‘Mehandi Circus’ holds the listeners rapt – Sean Roldan’s consistency is unblemished

7.5
Winning

Composer Sean Roldan was off the radar last year after an impressive run in 2017. The 6-song soundtrack to the upcoming movie Mehandi Circus is a competent follow-up to his terrific work in the National Award winning Joker (2016). Incidentally, the movie, by debutant director Raju Saravanan, is written by Raju Murugan, the director of Joker.

Sean Roldan sets the crowd cheering in Mehandi Circus, so to speak. Take the song ‘Vellattu Kannazhagi’ for instance. It works as a romantic falling-in-love track as much as it does as a Circus performance piece, thanks to the tempo. Sean Roldan especially shines as a singer here. But it does remind one of many Ilaiyaraaja songs; which Roldan’s compositions employ a good deal of late to a nostalgic effect. The thaanane thananaa chorus portions and accompanying percussive rhythm bring back the visuals of the dance number ‘Kaana Karungyile’ (Sethu). ‘Kodi Aruvi’ is cut from the same piece of rustic canvas – the lyric even includes a reference to the maestro Ilaiyaraaja. Nithyashree, who gets her due after successful streaks in multiple talent shows including the Indian Idol Junior, is brilliant along with co-singer Pradeep.

There is a refreshing change in the soundscape with ‘Siragi Un Sirippaala’. Sathyaprakash has no issues sailing through the composition. It feels like a throwback to AR Rahman’s 90s melodies (a la ‘Eachi Elumichi’ and ‘Chandiranai Thottadhu Yaar’).

The melody works even better in ‘Veyil Mazhayae’, easily one of the best songs of the album. The song seems to operate in alternating phases. One, whenever the pallavi kicks in, which the Assamese portion of the song best captures. The other is when the anupallavi registers a stark change in tempo and in melody. Vignesh Ishwar is fantastic behind the mic; he occasionally sounds like Sriram Parthasarathy (who share a Carnatic background) here.

We are thrown a curved ball in the two remaining songs. The title song ‘Aavoji’ (i.e. ‘Aaoji’ in the characteristic accent) is a pulsating mix of varied percussion, strings and vocal sounds. For the short duration that it plays, the fun and charm remain intact. The other is the short, romantic montage ‘Love Polladhadhu’. Vijay Yesudas sounds dreamy like he did in some of his best – 3Jhootha Hi Sahi and recent Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal. Yugabharathi’s words are endearing, and the opening verse is a cracker!

The emergent strong collaboration between Raju Murugan and Sean Roldan is more apparent with Mehandi Circus. The soundtrack is a winner.

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