Tamasha- Movie Review by Ram Anand

Why do they always end the fun part? But of course, the younger Ved constantly asked that question to his banyan tree ‘storyteller’ in this non-linear narrative. But that’s life. Fun ends. Insecurities start.

Sitting at a cafe library in Delhi, Tara (Deepika Padukone) is reading a book called Catch 22, eagerly hoping she would somehow bump into Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), the man whom she knew as Don from her short holiday in Corsica, France.

We all know what is eventually going to happen- there is no unpredictability here. This scene has been played a hundred times over, in a hundred movies over. The fun at Corsica just had to end, and they just had to make life difficult for themselves. But don’t we all?
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Then she catches a glimpse of him. The background music, which was silent, gives way to the final beats of “Heer to Badi Sad Hai”. We are treated with the grinning faces of Punjabi folks music performers, singing about Heer’s state of mind, as she runs down the stairs, runs back back up, and struggles to make up her mind on whether she should make herself visible to Ved. When she finally walks over and he says hi to her, overcome with excitement, she sits at a coffee table and does a small fist pump to herself. Now, this, you don’t see in a hundred movies over. It’s called treatment and characterisation. And in Tamasha, it’s as gorgeous as Deepika’s heart melting reactions- especially when she hesitates and says “Oh okay” when Ved tells her she has no boyfriend.
Of course, the mass populace will moan and gripe about the “boringness” of this second half, especially after a rollicking first hour in Corsica. Why do they always end the fun part? But of course, the younger Ved constantly asked that question to his banyan tree ‘storyteller’ in this non-linear narrative. But that’s life. Fun ends. Insecurities start.
But then, Ranbir Kapoor’s bravura performance takes over. The way he converses to the mirror, somewhat creepily, shows, the alter ego, the dual personality, that he has been hiding. And in more than one way, hints at how that common 9am-5pm man on the street, who does exactly the same things everyday, might have hidden a Don inside himself.
Ved and Don fight each other quintessentially in the second half- and Don can no longer take it. He is yearning to come out, and the more Ved restraints, the more damage Don causes to Ved’s sanity. This is not something new for an Imtiaz Ali movie, he started this paradigm of exploring the psychology of his protagonists intently with Rockstar. He followed that up a notch higher with Alia Bhatt fighting the demons of sexual abuse and Stockholm syndrome in Highway. In Tamasha, the canvas is larger, and the performance a masterpiece.
There will plenty of reviews to tell you how good the Corsica part was, but Tamasha can be best epitomised in that intense scene at a pub when Ved and Tara wrestle each other.
Ved is telling Tara he might hurt her as he is unsure of his own behaviour, while Tara, looking totally shattered, asks herself “what have I done?”- she had touched a raw nerve that had triggered his other personality.
As Ved finally succumbs to crying and admitting that Tara’s words had totally changed him, he turns away from her and lays his face on the table. She imitates him, and pats on him on the head. AR Rahman works his magic here with the best number of a sumptuous album- Tum Saath Ho.
And there is this line from Irshad Kamil, the lyricist- “There are dreams in your eyes, your dreams are full of disappointment, I feel whatever you may say- they are full of lies. What difference does it make- if you are with me or not? Life is cruel, and always be cruel”.
Fine poetry, legendary musical, aesthetic direction, and two wonderful talents competing with each other on their acting chops.
Yes, I will tell you Tamasha is entirely predictable- as predictable as the high you will get if you drink a bottle of wine all on your own.
The question is- do you enjoy the taste of fine wine? Does it make a difference whether it’s wine bottled in 2010 or one bottled 100 years ago?
If you have proper, delectable taste, Tamasha will bowl you over, and leave you moved.
And just think, how many of us are struggling to get out of the box liked Ved?
A beautiful movie made on a canvas of great emotions, this will linger on me for sometime, I can tell you that much.
Rating: 9/10

Tamasha- Music Review by Ram Anand

Nah, I’m kidding. This song is more than seven minutes long. Discovery? Fuck that. I’m getting lost in this number. I’ll lose myself. I’ll rediscover myself some other day. I’ve been taken over by the music.

There are two things that I look forward the most when it comes to Indian cinema- a Mani Ratnam film and an AR Rahman musical. With “Tamasha” (Show), the legendary Rahman teams up with filmmaker Imtiaz Ali for the third time, and their previous two collaborations is enough to cause pangs of excitement.

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First, there was the timeless album Rockstar (2011), in which the range that was brought out by Rahman made it one of his best albums in a career spanning over two decades- while Highway (2014), was a hidden gem that contained some of the most carefully composed tunes you’ll ever hear, if you are bothered to listen carefully.
Hence why, the first thing I did this morning was to get my hands on a Tamasha album, and quickly ensured I had listened to each tracks at least three times before I posted this review.
And there is not gonna be a review more apt for me to end my hibernation from Thou Art So Beautiful, as I had not written much here this calendar year.
Here goes.
Matargasthi (Mohit Chauhan)
Now, the promo video making rounds since last week had already captured the imagination of millions. Ranbir Kapoor’s quirky dance moves, with Deepika Padukone’s energy, had already promised a great musical number with a mix of unconventional sound mixing. If anyone remembers what Mohit Chauhan did for ARR in Rockstar, this is right up that classic alley. Once again, Rahman brings out a new range in Mohit’s vocals, and both of them combine to deliver an absolutely mental, breathless, and soothing number.
Where Rahman stands out in the deluge of Bollywood hit numbers is the fact that he does not relegate his dance numbers to all of high pitch noise and blasting music. Keeping in mind that the song is shot in the outdoors of Corsica (a gorgeous island), Matargasthi tells a story of its own with the flow of its music. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics flow seamlessly with the music- resembling “Hawa Hawa” from Rockstar, which was shot in Prague.
The highlight, apart from Mohit’s vocals and that cute “ding a ding” and that minute pistol sounds (all part of the storytelling elements)- is of course the rather melodious second half of the song- where Mohit switches his vocals- and the violins come in to allow Ranbir to do his effervescent impersonation of Dev Anand. An absolutely Tamasha way to start an album to begin an album that Rahman fans had been craving for months now.
And man, he did not disappoint.
Rating: 10/10
Heer To Badi Sad Hai (Mika Singh, Nakash Aziz)
Mix that Punjabi folklore tune with Mika Singh’s voice, you’d normally expect a high pitched dance number- but again this is AR Rahman’s touch. With Irshad’s lyrics, this song describes the female protagonist (Heer)’s sad emotions and frustration. There is a journey element in this number (Imtiaz’s films always have an element of travel interconnected with personal emotional growth).
The beats are absolutely catchy- for a song that has the word “Sad” in it, this song is far from a sad hearing. Mika gorgeously goes high pitch at the middle stanzas, and this must have been one of the best numbers he had sung in a long, long time.
Then, comes the final one minute in which ARR takes it to another level with a gorgeous beats that have become the theme of the film’s trailer. Captures your imagination- and your musical senses. Sumptuous..
Rating: 9.5/10
Tum Saath Ho (Alka Yagnik and Arjit Singh)
Look who’s returned! Aka Yagnik is behind the mic for ARR after a long time, and my, the results are as sweet as her voice. An out and out, soulful, romantic number- ARR kills it with his use of flute and two different tempos for Alka and Arjit’s portions.
This stands right up there with the likes of Tum Ho (Rockstar), and Heer (Highway)- songs that takes you to a different plain altogether.
The soul of AR Rahman’s songs in this album is captured in this extremely delectable number. “Teri Nazrein Me Sapne, Tere Sapne Mein Narazi”.
This is beautiful poetry mixed with beautiful sound mixing, with the voice of one of the best female singers of the recent generations. And it has everything- tablas, flute, you name it.
Not to forget, Arjit does an exemplary work with his parts as well. You do not expect anything less from an AR Rahman album do you?
Rating: 10/10
Wat Wat Wat (Arjit Singh and Sashwat Singh)
This is another song that has Punjabi folklore elements- and elements of a personal journey. This tells a story of a man who, literally, got “done over” by a woman he loved- hence the “Wat”.
The percussions are absolutely quirky but it all settles nicely in a soulful rhythm. Arjit does an excellent job and seems to be having fun behind the mic.
On another day, this could have been a situational song- but as situational the lyrics sound, this song comes out as catchy as Heer To Badi Sad Hai.
Rating: 9/10
Chali Kahani (Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan, and Haripriya)
Begins with a slow flute, and suddenly you have a grand orchestra coming in. Probably the richest composition in the album, Chali Kahani is the central song of the album- the one that befits the theme “Why always the same story?”
Fittingly, this composition never settles in a monotony. The tune changes orchestra to carnatic effortlessly. Sukhwinder Singh, needless to say, does what a veteran like him does so best- anchor the different tunes so well, before Haricharan flexes his sweet vocals for a brief time- along with Haripriya.
This song is an important backstory to the film- and befitting to an album like Tamasha, is so bloody high in musical quality. Three or four listens, and you’ll be taken in by ARR’s stunning background musical mix.
Now, it’s time to wait for the story.
Rating: 9/10
Safarnama (Lucky Ali)
Who would have thought Lucky Ali will get one of the best songs in the album? Soulful, rich, and spiritual. “Shuru tumse, khatam tumse”.
ARR uses minimal instruments for this song, but the effect is almost magical. It’s deeply emotional too at the same time. You really don’t get compositions like these often, even in an ARR album.
This packs so much soul and depth that even if you don’t understand the language, the heaviness won’t be lost on you. A man’s search for his love encapsulated so well in its music and BGM work.
You can only take your hats off.
Rating: 9.5/10
Parade De La Bastille (Instrumental)
Now- imagine a track named Parade De La Bastille, starting with some Sufi humming, following Mediterranean touches, and then flute, and then a rehash of Matargasthi.
Nothing left to say- it’s just pure creativity- AR Rahman way. Listen.
Rating: 9.5/10
Tu Koi Aur Hai (AR Rahman, Alma Ferovic, and Arjun Chandy)
There, finally, with the final track, ARR goes behind the mic- and how. Such rich orchestra, and such soulful lyrics. A song about self discovery, Tu Koi Aur Hai is something you should listen on a quiet morning overlooking the sea- because the richness is so vast and can move you places and also invoke so much emotions.
Alma Ferovic returns to the mic after Rockstar and again provides ample support for ARR with the orchestra parts.
And there is also the use of opera vocals, which goes along with this beauty of a composition. Discover yourself. Discover the music.
Nah, I’m kidding. This song is more than seven minutes long. Discovery? Fuck that. I’m getting lost in this number. I’ll lose myself.
I’ll rediscover myself some other day. I’ve been taken over by the music.
Rating: 10/10
There’s nothing left to say. Some albums leave you speechless, and this has done exactly that. Beauty. Perfection.
Thank you Imtiaz, for providing a script that has clearly enabled ARR to weave his magic again. Apart from Mani Ratnam, it seems only Imtiaz brings out such richness in ARR compositions. This is a hat trick of stunning albums.
Never stop collaborating.
Now, Phir Tamasha Dekh!
Whole a album rating: Sumptuous. Delicious.

Rockstar (Hindi)- Music Review by Ram Anand

Orianthi, Michale Jackson’s ex guitarist, has teamed up with AR Rahman for the year’s greatest anthem song. This song will be on everybody’s lips for eons to come, like how Rang de Basanti was. This is a generation’s song, a hot-blooded composition and will make your veins pump.

It is here. After months of teasing an entire legion of supporters that swear by the ‘Rahmanism’, AR Rahman has returned as a music composer for an Indian film for the first in time in almost a year.

2010 was a glorious year for ARR fans in a sense. For a man who averaged one or two films a year ever since the turn of the millennium, a practice that saw him reach the peak of international recognition, ARR delivered four albums last year. But with the exception of Endhiran, which was a typical commercial mix that did not explore ARR’s ability to deliver soulful compositions, none of the other films succeeded. Both Raavan and Jhootha Hi Sahi had excellent musical score, but they got drowned along with the films’ unconvincing run in the box office.

It was a case of delivering a lot only to have a part of it widely recognized. Grapevine has it that Imitaz Ali (Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kaal) wanted to make Rockstar a long time ago and had always wanted ARR to be part of the team, and vice versa. It is easy to understand why. Though we pride ourselves as a musical industry, it is not often that a pure musical is made here. Rockstar is one of that select few- a project that would allow ARR to fully express the musical versatility he normally brings to a table. I have always encouraged Rehman to go ahead and make films with young director (Gautham, Imitaz, Abbas to name a few) instead of sticking to some veterans who have passed their sell-by date and hardly do justice to his music (read Subash Ghai).

So without much ado, it is time to review the year’s most anticipated album, for which the demand was accentuated by the fact that T-Series took an awfully long time in releasing the music. (A full week from the originally planned date).

The specialty of this album, note, is ARR’s decision to use only Mohit Chauhan as Ranbir Kapoor’s singing voice. This is in itself a refreshing, logical decision miles away from the image of having one actor mouthing songs sung by so many different singers even while playing a musician- and this soundtrack has a whopping 14 tracks- I’m reviewing the 11 tracks, leaving out the instrumental numbers.

Phir Se Ud Chala (Mohit Chauhan)

The album begins with ‘Phir Se Ud Chala’, which starts with a very traditional chorus, and slowly slips into a catchy tune, with Mohit Chauhan, trying to do the Masakali thing again here, made famous two years ago through Delhi 6. It is unconventional, but tell me the last time ARR did something that followed this conservational rulebook? The song is a romantic ballad about flying away with love, has few keyboard mixes thrown into it. Simple in length and with a heavy North Indian flavor to it, Phir Se Ud Chala gives you a breezy feeling. I would say this is a very good one, if only the others that followed weren’t so mind-blowing.

Rating: 3/5

Jo Bhi Mein (Mohit Chauhan)

“Whatever that is I have got to say..” that’s how this song starts (translated, of course). That tells you everything you’ve got to know about it. With a small ‘yaya’ at the start and the sound of the crowd singing along with the singer, it reminds of you of Bob Marley. ARR uses instruments that almost reminds me of ‘No Woman No Cry’, but makes sure there are modern undertones. The lyrics are wonderful, a form of self-expression. This song is about Jordan and everything he has got to say as a musician. This is rock, but not the adrenaline type that we often tend to assume as rock. This is soulful rock. Mohit flexes his vocal muscles magnificently and you’ve got to love it when he soulfully goes high pitch. Just listen what this composition has got to deliver. With a little patience, you will feel utterly connected, an effect only the brand AR Rahman can give.

Rating: 4.5/5

Kateya Karun (Harshdeep Kaur, Sapna Awasthi)

It’s a bit like Rang de Basanti, a Punjabi folk rhythm starting the song off with consistent interludes. This is the rhythm you heard when you saw the first trailer of Rockstar. But the cuteness in full length is almost unlimited. With brilliant interludes in between that make the song a great blend of folk and blues, this one works big time, and will have you tapping your feet big time. Harshdeep Kaur is brilliant big time. Let’s just ‘ding-a-ling-ding-a-ling’.

Rating: 4.5/5

Kun Faya Kun (AR Rahman, Javed Ali, Mohit Chauhan)

Oh, oh, oh. Take a bow. Every time AR Rahman composes a devotional song, it sounds so soulful that you’d think if God were listening, He himself would have a smile on his face. After a typical slow, warm-up start, the moment the song goes ‘Kun Faya Kun’, you are already witnessing one the best Sufi compositions ever dished on screen. Having loved both ‘Khwaja’ from Jodhaa Akbar and ‘Arziyan’ from Delhi 6, this is another wonderful addition to that legendary list. I may be a Hindu, but this kind of compositions breaks all religious barriers and makes you clap along with them. It’s a solid seven minutes of one of the most pure, soulful compositions you’ll ever hear this year and beyond.

Rating: 5/5

Sheher Mein (Mohit Chauhan, Karthik)

Speechless. Not everyone will appreciate this composition. But anyone who knows music will know how difficult it is to compose something like this. This song is a personification of Jordan’s talent. It begins with Karthik crooning to certain lyrics, which Mohit (Ranbir) will later so uniquely improvise up till the end of the song. This is a conversational song that has its own purpose and tells a story on its own. It’s not often you get to hear something like this, don’t you? Mohit, by the way, is just awesome.

Rating: 4/5

Haawa Haawa (Mohit Chauhan, Tanvi, Vivianne)

Suddenly out of nowhere a composition that is very Arabic in nature. The way Mohit croons immediately gives you the Mediterranian feel, which is maintained throughout the track. Against, in a Masakali way, ARR experiments, makes it conversational, allowing Mohit full freedom to go high and low pitches alternatively. The song also has hints of European setting, and is very carefree in nature. Good listen.

Rating: 3/5

Aur Ho (Mohit Chauhan, Alma Ferovic)

A dramatic rock composition, it starts with Alma Ferovic’s soulful chorus. Mohit goes incredibly high pitch and proves what he can do as a dramatic singer. Mohit simply has to be one of the best singers in his generation, and this song, helped ARR’s orchestra backed composition re-affirms this fact. A soul-searching, epic-sounding number.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tum Ko (Kavita Subramaniam)

The opening lines reminds me of ‘Waiting for You’ from Jhootha Hi Sahi, a song that I initially didn’t rate too highly but later went on to grow immensely on me. This song wouldn’t need to wait so long on me though, thanks to the infusion of tabla, making it a fusion of Western and Indian sounds. A romantic ballad, this was sung with controlled refrain by Kavita Subramaniam. The arrangements outshine her vocals, but if you wanted a romantic groove from AR Rahman, there, you have got it. It however is very similar to ‘Tu Muskura’ from Yuvvraaj as well.

Rating: 4/5

Nadaan Parindey (Mohit Chauhan, AR Rahman)

‘Nadaan Parindey Gar Aaja’. This is a homecoming rock composition. If you request ARR compose a homecoming song, he never fails to infuse such rich emotions to it. Within seconds you are tapping your feet to it. Even within a rock realm, ARR has this incredible ability to suck you into his music. A simply amazing composition. Mohit’s interludes brilliantly compliments ARR’s vocals at the beginning. This is AR Rahman ki Jaadhu.

Rating: 5/5

Tum Ho (Mohit Chauhan)

Tum Ho is basically the male version of Tum Ko. But this is not a direct rehash of the same tune. It reminds me of the male and female versions of ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ in JTYJN. One carried a sadder anthem while the other was catchy, simple, and more romantic. Here, Tum Ho, which has some magical piano usage, is the romantic one while Tum Ko had a pang of sadness in it. A slow ballad that’s reminiscent ‘Oh Venilla’ AR Rahman.

Rating: 4.5/5

Sadda Haq (Mohit Chauhan)

By this time, you must have been wondering where is Rockstar’s anthem song, Sadda Haq. First of all, here’s some news for those who do not know. Orianthi, Michale Jackson’s ex guitarist, has teamed up with AR Rahman for the year’s greatest anthem song. This song will be on everybody’s lips for eons to come, like how Rang de Basanti was. This is a generation’s song, a hot-blooded composition and will make your veins pump. At least once while listening you’ll get this urge to smash something in front of you. The lyrics ‘why are you preaching truth when you can’t stomach the truth’ will linger with you for a long time. AR Rahman has left the best for the last. A maximum marking doesn’t do justice to this number. Full of anger, frustration, and hardcore rock arranged so beautifully, all I can say is ARR knows how to even make angst sound so catchy.

Oh eco friendly, nature ki rakshak, mein bhi hun nature.

All I could say is- ‘Chamak Challo’ what? Rockstar is the big deal. The biggest deal of the year. Just keep saying ‘Sadda Haq’, because AR Rahman is grooving again. This is one of his best albums in an illustrious career.

Salut! Magnifique!