Mani Sharma is one music director who knows how to give songs that will suit the image of an actor. In that, he knows what will work among the fans. He can be full of mass beats as well drip melody and lilt. It depends upon who asks for what. But there is no questioning his ability.
In Ashok, he has again played to the gallery in which most NTR fans sit. The impetus is on dance-based rhythms, something that work for NTR.
1. Gola Gola
It is a rambunctious start. The beats are fulsome and roll continuously. You can almost imagine NTR breaking into animated and syncopated movements. The feeling is pretty lively. The orchestration does have some surprise all through. Singers Ravi Varma and Sujatha are pretty zestful. Sujatha's voice, in higher ocatves, is bankable.
The moment you see Hariharan's voice in the credit line you expect a number that is redolent with rich softness and style. Mani Sharma provides the perfect base for Hariharan, in the company of Vardhini, to weave his inimitable magic. Hariharan's voice in itself music. And gets the right embellishment here as Mani Sharma lays it all thick for him. Vardhini is also in good fettle. An uncomplicated, albeit unsurprising, number eventually.
You read the fist word of the number. You will get the idea of what kind of song it is. It is again beats-ridden, though the essential orchestration is slightly muted. It is alluring at one level but moves on expected lines. Devan, who is a specialist in such affected-accent songs, is pretty good. Tanvi matches him with her own lively rendition. The youth crowd will certainly love it. The lyrics are a mix of Telugu and English. Okay, we will not crib about that.
Jassie Gift has a unique voice. Its sweep and appeal is limited. But if the song is in that range, you are in for fun and fiesta. This song is in his typical area. Though predictable, the song's appeal lies in its mass-based rhythms as you feel like breaking into a dance pattern. The rhythms are all folk-based. Jassie is accompanied by Chitra, to whom no tune is impossible. The duo romp through the fun number with practised zeal and gusto.
5. Oka Chinni
Kay Kay's is a south Indian voice that has found an echo in the North. In a sense, he knows the best of the two worlds. He knows the nuances of both mass and melody songs. He combines his experience and essential skill in this again rhythm-filled number. Kay Kay's voice is rich and resonant. There is a nice ring of rhythm to the whole song though you couldn't help feel that the orchestration could have been more imaginative.
Karunya comes to Telugu with a huge reputation. The runner up in Indian Idol contest is no mean achievement. But to make his voice work in Telugu mass films is a different kettle of fish. But, on the evidence of this number, Karunya seems to be someone whom you can bank on. His voice has both the range and resonance for typical film numbers. Here Mani Sharma has laid it up all for him, and Karunya adds the right feel and fervour. He sings in a husky manner. The orchestration is elaborate and almost ornate. But it all works, eventually.
On the whole, Mani Sharma seems to have delivered a winner for NTR fans.