Thursday, October 29, 2015


An A.R Rahman musical is not just a routine soundtrack. It is an event of sorts. In addition to that, Rahman has been in splendid form in Bollywood since the last few years. However when the trio of Irshad – Imtiaz and Allah Rakha come together after two massive hits “Rockstar” and “Highway”, it is an even bigger event, particularly because of the individual artistic liberties and licenses these three people exercise – Irshad is always at his eloquent best, Imtiaz shoots songs like no one else does, and Rahman – well we all know what he can do when given the proper environment and freedom without any directorial shackles or limitations. Maybe it is this zone of comfort which brings out the best in all three of them.

“Tamasha” is a journey of sorts, involving stage acts, lot of travelling, and obviously introspection, as in all Imtiaz Ali movies. I expected a soundtrack with songs which would be less appealing on audio hearing; however nothing of that sort happened, and the OST was magical enough.

MATARGASHTIis an Urdu word, meaning “To roam aimlessly”.
If it was Masakkali 6 years back which gave Mohit Chauhan one of his biggest hits, it is now “Matargashti” which will scale equal heights. To put it lightly, Matargashti is a more exuberant version of “Phir se udd chala”. What is common is the lack of a definite pattern.

Matargashti is the Abbas – Mustan of the music world. You never know what twist awaits you and which direction the song will go in.

The opening guitars and the chorus are catchy enough to entice you immediately. As Mohit starts crooning Irshad’s free flowing lyrics, you realize that this song is going to be the next stress buster. So cheerful is the feel of this song (along with its brilliant and scenic video) that you can’t help but feel HAPPY by the time the song ends – and that is a remarkable feat. Isn’t that why we listen to music in the first place?

Irshad’s lyrics are superb – He literally goes from place to place with references to kho kho, Dhoti, and smartly including Whatsapp and Twitter in one antara each.
Mohit Chauhan is the star of the song. I have always believed that when it comes to extracting the best out of an artist, there is no other duo like ARR – Mohit, in current times. NO NOT even Arijit Singh can come close. Mohit is simply fabulous. After Rockstar, he once again shows why he is at his very best with ARR. That Dev Anand tribute in the end, all the squeaks and the high – noted antaras – he excels in each and every single thing. This is his song, and he owns it.

HEER TOH BADI SAD HAIis a one of a kind song where the lyrics and the music complement each other. While Irshad writes it as a song depicting a saddened Deepika, ARR gives it a bhangra backdrop.
Yes it is a Punjabi bhangra song – but I won’t add the prefix “TYPICAL”. Because it is not – something very few composers can do.

What a decision to rope in Mika Singh for the song! Now I am no fan of Mika, but I do appreciate when he sings well – For instance “Madno”. Here, he is given a song belonging to a genre he commonly sings and yet he does very well. I liked his singing here. Also, Nakash Aziz pitches in at regular intervals with “Ai hoy” and “Ai ji”.

Irshad Kamil manages to pass off some corny lyrics like “Loo mein jaana mushkil hai”, mainly due to Mika’s slightly whimsical singing of this particular line.
The first interlude features a short yet curious mix of instruments; however if you really want to know the greatness of A.R Rahman, you need to hear the second interlude – There are sarangis, dholaks, guitars as the song goes from one tune to another, shifting genres, beats, scale and tempo before finally arriving at the second antara. This could very well have been the tune to an individual song.

Once again, the end features a climactic play of instruments which leave us wanting for more.

WAT WAT WATis a song which is fun from the very first beat. Without wasting any time on formalities and initiating notes, the song begins directly with Shehnai and Dholaks.
Shashwat Singh impresses with his attitude – filled singing which never seems out of tune. I have a feeling we will be hearing more of him in ARR albums.

There is a wacky but melodious first interlude which gives way to Arijit Singh’s voice. Now, it is my personal opinion that somehow for reasons unknown, the ARR – Arijit combo has never satisfied me. Arijit has sung quite a few songs for ARR including few hindi versions of his Tamil originals, but THAT song never came.

Wat Wat is still not that song, but Arijit Singh impresses big time here. Both his antaras especially the softer second one are pure magic. This is by far the best collaboration of these two artists. However, I still await a full blown solo song.

There is also a dubstep version titled the Vengeance mix, however I prefer to stay away from them.

CHALI KAHAANIproves that opening notes can be deceptive. Now this is what I was finally expecting – a full blown stage song.

Irshad Kamil does wonders with his kalam here – writing a very imaginative and commendable song. I suggest everyone to read the lyrics of this song. There is SO much packed into them – references to so many characters, stories, jumping from one story to another, ultimately referring to the immortal love common to all these tales.

A heavily orchestrated song, this one is full of crests and troughs. Who else but Sukhwinder singh could have done justice? There is this very doordarshan / vividbharti – ish tune which appears at the end of the first minute – first with a flute, then sitar and then chorus.

The first antara is brilliant. The interlude between the two antaras has some lovely tabla and choral work.

It is the second antara which provides the needed and lovely thehrav. Both the “Haris” are excellent. Haricharan who has previously done wonders for ARR is spectacular. Haripriya is even better.
The thehrav though wonderful is short lived, and what soon follows is an apt and fitting climax to a stage song which should look GRAND on screen, considering Imtiaz Ali’s directorial deftness and ARR’s magnum opus arrangements. 

SAFARNAMAis to “Tamasha” what “Maahi ve” was to Highway and “Phir se udd chala” was to Rockstar. Backed by a gorgeous and simple base tune, this is essentially a journey song – a journey within as well as one which would be played during long drives. After a very long time (Yuva), ARR teams up with Lucky Ali who sings the song just as he was expected to – brilliantly. He knows he excels in this particular genre where his voice though sounding as if he suffers from constipation, ultimately sounds very lovely on screen.

There are less of lyrics here, with there being a repetition of the entire first half of the song but on one scale higher. However, whatever lyrics are there, they are wonderful. They very aptly describe the emotional turmoil which every lead character experiences in every Imtiaz Ali film.

Turn off the lights at night. Plug in your headphones.


Just increase the volume to the fullest and go out for a drive. ALONE.
This song is made for that. Kudos!

PARADE DE LA BASTILLE– When a song starts off with an aalaap by ARR, you would normally anticipate something sufi, or maybe Indian. But the song shifts to an entirely different and mesmerizing tune. With lovely bagpipers and guitars, this is that kind of a cheerful tune which you would associate with a coastal area.

The instruments give way to flutes which in turn give way to a superb choral loop of Matargashti which is so bloody foot tapping. Once again, there is a crescendo and by the time the song ends, one does wish the song was longer.

TU KOI AUR HAIis something beyond description. It is a song which only and ONLY Rahman can create. There is no definite tune which guides the lyrics. It is rather the other way round. Here, the lyrics guide the tune. The lyrics decide how the tune will progress further. This is a genre ARR has almost perfected in the last few years, a few being “Jaane tu ya jaane na”, “Dil Gira Dafatan”.

The only way to enjoy it is by closing your eyes, listening to the lovely lyrics and let the composition do the magic. After almost 100 seconds of unplugged ARR, the orchestra kicks in. It is then that you realize that this will most probably be the song of the climax stage performance. There is opera, a lovely choral portion and lots of instruments – everything building up the intensity. Rahman is simply magical with his vocals. Arjun Chandy and Alma Ferovic support him ably.

The song ends with a shift to the tune of “Safarnama”, and by the time the curtain closes, you realize it is time to return to earth.

The best is kept for the last.

AGAR TUM SAATH HOis proof that Alka Yagnik still is one of the best playback singers this country has had.

Starting with a gorgeous piano tune, it doesn’t take too long before we ae literally sucked into this simple yet very beautiful tune sung by Alka. There are no dramatic variations, just pure effortless singing which is inundated with years of experience. It is always a pleasure to hear the collaborations of Alka Yagnik and ARR – they unfailingly create magic everytime. With Irshad Kamil’s lovely lyrics, this one is simply a soothener for the senses.

Arijit singh gets to sing a set of lines which are lyrically contrasting and which are sung in two scales. He sounds lovely no doubt, but I still would have loved ARR himself singing this portion in not two but only a single skill – preferably the higher one. Try imagining – you will thank me. I am not taking any credit from Arijit though. He is flawless.

So finally the album ends. And it turned out to be just what I had expected. There is this quality of ARR I love – that he moulds himself according to the requirements of the director. However, when you have a director and a composer who think alike with quite common whimsical minds, you get the best.

“Tamasha” as an entire album is much lighter in intensity as compared to “Rockstar”. There is a lot more fun here. There is a lot more creative use of instruments, lyrics and tunes. It is a soundtrack which needs to be heard with rapt attention to the lyrics and the finer details to fall in love with it. A superficial hearing will not suffice. A soundtrack like this doesn’t infact deserve a superficial hearing.

You never cease to amaze us A.R Rahman.
And dear Irshad – Imtiaz – Allah Rakha, please continue this collaboration. You have already scored a hattrick. Waiting for much more!

MY RATINGS – 9.25 / 10

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