* * * 1/2
Once upon a time in Bollywood, the usual enemies of love were external – parents, goons or evil relatives, love was a solution to life’s problems, and a destination in itself. Then came people like Ayan Mukherjee, Shakun Batra, Imtiaz Ali and love became an instrument to self-discovery , and had to face bigger battles- that with self, thoughts and beliefs. Interestingly, Ranbir Kapoor has been a frequent part of such stories, and Tamasha adds an illustrious feather to that hat. This is a beautiful cinematic experience, not so much a commercial love story, but a story of stories, metaphors, soul searching and ultimately, love helping you discover them all. Imtiaz Ali excels with this intense and passionate tale of defying conventions and finding your own story, and comes up with a cinematic triumph!
Tamasha is an experience, a theatrical presentation which uses the metaphor of story-telling beautifully and weaves a character and story about whom you care, and in the process start thinking about your own life and dreams. Why always the same story – the film questions frequently, while also reiterating the fact that most stories, across cultures, nations, times are similar at the core, and all our stories are somewhere a mix of that, but we need to find that within ourself. In a key moment of the film, the moment of realization, the protagonist realizes that it was nothing else but fear that had been stopping him from finding his own story, living his own dream. The strength of that one moment is enormous, and elevates the movie to a different level. The movie tells us the story of a Ved (Ranbir) , who has grown up listening to stories, and lives through them. Unable to separate real life from the stories he hears, when he is forced to give them up and follow the same journey as everyone, he loses his own self and becomes what is expected of him by the society. How a trip to beautiful Corsica and a meeting with Tara (Deepika) changes his life and makes him discover his real self, forms the crux of the story. It might sound a bit high minded, pretentious and first world, but it isn’t. Infact one of the characters says, jinki life me koi problem nahi hoti, wo khud problems create karte hain, and sadly many people especially in our country might agree to that, and that irony itself drives home strongly the point of this movie.
Hence, in no way this is a safe movie to make and be a part of. Imtiaz Ali must be applauded for sticking to his beliefs and coming up with movies which have a strong voice and something to say. But more importantly, it is Ranbir who deserves praise for his strong performance, which once again shows why he is regarded as the next superstar, and despite seeing a few failures has not given in to the safe commercial choices in cinema. His portrayal of Ved is perfect and leaves you spell bound. Deepika shines too, though her role has not been defined clearly and also treated often as secondary to Ranbir’s. A R Rahman is magical as always, adding the required pathos and volumes to silences. The camera beautifully captures the beauty of Corsica and lanes of Hauz Khas Village in Delhi. In second half the movie does meander for some time, and some might find the pacing slow. But with all its ideas of self-actualization and being true to self, the movie does manage to find a middle path between reality, practicality and romanticism, and that’s the best part of the story. Because, how many of us have really been stopped from pursuing our dreams by our parents, or lack of money? More often than not, it is only our fear of breaking the convention, leaving the comfort zones which restricts us. Tamasha teaches us to forget the fears, live our own story, and question, why always the same story!
Go for it, absolutely!