Monday, October 15, 2007

Everyone Loves Harris

Harris Jayaraj is the main main these days - at least during the festive Eid period in my house. Everything I hear or watch has his trademark stamp on it. Although I and him share a bittersweet history, he's always on my radar.

Take, for example, Harris' stamp on young Ebi Shankara, the newly-crowned Vasantham Star. What Ebi lacks in vocal acrobatics, he more than makes up for in his performance style and on-stage/screen presence. And he chose a Harris song to sing at the finals. I only then realised after watching the finals last night how tough it was to sing "sikki mukki neruppe" from Vetaiyaadu Vilayaadu. The other finalists did a pretty decent job (I really hope none of them re-appears in the next edition!), but sadly, there can only be One.

Before inspiring a Singaporean youth, Harris inspired many Indian youths through another act, in the movie Unnale Unnale. Although it's been eons since the movie came out, I only watched it last Saturday after a looooong visiting session at my parents' and in-law's. Filled with stereotypes of men and women being from Pluto, Jupiter and Mars, the movie's winning scenes were the ones with Sada in them. [I would like to put it in writing here that I really like Sada and that she is so so much more good looking, talented, good-in-dancing and charismatic than many other leading ladies of today, and I would watch a movie just for her. Eid Mubarak to you, Sada!]. Moving on. Harris did a pretty good job in the show, and I found myself listening to the tracks after a kueh-laden breakfast the following morning.

Harris also made the mid-career father figure and ex-Naatamai, Sarath Kumar look good (Jyothika looked better) in the very well-taken Pachaikili Muthuchcharam. Harris did his good ol' buddy, director Gautham, a favour and did not put crappy copy-right-free background scores like he did for Vetaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. Instead, Harris left office later than usual to think of some really superb stuff for the avant garde scenes in the movie. Sarath also did a good job, but it was a casting strategy disaster. If you didn't know Sarath, you would think "Hey, this guy fits the role to a T". But if you have all the past baggage in your mind (think "Naatamai", "Saamundi", "Coolie", "Ayya"), you would think he looked totally out of the circuit. Sarath is more popular with the village folks in Tamil Nadu, and not so with the city folks. This movie can only be fully empathised and appreciated by the city folks. Of course there is the issue of transplanting a Hollywood plot into the Kodambakam realm...

Good job Harris. I admire your talent, even though you rehash your songs. I just wish you do a movie for Captain Vijaykanth. I watched his "Sabari - The Sharp Knife" (please don't ask me why the subtitle is The Sharp Knife") and was expecting a laugh riot (with the thoppai flying one side and his cheeks and red teary eyes flying the other). But surprisingly, the movie (about a world renowned cardiologist who uses his surgical talents in a Government hospital [instead of doing private practice to earn big bucks] and using his medical knowledge to save lives but also whack the baddies who kill nuns and old men with no CPF or longevity insurance) was pretty good. But the music was a let-down, and made Captain look very bad. I hope you can do a project with him.

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