Have you ever spent time inside an achingly beautiful bubble and hoped it would never burst? Maybe on a vacation, maybe with friends, or maybe, just maybe, with someone who turned your world upside down in minutes. How did it feel to come back to earth? Did you go back to a mundane life, full of daily chores and rigours and lose the spark within? Did you give up your dreams because it was different from what was expected? But what if, after years of convincing yourself that you are this ‘normal’ person, you meet that someone again? And the person shakes you out of your stupor stating that the real you was ‘that’ one and not ‘this’ one. Would you be able to handle the turmoil within? Would you be ready to go back to the person who somehow got lost in the mire of chasing success defined by society at large? Would you be brave enough to chase your own dreams?

Let me share some gyan lifted straight off Wikipedia…..Tamasha is a traditional form of Marathi theatre, often with singing and dancing, widely performed by local or travelling theatre groups. Some Hindi movies have also included Tamasha-themed songs, known as Lavanis, in the past. Traditional Tamasha is influenced by many Indian art forms and draws from such diverse traditions as kaveli, ghazals, Kathak dance, dashavatara, lalit and kirtan.

Now back to the movie. Mr. No Name (Ranbir Kapoor) and Ms. No Name (Deepika Padukone) bump into each other on the gorgeous island of Corsica. Mr comes to Ms’s rescue when she is stranded without her bag, passport and phone. He lends her his phone to call India and get bureaucratic machinery working to get a fresh passport which is promised within a week. So they have a week to frolic on paradise island and he decides that exchanging names is too passe so he remains Don and she Mona Darling. All is well because he swears not to get too close even though whatever happens in Corsica stays in Corsica. But we all know promises are meant to be broken and close they do get, just before she leaves the island.

Back to her charmed world, Tara Maheshwari (yes she has a name now, one that I quite like) finds it impossible to forget Mr No Name. She has very little hope of finding him but a very flimsy lead to his whereabouts. So when an assignment lands her in that city, she visits what she assumes is his haunt and after many visits she meets him, Ved Vardhan Sahni. But he is not the goofy, spontaneous charmer she met on the island years ago. He is a straight jacketed, neatly brushed, trimmed bearded corporate worker who seems robotic and more regimented than a drill sergeant, whether at work or while romancing. Unknown to her, he is also fighting a lot of demons within. But she is the same girl she was, looking desperately for the man she fell in love with. Where does this relationship go, if anywhere? Does she fall in love with the new Ved and compromise on the version of him who kept her dreaming for years?

The title of the film is inspired by lines by Ghalib- “Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha mere aagey” that translates to, “Your most personal thought is your life’s biggest farce/entertainment/celebration”. And tamasha keeps coming back to us through the film, in the form of folk songs, mimes and playing cards depicting passage of time. Costumes for the lead pair are well designed by Aki Narula and Anaita Shroff Adajania, and music by AR Rahman. While most of the songs are mediocre, ‘Heer to badi sad hai’ is funnily foot tapping and ‘Agar tum saath ho’ will haunt you long after you exit the theatre.

The film is long and flawed in many parts. It meanders about in the begining, rights itself in the middle and seems to be in a huge hurry towards the end, as if realizing that 2.5 hours are all that the audience can take. But it is painfully real and strangely familiar in many others parts. Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone shine brightly in Imtiaz Ali’s capable hands, and I have to say she outshines him in many places. Watch the film once without comparing it with Ali’s previous films like Rockstar, Cocktail and Highway. I cannot guarantee you will love it, since I have friends who did not like it one bit. It is not comforting and cosy, like a lot of love stories tend to be. But I do guarantee you a love story that is very unlike most of churned out by young Bollywood directors and something that might just make you take a good if very uncomfortable look at your own life and the choices you have made.


Copyright © Taraa Vermaa Senguptaa December2015
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