Sunday, December 16, 2012

Director Bala

Echo from the Soil: Paradesi Music Album Review

The God of small things on celluloid, director Bala’s Paradesi is special for more than one reason. After critics coming down at Avan Ivan [2011] denying the acclaim he is used to, the eagerness to demonstrate his long seen magic on screen is something to look for. A period film, set in the British ruled India of 1930, is aimed at conveying the plight of the bonded workers at the Tea plantations in southern India. Not only that, Paradesi marks Bala’s first alliance with many times National award winning Vairamuthu and GV Prakash.
Writer/Director:  Bala/Nanjilnadan
Music Composer: G V Prakash
Lyrics: Vairamuthu
Album Release: November 25, 2012
Studios: B Studios

1. Avatha Paiyan…
Voice: Yasin, Vandana Srinivasan
Track Length: 05:34 min.
This track sets the naive romance of two miniscule folks who know not more than their soil. He and She look to their land for their being and the nascent romance is the only music of their lives. The recurring peaceful flute and Veena act toppings on the folksy rhythm. Vandana and Yasin offer the sweetness crafted by the love and it’s a track to lighten up the screen. The lyrics do remind us of Vaagai Sooda Vaa…
2. Sengade …
Voice: Madhu Balakrishnan, Pragathi Guruprasad
Track Length: 08:02 min.
Sengade is an adieu to the barren homeland, which failed to feed the natives. The pain of the goodbye reflects through the golden thoughts of Vairamuthu. “Uyirodu vazhvadhu kooda siru thunbame, vayirodu vazhvadhu dhane perum thunbame….” And the recurring line “Koottam koottama vazha pogurom kooda varugudhe saavu…” is the one-line anecdote of Paradesi.
The rendering starts with a guitar- flute ensemble with a changeover to the keyboard, which is commendable. Pragathi’s opening hymn plays a perfect escort to of the following deep cry by Madhu Balakrishna. The song testifies the profundity of his voice, one of the favourites of Bala [Can you forget “Pichai Pathiram…” yet?]. Madhu reaches to incredible decibels in this bidding tune for the soil. The use of conventional percussion is also the highlight of this track.
3. Or mirugam…
Voice: V V Prasanna, Pragathi Guruprasad
Track Length: 05:47 min.

The proficiency of the singers in Carnatic Hindustani styles is evident and is exploited effectively in this track, which is a mournful search into the lives of bonded slaves. Suffering and helplessness is the notion here: “Or mirugam or mirugam thannai than adimai seivadhum illai, or manidhan or adimai endral adhu manidhan seiyum velai…”. It is a hectic mission of humanity, which is the favourite subject of Bala. The single violin in the later portion is mesmerising.
The 15-year-old Pragathi [Airtel Super Singer fame] with her flatteringly mature voice more than amazes the listeners. The skills are striking and hers is a notable introduction. One wonders why does Prasanna get to sing more of such songs? His forte remains untapped in Tamil Cine music. Yes, as the lyric says, the tears go ignored [kanneer thudaikka aal illaye…]; this few minutes can be looked forward to as the most passionate ones on screen.

4. Thannai Thaane…
Voice: Gaana Bala
Track Length: 03:07 min.
This is a typical folksy eulogy to the Jesus Christ, which is a new province to Vairamuthu. But he sets simple verses chanting the greatness of the Alleluia. Set in 1930s, when the East India Company was at its slaughtering peak, the modern Christian movement has long dominated the southern India. This track is just a filler.
5. Senneer Thaana
Voice: Gangai Amaran, Priya Himesh
Track Length: 06:22 min.
Senneer is the closing register of protest against the denial of an ordinary life to a community that was long forgotten. Gangai Amaran’s inherent sombre voice is a plus to this slow and dying articulation. This slow number adorns the remnants of the slaves. The use of cello and string instruments is noteworthy.
On the whole, Paradesi’s instinctive soundtrack travels long with the choice of singers who are both exponents and newcomers, and use of conventional instruments to suit the epoch in which the story unfolds. The soundtrack is flaunted of being produced after the filming of visuals, which is no mean task for a musician. But this talented kid handles the challenges. Hence, the album is a visual infusion into the music board, preserving the torment in each note. Be it Bala-Ilayaraja, Yuvan or Bala-GV, the music is an obvious support system. Vairamuthu’s lyrics are written in blood and goes past bounds into the mainland to explain the grief. Pick of the album is Sengade, Avatha Paiya and Or Mirugam.

Why Bala is duty-bound to Atharvaa?

When news arrived that Atharvaa has been cast for Bala’s next movie many were surprised. Some even critical and some are still waiting to watch the movie and decide for themselves. Well to much surprise Atharvaa himself disclosed why he was chosen to be part of Bala’s periodic epic Paradesi.
According to Atharvaa, Bala and his father Murali share a bond that was beyond the greed for their personal ambitions. The actor went on to narrate a short incident that had much impact on Bala personally.
Atharva mentioned “Some years ago Appa was all set for doing a major role in Sethu directed by Bala Sir. After a personal request from him Appa decided to give Vikram the role. Appa has a lot of respect for him and he too has a similar feeling for Appa.”
Well those statements by Atharvaa cleared the air for many who wondered how the lanky star had made it finally. Furthermore, it should also be noticed that sometime ago after Atharvaa’s debut movie that turned out to be the last movie his father Murali saw. Bala had given him a call suggesting not to accept any new offers after Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal. As promised here he is in Paradesi. The movie is scheduled for December 21st. Good lucky to Atharvaa, now that you have been chosen there is a lot to live up to.

Director Bala wants to assist Maniratnam!

The two iconic directors of Tamil Industry are Maniratnam and Bala. All of their movies are trend setters. It is known already that both are mutual admirers. Maniratnam praised Bala and his movies on numerous occasions. He said 'Pithamagan' is his all time favorite movie of Bala. Now Bala has opened up about Maniratnam. He said in a recent interview that Maniratnam is one of the legend of Tamil Cinema. His many movies are awe-inspiration. He also proudly added that, if he gets an opportunity, he is ready to assist Maniratnam in at least one movie. That was a most humble statement from an ace-director about another director!




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