Rahman might have gotten older – he turned 49 – but his songs from the 90s are an integral part of many Chennaiites’ childhood memories. Take ‘Mustafa Mustafa’, billed the ‘friendship anthem’, for instance. The popular ‘Oh Oh…’ catchphrase had the crowd swaying to it, their cellphone lights up in the air. Or the classical-based ‘Nila Kagirathu’ from Indira that had melody lovers go ‘ooh aah’ at every variation, every improvisation.
‘Nenje Ezhu’ was a musical mix of the composer’s works not just over the years but also across genres. Perhaps to do justice to them, singers from different backgrounds and experiences were roped in; if you had an accomplished Hariharan getting his fair share of attention with songs like ‘Kurukku Chiruthavale’ and ‘Vennilavae’, there was also youngsters like Haricharan and Sid Sriram getting the crowd on their feet, delivering ‘Uppu Karuvadu’ and ‘Yennodu Nee Irunthaal’ with panache.
Youngsters who tuned in to the composer’s tunes in recent years weren’t disappointed either; there was the fast-paced ‘Mersalayitten’, the sultry ‘Maiya Maiyaa’ and the melodic ‘Aye Sinamika’. Singer Sid Sriram (remember ‘Adiye’ from Kadal?) sprung a surprise on the unsuspecting audience by unleashing into ‘Thalli Pogathey’, his brand new song in the much-awaited Gautham Menon-Rahman offering Accham Enbathu Madamayada.
It was meant to be a pure Tamil concert, but Rahman made an exception by delivering an experimental version of ‘Dil Se’. Accompanied by a posse of talented musicians on stage, the song struck an instant chord with the audience.