The quasi-qawwali sound in Manassu Mayakki is strongly reminiscent of past songs from the same genre (Chilu Chilu from Usthaad came instantly to mind). Sudeep Kumar and Rimi Tommy seemingly do a decent job on the vocals (though going by their onstage performances I don’t rule out a good software-based contribution). Further display of M G Sreekumar’s affinity for stereotypes happens in Madhavettanennum which is an exotic combination of clichéd Arabic arrangement, lame lyrics and some atrocious Malayalam singing by Ujjaini. Just for the record M G Sreekumar and Rahman are also on the vocals (Also got to know today, thanks to Sri Nath, that even the average stuff that is in the song is not MG’s own, he instead ripped off the perpetual rip-off victim Amr Diab‘s this song). The stale fest continues with the dance track Gopa Balannishtam where MG gives us more insights into what older tracks were done in this genre. This one comes in two versions, one by Madhu Balakrishnan and Chithra, and the second by Madhu alone, neither of which evokes much interest due to previously mentioned reasons. A relatively better (read: less stale) song happens at the close of the soundtrack, Chembaka Vallikalil, MG introducing some interesting breezy phrases and all that, but then going ahead and staging a short but brutal murder of Nagumo in one of the interludes. Good singing by the composer and Shwetha Mohan though. But like I said, it is only relatively better, nothing very memorable about this one either.
Regardless of how his (Malayalam) movies went, Priyadarshan always ensured good music in them. In Arabiyum Ottakavum P Madhavan Nairum though, he has sacrificed that for his childhood friend M G Sreekumar. I do understand MGS is worried about getting old for singing and all that, but composing is NOT the alternate profession he should be looking at. I hope he realises that soon (I would be happy to be proved wrong in future of course, but so far he has not shown any signs). Utterly unimaginative soundtrack.