When an Imtiaz Ali film is about to release, the expectations are sky-high and for obvious reasons, they start off well. But after some reviews pour in, the numbers begin to deteriorate, probably that’s the reason ‘Jab We Met’ still remains one of his most loved films, followed by ‘Love Aaj Kal’ because they were liked by the majority. Reason for that? Maybe because it was our quintessential Bollywood rom-com with brilliantly crafted drama.
But on a personal level, two of his average grossers ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Highway’ have been my absolute favourites.
Both these films were far from perfect, they were flawed and quite complex as well. That’s exactly why many people didn’t like them, these films weren’t entertaining enough, focused more on your emotional journey as a human being and well, let’s be real-Who wants to invest their time and money on such convolutions?
But then I wonder why many people after slamming these films regret it later on? Just like Rahman’s music, his films grow on you and eventually perceptions change.
Since his latest film ‘Tamasha’ is finally out and yet again, it doesn’t completely satisfy you but manages to wrench your heart for some reason and long after the film’s over, as I begin to share my review I don’t know why, I don’t know how but my heart feels heavy, even though this one has a happy ending, unlike his previous two. To be honest, Ali’s films are exactly like our lives-unpredictable, not completely satisfying but still filled with precise intricacies and the right emotions.
Either you’ll love them or you’ll hate them and as per my observation, I think many would end up hating Tamasha, even though it’s a unique gem.
(Describing the audience: 5-10 minutes into the film when the impeccably ideated ‘Chali Kahani’ began, I realised I was watching the film but nothing was going inside my head because this really annoying couple besides me kept making fun of the film, even though it had just been 5 minutes. They wouldn’t stop talking and laughing, so after a while I decided to give away my top row seat and went way ahead, I knew I’d be able to watch the film peacefully now. 😛 )
So Ranbir Kapoor plays Ved, who’s captivated by stories, who grows up hearing them and expresses himself by performing them but due to societal and parental pressure he’s never really able to express himself and ends up doing a corporate job. On the other hand Deepika Padukone plays Tara, who’s very persuasive and emotionally agile.
It all starts with their random encounter in Corsica as strangers and how they decide to keep their identities to themselves without letting any insecurity, social norm or commitment disrupt their behaviour towards each other. How both of them part ways and meet again after 4 years, the difference being Ved now is a completely different person. He’s the ideal gentleman, extremely formal and decent, not even close to what he was earlier, the free spirited Don that Tara had fallen for. That’s when the complexities begin and we witness the actual Tamasha.
Trust me, no one can handle human conflicts better than Imtiaz Ali, no one. He creates those frames with so much of ease that not even for a moment would you find it irrelevant or unrelated. Human drama with sheer eloquence? Fall back to Imtiaz Ali.
There are a lot of things that didn’t work for me, especially the first half as it seemed too vague and forceful but as soon as the Corsica bit ends and the second half begins, Tamasha starts working and how. Though like I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s something really strange about his films that they’re far from perfect but they consume you emotionally, that’s exactly what happens over here because there were a lot of things that could’ve been justified but probably Ali left it for the audience to interpret or he just didn’t want to get into the details to avoid distraction. For instance, the audience would know that Ved was suffering from a disorder but we don’t exactly know what was bothering him. Partly schizophrenic or dual personality, maybe he didn’t want us to sympathise with the character but whatever said and done, the way he captured Ved’s dilemma, his pain, his struggle to come out of his shell, especially during ‘Tu Koi Aur Hai’ when we see montages of the 19-year-old Ved, shouting and howling out of frustration, I swear it would give you goosebumps. How can you possibly go wrong if you have actors like Ranbir and Deepika along with A.R.Rahman as the composer? That’s exactly why Tamasha chokes you moment, after moment. Even though Tamasha is about Ved’s journey as an individual, it’s Tara who awakens his soul. The camera mostly follows Ranbir but whenever she’s in the frame, trust me you won’t be able to take your eyes off her and no, I’m not saying that because she’s the most gorgeous woman alive right now but because her eyes are so expressive that you won’t be able to stop yourself from falling in love with her, irrespective of the gender. 😛
This woman has evolved so much in these 8 years that it’s not even funny, Ranbir was always one of the most talented we had but today, especially after watching Tamasha, all you can do is clap for this woman who’s worked her way up and so much so that she would literally jolt your heart and make you cry along-Just watch the apology scene that’s shot at Social Offline and ‘Tum Saath Ho.’
For me, she’s the best Indian actress ever and she’s proving it each and every time. Talking about Ranbir, how can someone not like him? He’s extremely talented, extremely hardworking and it shows. He makes Ved come alive and gives one of his most accomplished performances ever.
So confident, yet composed. So layered, yet raw and naive. We are lucky to have an artist like him in this country who’s equally at par with actors like Irrfan and Nawazuddin.
Just like ‘Rockstar,’ this film would’ve fallen flat if Rahman wasn’t behind the music. How can you ‘not’ like his music? Even if you don’t, he’ll make sure you like it, as it definitely grows with time. For example, I really didn’t like ‘Tu Koi Aur Hai’ and ‘Safarnama’ earlier but after coming out of the film, I ended up humming these songs and ‘Tum Sath Ho’ never left my mind, it’s still playing in the head.
How does he do this? No one knows but yes, Rahman’s the only composer who can enhance storytelling and he’s done that with perfection over here.
So overall, Tamasha isn’t perfect but even if you don’t like it, something about this film would definitely stay with you no matter what and well, that’s Imtiaz Ali for you, my cinematic institution.
Watch it for the award worthy performances, Ali’s theatrical vision and Rahman’s music along with Irshad Kamil’s sour stirring lyrics.
Hits you in the gut.
And yes, the poster says-Why Always The Same Story?
The answer to that:
Because Imtiaz, no other storyteller can do it better than you.