When a hit combination comes together again, it usually tends to repeat itself. So it is with some reservations one approached the Arjun album --- the dream team of Okkadu (Mahesh Babu, director Gunasekhar and music director Mani Sharma) is behind this one also.
But half-way through the album, you realize that the only thing that has been possibly repeated is the essential success. The songs just have a new feel and a tonal touch that is unique and splendid. Like the beard, they just grow on you.
1. Okka Maata
It is always nice to open with a Shankar Mahadevan song. He is one singer who never lets you down. Irrespective of the number, he gives off his best. And he does in this song that is full of verve and virtuosity. Vetturi's words also add their bit to the number. Mani Sharma's handling of the instruments is also inspirational.
2. Aey Pilla
This is a rambunctious song with delightful interludes. Though one may get a heard-before feel, SP Charan and Shreya Ghoshal (the new crop of talented singers) carry it along manfully.
3. Dum Dumaare
S P Balasubramanian and Chitra, the veterans, once again prove class is permanent. Their lilt and lucidity waft all through the song like a cool breeze on a sticky afternoon. Mani Sharma, for his part, has given the right combination of instruments to back the genius of the two. This song alone is worth the price of the album.
4. O Cheli
The song starts predictable but Karthik quickly lifts it to heights. His youthful exuberance combines seamlessly with the gritty experience of Chitra. The rhythm pattern is attractive and before you realize you are sucked into the song.
5. Madhura Madhura
The moment you say classical song in a movie the mad to head for is Unni Krishnan. He is the Yesudas of this generation. Unni bring to his art a rare sensitivity and fluidity. His voice spreads and unspools like butter on bread. Unni, who combines with Harini, majestically rises to the occasion. In this classical number (the orchestration gives it a semi-classical feel), Unni brings to fore all his rigorous riyaz. Harini, though talented, is slightly muted in this number.
6. Ra Ra Ra Ra
Swarnalatha, who has been off the popularity radar, and Udit Narayan give a full-throated exhibition of how to sing zingy numbers. They exhibit their prowess in no uncertain terms in this song which is filled with all the ingredients of a mass song.
Mani Sharma, on the whole, has shown that he is the man for the season. Arjun's music is an absolute winner. Hopefully, the film, too, is. Mahesh Babu, after the debacle of Nani, needs that.