Shamitabh : Starring Amitabh Bachan and Dhanush, an Ilaiyaraaja musical

Shamitabh : Music Review

After a long wait, the sound track album for the Amitabh Bachchan – Dhanush – Akshara Haasan starrer Shamitabh was released on 16th January 2015. Expectations were high, because the album is composed by Ilayaraja, the four times national award winning 72 years old music director. The expectations were high not only because of Ilayaraja’s huge fan base, but also because of the movie’s director Balki’s making claims that Ilayaraja has composed probably the best album of his life. And for the note, Ilayaraja has already composed music for over 1000 movies. Did the soundtrack live up to the expectations? Here is a music review of Shamitabh for you to read and find out.

1. “Ishq E Phillum”

Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

Singer(s) – Sooraj Jagan

The four and a half minute song starts with a piano-synth intro, which was followed by Sooraj Jagan’s dark(ened) voice. This song reminded me of the song “Muthal Murai” from the movie Neethane en Ponvasantham, from the same composer. The off-beat synth code following every word gives the song a punchy texture. Nice rendition by Sooraj Jagan, as the voice is an integral part of the mood the song is trying to create. The overall product is a song that creates a mood, and I think it will be nicely utilised in the movie. This song might not be a great listen for most people when taken outside the context of the movie.

2. “Sha Sha Sha Mi Mi Mi”

Lyrics – Kausar Munir

Singer(s) – Caralisa Monteiro

Here comes the song that was used in the trailer of the movie. The song starts off with a lot of anticipation, and a nice rhythm section. The song has some lengthy interludes, and my best guess is that this song will be an action-filled story twister in the movie. I would say this is not typical Ilayaraja stuff, if I were to only listen to the vocals. But the interludes are Ilayaraja in his original form. This song is funky, with catchy tune and lyrics, but in my opinion may not make a big impact when taken out of the context of the movie.

3. “Piddly Si Baatein”

Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

Singer(s) – Amitabh Bachchan

The “piddly song” has already gone viral on the social media when a short video clip was released on the internet showing Big B sitting on a toilet, all drunk, singing to himself. I would say this is the pick of the album. It has the best melody out of all songs of the album. The interludes have Ilayaraja written all over it. Amitabh Bachchan has rendered the song beautifully, with the drunkenness of his sound suiting the song. This song is already a hit, and will remain that way for some time.

4. “Stereophonic Sannata”

Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

Singer(s) – Sruthy Haasan

This is the remixed version of the popular Ilayaraja number “Aasaya kaathle” from the movie “Johny”. The remixed version has given a completely different dimension to the tune. The song starts off with some promising intro and beats. Sruthy Haasan’s voice and rendition is perfect, and gives a “different feel” altogether. The lyrics include the names of so many Bollywood musicians, and I guess it is supposed to be a tribute to them. The song uses a lot of electronic sounds, which is not typical Ilayaraja style. However, the end result is an old foot tapping number in a new bottle, and I should say it is going to be a hit.

5. “Thappad”

Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

Singer(s) – Suraj Jagan & Earl D’Souza

Here comes another electronic-inspired heavy-beat number. The lyrics by Swanand Kirkire are quite unconventional, and this applies to most of the songs in this album. With some English rapping interspersing complex electronic sounds, I would say this is a song completely out of the typical Ilayaraja genre. Whether the song has actually delivered, I think we will have to wait and watch the movie.

6. “Lifebuoy”

Lyrics – Swanand Kirkire

Singer(s) – Suraj Jagan

If it were not written on the album, I would not have believed that this is a song by Ilayaraja. Created as a spoof of the Lifebuoy advertisement, this is two minutes of electronic fun. This might have been generated for some specific use in the movie. “Interesting” is the word to describe this song.


Can you imagine that feeling when you open your fridge expecting orange juice, and you find bottles of vodka in it? That is what I would say about this album. Director Balki has succeeded in getting everything different for him – A different side of Ilayaraja, unconventional lyrics and overall, songs that will take the listeners by surprise. Songs such as “piddly” and “stereophonic sonnata” are instantly catchy, but the rest can only be said as “situational songs” or “possible slow poisons” for the time being. This genre of music is new from Ilayaraja. Ilayaraja considers himself a composer who would give the director anything he asks for. This time, I would say he went for something entirely out of his range, may be because that was the demand from the movie, and ended up neither here nor there, resulting in only an average album. The songs are rich with music, but most of it lacks a catchy melody, for which Ilayaraja is known. At the same time, I would like to appreciate the effort of the music director to have come up with something new at the age of 72, after more than 1000 films. Age is actually just a number! But if Balki wanted this type of music, he should have probably gone with somebody like Honey Singh, and the results would have been better in that case. But it is too early to judge the songs out. May be they are tailor made to seamlessly blend in with the movie. Let’s wait and find out.

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  1. Honey Singh?! are you sure.
    Honey Singh?! are you sure..ROFL..With all due respect, I do like a few songs in his repertoire, but to compose a soundtrack of this nature… I will wait for him to deliver a complete Bollywood chart buster soundtrack with some variety (the world knows he can rap) to even put his name out there in comparison..most of his hit songs have been in one genre..

    1. Hello Chandra Sekar,

      Hello Chandra Sekar,
      You said that most of Honey Singh’s hit songs have been in one genre. And I agree with that. My point here was that some of the songs from shamitabh falls into that Honey Singh genre, and the results would have been better if he would have created them, because he knows how to create hits in that kind of music. I, in no way, was trying to compare Ilayaraja and Honey Singh, which will be the joke of the year.
      And for the record, if you want to listen to listen to some variety songs from Honey singh, listen to his songs from the album International villager. He became one-sided since then.

  2. he was the first indian to
    he was the first indian to perform and compose a music in symphony in london before the queen. after his performance they clapped for 5 minutes continuously. i like his one the private albums “thiruvasagam”. he made the symphony score for it in budapest.

    1. Hello Suseender, I am
      Hello Suseender, I am familiar with Thiruvasagam and it is one of my favourites too. Ilayaraja composed his Symphony No.1, and performed it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of John Scott. But he has not released his symphony yet! It has been more that 20 years! What is the delay? I read somewhere that he has been hurt by some critics’ comments. Let’s hope that he releases it soon.

  3. Ilayaraja is a genius. Review
    Ilayaraja is a genius. Review maker is requested to listen to Ilayaraja’s ‘How to Name it’ ‘nothing but wind’ and ‘Thiruvasagam’. A living legend needs to be addressed with more research.

    1. Thiruvasagam and How to Name
      Thiruvasagam and How to Name it are my all time favourites. I used to listen to them almost everyday. I am not a big fan of “Nothing but Wind” except for “Composer’s breath” in Raga Malkauns. Review maker prides himself in being familiar with most of Ilayaraja’s popular works. I have performed “Mood Kapi” from “Ilayaraja’s Musical Journey, Italy” live for some programmes. So please don’t think that I comment about him without having sufficient prior knowledge.

      We all agree that Ilayaraja is a genius, and a ‘living legend’. But what i wanted to say through my review is that some songs from ‘Shamitabh’ lacks the ‘Ilayaraja Magic’ and the reason for that IMHO is that the songs were in a different genre altogether, something entirely different from the typical Ilayaraja products. It is entirely my personal opinion and I don’t understand why that should make someone think that I am not qualified enough to say that.

  4. rana prathap sir are you a
    rana prathap sir are you a tamilian? you are mentioning the names of the songs which was inspired from the tamil films correctly.

    1. No Suseender, I am not a
      No Suseender, I am not a Tamilian. I was born and brought up in Kerala. Ilayaraja and his music has been an integral part of my life. It was my father who introduced me to his music, and I was hooked ever since. I can mention the name of movies correctly because I have either watched them, or heard the songs.

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