Avial: A review by a non-Mallu

“Avial”: a malayalam alternative-rock album.

Heard it? No? Then you need to pay attention. Drop whatever you are doing right now – yea, Right now! And listen! YouTube is a good starting point (check some of the links below). It was for me. A friend fwded me a link with a subject “Mallu rock”. BTW, I do understand Malyalam as much as a penguin understands a parrot (hmmm… !!!). Anyways, I do not understand a word in any of the Avial tracks, except few english background sounds. But the beauty is you don’t need to. At least to enjoy the music!

Photo Courtesy: Heroyasu Yk

To me, Avial is a defining moment in Indian rock music history. Never heard a better produced album before. The most noteworthy quality of the album is its sound – an interesting combination of progressive rock with electronica, turntables with high-energy vocals (it makes sense even though you don’t understand a word). And moreover, it declares the arrival of the ‘Indian’ bassist of the millennium, Naresh Kamath.

The album is truly a bass solo. Naresh Kamath, apparently the only non-Mallu in Avial, provides some earthshaking, glass-shattering, rear-ripping foundation to all the tracks. You can also hear NK on the band Kailasa, where he is fronted by the sufi-rock singer Kailash Kher and is also accompanied by two other finest young musicians, Paresh Kamath (brother & accomplice in crime for all things composed at band K) and Kurt Peters, a (literally lean and) mean drummer.

As long as you are not listening to these tracks on your piddly computer speakers, you cannot escape the permanent scar Naresh Kamath will leave on your brain. So please, please, get up from your computer, or connect it to a better sound system that will do justice to all frequency ranges. Or get a headphone!

Bass-ically speaking, its got all kinds – walking, running, flowing, slapping, thumping, ripping! By far the best bass I have ever heard on any Indian album. Period.

Track 1: “Nada Nada”: (Does it mean “Run Run” by any chance?). Whatever it may mean, very well sung. Powerful! Upbeat track. Great rhythm section with the wah-wah guitar. And of course, all the tracks do have the turntable thingy (is there a technical term for this music instrument?), the wahka-wahka sound. Its done very well in this track along with the rhythm section. Perfect opening song to a great album.

(there are few other Nada Nada older version videos on youtube. But this one is the closest to the track on the CD. Interestingy, notice, how the same song has evolved from an older version to the newer version. The production quality makes the song come alive in the newer version).

Track 2: “Chekele”: Awesome beginning of the song. Draws you into the song form the word go: great wah-wah to begin with. Once the vocals begin, listen the entry of the bass there. Something to die for. Great acoustic guitar backing throughout the song. And the chorus is nice, easy for us non-mallus to sing along. The song breaks into a continuous sorta jam at 3:48. Cool tone of the acoustic guitar.

Track 3: “Njan Aara”: Love the reverb-ish, delay-ish acoustic guitar patch in the beginning. Listen to the bass line in this part, floaty, jazzy. And then the song suddenly switches to this dry-distortion on the guitars, And then again switches to the dreamy sounding acoustic guitar. Great dynamics. Just a superb execution. Also the song has shades of jazz in parts. 3:37 onwards, the song breaks into yet another instrumental jam.

Track 4: “Arikuruka”: These guys know how to arrange the opening of a song. This one starts mainly on the rhythm section and sparse guitar and keyboards, and slowly builds up. Before you realize, you land up in an intense vocals section. And during the verse, the rhtyhm pattern is quite interesting. Doesn’t quite follow the normal route. BTW, the only part where I could understand few words, notice at the end: seemingly a teacher asking a-square minus b-square =? – and a girl answering (a + b) into… into….. The part is pretty funny.

Track 5: “Aranda”: Fabulous beginning of the song. The most powerful opening of all the songs on the album.The bass in the latter half of the song is noticeably solid and ties the song pieces together.

Track 6: “Karukara”: This is actually the first Avial songs I ever heard, and it has such a magnetic appeal. Very radio-friendly single, it grabs your attention from the nice Sitarish guitar prelude. And what a transition @ 1:32 from that Indian sound to a power distorted guitar riff. Also, listen to the last minute of jam of guitar, bass and drums. Some awesome jazz-like phrasings of guitar & bass there.

Track 7: “Aadu Pambe”: The pure headbanging content here. The best part of the song is the transition from banjo style guitar picking to a very hard headbanging section of the song. Anand’s singing is nice. After hearing it many times, I totally love the transition @4:12.

Track 8: “Ettam Pattu”: The Enigmaish mix of a tribal chants with a slow rock song! Crisp guitar work there, and powerful vocals too. The only song in the album which has a little piece of guitar solo. Having said that, the other songs incorporate absolutely brilliant guitar work, but none follow the usual verse-chorus-solo-bridge-chorus routine.

In fact, that (last sentence) is in essence the beauty of the entire album, rebellious and unconventional, yet so musical. This is a showcase of arrangement and musical production. I am not sure, but it must have been some state-of-the-art studio where the album has been recorded.

Shankar, Shiv

Courtesy: Shankar, Shiv (flickr)

Avial is:

Anandraj Benjamin Paul — Vocals
Tony John — Vocals, Turntables and Synth
Rex Vijayan — Guitars and Synth
Naresh Kamath — Bass
Mithun Puthanveetil — Drums

Avial is a musical milestone, a masterpiece – not for the faint of the Art! Also, I am proud of the fact they have very well retained some of their roots in their music, some folksy music from Kerala, while giving it an amazing makeover. Check out facebook and youtube for some Avial live videos.

Krazzy4 music and Ram Sampath

We should all thank Ram Sampath for bringing this shameless plagiarism in Bollywood to some justice. Next time, Anu Maliks and Pritams of the big bad world of Bollywood will think twice before copying (Hey Pritam, you better watch out. Ram S just took money, once Koreans come after you with their Kung Fu wrath, you’ll be royally screwed).

First of all, I don’t know why does even Rajesh Roshan appear in the list of current list of Bollywood music directors! He doesn’t belong to this century, he is still stuck in 70’s. His compositions suck, his instrumentation is even worse. Anyone who thinks the music of Krrish well-suited the movie, probably doesn’t have a clue about music. Krrish is a modern superheroe movie and the music should have been produced with a studio full of electronic gadgets. And any idea who is the king of electronica in Bollywood? None other than very less known and outlandishly creative Ram Sampath.

Heard of Colourblind? Its one heck of a progressive electronic rock album produced in India. Here are a few songs. Composed and produced by Ram Sampath (and Siddharth Achrekar).

(Listen to that song on a good sound system, please).

You can download a good quality of music video for your iPod from Sid’s site as well as mp3s of all the songs from this awesome album.

I wish Roshans improve their taste of music a bit, and open up little bit beyond their khandani music director Chacha Roshan. (While I admit Chachu Roshan created some fine music in 70’s, but that was > 30 yrs ago).

My sincere request to Papa Roshan – the next sci-fi movie you make, please take Ram Sampath as the music director. He will rock, and trust me, your 2 crore investment will pay back! I have heard Tanha Dil (sung by Shaan, music by Ram S) some few thousand times by now, and it still one of my favs.

Desi music directors take this plagiarism as granted. To some extent I feel, they want to copy something and make it a public controversy. Its free publicity, so why not? While its okay to create a cover version of music produced elsewhere (in Pritam’s case, as remote as some tv soap in South Korea) and turn them to very popular music, what’s wrong in giving credit to the original composer? Its done all over the world, and the artists didn’t become smaller by doing so. I am glad Ram S has the guts to drag the Roshans to the court, and hope this sends a warning to Maliks and Chakrabortys alike. Bappi Lahiri did it during his time, but noone had an inkling. Thanks to itwofs reporting, its all out there.

Now Roshans (meaning Papa and Beta Roshans) are coming out in public saying Ram S strangulated us few days before the movie (Krazzy4) release, but where is the real culprit? Where is Chacha Roshan? Why is he keeping such a silence? Or is he ashamed of coming out? Long live original music, long live Ram Sampath, I hope some day Beta Roshan will be dancing to the tunes of Ram Sampath some day! And here’s one more from Colourblind before I sign off.

Lift Karadey by Pritam

Came across this Atif song ‘Pehli Nazar mein’ from Race. Well its not all that a great song anyways… but reading the comments on youtube, what I learn was disturbing.

Thanks to Pritam’s Korea connexion! Wasn’t there another song with Korea connection? I believe it was ‘Kya mujhe pyar hai’ from Woh Lamhe.


At times, he does a good job ripping off, and in fact makes the song better than original. And if the songs of Metro are any proof, I think he should be awarded the greatest arranger for 2007! And its possible that the copy may be better than the original. In the western world, in my opinion, Eric Clapton’s and GnR’s version of Knockin on heaven’s door are better than the original! And so there are many great cover versions such as Turn the page by Metallica, I shot the sheriff by Clapton, Oye Como Va, Black Magic Woman by Santana. Peter Framton’s version of Soundgarden’s Black hole sun is quite awesome.

But all these guys publicly acknowledged it being a cover version, and took the creative freedom to make it their own! Why can’t Mr Chakraborty give the credits to original composer? Will it make him any less of  musician? Did it matter to any of those musicians above? In fact they went on to create some world class covers. And in many cases, people recognize the cover versions more than the originals.

My request to Pritam: Its okay to bring in the influence of world music to Bollywood, and make it better by all means. But do not take away the credits of creation! Don’t you feel ashamed being nominated for the best music director, when all over the world people have living proof of songs being ripped! So why don’t you come out in public, accept it!

May be one more theory behind it is to create these bad publicity intentionally. As you all know, its good to be the center of buzzword. No publicity is bad publicity! Going by that law, it might be helping him more than doing any bad. Bollywood is full of people hungry for any kind of publicity, they will go to any extent for journos to write about them! In the current generation of music directors, I believe, there are more blogs written about Pritam than anyone else! Who cares about Jatins & Lalits? ARRahman is 90’s. Anu Malik has had his share of plagiarism accusations and is past anyways. Vishal, Shekhar are too nice and clean! Ismail Darbar is considering being back as a session musician. Salim Sulaiman just make good music and mind their own business. The Amar Akabar Anthony (SEL) of Bollywood is busy acting in Cricket videos and some of their own soundtracks! Do a google search on Pritam & Plagiarism, you’ll know the amount of internet bandwidth, hard drive space, research dedicated to the cause!

Just like the one you are reading right now …

“Taare Zameen Par” title song

TZPDefinitely the other songs from TZP in my opinion are way more melodic and better compositions than this title track, but this is a nice composition as well. Esp the bells bground throughout the song has been used very effectively. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy truly created magic for an even more magical movie, made by a magical director about a magical boy.

  [bells] A    E      G#m    F#m

A     B      E     (x 2)
 E                              B

Dekho Inhein Yeh Hain Aas Ki Boondein

  E                             B

Patton Ki God Mein Aasmaan Se Koodein

  E                        A            B

Aandayee Lein Phir Karwat Badal Kar

  E                              B

Nazuk Se Moti Hans De Phisal Kar

  E         D     A                E

Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par

Yeh To Hain Sardi Mein Dhoop Ki Kirane

Utarein Jo Aangan Ko Sunhera Sa Karne

Mann Ke Aandheron Ko Roshan Sa Kar Dein

Thithurti Hatheli Ki Rangat Badal Dein

Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par

[interlude: A    E      G#m    F#m

                 A     B      E]


Jaise Aankhon Ki Dibiya Mein Nindiya


Aur Nindiya Mein Meetha Sa Sapna

 A                                                 E

Aur Sapne Mein Mil Jaaye Farishta Sa Koi


Jaise Rangon Bhari Pichkari


Jaise Titliyan Phoolon Ki Kyari

  A                                           E

Jaise Bina Matlab Ka Pyara Rishta Ho Koi

  E                      C#m

Yeh To Aasha Ki Lehar Hain

             B              A

Yeh To Ummeed Ki Sehar Hain


Khusiyon Ki Nehar Hain

             D             A              E

Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par

[ rest of the chords are similar, so listen and follow the same pattern....]

Dekho Raaton Ke Seeney Pe Yeh Toh

Jhilmil Kisi Lau Se Ugey Hain

Yeh To Amboya Ki Khusboo Hain

Baagon Se Beh Chale

Jaise Kaanch Mein Choodi Ke Tukde

Jaise Khiley Khiley Phoolon Ke Mukhdey

Jaise Bansi Koi Bajaye Pedon Ke Taley

Yeh To Jhonke Hain Pawan Ke

Hain Yeh Ghungharoo Jeewan Ke

Yeh To Sur Hain Chaman Ke

Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par

Muhaley Ki Raunak

Galiyan Hain Jaise

Khilney Ki Zid Par

Khaliyan Hain Jaise

Muthi Mein Mausam Ki

Jaise Hawayein

Yeh Hain Buzurgon Ke

Dil Ki Duwayein

Kho Na Jaaye Ye Taare Zameen Par

Kabhi Baatein Jaise Dadi Nani

Kabhi Chalkein Jaise Mum Mum Paani

Kabhi Ban Jaaye Bhole

Sawaalon Ki Jhadi

Sannatey Mein Hansee Ke Jaise

Sooney Hothon Pe Khushi Ke Jaise

Yeh To Noor Hain Barse Gar

Teri Kismat Ho Badi

Jaise Jheel Mein Lehraye Chanda

Jaise Bheed Mein Apne Ka Kandha

Jaise Manmauji Nadiya

Jhaag Udaye Kuch Kahe

Jaise Baithe Meethi Si Jhapki

Jaise Pyar Ki Dheemi Si Thapki

Jaise Kaanon Mein Sargam

Hardam Bajti Hi Rahe

Jaise Barkha Udati Hai Bundiya...

Lyrics are fantastic, and if you have seen the movie, it takes you through the roller coaster ride once again. The song is very reminiscent of the Aamir Khan’s character in the movie.

“Baatein Kuchh Ankahi Si” from Life in a…. Metro

Adnan Sami

There are two different versions of this song in Metro, but by all means I think Adnan Sami’s voice suits the song very much. And Adnan’s song is in C, the other version is in A. It sounds better in this scale, that’s my opinion. A nice harmonica adds to the bluesy feel of Adnan Sami’s singing. (of course there is harmonica on other version too). The harmony in the song is a must, it lends so well to do harmony on part ‘wo ho ho … shayad ye hi hai pyar’!

Once again, I am not sure about the *origin* of the song, but its yet another superb song from one of the best movie album in recent years.

The song has enough opportunity for vocals improvisation. Vocals harmony adds a lot to the song. I am transcrbing the chords for the grittier version of the song by Adnan Sami, however, if you must play the version which they filmed on, then just transpose everything to A.

[C]baatein kuchh ank[Am]ahee si, kuchh [F]ansuni si hone[G] lagi
[C]bu dil pe raha[Am] na, hasti ham[F]aari khone la[G]gi
[C] wo o[F] o o[C] o o[G]……..
[C]ayad yahi[G] hai pyaar

baatein kuchh ankahee si, kuchh ansuni si hone lagi
kaabu dil pe raha na, hasti hamaari khone lagi
wo wo o o o o o……..
shaayad yahi hai pyaar – 2

keh [C]de mujhse dil mein kya hai, aisa[Eb] bhi kya guroor
[C] bhi toh ho raha hai [Eb]thoda asar jaroor
yeh khaa
[Am]moshi ji[G]ne na de, ko[F]i toh ba[G]at ho
[C] wo o[F] o o[C] o o[G]……..
[C]ayad yahi[G] hai pyaar[C] – 2

tu hi meri roshani hai, tu hi chiraag hai
dheere dheere mit jaayega, halka sa daag hai
yeh zeher bhi yuun piya hai, jaise sharaab ho
wo wo o o o o o……..
shaayad yahi hai pyaar – 2
baatein kuchh ankahee si, kuchh ansuni si hone lagi
kaabu dil pe raha na, hasti hamaari khone lagi
wo wo o o o o o……..
shaayad yahi hai pyaar – 3

The concept of Band Metro was very unique and done with a cinematic style, never tried before in Hindi movies. It suits the movie very well.

“In dino” from (Life in a….) Metro

One of the finest melodies from movie Life in a …. Metro. However, I flinch before giving complete credit to its music director Pritam, because of instances of countless plagiarism! But one cannot take away the singing credits from Soham Chakraborty (are Pritam and Soham related? Chakroborty brothers? Name sounds similiar too).

This song is all about its melody, the instrumentation is rich (just as every other song of Metro), fuller sound with lots of keyboards, distortion guitar, harmonica, etc. One thing for sure, whether the song’s been lifted or not, he (Pritam) surely is a great arranger (unless of course, he engages someone else for arrangement).

You can play the song with just one guitar or a piano or combination of both. But the heart of the song is in its melody, you got to get that right, at least most of it (not an easy feat).

Prelude Guitar:  Fmaj7 Gm Fmaj7 (x2)C Am


in dino, dil mera, mujhse hai keh raha

  Dm7  F   C    Dm7  F   C

tu khaab saja, tu ji le jara

  Am             G         G                 C

hai tujhe bhi izaazat, karle tu bhi muhabbat

[ interlude 1: C     C7     Am      C

                   G          Dm    x 2 ]

C                                           G           C

berang si hai badi zindagi kuchh rang to bharoon

 C                                            G                   C

main apani tanahaayi ke waaste abbb kuchh toh karoon

     Am       Fm

   (aa aaaaaa ....)

  C                Fm                      G               C

berang si hai badi zindagi kuchh rang to bharoon

 C                             Fm               G                   C

main apani tanahaayi ke waaste abbb kuchh toh karoon

  G                                       C

jab mile thodi fursat - 2, mujhse karle muhabbat

  C                G                        C

hai tujhe bhi izaazat, karle tu bhi muhabbat

[Interlude 2:  C    C7   Am    G#   Bb     C  (x2)]

(second verse chords are identical to the first one)

(usako chhupaakar main sabse kabhi le chaloon kahin door...

aankhon ke pyaalon kse pita rahoon usake chehre ka noor) - 2

iss jamaane se chhupakar - 2, puri karloon main hasrat

hai tujhe bhi izaazat, karle tu bhi muhabbat - 2

in dino, dil mera, mujhse hai keh raha

tu khaab saja, tu ji le jara

hai tujhe bhi izaazat, karle tu bhi muhabbat - 2

The songs of Metro are a set of landmark compositions in Bollywood music industry. Rooted in best of both eastern and western worlds, the compositions are going to remain as classics forever. Wish only Pritam had truly composed all of them!

“Kholo Kholo” from Taare Zameen Par

This is a nice song to be played on an acoustic guitar or so. You can play it by yourself or get another guy to accompany you while you noodle around with playing some bluesy fillers. These fillers are there in the song, but very faint. You can make it explicit, play it louder. I would try to note the chords here, but its better explained by playing. Since it will take a long time to transcribe each and every pull-offs and hammer-ons, I am trying to do a approx job. Rest is upto you, to play it in your own style.

Kholo Kholo tab[ the pattern above keeps playing...]
kholo kholo darwaze
Parde karo kinare
Khutey se bandhi hai hawa
Mil ke chudao saare

Aajao patang leke
Apney hi rang leke
Aasmaan ka shamiyana
Aaj hamein hai sajana

Kyun is kadar hairaan tu
Mausam ka hai mehmaan tu
Duniya sajee tere liye
Khud ko zara pehchaan tu

Tu dhoop hain jham se bikhar
Em G A
Tu hai nadee o bekhabar
Beh chal kahin ud chal kahin
Em G B7 B7 Gaug
Dil khush jahan teri toh manzil hai wahin

G Asus2
Kyun is kadar hairaan tu
G Asus2 Em
Mausam ka hai mehmaan tu

[.. back to main pattern... and all the same chords follow...]
Baasi zindagi udaasi
Taazi hasney ko raazi
Garma garma saari
Abhi abhi hai utaari

Oh zindagi to hain batasha
Meethi meethi si hai aasha
Chakh le rakh le
Hatheli se dhak le ise

Tujh mein agar pyaas hai
Baarish ka ghar bhi pass hai
Roke tujhe koi kyon bhala
Sang sang tere aakash hai

Tu dhoop hain jham se bikhar
Tu hai nadee o bekhabar
Beh chal kahin ud chal kahin
Dil khush jahan teri toh manzil hai wahin

A5 Asus
Khul gaya aasmaan ka rasta dekho khul gaya
A5 D A5
Mil gaya kho gaya tha jo sitara mil gaya

Roshan hui saari zameen
Jagmag hua saara jahaan
Oh udne ko tu aazad hai
bandhan koi ab hai kahan

Tu dhoop hain jham se bikhar
Tu hai nadee o bekhabar
Beh chal kahin ud chal kahin
Dil khush jahan teri toh manzil hai wahin

Oh kyun is kadar hairaan tu
Mausam ka hai mehmaan tu

Well, I know all these chords are not accurate, but all those A family chords are derivatives of Asus, so you can play around that, and can’t go wrong. Important part is to land on B7 and Gaug (also called G+) there.

One other thing, I cannot get the chords aligned on the top of the text, so the placement in some places are off, so play it by listening to the chord changes.