Ever since I had seen the trailer, I had been dying to watch Tamasha. I watched it last Saturday and No I am not disappointed. While leaving the theater I could hear people complaining and grumbling and to some extent they were justified. The movie is not for people who went in to see reminiscence of the old romance between the lead pair. The film is far and beyond a simple romance story.
The film begins with an epilogue where a clown and a robot highlight the mechanic life all of us live and then there is a rather long song about storytelling and how all stories are same in their essence. Being a lover of stories, Imtiaz Ali and the team had me there. With the premise set about storytelling and storytellers we are transported to the beautiful island of Corsica in France where the hero meets the heroine for the first time and they decide to lie about themselves and not meet each other after leaving the island. As was premised earlier in the film, hero and heroine fall for each other but refrain from any display as vowed by them to each other. Before they depart, they finally make love and return back to their real lives.
But as fate would have it they meet each other again and fall in love again. Hero proposes but heroine rejects his proposal. The problem is that the hero was someone else when he was pretending to be “Don” and in his real life he is completely different. Heroine’s problem is that the hero is not who she thought him to be. That is when the whole message of the film hits the audience.
The films highlights the flimsiness of our lives. In imitating others we loose ourselves in millions of faceless people. It is comic and pathetic to watch Ranbir Kapoor’s character Ved following a predictable life with every thing perfectly timed. We suddenly realise who the robot from the epilogue of the film is. It’s Ved and everyone else. The only person who is different is Tara and no being different does not mean that you have to be eccentric. Tara is not eccentric. She is a smart woman of the 21st century. She works and has a life and has maintained a perfect balance between her work and life.
Tara’s rejection leaves Ved in a state of shock. At first he appears to be normal but he is far from normal. Ved is not able to understand at first as to why would Tara reject him when he is doing exactly what everyone else is doing. With his brilliant acting Ranbir makes us believe that Ved has a split personality disorder. but it’s not a disorder, what Ved goes through is angst at his fate. It is after leading the life of a machine, and doing what he is told, Ved turns to the storyteller from his childhood to know how his story ends.
It is the storyteller who gives Ved the jolt he needed. He tells Ved to stop asking others about how his story ends and make his own story. Well it may sound weird but that is the whole point of the story. The film also takes a jibe at Indian parents who force their children to get into a career which they might not like. Ved by qualification and profession is an engineer but at heart is a performer and story teller. Though he is brilliant at storytelling, Ved does not have the will to oppose his father and ends up being one of the millions robots in the guise of a man.
The film has some important message for all of us. It’s not just about love but about choices we make in life and how important it is to do what we love. Tara who helps Ved realise who he really is, is herself a successful corporate woman but the difference between the two is that Tara is clearly in love with what she does and she has a life apart from her work.
What I loved about this movie is that the whole responsibility to help a man realise his true worth does not fall on the woman. She is not like the quintessential heroine who helps the hero to become a good man. She just helps him realise that he can be much more. The onus to change his life lies completely with Ved. The film does not undermine an individual’s potential. A man or woman does not and should not need someone else to change their lives. They already have everything to make the change.
And the film ends on the same note as it started. Like every other love story, hero and heroine end up together but not before Ved is his true self. The film leaves a strong impression. This is not your quintessential Bollywod film but then you can not expect a quintessential film from Imtiaz Ali.
In an interview to The Indian Express imtiaz Ali said “It’s that thought that crosses your mind when you are sitting by the window seat of a train and watching Ratlam go by and you think, what if I get down from this train? What life awaits me there?” and Tamasha is the manifestation of this thought. The film tells the story of “what if?” We think about numerous possibilities which we leave unexplored to tread on the paths that the world has tread on for centuries. this film tells you that walking on the “road less travelled” is not such a bad idea. I will end my rant with this excerpt from an Imtiaz Ali interview by Press Trust.
“What ‘Tamasha’ is trying to say is that don’t be satisfied with the stories you hear around you, create your own myth, choose your own story. Sometimes in trying to belong, you lose your edge, you become blunt and you forget who you are unless someone comes to remind you, someone who has seen you at that time. It’s not that simple because it takes the undoing of entire life’s experience to get in touch with yourself and your wild energy.”