A.R.Rahman’s Maryan – Music Review

I finally got a chance to listen to the much anticipated album by A.R.Rahman for the upcoming movie “Maryan”. Maryan is Bharat Bala’s (of Vande Mataram fame) first full length feature. I have high expectations from the album given that the ARR-BB combo has made glorious music and visuals in the past. The trailer for Maryan shows a lot of promise. Here is my review of the album after a couple of listens. ARR purists note- I have not given it the AML (ARR Minimum Listen) of 5 times. If my opinion changes, I will update my post. With that said, here we go.

The album starts with Nenje Ezhu, a rousing motivational track by ARR himself. ARR’s voice by no means is perfect but when it comes to rousing and impactful  pieces that propel a movie forward, ARR’s voice is unparalleled. “Dil Se Re” from Dil Se,  ”Vellai Pookal” from Kannathil Muthamittal, “Jana Gana Mana” from Aayidha Ezhuthu, “Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera” from Swades, “Jaage Hain” from Guru, “Khwaja mera” from Jodhaa-Akbar and many more stand testament to the uniquely powerful nature of ARR’s voice. “Nenju Ezhu” fits that billing. The instrumentation is operatic at times and when it rises to a crescendo, ARR does full justice with his raw vocals. Great song.

The second song from the album is “Enge Pona Raasa”. This is sung by “Nejukkule” fame Shakthisree Gopalan. The song talks of a woman waiting for her loved one. The guitar strumming in this song is very well done as is the mellow humming-like take by Shakthisree Gopalan. The song is pretty short and is hummable without many ups and downs. Good song but Nenjukkule was better.

This is a very reggae/Afro-beat themed piece from ARR and Blazee. The beats are pretty engaging and addictive. There is a distinct local rhythm feel to it. The kids (Madras Youth Choir) vocals in the background and Blazee and ARR in the foreground and some African local artists contributing with their ramblings all make for a fun piece. 

Starts very much like “Nenjukkule”. There is a very Kadal-ish feel to the start of this song. Coming soon in the heels of Kadal, that feels a tad disappointing from ARR. I am sure they were composed at different points in time. Nevertheless. The song itself is different but the instrumentation very much feels like a melange of Kadal songs. Deja vu` for sure. Vijay Prakash and Swetha Menon sound great and their delivery on this song is very tantalizing. This is a nice melodious number without anything spectacular about it.

This song starts with some tepid lyrics – “Netru aval irundal. Naan avalodu irundhen”. Suffice to say this could have been conveyed better. The song aims for very simple lyrics but it is almost too simple that it comes across as hastily written. It also feels awkward at times. Coming from Vaali, this is disappointing. Vijay Prakash and Chinmayi do the vocal honors. Vijay does a good job with the words he has been given especially when he elevates the tempo with the “Agayathin…” section. Chinmayi has quite a bit of vocal support for the first part of the song and wherever she sings, her voice shines. Overall, the lyrics make it not too exciting.

Questionable lyrics plague this song’s start. I am sure “Sonapareeya” has context within the movie and in the song. It feels like an item like song – sonapareeya directly translated means gold angel. The song is interesting in terms of arrangement, voices and packaging. I could see this becoming popular. Some of the voices identified in the album for this song are Javed Ali, Haricharan and Nakash Aziz. I found it interesting but not captivating. 

This song is an interesting collaboration between A.R.Rahman and Yuvan Shankar Raja. Yuvan does the vocal honors for this song. I really liked the music composition here. Very addictive beats. Yuvan belts it lustily and his voice actually suits the piece. Just one exception. His pronunciation mars what is otherwise a fun song. It is jarring because if the voice is supposed to represent a rustic fisherman in the movie, the pronunciation is pretty bad. I am liking this piece very much. If only…

Overall album:

I would rate this a notch below Kadal in terms of overall music quality. It is still a good album- significantly better than most albums out there. But it could have been greater if some small things had been worked on. I found the lyrics a tad lacking in half the album. A bunch of lyricists contribute their words for the movie. Not much stood out. Some of them felt awkward.  The movie’s exotic locales and brilliant creative vision from Bharat Bala should ensure that the songs look great on screen. And to that effect, ARR’s music complements the movie. Time will tell how the movie and the album fare. But as a standalone piece, Maryan is not among ARR’s best works.

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