Hridayam Audio Jukebox Review: A Superb Music Album That Will Keep You Hooked

Ever since the film Hridayam was announced, almost all of us were eager to see what was in store for us. Vineeth Sreenivasan, the writer-director is someone who has given us splendid films, with some great music tracks. When the Hridayam audio jukebox was released, we were all taken aback by the number of songs the film would have. Seeing 15 songs in the tracklist, which contains veteran singers to fairly new faces and a range of lyricists, we were assured that Hridayam would be a musical extravaganza. The makers also decided to revive the era of listening to music from cassettes and CDs, by launching a limited edition collectable version of the music album. The Hridayam Audio Jukebox is also available online, in two parts, similar to how it would be in the collectables.

Here’s my analysis of each of the 15 songs composed by the highly talented Hesham Abdul Wahab.

Manasse Manasse (Vocals: Vineeth Sreenivasan|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

The song starts off with sounds of rain, thunder and an announcement in a railway station. It sets the precedent that the song is going to convey some kind of emotion, which involves an individual longing to be in the company of another individual he/she is deeply in love with. The lyrics of the song, penned down by the legendary Kaithapram, adds to the same precedent. The ensemble usage of musical instruments elevates the feel of the song. A small portion of the song just has instruments playing, played wonderfully by the Istanbul Ensemble, along with Vineeth rendering his voice in a classical tune, which is pleasing to hear. 

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Darshana (Vocals: Hesham Abdul Wahab|Lyrics: Arun Alat)

Probably the most heard song from the Hridayam Audio Jukebox, which became an instant hit since its release, Darshana is a groovy song that may not really catch your attention at first. But the infectious voice of Hesham in this song, along with the great arrangement of the song, makes you listen to the song on loop. The instrumental portions of the song are great to listen to, along with some well-written lyrics by Arun Alat, that helps in conveying what goes on in Arun’s mind when he is trying to court Darshana. This song is well rendered but may become a bit boring after repeated listens. When listened to once in a while, Darshana is definitely a song that you will vibe to instantly. 

Mukilinte (Vocals: K S Chithra|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

This song grabs your attention the moment it starts playing. With sublime and soulful lyrics, penned by legendary Kaithapram, the song instantly gives a calm feeling. It gives the listeners a rush of emotions signifying pain, hope, longing and realisation, which are brilliantly conveyed by KS Chithra’s expressive voice. The music arrangement is also commendable as it doesn’t use an ensemble arrangement of musical instruments. Hesham skillfully incorporates a tambur, which fuses well with the lyrics and takes the song to another level. 

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Onakka Munthiri (Vocals: Divya Vineeth|Lyrics: Vineeth Sreenivasan)

This song is one of the most modern-ish in the Hridayam Audio Jukebox. The speciality of this song is that there is no usage of instruments. The composition is done in an A Cappella format, which is superbly performed and arranged. This song is one that is meant for a casual listen, rather than a meaningful analysis of the lyrics. The lyrics are just an amalgamation of several rhyming verses, which gives a breezy feel. The composition gives the song vibes of a house where a wedding is supposed to take place and has all the capabilities of being a constant number at weddings. 

Thathaka Theithare (Vocals: Prithviraj Sukumaran|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

Perhaps the most chilled out song in the Hridayam Audio Jukebox, this song fits the chill vibes perfectly. Kaithapram’s lyrics are symbolic of the mentality of today’s youth who wish to get everything at their fingertips easily. However, the clever usage of trumpets and horns, along with a trippy rhythm, gives the song a sort of coolness. The fairly rough voice of actor-filmmaker Prithviraj adds grace to the song and makes it a song that would be an anthem of sorts for the youth to describe their youthism as well as depict their college life and life with friends.

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Minnalkkodi (Vocals: K S Chithra, Mohammad Maqbool Mansoor, Sachin Warrier and Hesham Abdul Wahab|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

This song, at first, instantly resembles the style of composition by A R Rahman, more specifically for his composition in the song Dakka Laga Bukka. The foot-tapping and thumping composition, combined with inspiring words penned down by Kaithapram, gives the song a great feel. The heavy rhythm of the song showcases a fightback of sorts to problems, which also helps in lifting your spirits when you are low. What Hesham does brilliantly, as a music director for this song, is making K S Chithra render the chorus portions of the song. The otherwise inspiring, chest-thumping and upbeat song, gets a sense of calmness with Chithra’s melodious voice. As a whole, it is definitely a well-composed song that showcases Hesham’s capability to use singers and tunes to suit a song. 

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Arike Ninna (Vocals: Job Kurien|Lyrics: Arun Alat)

This song is personally one of my favourites from the Hridayam album. Arun Alat’s superbly written lyrics helps in symbolising a wide range of emotions such as failure, anger, frustration and aggression. This is aided by Hesham’s brilliant tuning and composition. Hesham made the right choice by getting Job Kurien to render the vocals for this song. Job expresses the pain and agony so beautifully that it elevates the song to another level. Hesham’s composition helps the song establish a sense of fierceness as it progresses through different genres and takes unexpected turns. At one instance, the song is slow, while at another, it becomes a quick-paced inspiring track. The brilliant solo portions of the electric guitars and the flute are absolutely blissful to listen to. 

Pottu Thotta Pournami (Vocals: Sachin Balu and Megha Josekutty|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

This song is yet another breezy romantic number to come out from Mollywood. The fresh voices of the singers are simply superb and make the song a soulful one to listen to. The poetic lyrics by Kaithapram have a lot of depth and underlying meaning. The title of the song literally translates to “Bindi-clad Moon”, which is a beautiful comparison of a full moon to the divine face of a woman. The song also helps in establishing the union of two souls, which is aided with a brilliant chorus portion. Hesham intelligently uses the saxophone to give the song a jazz touch as well as the acoustic guitars, which helps in making the song a peaceful and soulful track.  

Nagumo (Vocals: Arvind Venugopal|Original lyrics and composition: Tyagaraja)

This song from the Hridayam Audio Jukebox is a recreation of the famous Nagumo Kanaleni, which was written and composed by Tyagaraja. Hesham, in this adaptation, gives the song a modern touch that doesn’t ruin the original. The importance he has given to keeping the original feel intact is evident with the minimal usage of instruments which also help in keeping the feel of the original raga. Arvind Venugopal’s voice is soulful to listen to and does complete justice to the original song.

It is to be noted that the song had an adaptation in the Priyadarshan directorial, Chithram, which features Mohanlal, Sreenivasan and Lissy Priyadarshan. Coincidentally, the modern adaptation features the second generation of these individuals. We see Pranav Mohanlal and Kalyani Priyadarshan in the film, with Vineeth Sreenivasan directing the film. The brilliantly played Mridangam and Veena, along with a strum of the guitar and the small beats of the drums, fuse well and makes this song a great one to listen to. 

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Puthiyoru Lokam (Vocals: Vimal Roy and Bhadra Rajin|Lyrics: Kaithapram)

This is a song that gives a soothing feel, along with some chill vibes. The song’s composition and rendering are such that it brings about a fusion of western and Indian classical styles. Vimal Roy’s voice lends a western touch while Bhadra Rajin’s voice lends the needed classical feel. The lyrics describe a new world in the making, that is being explored by individuals. The western touch makes the song more appealing to today’s youth, due to the resemblance to several prominent English songs, like the ones from Coldplay

Sarvam Sadha (Vocals: Srinivas, Vineeth Sreenivasan and Divya Vineeth|Lyrics: Arun Alat)

This song is one of the most soulful songs in the Hridayam Audio Jukebox. It is quite interesting to note that the lyrics of the song are the same as the ones which feature in the concluding portions of Darshana. However, in this song, the lyrics are composed on a different scale, using a different melody and tempo. Srinivas’ magical voice, combined with a brilliant chorus backing by Vineeth Sreenivasan and Divya Vineeth, adds grace to the song and gives it a great feel. The feel generated by the song’s composition and vocals hints at a depiction of the main character being nostalgic about their lost love. Hesham’s composition also aids in conveying a wide range of emotions, thereby making this song a great one to listen to.

Kural Kekkutha (Vocals: Unni Menon|Lyrics: Guna Balasubramanian)

This song from the Hridayam Audio Jukebox has a peppy rhythm and pace, which symbolises a tribute to the culture of Tamil Nadu and the city of Chennai. Guna Balasubramanian’s lyrics helps in conveying the same effectively. It is an upbeat song, that doesn’t get extremely loud, nor does it remain too shallow. The soulful voice of Unni Menon has an infectious energy, that appeals to individuals of all age groups. Hesham utilises this quality of Unni Menon’s voice, along with the combination of a layered chorus, to bring about a local Chennai campus vibe. This song is something that is quite catchy after repeated listens. 

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Bas Kar Ji (Vocals: Sachin Warrier|Original Poem: Bulleh Shah)

Bulleh Shah’s soulful poem finds a soulful music composition. Hesham tries to inculcate Sufi elements in his songs as he is an ardent admirer of Bulleh Shah. In this song, he uses several Sufi elements, which is absolute gold. With the usage of guitar strums and beats of drums, Hesham keeps the song simple and gives the listeners a relaxed feeling. Sachin Warrier’s magical voice elevates the song, thereby gaining a position in most of our playlists.

Hridayam Theme (Performed by Istanbul Ensemble and Cochin Strings)

This track is perhaps the most elite of the Hridayam album. It incorporates the key elements and emotions that the film would possibly deal with. The track is beautifully performed by the Istanbul Ensemble and Cochin Strings, which elevates the track to a grand level. The track has the smart usage of strings, tabla and keyboard, along with a solo violin and a specific kind of instrument, which gives the song a middle eastern touch. The track is essentially a musical cover version of Manasse Manasse. This song is quite good in quality, which is highly expressive with the brilliant usage of instruments, which are arranged superbly by Hesham. 

Nagumo Revival (Vocals: Arvind Venugopal and Swetha Ashok|Original lyrics and composition: Tyagaraja)

This track is an amalgamation of several parts of the various tracks in the film and is also yet another favourite of mine from the album. The makers claim it to be the amalgamation of the best elements of all songs in the album, to symbolise a summary of the film’s world and emotions it tries to convey through the film. The song has rhythms from Minnalkkodi, English vocals from Puthiyoru Lokam, bass layers of Darshana, female rendering of Manasse Manasse as well as a duet rendering of Nagumo. This could simply be termed as a remixed version of Nagumo.

Hesham’s idea of mixing the best elements from his own album works wonders as we have been offered a magical new song that is extremely catchy. Arvind Venugopal and Swetha Ashok create magic with their voices, along with a great arrangement and mixing by Hesham. He has also rendered the humming portions of the song, that play when the song starts off. The humming just adds to the magic already created by the song and helps listeners get an overall idea of the journey of this film. This one would surely make it into your playlists and will turn into an earworm.  

Also Read: Raga: The Real Reason Some Songs Sound Similar – Part 2

With a wide variety of tracks that range from classical to western to Sufi to middle eastern tunes, Hesham has probably composed one of the finest music albums of Malayalam. Most of us were worried about not being able to see the famous Vineeth Sreenivasan-Shaan Rahman combo for Hridayam. However, Hesham steps in and creates a mark for himself and also makes us look forward to the Vineeth Sreenivasan- Hesham Abdul Wahab combo in future projects.

Most of the songs are of such good quality that the lyrics strike you instantly and without realising it, you will be listening to them on a loop. Few songs, however, are of such nature that they will slowly start to dampen after a phase. But, on a whole, the Hridayam Audio Jukebox is definitely something that’s commendable. With the film releasing on the 21st of January, let’s see how well the sublime music syncs with Vineeth’s storytelling skills.

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