Tamasha - Review
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“Mamma, what was the movie about” is a question my kids ask me almost every Friday. Every time it is a rom-com, I say, “Boy meets girl.” Some times, for variety I say, “Girl meets boy.” The kids, they roll their eyes, “they fall in love and either they live happily thereafter or die together, right?” Each time, I hope to at least, say, “Yes, but...” And finally, I have that chance. At least, the how is different, it has a purpose. You can tell why Don (Ranbir Kapoor) and Mona darling (Deepika Padukone) fall in love with each other. You can sense how they fill a void in the others' life. That alone is enough for me to like a rom-com. Though I might have a dozen places where the film could've been tighter, a plot point not seem random, and so on.
To tell the same story again is a mean task. Especially, when the director has said the same story a few times himself. Now it feels like, each of those times might just have been a build-up towards this one. One that is blatant about being mundane and repetitive. One that is also a social commentary about the “system” killing the individual. One that tells you stop asking for stories that are different, because all stories are the same. Yet, make your own story because your story is different because it is about you.
Last week we saw K struggle to find himself, in X: Past Is Present. We saw his past experiences make him the person he is now. He seems to be only an evolved version of Don in Tamasha. Only the two films talk about different influences in life. The former about his love relationships and this one is a contest between nature and nurture.
Tamasha starts very Before Sunrise-ish and has all the smiles and warmth of any real-life romantic relationship that has just begun. Even if light-hearted, you can see the intensity of the attachment take hold. Even if you know nothing about either of the protagonists, just like they don't know each other, you know this trip is going to change their lives – that is, if they allow it to.
Once this phase is over, like it is always meant to be, it became a little jarring that only one point of view is presented at a time. Mona who is not a prop is not a full-fledged character, either. She is more a catalyst to Don's self-discovery. This self-discovery itself is a little disconnected. Two points in the story attribute to this disconnect in the journey. One because of its presence in the film and the other because of its absence.
There is a part of the film where Don is missing in action. We know nothing of his thought process during that part. While this missing part left a nagging question mark during the film, after the film, it comes across as a convenient escape in the story-telling. Giving us a peek into Don's mind at that point would be very difficult to keep it consistent with what came before and what was to come after. So, was this a cop-out? However, we can make a guess of the stories Don might have told himself during this time. Stories we all tell ourselves when we believe that what is not meant to be, won't be – “the same story”. Though unlikely, if this inference was intentionally left to the audience – Tamasha is much better written than it seems.
In another instance, we are shown the angst a young Don goes through when in college. The life that Don picks after that struggle just seems a little unlikely. As in, he seems old enough to understand the missing element in his life. It seems a little unlikely that he would reject that element so vehemently, when a mirror is held before him. Oh well, maybe truth is that difficult to handle.
Having let go of these two slurs, Tamasha immerses without getting you completely absorbed. A part of it might be the charisma that Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone bring to screen. It is difficult to take your eyes off either of them when they are on screen. While they own their characters - their angst and their reality – they are still Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padokone. You catch yourself saying, “wow! what acting!” while watching the film. And while that does mean they have done a great job, they have also ended up reminding you, you are watching a film.
And that is an ironical problem with this cast and crew, right? They are so good that each time we expect them to outdo themselves, be it the director or the actors. You have to remind yourself that they have brought home the point so beautifully. Was Ms. Padukone relegated to a supporting role? Screen-time-wise – yes. But, in terms of importance of the character – no.
Doesn't it take great constraint to not let “screen-time needed” dictate the writing in a story? Sure, I'd like to have seen her have a bigger role, the woman's point of view presented. But, she had played her bit, it was now Don's turn to figure things out for himself. Did she have no self-respect, we may ask? But don't we all have that one person for whom we are incapable of giving self-respect any room. Why does she wait around for him? That one I will let you watch the film to figure it out.
Ranbir Kapoor plays the seemingly bipolar character absolutely amazingly. Of course, there is drama, you were well-warned with the title. However, there is no melodrama. There are theatrics and those bring insight. Who is telling your story? Who is directing it? Who is the Raavan of your life? Who is your genie, your Hanuman? Some parallels across mythological and fairy tales were indeed thought-provoking.
Some of the side characters made me squirm, though. The corporate world is presented all bad; the system painted all black. Don's manager, his colleagues are all caricatures. But, aren't they part of the system? If they are stuck in their roles too, don't they need our empathy? They do show some people okay with their place in the corporate world, Mona for instance. However, there could be some people who are okay being mediocre, right? Maybe we will have another film to celebrate mediocrity. And we are such that we will accept it to rise beyond mediocrity.
Any film that makes you go into a thought circle like that has won me. While Tamasha might have aimed at it, it won't make you get up and relook your life and the many faces you carry. It won't make you rip off the mask you wear and let the beast in you out as soon as you walk out of the theater. But, if it makes you think in that direction for even a little bit, if it makes you look at your bipolar self which might just be normal, while making a genuine attempt at telling the same story differently, hasn't it done its job?
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: None
- Language: Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: A few words sex-related word beeped out. A couple of making out scenes and a few liplocks.
- Concept: Finding oneself due to the power of another's love.
- General Look and Feel: Trippy and very non-standard.
Tamasha - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: UTV Motion Pictures, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment
- Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
- Director: Imtiaz Ali
- Lead Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone
- Supporting Cast: Ishtiyaq Khan, Javed Shaikh, Nikhil Bhagat (I), Faraaz Servaia, Kshitij Sharma, Punam Singh
- Music Director: A R Rahman
- Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 150 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Philosophy, Relationships, Romance, Social
Tamasha - Trailer
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