Friday, 7 March 2014

Song of the Day - Kalvane from Megha

I stumbled upon this gem of a song, quite accidentally, late last night thanks to a comment on a blog discussion on soundtracks (Thanks again, Madan). I'm quite besotted with it and can't stop listening to it over and over again. It is such a swingin' track that is, in a way, unlike anything Ilayaraja has composed before. And yet, when the interludes come in with his stamp all over them, you know it can't be anyone else's handiwork.

I qualified my statement that this song is unlike anything in Ilayaraja's oeuvre because it somehow reminds me of Kurangu Kaiyil Malai from Mumbai Express. What the latter song did with keys and horns, this one does with strings. Both venture further into jazzy territory than filmi songs usually tend to do, and do so with great effect. I must admit that the Mumbai Express song does go a little further than Kalvane does what with that latin flavoured jazz freakout two thirds into the song. But this song holds its own all the same and of course has a charm all its own due to it being a romantic duet. As I commented in the aforementioned blog, it is a smooth, and yet scorching, track.

Ilayaraja's string arrangements have always been his strong suit. And here he uses them to tug at one's heartstrings almost effortlessly. Go on, I dare you to not fall in love with this song.


  1. Swingin' is the word. Nice write up. Thodhadha Thaalam also has that swinging rhythm (though a bit closer to rock, perhaps). But the chord progression in Kalvane is more evocative of jazz. Kurangu Kaiyil Maalai does go more far-out but the sheer romance in Kalvane makes it special. In India, composers tend to turn to jazz for something loungey or for a party atmosphere and Kalvane bucks that trend. Speaking of Raja-jazz, I hope you have listened to Day by Day (Honest Raaj).

  2. Ah yes, Thodadha Thaalam is a great tune that has that swing/big band feel to it especially with those horns. But yeah, I think its sensibility is more pop rock than jazz overall.

    The Mumbai Express soundtrack as a whole is pretty special in Raja's discography imo. Actually, Poo Poothathu starts off on a jazzy note that's in the same vein as Kalvane but the focus shifts to the melody when the lyrics come in. It's in the interludes where Raja switches back to jazz mode in that song, which is perhaps the opposite of Kalvane where the interludes are more melodic.

    No, I hadn't listened to Day by Day until now. Can't believe I missed out on it so long. I wasn't floored by it on first listen (seemed like a standard jazz track just with Tamil lyrics), but it's growing on me very quickly.