With its blend of melody, trance and rhythm, “Enthiran — The Robot” sounds like a winner

It's finally here — the music of the much-awaited Rajinikanth-Aishwarya Rai starrer “Enthiran — The Robot”. Chennai may have lost out on hosting the formal music launch event (it was held in Malaysia), but the album has hit the stands in stores across the city, and it's time to check out what the maestro A.R. Rahman has to offer the Superstar this time, after their super-successful last outing in “Sivaji — The Boss”.

The first track of the album, Pudhiya Manidha, truly sets the mood. A futuristic trance number, the song is all robotic voices and hypnotic rhythms, and captures your imagination right away. In typical Rahman style, it's more than just another trance track — it also has a haunting, invocatory tone, both in the lyrics by Vairamuthu (the recurring refrain is Pudhiya manidha boomiku vaa) and in the music itself, which can be goose-bump inducing. A terrific opening for an otherworldly sci-fi epic's soundtrack, for sure.

Kadhal Anukkal, the second number, is the perfect contrast to the first, and opens with a gorgeous guitar intro. A lilting romantic duet, sung with style by Vijay Prakash (and ably supported by the sweet-voiced Shreya Ghosal), this song comes as a breath of fresh air, infused as it is with pretty harmonies and dreamy musical interludes. In an album filled with thumping beats and futuristic robotic voices, it provides welcome respite (even if its lyrics are liberally sprinkled with words such as ‘neutron' and ‘electron' and ‘Newton'). An instantly appealing number, with Rahman at his melodic best.

And then, it's back to future with Irumbile Oru Irudhaiyam (featuring Rahman and Kash n' Krissy), a purely techno track with pounding breakbeats, a mix of English and Tamil lyrics, and more of the computerised voices and sound effects and such. It's almost certain to become all the rage at clubs around the city, along with the next track, Chitti Dance Showcase, which, as the name suggests, is a hardcore dance number, with virtually no lyrics. Chitti…has such an eclectic mix of rhythms and styles that only Rahman could have carried it off — some hip-hop, some heavy metal guitar riffs, and even some symphony orchestra and konnakol mixed in for good measure, all set to frenetic beats. It's a short piece, but boy, does it pack a punch!

There are some things you expect from every album of a Superstar movie, and one of them is His Song. You know, that wonderfully celebratory number to which Rajini will fill the screen in his inimitable style. For “Enthiran”, Arima Arima is that song. It has the triumphant trumpet calls and the majestic drums, the chorus singing praises; just a dramatic piece overall to which you can picture Rajini striding forward, jacket flying regally behind him.

Kilimanjaro, the penultimate number in the album, is quintessentially Rahman. A playful and quirky song with an infectious refrain and a thumping beat, it features some lively vocals by Javed Ali and Chinmayi. It has tribal-sounding interludes, but manages to be super-modern at the same time, and grows on you with every listen. Quite likely to become one of the immediately popular numbers from the album. The final number, Boom Boom Robo Da with a rap track by Yogi B, is one of the slightly more forgettable songs in the album, though has its moments too, with its multiple elements, including a softly Latin interlude, and a title refrain that's likely to keep looping your head.

The album is classic Rajnikanth in parts, classic Rahman in others, with a heavy-duty dash of the futuristic thrown in. The emphasis on techno and dance might mean it isn't to everyone‘s tastes, but overall, it's unlikely to disappoint fans of either the Superstar or the Mozart of Madras.

Greater access

It's been craziness and chaos all around, but it's finally done —the “Enthiran”CDs have been packed and shipped out by Think Music. “We've tried to set up as many ways as possible for customers to access ‘Endhiran'content,” says Priya Krishnan of Think Music.

Those ways include setting up a mini-store online at enthiranthemovie.in, where you can buy the seven tracks either as singles or as an album, and, in the process, get access to branded badges, posters, and best of all, first-week tickets to the movie.

“We've sweetened the deal by making 5,000 tickets available on the Web,” says Krishnan.

This is to provide people who want to download the music online with legal alternatives. Anti-piracy planning has been a core part of the process for Think Music this time, including a link-up with antipiracy.org, a U.S.-based team that specialises in bringing down infringing websites and content on sites such as youtube.

“We've already caught 300 piracy sites in the space of just 24 hours,” she says.

If the Internet isn't really your thing, you can still have the music brought to your doorstep — literally. For the first time, the label offers a home delivery system, where you can call 044-42244000 and have the CD dropped off at your home in Chennai.