What started out as a simple venture in remaking a simple story from Malayalam to Tamil has now turned into a massive exercise of glitz, glamour and superstars.
The Malayalam hit Kadha Parayumbol has morphed into the Tamil version Kuselan, and with the larger than life persona of Rajnikanth, under the aegis of K Balachander's Kavithalaya and Seven Arts, even the music being a hit isn't far off.
Tuned by G V Prakash Kumar, with the lyrics penned by Vaali, Pa Vijay and others, it is interesting to see if Kuselan touts an aural fare on par with the rest of the movie's stature.
The much talked about Cinema Cinema...begins with a blast of Omen-like chorus and music, which then segues into a catchy tune that extols the virtues of cinema. Shankar Mahadevan's voice lifts off with characteristic fluidity, alternating between feathery-smooth and strong. Vaali is on his home-ground here, as he weaves the magical world of cinema into words.
The musical medley reminds you of the instrumental piece in Veerapandi Kottaiyie, but it does bring about a sense of magnificence, which makes you want to see how it might be picturised.
The second half of the song is full of the superstar and his many merits. And then it's back to the ominous choral effects, and the virtues of the superstar again. It's catchy, and certainly will become a national anthem for Rajni fanatics!
Hariharan's voice starts softly, sweetly, and with gentle rhythm in Sollamma, Sollamma. Sujatha's voice joins Hariharan's seamlessly. You can see traces of A R Rahman's style -- a la Mudhalvan, but melodious nevertheless. As it moves from plain romantic to sorrow-tinged tones, you wait for more such fare. More choral notes and clear tones of flute follow. And then there's a section on the children singing -- Ranjani and Pooja -- presumably about their parents. The second half is all about the travails of raising a family on meager resources; Pa Vijay's words are slightly idealistic, but simple.
Om Zaarare begins with a medley of voices and instruments, which then segues into Daler Mehndi's characteristic Punjabi tones; strong and throbbing. Then there's Sadhana Sargam, adding to the mix. The beat is interesting -- and again, with the lyrics peppered with the names of the superstar's movies such as Chandramukhi and Ejamaan, this one too is sung in his praise. The use of violins is neat.
Chitra's voice comes as a welcome respite even if it's so shrill that you're tempted to wince. Daler's pronunciation is passable -- and when he says Paayum Puli and Annamalai, you're pleasantly surprised. Guitars make a pleasant interlude and then there's some disco-esque music as well.
But you get the feeling that the composer has fumbled around for the perfect note to segue into the next section -- which happens to have a classical base complete with flutes and thavil. This is also the longest number, clocking at seven minutes of a queer mixture of the old and the new.
Chaaral starts with the soothing sounds of rain, and crickets and thunder. Shreya Ghosal's voice begins with musical notes. This one is full of beats and rhythms that remind of the pop band of yore, ABBA in places.
Dr Kridhaya's lyrics indicate a trip down memory lane. A guitar interlude segues into violins, and again, you're conscious of the music-director's attempts to travel down a different lane. With flute interludes blending with guitar strings, you are assailed with classical dance beats and then it's slap-bang into a mix of English and chaste Tamil. The number ends with, appropriately enough, a clap of thunder.
Perinba has more Punjabi beats and a jig-along rhythm that leave you in no doubt of superstar's status again. Rendered by Kailesh Kher and Prasanna V V, this one is plain, simple and retreats into almost rustic simplicity. With harmonica interludes, this is a nice number to listen once. Yuga Bharathy's lyrics will make Rajni fans do a joyous jig.
You can't help but notice that G V Prakash Kumar's music has shades of his famous uncle's work, but that's only to be expected.
Kuselan promises some interesting fare, and manages to deliver some of it.