'Appangal Empadum' and some musings

Sep 20, 2012 NR

In recent times, Malayalam Film Industry is going through a transition period in terms of narration, themes, and technology. Along with these so called new wave trend, Malayalam Film Music has also been going through a transition period without getting the attention it deserved. One must say that these changes went unnoticed, rather being submerged in the flurry of innumerable trivial channel debates about a Santhosh Pandit film or other mundane industry gossips.

Music lovers witnessed a breeze of changes in the 90s itself when Vidyasagar set tunes for his first Malayalam film ‘Azhakiya Ravanan’. He continued his sublime work in the following years also by churning out chartbusters in ‘Pranayavarnangal’, ‘Summer in Bethlehem’, Meesa Madhavan’, ‘Neelathamara’ and in the recently released ‘Diamond Necklace’. Vidyasagar and his style of music indeed made an effect on Malayalam film music. Incidentally it happened at a time when masters like Johnson and Raveendran were not so active in the field due to various reasons and eventually their untimely demise inflicted a huge loss on Malayalam film industry.

However in the last few years industry witnessed the entry of many young, talented, and imaginative musicians like Alphons, Bijibal, Gopi Sunder, Ratheesh Vega, and Shaan Rehman being prominent among them. Even though M Jayachandran had made his debut quite earlier he also belongs to this league of musicians.

As usual pseudo-puritans and critics were mostly averse to this new brand of music and were scathing in their criticism. The criticism appears to be clichéd with phrases like meaningless lyrics, music without soul, manipulation of voice, overdose of instruments so on and so forth. But what the critics conveniently forget is whether the music is appreciated and accepted by the audience. In their attempt to catch the attention of media by blindly criticizing a popular song they often forget the superlative songs of the same composer, sometimes for the same movie itself.

Music of ‘Ustad Hotel’ is a classic example of the double standards of the critics. While they are busy criticizing the popular song ‘Appangalempadum' they have no mention about 'Vathilil Aa Vathilil' which is a beautiful blend of folk and Mappila songs or 'Mel Mel' which is an even more beautiful melody. And what is the problem with 'Appangalempadum' ??? It is such a peppy song with funny lines that even a nursery kid can sing with aplomb and that shows its mass appeal and reach. Hats off to Gopi Sunder for his brilliant composition in ‘Ustad Hotel’.

More than the popularity of the songs, these musicians must be appreciated for the effective use of technology and above all their eagerness and willingness to try and test new voices is praiseworthy. Till few years back musicians have not many options in playback singing. But thanks to these new music composers for bringing scores of talented and versatile playback singers to the fore.

Hence critics are requested to be constructive in their criticism rather than criticizing for the sake of it. 'Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder' and in the same way the type of music being enjoyed varies from person to person. Music does not necessarily be Carnatic music only. Just because one does not like a song, it does not mean that the song is not appreciable or not good. Leave it to the audience and let them make a more judicious decision.

Watch the song here.

Click the Movie button below for more info:
Usthad Hotel


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