The sounds of Bala


By Kaushik

The music of Bala’s Paradesi was released a few days back and it is characteristic of a typical Bala soundtrack. The songs are heavy in lyrical quality and intend a deep meaning. While they might find it hard to set the countdown charts on fire, which is usually replete with more uppity tunes, only a few might prefer to have them on repeat mode in their playlists but, when seen and heard with the movie, one can expect the songs to make a deep impact like other Bala songs have in the past.

Based on what we have seen from the trailer and the reports that have emerged, the movie is set in pre-independence India and is about the people of a village named Salur. They are led to work in a tea plantation to overcome their impoverished ways. The lyrics of the songs in the movie give a very good idea of what to expect from the movie – a dark and gritty account of these people’s lives.

Right from his first film Sethu to his latest Paradesi, Bala has been a director who has used songs not as an intrusion to the movie but just as a tool to move his narrative forward. We don’t see characters get into dream sequences in exotic locales or crass item numbers with meaningless lyrics. The songs are in sync with the look and feel of the film as well as the characters’ behavior pattern in that film. Even when he decided to rope in the popular Simran for a song in his 2003 movie Pithamagan, it was done tastefully as a medley of old songs. People won’t be able to categorize that as an item number, not that easily.  

For a section of the audience that subscribe to movies purely for entertainment’s sake, they do feel that his films are difficult to muster. Even some serious film buffs found the subject of Naan Kadavul hard to take in. Bala believes in showing the brutal reality as it is. Consequently the songs in his movies cannot afford to be the commercial mainstream ones that we listen to in majority.

Paradesi’s songs have been penned with a lot of thought by Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu, the musical treatment by G.V.Prakash is in sync with the rural, rustic setting of the movie and the singers have also infused as much feeling as they can, into the gloomy and mellow tracks that the movie has to offer. But the quality of these songs are never compromised and with the impending release of the movie on December 21st, we can even expect some of these tracks to attain cult status like Pithamagan’s ‘Elangaatru Visudhe’ and Nanda’s ‘Mun Paniya’.

On the whole, it is a worthy attempt by G.V.Prakash that has perfectly complemented Bala’s premise and setting for Paradesi. One may expect a cult following for these songs.



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