethalaiya Pottendi is special. Sei is refreshingly new. Seval Kodi a nice folk song. Naan Mendum is nice and bouncy. My Name is Billa is a confused attempt. The Billa Theme deserves more effort and respect than this.
Well Yuvan, a mélange of digital interludes doesn't a Billa make!

1 comment:

Vignesh said...

Good choice of words. But at most places, its toooooo obvious that you are a Rahmaniac who has no ears to listen to innovative and experimental attempts by his contemporaries.
Especially your take on the theme music is atrocious.

Well, the songs are already rocking...