When a hit combination separates, the new one replacing it is always under extreme pressure. It is inevitable. When Sachin-Sourav combination in one-dayers was replaced by Sachin-Sehwag pair, the expectation was higher than usual. Ditto for Shankar-Harris Jeyaraj team as it succeeds the sensational pair of Rehman-Shankar.
Harris Jeyaraj, in the event, has had a tough job. His performance will be rated not only for what it is but will also be compared against Rehman's with Shankar. This is patently an unfair equation. But that's what life is all about. And the truth of the matter is Harris passes the test with flying colors.
Anniyan songs pack an all-hearted wallop. On first hearing, they pass muster. Now it remains to be seen how they measure up on screen.
There are more English and 'Tanglish' words than Tamil ones. It is a typical in-your-face adrenaline-pushing modern song with a slew of singers lisping out strange words. The album lists Nakul, Melvin and G V Prakash as the singers. Who sings what is anybody's guess. But nobody will complain as every one sounds almost the same. There are also intermittent female voices that croon quaint words like 'salsa' and 'jalsa'.
This is Shankar Mahadevan at his best. Singing as if his mouth is stuffed with betel leaves, he comes with a stunning exploration of what is essentially a Carnatic melody. The instrumentation, one of Harris Jeyaraj's strengths, is outstanding and is almost inspired in some places. Harini also lends her voice with dignity.
3. Kannum, Kannum Nokia
Another modern song with plenty of English terms. A type of number that Shankar seems to have specialized since his Gentleman days. Again, three singers are listed in the album --- Vasundhra Das, Leslie Lewis and Andria.
4) Stranger in Black (Theme)
This is Rehman territory and Harris Jeyaraj shows that he is on a par with the Mozart of Madras in coming up with theme tunes. Gripping and haunting. Period.
5) Ayyangar Veetu Ayaghe
The song starts off with the famed Pancharatna Krithi Jagadanandakaraka. And staying with the same Nattai ragam, it picks up further tempo and tune with Hariharan seemingly pouring honey from his voice. When Harini also joins him along with the stunning interludes, it becomes a veritable smorgasbord of swara and laya --- the quintessence of any music. Perhaps, the pick of the album (if you are a purist, that is).
If you like your songs to be rambunctious and full of nerve-jangling life, this is perhaps up your street. There is an unmistakable life in this mass rhythm number. The lyrics (by Vairamuthu) are from the tea shops. But is fun. Jassie Gift, KK, Shreya Ghosal and Sayindavi are the crooners.
On the whole, Anniyan has both flavor and fervor.