Mix and match

old meets new A scene from Malaikkottai which features a remix number  

Music Old melodies dressed up with new beats captivate young minds, writes k. jeshi

Youngsters are hooked on electronic sounds, which are part of the new songs. And, this has partly contributed to the success of re-mixes

A perfect example of old wine in a new bottle – the new version of the legendary M. S.Viswanathan’s hit song ‘Engeyum Eppodhum’. A mish-mash of rap interludes, parallel tracks and English lyrics, the song is already topping the charts. The popular disco number from Ninaithale Inikkum, sung by the versatile S. P. Balasubrahmanyam two decades ago, has been borrowed for actor Dhanush’s film Polladhavan, slated for Deepavali release. The remix version retains SPB’s voice, introduces contemporary sounds and rapping by Yogi B.

And, the youngsters are already swaying to old-time hits in their new fast-beat re-mix avatar. Music director Mani Sharma’s western dimension to the energetic ‘Yeh Aatha Aathorama’ in Malaikottai is yet another remix, taken from music maestro Ilaiyaraaja’s composition for Payanangal Mudivathillai. So is the classic song ‘Vasanthamullai polae vandhu’. The remix version with peppy beats in the Vijay-starrer Pokkiri has emerged as everyone’s favourite.

What is so magical about old songs? “The extraordinary compositions,” says playback singer Shalini, who has sung a re-mix version of singer L. R. Easwari’s ‘Palinginal oru maaligai’ for a new movie. “Newness comes in the form of different background music and singing style. But, the melody remains the same,” she says. Though sometimes the charm of the original compositions gets lost, music lovers say the songs are still enjoyable. “The basic grandeur of those songs is simply superb. For young singers, it is an opportunity to lend our voices to such compositions,” says Shalini.

Wide reach

Though melodies such as Vidyasagar’s ‘Mozhi’ or Harris Jeyaraj’s ‘Vaseegara’ rule, when it comes to reach, the re-mix numbers win. And, when it goes with the script, it clicks. Dhanush’s Thiruvilayadal Arambham had Rajinikanth’s popular song ‘Ennamma Kannu’ remixed by D Imman and it was an instant hit. Great compositions and great lyrics linger says La. Rajkumar, who has penned lyrics for two songs in the movie Sivi. He says, according to a study, it is still Ilaiyaraaja’s songs that dominate as ring tones and caller tunes among the youth.

“In the soft re-mix of ‘Thottal poo malarum’ in Anbe Aaruyire, we still listen to the beautiful lyrics written by Kavignar Vaali 50 years ago. For lyric writers, the trend is an opportunity to compete with legends and it paves way for a healthy competition too,” he adds.

Do re-mix beats take the soul away from the songs? “No. It only adds charm,” says DJ Paramesh, who has been in the music industry for close to two decades. “People want flavour in the form of club beats. Even the innovative dance number with a medley of old songs featuring Simran and Surya in Pitamagan was well received,” Paramesh explains.

Popular remix albums

He says music director Adhityan’s remix albums which has decades old numbers such as ‘Roja malarae rajakumari’, ‘Oh oh enthan baby’ and ‘Sithaadai katti kittu’ are still popular. So are the albums such as ‘Hot beat remix’ by R. K. Sundar with numbers such as ‘Namma ooru singari’ ( Ninaithale Inikkum) ‘Macchana patheengala’ ( Annakili), ‘Yaaradi nee mohini’ ( Utthama Putthiran). Another album ‘Aasaiyae Alaipolae’ by M. Rafi has re-mixes of ‘Vantha naal mudhal’ ( Paava Manippu), ‘En iniya pon nilavae’ ( Moodu Pani), ‘Ennadi Meenakshi’ ( Ilamai Oonjaladugirathu) and ‘Idhu oru pon maalai pozhuthu’ ( Nizhalgal).

Youngsters are hooked on to electronic sounds, which are part of the new songs. And, this has partly contributed to the success of re-mixes. “Such numbers are a big hit among kids,” says T.S. Prabhu, programme producer of Chutti TV’s “Rum Bum Bum”. T. Rajendar’s peppy song ‘En aasai Mythiliye’ in his film Mythili Ennai Kadhali, released about two decades ago, remixed for Chimbu’s Manmathan is just one of them.

In the last five years, after the success of the catchy ‘Aasai nooru vagai’ (re-mixed by Yuvan Shankar Raja in Kurumbhu), re-mix numbers have been steadily gaining acceptance. “I don’t disapprove of the trend, but I prefer the original compositions,” says music director Dharan, who has composed music for K. Bhagyaraj’s Paarijatham and the horror film Sivi. Be it the ‘En aasai Mythiliye’ or ‘Yeh aatha’, for him old is gold. “Because the rich compositions are by legends and they have given their best. Remixing takes away that fineness,” he says.

The popularity of re-mix numbers is part of the changing trends in cinema. “Earlier it was gaana; then it was kuthu songs; and now, it is re-mix. At the same time, hip hop melodies such as ‘June Ponaal’ ( Unnalae Unnale) and Yuvan’s ‘Arabu Naade’ in Thottal Poo Malarum are also hits. Ultimately, it is mix and match that sells,” he says.