Film: Tamasha

Label: T-Series

Music: A.R. Rahman

Lyrics: Irshad Kamil

A.R. Rahman’s scores for Imtiaz Ali (this is the third) show a clear irreverence to conventional meters and melodies — ditto Irshad Kamil’s lyrics. This results in substance here and there, but, in most cases, it is about being stylized, contemporary and thus irreverent, and not necessarily quality- or even appeal-oriented.

The lead track, for example, “Matargashti,” sung by Mohit Chauhan, sounds like a ‘happy mood’ leftover from “Rockstar” and has Chauhan in gimmicky vocal form with Kamil writing on the same plane he was in that film (“Tu hi hai woh / Jisne khenchi meri dhoti, dhoti khenchi / Ab tu dhoonde kahaan bande / Na main Kaaba, Kaashi” and more). Come again, Kamil-sir?

Complete with Pritam affiliates Mika Singh and Nakash Aziz, Rahman scores the Pritam-esque “Heer To Badi Sad Hai” with Kamil’s clever words. The song is drawled by Mika as if he is the most crystal-clear singer in the business. The mixing does the rest of the damage, as one has to struggle with fathoming the words by adjusting the equalizer as Mika swallows half the syllables while rolling them! When will this man vocally grow up and stop taking his “item” success for granted?

On a superficial level, the song works as a transiently-appealing desi dance track and still emerges as the most appealing song on the score. And we cannot help recalling a film awards’ event in which Pritam had four nominations, the award went to the fifth score by the same Rahman, and the after-awards party had eight of ten tracks from Pritam’s part and present repertoire!! That’s the difference between lasting appeal and passing, branded allure!

Alka Yagnik sounds maudlin and lackluster in “Agar Tum Saath Ho,” whose lyrics do not really follow a clear graph. Arijit Singh (in his first-ever duet with the top singer of the ‘90s and early millennium) is in good form, though one still finds a problem with his diction for the phonetic syllable ‘Ta’ that he always overdoes. Reasonably melodious, yet a shade vintage Rahman-ish in its style,  the song will appeal to those who have not known this side of Rahman 20 years back in films like “Roja,” “Bombay” or “Rangeela.”

Next we come to the fleeting appeal of the novel “Wat Wat Wat” (Shaswat Singh-Arijit Singh), in which Rahman attempts to explore North Indian folk. Kamil scores again in the smart verse, but the musical attempt is clearly half-hearted and comes across as a tepid ‘electronic’ kind of number rather than a vibrant, all-out acoustic enterprise. From the two singers, Arijit scores higher.

Lucky Ali imitates Rahman brilliantly in “Safarnama” and keeps the song afloat. Sadly again, the lyrics and music are not conducive to remaining in our memory a few minutes after the track is over. And we say this after three listens over as many days! This is also true of the entire album, barring “Heer.”

“Chali Kahani” (Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan, Haripriya) is quite nondescript as is the over-Westernized “Tu Koi Aur Hai” (Rahman, Z.Alma Ferovic, Arjun Chandy), which is a drone of a number.

Like most of Rahman’s soundtracks post-“Jodhaa Akbar” (with a noted exception of three beautiful songs in “Highway” itself), this one’s digestible only for hardcore Rahman-ers. Those who prefer coherent, simple yet meaningful lyrics and intense Indian melody should skip this “Tamasha.”

Rating: 2/5 stars

(1) comment


u seem to be a hardcore pritam fan and no wonder u gave such kind of pathetic review to a magical album which is the best of this year. Just come out of ur criticizing mode and hear the songs. If u still do not like them, i wud say u have a very bad taste for music.

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