Cast: Vijay Sethupathy, Trisha Krishnan, Janagaraj, Kaali Venkat
Music: Govind Vasantha
Lyrics: Karthik Netha, Uma Devi
Direction: C. Prem Kumar
Singers: Chinmayi, Govind Vasantha, Bhadra Rajin, Nassar (Voiceover)
Brace yourself for the song of the year! ‘Anthaathi’ starts off in a wonderfully muted & minimalistic manner with both Chinmayi’s and Govind’s vocals playfully dabbling with the tune almost as if to establish the base for the progression that’s going to come and when the chorus portions kick in to reach the high point in the song, the result is brilliant. The construction is highly impressive with the song playing out as an amalgamation of several individually constructed pieces of musical brilliance. The cohesion seems to be spot on. Chinmayi’s vocals go on to render the humming from the already popular ‘Kaadhale Kaadhale’ number & they all culminate at the end with director C. Prem Kumar’s poem narrated by the veteran Nassar. Easily, one of the best compositions in recent times!
Kaathale Kaathale (Version 1)
Singers: Chinmayi, Govind Vasantha
With birds chirping, bells chiming, acoustic guitar strumming in the background, the mood is set right from the first second of the song. The cello lead that plays alongside the hook line is fantastic to listen to. Chinmayi & Govind Vasantha’s vocals play out in harmony and in a sense, as a counterpoint to the cello piece. Such a lovely tune and one wonders why the track has such a less duration with no follow through in the form of a charanam. There is a lot of novelty in this song and there are going to be quite a large number of listeners travelling back in time while listening to this song.
Kaathale Kaathale (Version 2)
Singers: Kalyani Menon, Chinmayi
Almost plays out as a ditto of the previous version with the only major change being the addition of Kalyani Menon’s vocals which sounds in a matured fashion compared to its predecessor. This effect could very well be due to the fact that the screenplay probably plays out this song when the lead couple get old too.
Singers: Pradeep Kumar, Chinmayi
‘Thaabangale’ starts off with some fantastic piano work and when Chinmayi’s vocals start off the tune, the listeners are already warped inside the song. Pradeep’s husky vocals goes hand in hand with the setting of the tune and Chinmayi is in glorious form too. There is a bit of Santhosh Narayanan’s style somewhere in the tune and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Singers: Govind Vasantha, Chinmayi, Pradeep Kumar
‘Iravingu Thevai’ is yet another impressive number that showcases the full range of Govind Vasantha. The arrangements are dominated by veena here & the chord progressions as the song goes on play a key role in making the song memorable. There are quite a number of songs echoing the same mood in the album but each of them is having their own individuality about it.
Singers: Gowri TP
‘Yean’ plays off like a pathos number that usually gets played in the background. The arrangements and instrumentation are very minimalistic with only the accompanying piano being prominent. The vocals have been offered good scope to deliver the mood that the tune is trying to convey.
The Life of Ram
Singers: Pradeep Kumar, Govind Vasantha
Pradeep Kumar is in full form in ‘The Life of Ram’ which sets the mood for a happy tune. The usage of eventful instruments like acoustic guitar come off as earthy and rooted and add to the chirpiness of the tune. Karthik Netha’s lyrics which shine brilliantly in many places deserve a special mention.
Singers: Chinmayi, Govind Vasantha
Another brilliant number! ‘Vasantha Kaalangal’ carries a lot of depth in its tune where a certain element of nostalgia and melancholy is twined together. The prelude takes its own soothing time to set the atmosphere for Chinmayi’s vocals to build on it further. The presence of just the Spanish guitar and the keys in the background makes the song less cluttered and offers more emphasis to the tune and rendition – both being perfect.
On the whole, ‘96’ is one unique musical experience where the composer Govind Vasantha has ticked all the right boxes. The stakes of the movie have been propelled to great heights now, thanks to this amazing album & an impressive trailer. The decision to use Chinmayi’s vocals consistently throughout the album for the character has turned out to be a great move. Songs like Anthaathi, Kaathale Kaathale & Vasantha Kaalangal are ones to stay in your playlist for quite a long time.
Picks from the album: Anthaathi, Kaathale Kaathale, Vasantha Kaalangal
Album Verdict: Easily this year’s best album!
Album Rating: 4/5