The film is directed by Krish and stars Panja Vaisshnav Tej, Rakul Preet Singh, Sai Chand in pivotal roles
It's more than three decades since MM Keeravani has made his mark as a composer in the film industry. Longevity aside, his body of work deserves to be celebrated all the more because of his ability to stand tall amidst fierce competition across multiple industries. Ilaiyaraja was still a major force to reckon with in the 90s in Telugu cinema despite the AR Rahman wave. Standing tall amidst AR Rahman's blitzkrieg is no mean feat either. Back home he distinguished himself brilliantly from the likes of Koti and Mani Sharma and has stuck to his strengths, even in the late 2000s when the likes of RP Patnaik, Devi Sri Prasad and S Thaman were going all guns blazing.
Keeravaani in recent years may have had many high profile projects - the two-part NTR biopic, Baahubali series, Om Namo Venkatesaya to name a few. Yet his latest album for Krish, Konda Polam, feels like his best work in the recent past. It has unleashed a new dimension in his repertoire in terms of his soundscape. The coming of age tale of a youngster where he makes peace with his abilities, the romantic episode in his life and the subsequent confrontation between the man and the wild have provided the veteran with unique song situations too. As a composer, it feels like Konda Polam forced him to come out of his comfort zone.
Obulamma, for instance, taps into the tender, delicate side into him as a composer - there's a nice folksy touch to the melody and what a revelation he has turned out to be as a lyricist. He also brings a classicality to the intimate track Shwaasalo, where the couple discovers the oceanic depths of love on a night. The lyrics are a perfect poetic expression of the various thoughts raging in the minds of the protagonists. PVNS Rohit in both of the numbers proves his vocal depth and range like never before. Chettekki, on another note, is a playful, spirited number that brings zest and joy to the album. The unique combo of Kaala Bhairava and Shreya Ghoshal fills the listener with enthusiasm.
However, if you talk about the numbers that provide depth to the album, they are Daarulu Daarulu, Tala Yetthu and Dham Dham Dham. They are intense, uplifting, lyrically and musically and are likely to arrive at the critical junctures of the film. It's not surprising that experienced lyricists like Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry and Chandrabose were chosen for the same. Kailash Kher's Kathalu Kathaluga is another cherry on the cake, reflecting on the uncertainty in the lives of the pivotal characters. Emerging singers like Satya Yamini, Yamini Ghantasala, Harika Narayan, Rahul Sipligunj get a terrific scope to prove their mettle.
Konda Polam isn't your regular hero-heroine film and is driven by a strong plot; that's a key element to state why MM Keeravani was able to deliver one of his best albums in the recent past. The forest setting has allowed him to lend a unique rustic twist to the entire album, both in the lighter and heavier song situations. There's tenderness, there's energy, there's intensity and playfulness too. It's an album that has given enough freedom for the composer to be himself, not forcing himself to pander to commercial norms. Hit or not, this is an album for the ages and has the depth in it to warrant repeated hearing for many years to come.