Colonial Cousins – The pairing of Hariharan and Lesle Lewis – who burst upon the Indi-pop scene like a whiff of fresh air and gave us many brilliant unforgettable song, are back composing music for Saran’s Modhi Vilayadu. The album contains 6 songs, some rendered by Hari & Lewis as is their wont while roping in others to complete the set.
The album opens with the peppy and jazzy Vellaikari Vellakari, crooned by Hariharan, Lewis and Achu. Interesting combination of Tamil and English lyrics with some really zany lyrics like “Kangal Rendum Cocktail Parties” types. Makes for interesting listening. Resembles their “Sa-Re-Ga-Ma” and “The Way We Do It”. Neverthless, it is something new for Tamil music. Hariharan is his usual brilliant self as is Lewis. Trumpets and Guitars resonate throughout the song and lend an extremely jazzy feeling to the song.
Shaan, makes his debut in Tamil music world with the song Otrai Vaarthayil. Its a slow, soft and melodious number. It is uncanny how much voice resemblance is there between KK & Shaan as I initially thought it was KK. But KK rules as Shaan’s pronounciation is not quite as great as KK. But he more than makes it up with his effortless rendering of the song and it is to be said, he does get the emotions spot on for the song. Very nice lyrics. It is a beautiful song.
Lewis gets a chance to shine with the next song Chikki Mukki along with a new voice Surmukhi. We get English-accented Tamil diction from Lewis but as with Kannum Kannum Nokia, it is not unpleasent. There is an element of Western Classical in the song and fuses well with the Indian beats and instruments. Surmukhi’s voice is fairly pleasent as it is a quite easy going song and does not really have a chance to differentiate. Chikki Mukki would have been a fairly usual duet song but the energy and choice of instruments elevates the song to a song you would keep on listening for a few times more
Bombay Jayashree’s voice flows beatifully and sets the tone for the next song, Paadhikkadhal. Sunitha Sarathy’s raspy voice introduces a Western tone to the classical set-up and further enhances it. A song almost on the song on “You Tell Me You love me” from their earlier album, this is far more subtle and allows the singers to dominate rather than the music. Bombay Jayashree is quite brilliant and is fairly different from the usual songs she sings and Sunitha Sarathy contributes equally too.
Latcham Vaarthaigal is similar to Otrai Varthaiyil and is sung by Ranjani. It is pretty much the same song as Otrai Varthaiyil with different lyrics. After listening to both versions, while this version is nice, I found Shaan’s version nicer.
Last is the title song and is addressed to Dhoni (and in the current circumstances, it is something which Dhoni should listen). It is a kind of motivational song and Hariharan sets the pace but the real surprise is the Gaana king Deva lending his voice and it meshes well with Hari’s voice. This is almost a song that can fit in a Vijay movie but still enough to differentiate with other songs. Deva seriously rocks in this song and lyrics are the of the catchy kind and surely will be a huge hit.
Overall, the Colonial Cousins have packed an awesome package and one that has come as a whiff of fresh air for Tamil cinema.