Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Piyush Mishra
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Throughout Tamasha, there is a recurrent line – that it is always the same story of boy meets girl and society creates a rift between them. Is the Deepika Padukone-Ranbir Kapoor-starrer any different? It is not. Only this time, society creates the barrier through a much longer route – with the norms implanted deep down in the protagonist’s character.
Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha is a theatrical attempt at exploring love, life and the love for life in its best form – free from the shackles of society. Be it Rockstar, Highway or Jab We Met – Imtiaz’s characters seem to be treading the same line. Once again, the protagonist (Ved, played by Ranbir Kapoor) is a ‘normal, average’ man going about his life in the routine prescribed by his immediate society and family – a character caught in the drama of routine and decency. The film traces Ved’s journey from following the set patterns of life to getting back to his childhood self where he was in awe of stories and characters.
While Highway was a well-explored journey of Veera (Alia Bhatt), Imtiaz Ali fails to offer any novelty in Tamasha. What is more disappointing is the fact that the director does not build his characters enough for the audience to empathise – almost half the film is dedicated to the scenic beauty of Corsica and harps more on the sizzling chemistry of Ranbir-Deepika rather than bringing the audience any closer to the characters. In the first half, there are sequences that touch upon the dark sides of life and well-choreographed songs but these scenes don’t explore the protagonists’ personalities and lives. There is not even a proper conversation to hold the audience – most of the scenes that involve dialogues are peppered with background music and songs – which is good, with AR Rahman’s soothing music and Irshad Kamil sharp lyrics – but it hampers the audience’s engagement with the characters onscreen. The second half, thankfully, gears up and brings us a little closer to Ved and Tara.
People with an artistic bent in their personality are likely to identify with Ved’s character – he is mesmerised with stories and theatre, but life and its demands of making a living in accordance with his pragmatic father, take a toll on his real calling and make him forget his real self. It is only on a holiday trip in Corsica where he meets Tara (Deepika Padukone) and his love for fun and theatre comes back to the fore. Ved and Tara have an agreement that they won’t reveal real names or anything that can trace them back to their lives – leaving behind the fun, love and connection they find in each other.
When Tara tracks Ved and meets him in Delhi, she finds a different man – a product manager who has been saving his job solely through his ‘well-mannered’ behaviour and the tendency to be a yes-man of his boss. With a broken heart, she decides to leave Ved alone and move on, but you cannot move on from love, from your own heart. Tamasha traces the journey of Ved leaving behind his put-on, robotic character and coming back to Tara.
In the film, the characters keep asking time and again if their story is any different from the ones we keep hearing and if it is good enough – as if seeking the audience’s approval – and that gets irritating after a point.
The beautiful locations of Corsica, trippy camera angles and well-stationed frames ensure the movie takes the audience on a journey to a fantasy land – one where you do not have to play by the boring rules of real life.
Some of the sequences in the film are interesting – like the one where Ved tells Tara she need not play the ‘touch-me-not’ woman and assures her ‘kameenapan nahi karunga’. Or the one where Ved goes to Piyush Mishra, the storyteller who introduced him to the world of stories as a child, to seek solution to the problems of his life. Piyush Mishra is a forgetful man and keeps mixing all the stories, when Ved does not hear what he wants to, he gets angry and this sets off Mishra. He says Ved is a coward to seek advice from someone else – a perfect life lesson for all of us – we often seek approval from someone and want them to tell us that our heart’s calling is right. We shouldn’t.
Both Ranbir and Deepika come across as mature performers in Tamasha. While Deepika re-asserts her acting capabilities despite the script rendering her the second fiddle, Ranbir – who has been facing criticism over his last few outings onscreen – surprises with his brilliant acting prowess. Ranbir talking to himself in front of the mirror and the time when he tells his own story to his family are some of the most striking sequences. Be it role-playing Don, aping Dev Anand or the Ved torn between his routine of office, life and the freedom-loving story-teller – Ranbir aces all forms of the character. Tamasha is definitely Ranbir’s best films till date.
Tamasha could have been, but is certainly not, Imtiaz’s best – I found it better than Rockstar, but it is not as gripping as Highway. With Imtiaz’s intriguing take on love stories, scenic locations and brilliant acting by Ranbir and Deepika, it is a one-time watch, but nothing more.