Directed by Imtiaz Ali, Tamasha stars two of the best Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor and we hear, from the director himself, they are fabulous in the romantic drama. The highly anticipated film tells the story of Tara (Deepika Padukone) who finds herself stranded on the French island of Corsica. Her adventure then begins when she meets Ved (Ranbir Kapoor). Ved has grown up among stories – Ramayana, Helen of Troy, Laila Majnu, Heer Ranjha, Aladdin, Romeo and Juliet and has become an exuberant storyteller. Drawn to theatrics, Ved sets a unique condition for their trip – they will to not tell each other who they are and after returning from the island to never meet each other again. But they do meet again. The question is whether they will be able to shape their story in the way they want. Will the muse be able to make an artist of a common man, will Ved be able to break the shackles of ordinary existence, escape the corporate rat-race and become the way Tara sees him – the exuberant story-teller? Corsica, Simla, Delhi, Calcutta, Japan – all the world is a stage – as the drama of Ved and Tara unfolds. Frolic, rage, quirk, laughter. Defeat, victory. Tamasha.
To create the music for the world of Tamasha and add an extra element of tamasha in Tamasha, Imtiaz Ali brought in composer A. R. Rahman. What is so interesting about the music and score of Tamasha is that this is not your traditional OST. In fact, the music for the film is something more. When I talked with Imtiaz Ali (which you will be able to read later) he told me that many of the pieces are the music for the dramatic plays in the film. They are not songs in the film; they are the music of the film.
I have to say I loved reviewing the soundtrack of Tamasha because it did have those dramatic pieces but also the other tracks that tell the story of Ved and Tara. Read on to see what I thought.
Since the very first listen of ‘Matargashti,’ the peppy song has captured the attention of fans. With a very cool groove the song has nice mix of a Western and Indian vibe. Mohit Chauhan is in good voice and he sings with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. However, sometimes it feels as if he is straining and fighting to stay in the pocket. I did like when he used his vocal as music. Also he shined on the more melodious sections. However, there are a lot of tempos and differing sections in the song and it just got a bit confusing. There was too much going on – there was no need for the chorus or the added effect layers. I did like the beginning of the song and wish it had stayed that way. As evidenced by the video, this one plays even better within the film so I would say give it a look and a listen.
One of my favorites from the very first note is ‘Tu Koi Aur Hai.’ I have a feeling this is one of the songs that Imtiaz Ali mentioned that will be played as one of the stage plays is being performed. With whispery new age-y music and A. R. Rahman’s incredible smooth tone you get lost in the feeling and the beauty of this piece. The mastery of this composition is brilliant. Alma Ferovic’s dulcet tones and lovely voice enhance the beauty that is ‘Tu Koi Aur Hai.’ Arjun Chandy’s epic voice also must be mentioned. The track also has some sharper more staccato stanzas that are also a great addition. Plus, the orchestral section and the choir really added to the grand feel of the song. There were some odd additions with effects and notes, which I think were not needed, but that is a minor note. The song is over 7 minutes but it does not feel like that at all. I wanted more and to know what this story will be. I can’t wait to see it play out on screen!
Next up we have ‘Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai‘ sung by Mika Singh and Nakash Aziz. The foundation of the song is full on Indian and it is so good! It actually had me swaying at my computer. Mika Singh sings with a suave coolness that I really enjoyed listening too. I really love this avatar of his voice. The problem with ‘Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai‘ is three-fold. There are some very odd musical line additions that actually made me say ‘what is that?’, literally out loud. Second, though I loved it in the beginning I got a bit bored with the same syncopations in music and vocals and faded out in the middle of the song, which is something you don’t want to do. Finally, it gets to the end, and Yay there is a change up, but it kicks up to a speed that is so fast that it is hard to listen too. It does not help that in that fast section the music sounds very manufactured and light, it needed more depth. For me, it started off great but it lost its way. I would have liked more and I think I will feel that seeing it onscreen as well.
‘Parade De La Bastille (Instrumental Version)‘ starts off with a haunting male vocal line that is enhanced by the superb musical arrangement. You really feel what Rahman was trying to say and convey as the section culminates in the high wail of the violin. The piece then transposes to more of a happy song, which makes you feel the joy and the fun. This section also shows off Rahman’s masterful layering of different instruments and styles of music to make something special. You can hear a lot of European flavors within the musical line and it being set in Corsica you can see and imagine you will hear how that fits into the world of Tamasha. The percussion and the acoustic rhythmic guitar were some of my favorite parts. This one again, I feel is something we will have to wait to see what is happening on screen to really feel the music. I look forward to it.
A lovely mellifluous piano line starts off ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho‘ and I am in music love within the first 20 seconds. This is just the type of song that I will play over and over and over again. Add in the classic tones of Alka Yagnik and you are transported to 90s filmi music and it is so good! She sings with such feeling and a perfect quality. This song is Alka Yagnik’s all the way. Arijit Singh joins in and his deep full tones are wonderful, but I do feel he was fighting the music and I think his own voice as the back up vocal. This really took away from the feeling he was trying to convey. There were some more modern mixes added in but I preferred the more classic feel to the music. It was sometimes simple and sometimes full bodied and that made the song magic. From the video we know that this is a turning point and a sad arc of the film where maybe love does not win. Definitely give this one a listen; it is my favorite on the album. I have feeling once we see it fully within the context I will be moved and love it even more.
Rahman changes it up with ‘Wat Wat Wat.’ A very quirky groove, the music is not something you can really classify. It does have Indian influences in the baseline and has some fabulous strong percussion with a hint of Bhangra. However, I think I also heard some 50s guitar, some modern hits plus a host of other interesting (not in a good way) sounds. The zippy music may be a bit off, but Shashwat Sing sings with great spicy inflection and he makes the song. Arijit Singh joins in on the more melodious section and he too is wonderful. I will be honest I am not sure what to make of this song, I actually enjoyed some of it, in fact the Wat Wat Wat refrain and the baseline keeps going through my head but overall I think it missed the mark. It maybe to your taste so give it a try.
There is also the ‘Wat Wat (Vengeance Mix),’ which is a totally different song. Completely electronica, I wanted to turn it off when the song first played. However, I did enjoy hearing Shashwat’s sharp cadence in this version but that is all. Once he stopped singing I wanted to turn it off again. The music just was too much and to mixed. Stick with the original.
‘Chali Kahani,’ which begins with a beautiful flute line, transforms into something much bigger and dramatic and we can guess this is also a piece that is the soundtrack for one of the drama stories in the film. In fact, this, I would say, is what Ali meant when he gave the composer the brief that he wanted the music to be tamasha. Rahman really is a maestro at creating opulent compositions. Of course, we have to mention the outstanding vocals by Sukhwinder Singh. What is so incredible is that we can feel the mythical tone and drama and we have not even seen the play. I can’t wait to experience this as I watch Tamasha.
I just love ‘Safarnama.’ The beginning is heavily flavored with a French vibe and I saw myself in a cafe enjoying a croissant. Okay, sorry I am back now from Corsica. The song gets even better when the harmony of the guitars comes in and the song begins to take a new shape. Lucky Ali’s velvety, full of feeling tone joins in the flow. I do love to hear him sing and in this song especially. The music Rahman has created for this song is splendid. I wanted to start the song again before it was even over, which is pretty amazing. Just go listen!
Without seeing the film, as yet, and not knowing how those tracks fit into the plays within the film, it is hard to put a star rating on this unique soundtrack. However, just the fact that it is the music for these stories makes it amazing. Add in the more traditional songs and you have an album like no other. There were a few odd notes but overall it is extraordinary. I can’t wait to see this music come alive onscreen when the film releases on November 27th.