After a spell in the wilderness, music director Karthik Raja, elder son of the legendary Ilayaraja, comes back with the music for debutant director R T Nesan's Muruga. The film has new faces Magesh and Shruthi Sharma in the lead; Ilayaraja made one of his rare public appearances to release the music by lighting the traditional 'kuthuvilakku' (ceremonial lamp).
It is, as albums go these days, brief, with just five songs. It starts with Kuthuna, by Shankar Mahadevan and chorus -- a heady cocktail of gana, rap, rustic, and a whiff of bhangra, all to a fast percussive underpinning. The song is a typical film opener -- the kind that introduces the hero, in this case as a "king with no flag or sceptre, but still a king".
En kathali, the second song, is the real saving grace of the album. The melodious number speaks of the protagonist's all-consuming love for his girl. Her beauty sends him into raptures and renders him speechless; he can only give expression to it by playing the flute.
Karthik superbly blends the soft refrain of the flute with the lyrics, as the song proclaims that first love is not ephemeral, but is like the aroma of incense wafting from temples. Kathik has matured into a seasoned singer who can hold his own with the top-notchers in the field. This track, incidentally, is repeated on the reverse side.
Chinnanchiru chitte, rendered by Vineeth Srinivasan and Sangeetha, is a fast-paced number that opens with the remix of a classic from MG Ramachandran-Bhanumathy starrer 'Alibabavum 40 thirudarkalum'. The song, a hip-hoprap combine, soon gets into an aggressive groove, with the remixed lines getting repeated airing. It is a bit of a pity, though, that Raja with his proud lineage and experience succumbs to cliches like remixes to prove his mettle. The song, incidentally, showcases Vineeth who is fast making his mark in Tamil playback singing.
Melathe kottu by Tippu, Sujatha and Malgudi Subha is, as the lyrics imply, percussion-oriented. The vibrant track with a rustic touch has changing rhythms and a little bit of hip-hop at the end. Sujatha croons a few lines giving the number a devotional feel. Otherwise, she is wasted in this number.
Pollatha kirukku, the concluding piece, is a racy, romantic duet by Udit Narayan and Shreya Ghosal. The golden-voiced Shreya is a misfit here. Udit Narayan's voice lacks the vibrancy essential for this sort of number, but his diction is improving.
Overall, in this album Karthik Raja follows the beaten track, offering up routine stuff.