The ‘Tamasha’ Review


Like most Imtiaz films, Tamasha is a visual treatise on the duality of the human psyché. Throughout his filmography he has grappled with characters who struggle to overpower social projections by discovering their true selves through tumultuous relationships and this was no exception.

But wait…there’s more to this story.

A little out-of-character, he has beautifully depicted metaphors throughout the screenplay.

The very first shot depicts a humanoid robot, played by Ranbir, which has been programmed to perform set tasks without any true sense of purpose. It runs into a clown, played by Deepika, who questions its rigid actions by a simple unassuming Kyun (Why) for which it has no answer and is filled with self-doubt.

This stark characterisation is consistent throughout the storyline and puts forth a glaring question to each of us – “When did I become just a cog in the wheel ?”

The metaphoric treatment continues with a child who, besides uncannily resembling Ranbir, loves stories. He spends all his pennies on an old story-teller, Piyush Mishra, who entrances him with his lively narration of the Ramayana. The Ramayana scene is amazingly televised in 60s processed film-reels giving it a dreamlike character. What seems to him a simple story is actually the gradual manifestation of his future wherein all his dreams were being stolen away from him by institutional practices, leaving behind an individual who desperately keeps asking – “Aage kya hota hai ?” (What happens next?) because he does not know where life is taking him or what he is supposed to do.

He absconds from this crushing feeling of helplessness, by travelling to the idyllic town of Corsica where he becomes Don, an individual who doesn’t conform to rules, one who is almost at the verge of anarchy, a free spirit. Tara aka Deepika, who runs into him there, starts loving this alter-ego who never mentions his real name, sings and dances with the locals and is basically a true projection of his inner child.

An interesting symbolism Imtiaz quietly slips into the story when Don mimics Dev Anand’s signature moves and is being the opposite of what he is in reality, a mirror-image of Dev – Ved, which happened to be his real name. If this was done intentionally, it was ingenious.

Don’s transformation into Ved was into a shallow, emotionally disturbed personality who bows down under conformity, does everything he can to fit in just so he can prove himself to his father. Somewhere down this path, he has strangled his love for stories and has become the proverbial robot. And he sees this not just in himself but also in a random rickshaw driver who tries to stay happy in a pop-star projection of himself in his mind. Deepika confronts him through their titular relationship and tries to convince him that Don was the real Ved and not the other way around.

As Ranbir grows to understand himself, he realises that he had come far but had actually not moved at all. This reference had interestingly been shown in the first shot where Ranbir walks on a treadmill in a robot suit.  A profound monologue hits you in the face summing up our detachment with our dreams as we come off age – “Bachpan ek bahut khatarnak cheez hai…[not sic]” (Childhood is a dangerous thing).

Rehman’s music mesmerisingly resonates with this metaphorism and transformation through his off-mood music bringing out the dark humour that is life. While Matargashti becomes the embodiment of Don, Tu koi aur hai hauntingly brings out the spirit behind the shell. The interludes happen in between scenes and bring out the emotions behind the characters without an iota of salt such that whenever a similar scene comes up later, your mind logically predicts the track that would be playing even before it has begun. It grows on you as does any typical Rehman score just like wine which keeps getting better with time. 

Tamasha is a revelation, a window to your soul. It will make you angry and sad at the same time. You will be incapacitated, unable to move as introspection piles up on you. As we moved out of Chandan Cinemas, we jokingly quipped – “This movie may give rise to an unprecedented Civil Disobedience movement, as half the office-goers would suddenly quit their jobs and take to the roads!”

Well, we may not all do that but Tamasha would always be a silent reminder of the farce we all live in. It will either inspire you to break free or wear a new mask…

gobblscore : 7.5/10

gobblpoint : If you are fed up your dead-end life and your girlfriend thinks you are a robot, watch it for some serious inspiration.

Disclaimer: The photographs used in this blog are not owned by us. They are the sole property of the makers of the film. 

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