The dream combination is back: Mani Ratnam with A R Rahman. Since this is a different story from the contemporary themes tackled like Yuva, Alaipayuthey and Dil Se, the treatment is different, but not as resounding like recent Rehman successes like Rang De Basanti. In fact I would dare say I instantly appreciated some songs of "Jillunu Oru Kadhal"(Rahman's last Tamil release) than Guru. But there is a distinct feeling that the songs would grow on you with greater hearing.
One would take an instant liking to "Barso re megha" sung with great flourish by Shreya Ghosal to a nice peppy beat. Most likely to be picturised on Ash this is a surefire hit.
There is the Mallika item number shot in Turkey "Mayya Mayyam". For the maestro who almost pioneered commercial item songs starting from "Rakamma kazha tatha " with Sonu Walia in Dalapathi to Chaiyya Chaiyya with Malaika in Dil Se, A R Rahman does let him down a bit. Although the song is brilliantly orchestrated, it is let down by the singing of Maryem Toller who although is a huge name in world music cannot pronounce some Hindi words to good effect. But I would trust Mallika and some good choreography to perk up this sensuous number. I sincerely wish Rahman had tried Sunidhi. Itna global natak karne kya jaroorat tha bhai. If some anonymous tipper had not told me I would have mistaken her for a normal Tamil newbie tried by AR.
Coming to the slower numbers. 'Tere Bina' is classic Rahman blending Sufi style, Hindustani vocals and instruments reminding one of his Haji Ali number for Fiza. It almost that there is these songs he keeps for himself to sing and comes out top notch. The other one Jaage Hai where he lends his vocals with Chitra grows on you slowly. Not so much so for the Hariharan Alka Yagnik ghazalish composition Ai Hairathe although it has good lyrics.
There is an unclassifiable track " Baazi Laga" which seems to have composed by some Rahman assistant. It almost harks back to a 80s type song out of a Subhash Ghai movie. But Udit Narayan does ample justice to it.
Rahman employs Bappi Lahiri in 'Ek do Ek muft' in an almost non Bappi way. This half drunken song is more of a situational number and does not appeal on the audio track.
Definitely not an album that is going to fire up sales but to be enjoyed more after a first watch of the movie. Which means more pre release work for the producers !!