‘Tamasha is a storyteller’s safarnaama’…
I came across an interesting forward on FB about Imtiaz Ali’s films. Guy meets girl. They have fun together, they sing songs. They depart. Then they are not sure whether it is love or is it dove. Well to be honest, this one’s no different either. Now re-read this format and recall some other love story, be it by Yash Chopra or Karan Johar. Déjà vu?
This is precisely the point director Imtiaz Ali is trying to drive home here. All stories are the same, be it Ram-Seeta, Prithviraj-Sanyunta, Romeo Juliet or Helen of Troy. It’s the characters and forms that keep changing, and of course, the storyteller.
Tamasha, starring the terrific Ranbeer Kapoor and the gorgeous Deepika Padukone, is the story of a storyteller. Before we proceed, here’s a flashback: Remember those Monster.com ads, wherein there’s a chef stuck in a barber’s job or a cricketer working as a dhobi? Now picture that 25 second ad as a 139 minute film. Heck, you even have a Naukri.com’s Hari Sadu here, ably played by Vivek Mushran.
Now that you’ve got the gist, Tamasha is everything that your regular film isn’t. If you walked inside the auditorium for yet another Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani or Jab We Met, Mr. 007 isn’t far for an encore. I could already see many people walking out of the auditorium post interval and few guys ruing that this one’s not even a film but stray footage stitched together and made to look like a film.
If you’re still with me, may I add that this one’s isn’t a review but rather a kind of ‘conditioner’ that acclimatizes you well-in-advance about what you’re going to experience while watching Tamasha? The last para just might lead you to the book my show app. The story is simple: Guy meet girl amid the exotic locales of Corsica. They hide their identities. They part their ways with a promise to never see each other again. You know what happens next. But that’s the thing about Tamasha. You know what happens next, but will have no clue how that ‘next’ transpires on screen.
Ranbeer Kapoor breathes life into the character of Ved. Think of him as a cocktail of Harpreet Singh Bedi of ‘Rocket Singh – Salesman of the year’ and Bunny or Kabir Thapar of ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’. What you get is a near-schizophrenic version of the two in the form of Ved, yet this gem of an actor neither ambles along the familiar terrains nor resorts to comfort zone. Instead, he internalizes Ved, especially his formative years (The kid who played Ranbeer indeed deserves an applause).
Be it the affable Dev Anand or the Robotic Product Manager, the actor pulls out each moment with a veteran’s ease. He gently handholds you to the inner journey of his character solely through his expressions rather than dialogues and a restrained use of soliloquy.
In one such soliloquy, Ranbeer casually sings, ‘Koi pathhar se na maare mere deewane ko’ (The song featured his dad Rishi Kapoor who played Majnu in the 1976 film, Laila-Majnu), yet as an audience, you know exactly what he is going through. While we’re at it, Ranbeer resembles the young Raj Kapoor in this scene and you just can’t help marveling at the fact that acting is indeed in his genes.
The other actor who steals the show is Deepika Padukone as ‘Mona Darling’ or Tara Maheshwari. The actor has indeed come a long way from those struggling-to-get-the-expression-right in Om Shanti Om days to the awe-inspiring Leela of Ram Leela. Since then, there has been no looking back for Deepika, be it Finding Fanny, (let’s not mention Happy New Year just for the sake of being biased) or the recent Piku. She’s getting better with every film and how! There’s a scene where she pleads with Ved to forgive her. This scene alone is enough to win her this year’s best actress awards (Lest she decides to return them in protest). In a film completely based on the hero, it was indeed a challenge to make her presence felt and Deepika not only does that, but also manages to win your heart with her wonderful performance.
In a way, her character, Tara is like Dev Anand’s character Raju in ‘Guide’, who ‘rescues’ the other character from mundane life. If Dev saab were alive, he’d have surely agreed, perhaps nodded in his inimitable style.
AR Rahman literally scores the right notes with a fresh soundtrack and a background score weaved to complement the rather complex narrative brilliantly shot by Ravi Varman and deftly edited by Aarti Bajaj. The songs, ‘Matargashti’, ‘Heer to very sad’, ‘Watt watt’ and Lucky Ali’s ‘Safarnama’ have been picturized to perfection and stay with you after watching the film, compelling you to catch up with them on your iPod, on loop.
To sum it up, this Tamasha indeed deserves a standing ovation. Director Imtiaz Ali, take a bow.