Music Review: Tamasha (2016)


Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Produced by
  • Sajid Nadiadwala
  • Imtiaz Ali
  • Ranbir Kapoor
  • Deepika Padukone
Music by A. R. Rahman
Lyrics by Irshad Kamil
Release date
  • 27 November 2015

Like All A. R. Rahman soundtracks, the entirety of the album doesn’t hit you right away; it takes its time to absorb into your mind, and once there it embeds into your soul. Tamasha’s music will sustain through the long term, and that makes me smile. Like I always do, I listened to the soundtrack for a week, and then gave the soundtrack a profound scrutiny. I’ve never really reviewed newer music, but this soundtrack was playing in my head all the time so this was the only way I know how to express myself.

Track Listing:

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. “Matargashti” Mohit Chauhan 05:28
2. “Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai” Mika Singh, Nakash Aziz 05:26
3. “Agar Tum Saath Ho” Alka Yagnik, Arijit Singh 05:41
4. “Wat Wat Wat” Arijit Singh, Shashwat Singh 04:58
5. “Chali Kahani” Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan, Haripriya 05:19
6. “Safarnama” Lucky Ali 04:11
7. “Parade De La Bastille (Instrumental version)” A. R. Rahman 03:41
8. “Wat Wat Wat (Vengeance mix)” Arijit Singh, Shashwat Singh 03:54
9. “Tu Koi Aur Hai” A. R. Rahman, Alma Ferovic, Arjun Chandy 07:19
Total length: 45:57

Matargashti means Lounger, like someone relaxing, taking it all in. The title is in Urdu and has no negative connotations. The ironic thing about the title is the fact that the track is anything but Matagashti. It is whimsical, fun, clever, playful, delightful and most of all thoughtful. The track begins with an infectious drum beat and then the guitar riff that’s making everyone go crazy. The song has a soft melody throughout, with Mohit Chauhan singing in the higher octaves; there are contrasts all abound; this adds to the whimsical nature of the song. We also have an ode to Dev Anand, with Mohit mouthing near-mad mutterings that work well. I am sure Ranbir with his on-screen-antics will make this track even more popular. In between the Antaras we get to hear Mohit croon the melodious lines with an almost sweetish-sad echo:

Sun Re Sun Beliya
Dil Ne Dhoka Diya
Aage Mili Tumse Nazneen
Mere Hosh-O-Awaaz Kho Gaye
Dil Ne Ro Ro Ka,
Yeh Ankhen Hain Dil Ki Zubaan,
Khwab Roz Roz Dekhe Nayein.
Hooo Dil Ka Bhanwar Bole Sun Saathiya
Chhup Na Dupatte Main Doon O Chhalia
Prem Pujari Ke, Dil Ka Bayaan, Hota Raha, Rota Raha Piye……

Traditional Punjabi flavour is served with ‘Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai’. There is beautiful word play with the lyrics that occur in this song. A. R. Rahman has definitely stepped up his game here; the instruments he has used for this song do not venture far out of Punjab. He retains a simple music structure with an addictive dhol beat. Mika Singh has done an excellent job in this song, with able vocal support by Nakash Aziz adding that distinctive Punjabi zest. The obvious word play is this, this song is supposed to be detailing Heer’s (Deepika’s) emotional state, and we get Mika doing the detailing. As the song proceeds, its starts of quite calmly, ending in a frenzy, which also musically describes Heer’s emotional state. The lyrics too, follow that same formula. Clever on the part of composer, lyricist and director. These are my favourite lines:

Ho.. Mann Mridang Baje Bedhang
Udaa Hai Rang Bechare Ka
Luk Muk Upar Pressure Cooker
Hua Dimaag Kunware Ka (Hoye..)
Haay Tel Lagaye Nayi Zindagi
So So Ke Din Kaante Wo
Waqt Ke Munh Pe Gussa Karke
Maarti Rehti Chaante Wo
Fiqr Mein Ab Toh Uska Dad Hai

Haay Mom Bhi Badi Sad Hai (Hai Oye!)
Heer To Very Mad Hai (Hai Ji!)
Aaj Kal Very Bad Hai (Hai Oye!)
She Is Though Not Cried Hai (Hai Ji!)

The piano plays in grandeur, with what I believe will become an anthem for Tamasha. The short piece at the beginning of Agar Tum Saath Ho, has enough emotional traction to pull your heartstrings. Alka Yagnik makes a significant comeback with this melody; as she opens the track, you have to first listen carefully before you can gauge that it is actually Alka Yagnik. Her voice has matured, and a huge thumbs up from me. She conveys the message of the song with ease, and it seems that the maturity of her voice has definitely garnered more sur. Arijit Singh joins in mid-way, and in Rahman style, a very unconventional way. Arijit’s voice is recorded on two octave scales, and then overlaid, presenting his voice in very ‘haunting’ and endearing way. Once again, there is no complexity in the melody; it catches you instantly. Rahman uses the flute and piano in a very mesmerising style. The drums too have a huge influence on the melody, they gravitate the Antaras to their slightly heavier lyrical content.

Teri Nazron Mein Hai Tere Sapne
Tere Sapno Mein Hai Naraazi
Mujhe Lagta Hai Ke Baatein Dil Ki
Hoti Lafzon Ki Dhokebaazi
Tum Saath Ho Ya Na Ho Kya Fark Hai
Bedard Thi Zindagi Bedard Hai
Agar Tum Saath Ho
Agar Tum Saath Ho

Notice how Rahman uses the Bass drum just before Arijit starts singing, pure genius! These intonations give the lyrics its power and effect. The song culminates beautifully with the piano.

We are once again transported into the heart of Punjab with Wat Wat Wat; dhol, flute and shehnai makes sure the welcome is warm. This song will not catch you instantly, its lyrics are zany, but the music more than makes up. Arijit Singh and Sashwant Singh lead the way quite nicely. On my first hearings, I didn’t enjoy the song as much, but I can clearly say that it has grown on me substantially; the antaras are responsible for that, hear Arijit croon these lines:

Jaan Gaye Leke Surkhi Kajra Tape Taap Ke
Latke Jhatke Maar Tu Humka Phasaave
O Pari Ee To Bataa
Tu Kon Disha, Tu Kon Mulqiyon Haak Le Jaave
Haule Haule Baat Pe Tu Humri Waat Laga

The antaras carry the song, they enhance its beauty, with vocals that glide through splendidly. It’s amazing how the Shehnai is given a different identity here. This classical instrument made famous by Ustad Bismillah Khan worldwide is quite versatile; in this Punjabi song, it suits the taste and flavour of Punjab. Interestingly, this instrument was also highlighted in Rockstar’s ‘Dichotomy Of Fame’, where in Shammi Kapoor plays the Jugalbandi with his grand-nephew on the guitar.

The Flute transcends deeply into the heart, and then into the mind where it actually gets unravelled, like a box full of different of gifts. We open the first gift, Drums, Cello, Violin and a thrusting Sukhwinder Singh dramatically bringing Chali Kahaani to Life. The first gift is that of Western Classical; A symphony. Gift number 2 opens shortly after with the Murali, Violin, then Sitar, bass drums, and the Chorus along with Sukhwinder singing an Alaap to a Raag based piece. As the pieces are added it becomes more dramatic, and creates a sense of energy, theatrical style. Sukhwinder sings these lyrics, taken from very inspirational stories:

Ye Chenab Ka Dariya Hai
Ye Ishq Se Bharya
Wo Leharon Pe Balkhati
Mahiwal Se Milne Jaati
Wo Naam Ki Sohni Bhi Thi
Mahiwal Ki Honi Bhi Thi
Lekin Bhay Kans Ka Tha Usko (Toh Phir!)
Vasudeva Ne Kanha Ko (Lekar!)
Jamuna Se Paar Langaaya..
Kariyo Se Toh Firaun Ki Behna Ne Phir Moosa Uthaya

Immediately after this, hear the Mridangam take a hold of you and the entire singing crew (Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan, Priya & Chrous) stringing Sargams to bring one of the most dramatic Tarana’s ever brought to the silver screen. This piece is followed by a medley of ‘Chali Kahaani’s’. This takes us back to gift number one and the song once again leaves the eastern shores and heads west, where Sukhwinder stuns with his breath control, Hear him sing the word ‘pataaaaaa…….’ To an entire journey from East to west. Gift number three allows Haricharan & Priya to take over with a sentimental piece, also Raag Based. Sukwhinder joins in with his western symphony flair and this is where the track gets really interesting. The symphony and raag merge, colliding with exquisite dramatic colours and the spectacle left behind in this Tamasha resonates deep musically. Sukhwinder’s heavy vocals leads brilliantly, creates such an atmosphere. The track towards the end has that ‘French Connection’ accordion that we heard in Mattargashti. Chali Kahani is a cohesive piece of music that has never been attempted before; mixing two different Classical styles. Kudos to Rahman. It works, and I am sure when the movie releases, it’s going to be one of the highlights.

French accordion flutters the heart, guitar strums begin to play amidst a fantasy-like illusion; The Charango starts strumming and an angelic voice appears. Lucky Ali Croons Safarnama like a Safar. But Rahman and Lucky takes us on the ride as well. The musical interludes highlight the overlaid Guitar and Charango pieces beautifully, with Lucky Ali singing alaaps to entice your soul. The song has very minimal percussion, but the bass strings of the instruments more than compensate. Lucky Ali proceeds with the antaras with carefree glee; you can hear the liberation in his voice, letting it flow with the wind. This magical track is sure to be a good safar companion. Irshad Kamil has written some really beautiful lines here:

O.. Safarnama..
Sawaalon Ka Safarnama
Shuru Tumse, Khatam Tumpe Safarnama
O.. Jisey Dhoonda
Zamaane Mein, Mujh Hi Mein Tha
O.. Mere Saare Jawaabon Ka Safarnama
Meri Ore Se Utha Teri Ore Ko Kadam Pehla
Milenge Hum

We are treated to an almost oldish sound at the beginning of Parade De La Bastille, which sounds like Turkish Sufi alaaps, the violins / guitar adds a forlorn sound. French Accoridan, drums and the charango takes charge and gives this instrumental piece a jolt of energy. It puts you somewhere far within the European landscapes. In-between with a careful ear, you could hear the above tracks conjointly integrated into Parade De La Bastille. A wind instrument called the Melodica makes its presence throughout; it adds to that French zest that is so well carried out.

Wat Wat Wat makes a second appearance as the Vengeance Mix; I am not one for remixes, and feel that the track loses its essence in this form.

Tu Koi Aur Hai begins with the maestro himself A. R. Rahman singing entrancingly, pondering about life. The track is no doubt meditative; it makes you feel rather calm and is truly moving. Alma Ferovic and Arjun Chandy provide able support to Rahman here; the track further explores the Opera genre with intensity. The orchestral arrangements also become more powerful as the Opera pieces are opulently sung. A. R. Rahman creates a percussion around the middle of the track that makes you feel like you are in suspense, waiting for that magical interlude. That happens exactly at 4.21 minutes into the song, where the song explodes into a universe of stars encircling its singers. The Orchestra, Opera, and musical arrangements reach that climax with sparkling splendour. As the track relaxes, Safarnama is sung by the chorus with beauty; and you slowly get your breath back. Tu Koi Aur Hai is majestically brilliant!



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