Thank you for your warm response to my blog post from January, `2015: My Picks among all Flicks’. On popular demand, I bring to you a detailed review of one of those picks – `Tamasha’…

“Main andar toh kuchh aur hu, bahar majboor.” (I`m someone else within, but on the outside, I`m helpless.)

The rickshaw driver`s statement in Tamasha sums up the contemporary issue that the director Imtiaz Ali addresses through this film. The story is about Ved (Ranbir Kapoor) and his realization of how he has always been conditioned to participate in the rat race.

The film is aptly titled Tamasha (drama) as it explores the various roles one plays as one grows up. Ved is a run-of-the-mill corporate man who vomits technical jargon in boardroom meetings and wears a tie just to impress his boss. His submission to the mundane life is a consequence of his childhood, where he was made to believe in stories blindly. Thus, he acts strictly within the template of those myths and succumbs to his father`s (Javed Habib) demand of joining an engineering institute despite a lack of interest in the subject. Years later, he visits Corsica for a vacation, the idea behind which is a release from his monotonous life. He meets Tara (Deepika Padukone) there and both of them mutually decide not to disclose their names in order to avoid the baggage of portraying their perceived identities. They also make a pact to suppress their sexual desires towards each other and to never meet each other after the trip as they don`t want to fit into the mold of a quintessential love saga.

Things don`t go the way planned. Tara comes to Delhi to seek Ved four years after the trip. However, she finds him to be a changed person, back into his shoes of a “common man”. She makes him aware of how he is losing his primary identity of a carefree soul to stay true to his public image. This brings his mind to a conflicted state, which is reflected by his conversations in the mirror and even by his choice of book – Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. The rest of the story revolves around how he resolves his conflict and brings back the dormant child inside him, who had been curbed by societal expectations.

Ranbir plays this conflicted character perfectly, switching to a loud personality effortlessly from a calm one. Deepika lends great support to Ranbir but holds her own in a male-dominated story. Her dubbing of a Joker and a Japanese woman speaks volumes of her versatility. Piyush Mishra has a tailor-made role of a traditional storyteller, courtesy his baritone and eloquent narrative style. The music by AR Rahman is in tune with the multiple moods reflected in the story. Heer toh Badi Sad Hai, sung by Mika, a Punjabi dance number depicting a low mood, is refreshing.

Though the film is full of theatrical elements deliberately incorporated into storytelling, they tend to confuse the viewers sometimes. To make matters worse, the complex theme and parallel narratives add to the confusion. Nonetheless, Ali does send a powerful message across – in every story, the rest is still unwritten.


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One thought on “It’s Your Story, Tell it Your Way

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