5 years ago, we witnessed the Tamasha of our lives mirrored in Imtiaz Ali’s film. A film that almost mocks us by showcasing the monotonous life we have succumbed to. It is literally shouting at us. Asking us to separate from the herd we have comfortably blended into. Tamasha is a performance. We are the performers who are dancing to the society’s tune like a clown and dare we not obey the rules set by society. It’s only after we embrace what we truly are, we can put an end to this Tamasha. Even after all these years, the film is still as effective and it continues to push us to write our own myth.

” Do not be satisfied by the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth.”
– Rumi.

Tamasha is a celebration. Even in its somber & tortured tone, Imtiaz Ali manages to respect his own craft abiding by a story that might just be every man’s struggle. It decodes every single string in a person’s heart, ponders over the problem of becoming a soul-less robot & pushes the boundaries of existentialism in a glimmering, colorful stage of life.

After the fabulous Highway, Tamasha seemed like a step back into the old Imtiaz Ali territory. But thankfully he has matured as a director. So he presents a film that serves like an ending to a story that Imtiaz wanted to throw across the floor right from the start. There are tid bits of all his films. His characters are broken, confused & overly enigmatic like Rockstar & they are playful & hippy like Love Aaj Kal. Because life is also a collection of stories and Imtiaz has presented life as a combination of stories, which, may or may not be always important.

This is a director’s film. Moreover, it is a storyteller’s film. We see a tea drinking old man (Piyush Mishra) narrating a story to a kid who doesn’t believe in being the normal kid of the block. He is fascinated by stories & tries imagining & being in them. The film moves you around terrific looking stage plays & pieces, where Imtiaz very meticulously confuses the audiences that there is only one single story in the world & that every single story gets you to the same point. Then he cues you into a rather hypnotic & musical role-playing couple who decides to have the time of their lives without getting acquainted.

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Following his non-linear screenplay from Rockstar, Imtiaz Ali has written a story that’s a satire on life. A life that has been lead by following the crowd & doing what makes you hate yourself. The film shouts at the audience. Telling them to stop coating themselves with layers of sorry, snobbish lies & camouflaging yourself just to sound good. The film is an ode to all the hidden and long lost artists who once had a dream that they relished when things weren’t all that serious. It asks you to dance over that random power-point presentation which was made following a tedious routine just to land with a stupid pat on the back.

Tamasha is a coming-of-a-middle-age drama that walks you through the different set of emotions & setbacks. The love that was felt & lost. The muse that was needed to be but never did. It does not dig too deep into setting up the characters but its a big plus that the energy & enigma of the two leading actors moves this film along quite efficiently. It’s the kind of film where a lot of things are going on. If you haven’t been through or at least seen and felt the emotional turmoil that a artist faces, it might be really hard for you to accept the film for what it is. But the fact that Imtiaz, who has been accused of making different versions of the same story, makes a story about exactly that and even goes a step forward gives him extra brownie points. He makes it impossible for you to take your eyes off the living circus that goes on.

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While the film is mostly about Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), I was amused to see what Imtiaz did with Tara (Deepika Padukone) . The beauty is not scared of confessing, almost begging for the love that got away. She hasn’t been portrayed as the girl who keeps it all inside. A very contradictory character feature when you compare her to the film’s leading man. Yet, she is a ray of hope, a muse & a girl who shouldn’t be treated like any other girl. Imtiaz’s film has a love story at its core but I’m so glad that he doesn’t put all his mind & power to it. The love basically acts a catalyst for bigger & more important things. Learning, for instance. 

Shot magnificently by S. Ravi Varman, Tamasha works hugely because of A.R Rehman’s music. Unlike most of the what Bollywood has been doing, Imtiaz knows how to use his songs. The tracks don’t harm or overshadow the film’s essence & go quite evidently with the narrative. The ‘Wat Wat Wat’ track tells a story on its own & has to be one of my favorite moments from the film. I wasn’t a fan or Ranbir Kapoor until Rockstar happened. While you see glimmers of over the top failures in his rendition of Ved, you know deep down that everything is intentional. Ved’s character has a scale of variations & Ranbir manages to get them all right. His pious effort shows the depth he could go for bringing a character to life. Deepika is equally good. You question her character in the very first segment of the film but totally fall in love with her as the film goes by. 

Tamasha has intense & severe narrative drifts, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you are willing to hold-back, you will realize that Imtiaz Ali has weaved his magic wand again. He has made a film that is a nice little tribute to life itself. 

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