Tamasha – Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)

Tamasha movie poster

Songs at the end of the review (link via @swathi2212).

Eight years after he delivered the chartbusting Mauja Hi Mauja, Mika Singh returns to sing for director Imtiaz Ali in Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai. Yet another winner as it turns out, despite lacking a particularly fresh tune, thanks to Irshad Kamil’s Hinglish verse and A R Rahman’s arrangement that imaginatively builds on the familiar Punjabi base, especially in the interludes and that final minute. And of course the exceptional singing by Mika and Nakash Aziz, all combining to make this an oddly jaunty track to talk of Heer’s pain. Tum Saath Ho too is high on the familiarity factor, but the melody is still beautiful enough to make you overlook that. And with the dependence on the melody, this song is more the singers’ game, both of whom are in top form here – Alka Yagnik and Arijit Singh. In fact two Arijits technically, as the composer decides to overlay his voice in two octaves. In many ways, Safarnama can be called the Phir Se Udd Chala of Tamasha – light, breezy tune further buoyed up by a sprawling framework of guitars, perhaps mandolin charango (as confirmed by Prakash Hariharan of Chennai band Project YUJ who played it) too, like the latter (except with some accordion adding to the mix this time), and the lyrics also of a similar disposition. The kind of song where Lucky Ali’s voice fits like a glove. Matargashti has had an “anti-ARR” effect on me, in that I don’t find it as attractive now after repeated listens, in spite of some fun moments in the arrangement heavy on European sounds. The main contributor to this is Mohit Chauhan’s singing that sounds awkward around the melodic digression that the song makes, corresponding with the Dev Anand tribute onscreen.

Soundtrack’s longest is Tum Koi lasting for over seven minutes with ARR himself leading the vocals, Alma Ferovic and Arjun Chandy (main man of the band NAFS recently founded and launched by ARR) forming the backing vocals. A pensive melody that slowly builds up in orchestral intensity, eventually transitioning into a choral version of the opening lines of Safarnama. It takes a while to get used to the wacky assortment that comprises Wat Wat Wat, but once you do you will find it very addictive! The core is Punjabi yet again though the lyrics sound Bhojpuri, a dark-ish tune (shades of shivranjani raga in places perhaps) sung excellently by Arijit Singh and Sashwat Singh. But aside of that the song is strewn with various outré sounds, most prominent among which is the shehnai! The dubstep-y Vengeance Mix though – rare occurrence of a remix in an ARR soundtrack – isn’t half as fun. Parade de la Bastille starts off sounding almost like a devotional track with Rahman’s humming, but shifts gears soon into a spirited European flavoured instrumental track that even makes a brief reference to Matargashti. I am assuming that the visuals will help make more sense out of Chali Kahani; the song has individual components that sound appealing and are well sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan and Haripriya, but doesn’t make for a smooth listen overall owing the relative dissonance.

Tamasha. The occasional hiccups aside, that’s three winners in a row for A R Rahman-Irshad Kamil-Imtiaz Ali!

Music Aloud Rating: 8.5/10

Top Recos: Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai, Safarnama, Tum Saath Ho, Wat Wat Wat

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