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Maestro’s Touch

A R Rahman is back with his 2015 Bollywood offering Tamasha, directed by Imtiaz Ali. This will be their third project together after Highway (2014) and Rockstar (2013). The earlier two offerings from the duo were blissful experiences for music lovers and are still ruling playlists. Can Ali and Rahman recreate their magic for the third time?

First up, Rahman has brought on board his trusted lyricist Irshad Kamil to write some fun yet soulful lyrics for this nine-track album. He brings back Rockstar singer Mohit Chauhan for the opening track Matargashti. The lively energy of the song is seamlessly projected by the exuberant vocals of Chauhan. The musical arrangement starts with European music, which gradually blends into Hindi retro music. The musical treatment of the song and the Hinglish lyrics evoke the flavor of Rockstar songs like Hawa hawa. This smooth transition of the sound from European to Hindi retro is the highlight of this track. Also, the high-octane energy of the song will definitely find its place on everybody’s playlist.

Heer toh badi sad hai is solely dedicated to Deepika Padukone. Though it is a female-centric track, it is sung by an unusual combo of singers Mika Singh and Rahman. Singh will be crooning for Ali after eight years, the last project they worked together being Jab We Met (Mauja mauja). Kamil’s word play is the focal point of this song, which has been further elevated by the singing. The composer has played with a qawwali-style tune based on Punjabi music. The frenzied Punjabi tune towards the end and the style of the song changes the tone of this otherwise ‘sad’ song.

Rahman gets back to his signature style with Agar tum saath ho. The soulful rendition by Alka Yagnik is complemented by the musical treatment. The music holds familiarity with the simple yet classy orchestration. Arijit Singh makes an appearance towards the chorus and has done a great job of supporting Yagnik. Blending with Yagnik’s tempo and range, Singh’s vocals have been given overlaying treatment for additional effect.

Arijit Singh takes the lead for the Bhojpuri-Punjabi-style Wat wat wat. This song is fresh and innovative, not only for the singer but for the composer as well. While Singh has tried his hand at Bhojpuri-style singing, the Oscar-winning composer has explored the Punjabi sound with heavy fusion mix. The inclusion of the shehnai takes this song to another level, making it a mix of a wedding party song. Shashwat Singh has confidently rendered the Punjabi portion of the song, matching the vocal powers of Singh. Rahman further surprises listeners by introducing dub-step in the remixed version of the song Wat wat vengeance mix.

The situational song Chali kahani sung by Sukhwinder Singh will have greater impact once it is supported by the storyline of Tamasha. This outright situational track has been musically treated with Hindustani and Western sound arrangements. The song features a constant shift between the two styles of music.

The soulful voice of Lucky Ali has been missing in Bollywood for a few years but he is back with Safarnama. As the name suggests, it is a road song that once again features the strong song-writing of Kamil. The orchestration of the song witnesses a switch in tempo, pitch and tune around its chorus and bridge. Ali has seamlessly adjusted his vocals with the constantly switching gears of the composition. Rahman has also supported Ali on the mic, maintaining the trance of the music.

The saying ‘don’t go by the name’ suits this track, Parade De La Bastille, which may sound like a French orchestra piece but is actually a lively track that features deep-seated European sounds. The song starts on qawwali sufi notes not but soon brings in sounds that are purely European, namely bagpiper and accordion tunes.

Rahman also offers a seven-minute track Tu koi aur hai in Tamasha. Sung by the maestro himself and supported by Alma Ferovic and Arjun Chandy, the soulful track features in the trailer of the film. The song gets a slow start but picks up the tempo with Western classical arrangements. The choral and opera treatment further elevates the flavour of this song.

Verdict: An album packed with new musical arrangements and sounds

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