Composer: AR Rahman
Lyricist: Irshad Kamil
There is almost a minute-long interlude in Heer, a piece sung by Mika Singh in Imtiaz Ali’s upcoming film Tamasha. Barring the fact that composer AR Rahman has made Mika’s voice sound more than just edible, an interlude is capable enough to take us through life’s journeys. It’s expansive, meditative in parts, crazy in others, organic most of the times and with a lot of emotional significance, as a sarangi, bhapang and dhol flow into synth and drums. It’s exactly like this album, which sometimes builds like a late night set, sometimes like groovy club hits, and on other occasions, just leaves you with pure bliss.
Tamasha comes with some exhilarating layers. It falters sometimes, picks itself up to hit some high points, stays in the middle of the pack, and then suddenly wows you with its catchy hooks. It’s more than just likable, but can sound a little chaotic at times. Despite some lows, the album gets full points for not caging itself with a structure.
It opens with Mohit Chauhan’s Matargashti, which transports you to the Mediterranean. Congos and mandolin open the song and orchestration includes a harmonica and an accordion too. It takes a retro turn post the first stanza and there are windows into RD Burman’s creations. Chauhan may not be the most in-tune voice when singing live. In Rahman’s studio, he sounds heavenly in a vibrant number.
This is followed by Agar tum saath. The track opens on a piano and merges with Alka Yagnik’s voice. It’s a wonderful composition, however, Yagnik fails to capture the soul of the song. Arijit Singh as the chorus “voices” (layered in pitches) sounds quite brilliant.
A shehnai, which has been made to sound like a peepni, merges into a dhol and bass and electric guitar to bring to the fore Wat wat. It’s one of the funkiest numbers we’ve heard in a while, with some of the unimaginable mishmash. One of the most organic pieces from the album, full marks to singer Shashwat Singh for this one. We played it on loop. It dazzled. Every time.
A flute prelude opens Chali kahani. The serenity is suddenly broken as Sukhwinder Singh’s voice and big orchestrations change and we have a haunted powerhouse. The song has a variety of highs and lows as if being played for various acts in a play.
Parade takes a variety of directions. It takes you to Haji Ali, Spain, even Scotland (Celtic touches) and then makes it all come together in a celebratory piece. For Tu koi, Rahman gets behind the microphone. It begins slowly and soon we hear the opera, the strings paired with his voice and it sounds divine. Not just divine enough. As for lyrics, Irshad Kamil makes his point right in the beginning with Ishq hai maachis, dil hai diesel in Heer. We agree.
With Rahman one is used to struggling for superlatives. Some parts, not all, of Tamasha belong to that category. It engages on most occasions and wows with aural imagination. Sometimes it’s just ordinary, only by Rahman standards. This isn’t one of those miraculous Rahman albums. But it’s somewhere in that stratosphere, kind of hovering around greatness. Buy it for uniqueness among the cacophony.