AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali Had an Unusual Music Launch for ‘Tamasha’
The team behind <i>Tamasha’s </i>soundtrack: Irshad Kamil, Mohit Chauhan, Imtiaz Ali and AR Rahman (Photo: Rohit Khilnani)
The team behind Tamasha’s soundtrack: Irshad Kamil, Mohit Chauhan, Imtiaz Ali and AR Rahman (Photo: Rohit Khilnani)

AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali Had an Unusual Music Launch for ‘Tamasha’

Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali didn’t want to do just another filmi music launch for his new film Tamasha, as he believes such events are nothing more than a photo op for the media. So the filmmaker decided to keep a sangeet baithak with select members of the media. I had only heard of the concept of a sangeet baithak but never attended one. I am sure it was a popular concept in the good old days of Hindi cinema, way before Sheela and Munni dominated the music scene.

So the director of Tamasha, Imtiaz Ali, music composer AR Rahman and lyricist Irshad Kamil sat facing us and Imtiaz said they will play all the songs from the album one by one and then would share their experiences of making it.

But before the music began, the lead actor of Tamasha, Ranbir Kapoor was connected via FaceTime for a short informal welcome note.

The music album cover of <i>Tamasha</i>
The music album cover of Tamasha

The first song that was played is Imtiaz Ali’s personal favourite from the album –Tu Koi Aur Hai, which he says is the soul of the film.

Tu Koi Aur Hai is sung by AR Rahman, Alma Ferovic and Arjun Chandy. It’s another soulful number by Rahman.

Tu koi aur hai, Jaanta hai tu
Saamne iss jahaan ke, Ik naqaab hai
Tu koi aur hai, Koi aur hai
Kyon nahi vo jo hai, Khud ko bhool kar
Apne hi saath na, Aise zulm kar……

It clearly was the right number to kick start the baithak, after which Rahman spoke about making music for Imtiaz Ali.

Making music for him is not easy because he leaves a lot to me so it’s my responsibility to give him what he has in mind.
– AR Rahman

With every album of an Imtiaz Ali film you get the lyrics of it in the CD as a leaflet and that’s what makes me very happy. It shows how important lyrics are to the filmmaker that he wants everyone to have a copy of it.
– Irshad Kamil

After Rahman sir composed the song, he told me very clearly that please listen to it, he was like hope you like it because you are the director of the film so please make sure you are getting what you want. I wanted to tell him who doesn’t like what AR Rahman composes.
– Imtiaz Ali


A publicity still from <i>Tamasha</i>
A publicity still from Tamasha

Chali Kahaani was a catchy number that followed next, it’s sung by Sukhwinder Singh, Haricharan and Haripriya. This brings back the hit pair of Rahman and Sukhwinder who gave us the popular number Jai Ho from Danny Boyle’s Academy award winning film Slumdog Millionaire. The song won an Oscar for the Best Original Song and a Grammy for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture.

We took six months to mix this song. When I asked myself, how do I take this song further? I knew the answer, it had to be sung by Sukhwinder Singh.
– AR Rahman

This was Ravana’s war cry. I am very happy with this song I don’t know when I will get another song like this one. I feel this song is an achievement.
– Imtiaz Ali

Alka Yagnik and AR Rahman (Photo: Twitter/@rahman360)
Alka Yagnik and AR Rahman (Photo: Twitter/@rahman360)

The next song was Agar Tum Saath Ho which is beautifully sung by Alka Yagnik and Arijit Singh.

I knew that Alka Yagnik would work very well for this song. I love her voice, I don’t understand why music composers don’t use her.
– AR Rahman

When asked about how Arjit Singh landed up doing the male voice in the song with Alka Yagnik, Rahman joked, “He was free that day and I had to finish the male version.”

The next song sounded like it could work well with youngsters, it’s called Matargashti.

Sung by Mohit Chauhan, who was also present at the baithak, the lyrics are clearly written to make it young and snappy. Check out an excerpt:

Mujhko dhoondho na jungle bele mein
WhatsApp pe hun ha ha ha ha ha ha
Tu hai vo jisne
Khenchi meri dhoti dhoti khenchi
Ab tu dhoondhe kahan bande na main
Kaaba…
Kaashi…
Main twitter pe hun
DP meri dekho ha ha ha ha ha

Just when I thought there can’t be someone who has lesser words to share than AR Rahman, I ran into Mohit Chauhan. When asked about his experiences he pointed towards Rahman and said, “I do whatever he tells me to do.”

I saw a reality show where he was singing a Kishore Kumar song, I loved the way he sang that. When I read Matargashti, I had him in mind.
– AR Rahman

The album also has a Mika Singh song called Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai, don’t go by the lyrics there is nothing sad about it.

I like Mika’s voice, we wanted a charming voice exactly like his.
–AR Rahman

Mika’s voice is perfect for this song. Listen to it, it’s not a sad song. It’s a happy sad song! I don’t remember the last time I heard a happy sad song!
–Imtiaz Ali

All the song performances followed back to back with some good discussion over chai. Towards the end, I thanked Imtiaz for having us over and making us listen to the entire album before it’s out and sharing behind the scenes experiences, which we wouldn’t get to know otherwise. He said this works so much better than a music launch but wonder why people keep doing launches. I couldn’t agree more!

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