“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.” – William Shakespeare
Rumor has it that director Imtiaz Ali was inspired by this Shakespearean quote when conceptualizing Tamasha. Imtiaz Ali is known in Bollywood for his intellectual filmmaking. After exploring deep spirituality in his last movie Highway, he is back with Tamasha, a romantic love story with a twist.
Ved Vardhan Sahni (Ranbir Kapoor) is a man obsessed with stories and storytelling since he was a child. In Corsica, he meets Tara Maheshwari (Deepika Padukone) and the rest is love and self-discovery.
Imtiaz Ali communicates a simple but seldom remembered message through this film: follow your heart, be true to yourself, and write your own destiny. This is a much needed message for Indian audiences to hear, particularly in light of the pressure parents may place on their children to pursue certain careers over others. More important than the message itself, however, is the way in which Imtiaz portrays it subtly through music lyrics and carefully placed thought-provoking dialogues. In particular, Irshad Kamil’s lyrics for “Chali Kahani” were insightful and enlightening, implying the oneness that unites all stories.
Some other concepts Imtiaz Ali explores are expectations of relationships and the limitations of what is normal vs. what is abnormal. From a psychological perspective, Imtiaz brings to life a feeling that many youth have likely experienced of falling in love with an ideal or an image of someone rather than the actual person, and we get a glimpse of how this plays out in the film through the trailer. This relates to the internal conflict and identity crisis Ved experiences later on in the film, at which point he becomes deeply reflective and contemplative.
Imtiaz Ali’s direction and writing aside, there are many great and some not so good things about Tamasha. A.R. Rahman’s background score suits every scene perfectly; it is arguably more appealing than the songs in the album. The acting by Ranbir and Deepika is simply phenomenal, and they convincingly essay their roles. Ravi Varman’s cinematography, particularly in the Corsica scenes, is breathtaking. While the editing could have been more crisp in the second half, some of those scenes contributed to the intense character development of Ved.
Final Verdict: Tamasha is a film that infuses and questions the boundaries of imagination and realism, politeness and craziness, and lightheartedness and profundity. An inspiring watch for intellectual film lovers!