Yuvan Shankar Raja, Ilaiyaraja’s second son, is (probably) the heir to Raja’s throne. Along with A.R. Rahman and Harris Jayaraj, he is one of the top three contemporary music directors in Tamil. His partnerships with the current crop of movie directors – Selvaraghavan (they have fallen out now), Vishnuvardhan, Venkat Prabhu, Ameer and Simbhu – has produced some of his best music as well as among the best ever director-music director combinations in Tamil.
But what this Ilaiyaraja scion lacks is the ease of his father’s rendition. Let’s face it, Yuvan is not the best singer around, and he has proved it on many occassions. On the contrary, Ilaiyaraja is a fabulously gifted singer – you can name a number of songs that couldn’t have been any better if sung by another person. The depth in IR’s voice made him an automatic choice for songs that required transitions to a higher pitch. Which is why you would find that a good percentage of IR’s songs (the one he has sung) are of the sad variety. It is a testimony to IR’s abilities that Yuvan himself picks his father to sing in his movies. “Ariyaadha Vayasu” from Paruthi Veeran is a top pick.
Not all of Yuvan’s efforts are poor. He excels himself when the song does not require the singer to maintain a high pitch consistently – the effortless songs, so to speak. “Pushing It Hard” from Kanda Naal Mudhal comes to mind instantly. Another song that has grown on me over the past week is the title song from Yaaradi Nee Mohini (Youtube link).
But the more emotionally charged songs? Most reviews of Pudhupettai’s soundtrack felt that the album’s best(?) song could have been much better if the music director had picked someone else to sing it. Similar comments have been made about many other Yuvan songs. Maybe this Raja protege should restrict himself to his core competence! After all, he is very, very good at it.
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