Sunday, May 6, 2012

Eye candy/brain melt: awesome Shankar song picturizations.

Say what you say about S. Shankar, the Tamil director extraordinaire, the man makes sure his films have interesting song picturizations. They are always worth sitting through, sometimes because they're just so odd, other times because the song is so good, but always, always because they are so amazingly visual in such interesting ways. Oh, and then there's the computer-generated special effects! Must not forget.

Here are some of my favourites.

Akkadanu Nanga from Indian

You know how hard it is to search for an Indian film named Indian? Gah, anyway. This mid-90's Kamal Hassan starrer has him sort of torn between two women, Urmila Matondkar and Manisha Koirala. This song in particular has Urmila, in all kinds of strange costumes, and thankfully the song just gets more bizarre as it goes along - the last minute is a joyfest of mid-90's computer effects. Laws of physics be damned! It's just pretty awesome.

Ale Ale from Boys

You know that bullet-time effect they invented when making The Matrix? You know what? Well, if you don't, here's an introduction video to it, in form of a love ballad. What ingenuity is this!

Kaadhal Yaanai from Anniyan (ie that song with Remo)

Watch here!

Just a link this time, as ErosTamil doesn't like embedded videos. A biased pick, since I love pretty much everything about Anniyan, so it goes without saying I also like every song from Anniyan. This one isn't even so much about sheer visuality, lavish sets or even computer-effects, though it has a bit of everything. It's just such a highlight of the film in all its wildness and hilarity and it's just awesome and I had to make it a part of this post. The song is also superb. Try watching it without getting it stuck in your head. Just try.

Vaaji vaaji from Sivaji

This is just one of those songs that defines Shankar's devotion to building lavish sets for his songs. It looks amazing, even if Rajnikanth is far from the most fresh-faced hero. Like a lot of good song picturizations that completely rip you out of the story temporarily and seem to take place on alternate plane altogether, it evokes the feeling of a story-within-a-story.

Every song from Endhiran / Robot

Why? Because I'm finding it virtually impossible to choose, or to skip over all of them. There's the incredible Kilimanjaro (shot on foreign location, duh)!, and the lovely Kaadhal anukkal that includes endless vistas of gorgeousness, and Irumbile which takes place inside a robot, with choreography and costuming that reflects just that, and Aarima aarima, which is just creepy and bizarre and perfect as is (and should probably carry a SPOILER warning to boot).

It's all good, is basically what I'm saying. Plot? Hmm, well, you probably recall my gripes...

Asku Laska from Nanban

This is the song picturization I never knew how to ask for but was clearly made for me, because it's nearly everything I love, all wrapped into one incredible package. It's a meta-song picturization with breaking-the-fourth wall, spoofs Shankar's previous song picturizations beautifully and also features the director himself. Best of all, it's set to a great, catchy song. All the parts of the songs come together fantastically, I enjoy both actors (I think Nanban really warmed me to Vijay - review pending!) in it and all the elements complement each other. It's basically four songs in one gorgeous set, and that's what makes it one of my favourite Shankar picturizations ever, if not the favourite.

So, any directors whose song picturizations you always end up loving? Any Shankar film songs I should have included in this list?


Ava said...

Hi, I would include here virtually all songs from Shankar's Mudhalvan and its Hindi version, Nayak. They are simply irresistible in their colorful insanity. I love them all except Shakalaka Baby (erase memory).
And of course Pachchai Nirame and Kadhal Sadugudu from Mani Ratnam's Alaipaiyuthey.

Rathi said...

You should check out this song 'Paakathe paakathe' from Gentleman. Really cute and funny.
Then Kadhalan has a few good ones - 'Ennavale adi ennavale', 'Mukkala Muqabla' both have good graphics (for those times) for example. But the cutest is 'kadhalikkum pennin kaigal'. It has Prabhudeva and Nagma dancing - but it also has SP Balasubramaniam (the singer and actor) sort of 'dancing'!! In fact almost all songs in Kadhalan and Indian are very interestingly filmed!!
'Jeans' has a few songs where Ash looks awesome and 'Kannodu Kanbadellam' has some funny graphics too. The song is awesome to listen to. I love how Shankar films the songs. The older ones were very very creative!

veracious said...

Ava - Yes, Nayak songs were all pretty gorgeous. I've not seen Mudhalvan (yet).

And Alaipayuthey songs are amazing visually as well, strongly agreed. I love that film overall, really should rewatch.

Rathi - I'm trying to get my hands on Mudhalvan and possibly jeans. I watched Kadhalan recently and the songs were basically the highlight of the film for me. Especially "Urvasi urvasi" and "Mukkala mukkala" were great, both as songs and as visuals, as they so often are.

Shankar definitely knows how to make memorable song picturizations! That's why he's one of my favourites.

Filmbuff said...

Mani Ratnam is known for his song picturisations - all his movies have intersting song picturisations. See Dil Se - title song. Bombay - Roja etc

Ava said...

And not to forget Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana with the whole bunch of charming picturisations. I am happy that they are still making "real" songs in the South. In Bollywood item songs seem to be the only place where singin'n'dancing can survive, but most of them are simply tacky and devoid of any fantasy.

veracious said...

Filmbuff - Yes, I love Maniratnam's song picturizations, particularly Dil Se.

Ava - Oh, good call. That film has such infinitely rewatchable songs, with magical settings, great choreography and just a good time.