There comes a time in life when you introspect, reflect about what you have been doing all these years. Is it the real you? Being enslaved in mundane stuff for eons, can a spark bring back that true self in a quest to recognize your identity. Significantly, have you even identified that deep within, you are not living a life that you once aspired for. Sometimes an incident, a moment or maybe even a failure can shake your core self; leading to a descent, only to realize your own self-worth. A worth which is required to accentuate your importance in your own eyes.
Imtiaz Ali sets the ball straight from the opening frames where one sees Ranbir Kapoor performing as a mechanical robot in front of an audience. Going back to his adolescent years where he absolutely dislikes mathematics; Ved has a penchant for listening to stories from a story teller (Piyush Mishra). Though he never gets to listen about the end of those numerous stories narrated, he is made to believe every story is the same. The only difference being, will his story have the same end?
Tamasha keeps a narration in 4 acts (Teja Ka Sona, Ishq Wala Love, Andar Ki Baat & Don Returns) after that, the first of it being set in Corsica. Introducing us to Tara (Deepika Padukone) who has lost her passport, Ved is benevolent towards her and they get into a pact to not know each other by their real name and spend a week together of fun and frolic.Their playfulness and camaraderie along with Ranbir enacting as Dev Anand are joyous to watch with some gorgeous locales. Deepika shines during a brief moment of uncertainty while she has to depart, but unsure of saying a final bye to Ved and never to meet again. In a later moment which leaps to 4 years, Tara who has moved from Kolkata to Delhi, meets Ved inadvertently and wanders around him to grab his attention.
It is a complete transformation now to the Ved whom Tara and the audience alike have met before. In one of the better phases that I have seen in mainstream commercial cinema for some time, Imtiaz goes deep into the existential issues of a person who is bound by society. Here is a man who has always loved doing something in his life, and is confined to the mundaneness of being. Programmed to work, being decent and polite; traits which are lauded even by his boss, but eventually a common guy who is average, mediocre and powerless. When Tara confides that he is not the same Ved whom she had envisioned and was always with her even in those 4 years of absence, Ved lets out his piled up demons of being inexpressive for all those years and eventually turning out to be the person he is now. Automated to the civilization and curbed of his natural flair, the gift to tell stories.
Imtiaz Ali has grown up in stature while dealing with the complexities of human mind and behaviour. While it is easier to have a viable approach which could have been detrimental for such a personal story, he knows the character and keeps all the focus on him. He has a certain flair for handling relationships and doesn’t paint all in black and white. The grey shades are what makes a human susceptible to all frailties and Imtiaz has a firm understanding of how his characters speak and behave.
Deepika Padukone is relegated to the back seat post intermission but she holds her own in every scene and it is to her credit that the chemistry between both looks so believable. It is very difficult to cry on screen, but Deepika has a knack which few actresses possess without making it melodramatic. Her nuances on the puns and succeeding in playing along with Ranbir’s impersonation of others are superlative.
Ranbir Kapoor in a blazing return to form holds every scene in the frame and gives one of his most accomplished performances. The maturity with which he handles the raging storm inside him and not portraying it like a disorder is a huge achievement. The interaction wherein he conveys to his father that it is our childhood that we crush in our quest to lead and earn is deftly handled without sounding preachy.
Any doubt on A R Rahman’s music is dispelled here when he clearly seen as a director’s delight to integrate music and words for the proceedings. Imtiaz and Rahman have worked together and succeeded in the past, but here I would like to mention a particular song called “Wat Wat Wat”. It is a story within a song of 2 seperate individuals, the other apart from Ved being an auto driver; who had the audiences asking for more with his singing but is now trapped in the cycle of life. Interspersed beautifully with only his voice during conclusion of the song, it proves how Imtiaz has a grip on his medium.
No amount of praise is less for Aarti Bajaj and her mastery on weaving scenes and making every passage of the film work. Backed up with arresting camerawork from Ravi Varman, the frames are splendid and follow the character being in sync with the film.
Tamasha also reinforces that a mainstream commercial film also can have a lot of heart and mind without the excesses, and all one needs is the purity to narrate a story with identifiable emotion and feelings on celluloid. And if one is stuck then reassure yourself that
Tu Koi Aur Hai
Teri Na Hadein
Aasman Hai Khayal Hai
Tu Mauj Hai
Chahe Jo Tu Hai Wahi