I entered the hall with a formless sense of foreboding; I knew I would be disappointed, I wanted to know how. If you are here for conclusions, you're at the wrong place. I have not yet made up a concise verdict of the film for I am still recovering from the bitter-sweet emotional uneasiness it has put me through. Tamasha is a strange movie, undoubtedly a masterpiece, but first an psychological one and then the artistic marvel you anyway expected it to be. Ask a viewer to summarise the story for you and he would start doubting his own sense of judgement which so strongly proclaimed the film to be a classic not so long ago.
To get it straight, Tamasha is a concrete presentation of subtle vapour like concepts. It traces the journey of Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), an average middle class man, a character so realistically developed that it will torment you with its relatable aspects. He fancies stories, fables and the art of story-telling itself that he often finds respite by indulging in poetic projections of his life. The movie, through the restrictions faced by Ved with regard to conventional success, a typical professional life and his relationship with Taara (charmingly enough Deepika Padukone), reaches out to our own inexplicable quest for a different lifestyle than what we have restricted ourselves to. It talks about truths we are innately aware of, but have not dared to contemplate about; the mediocrity we so strongly adore, the rat race we are proud of running in, the relationships we convince ourselves to enjoy, the aspirations we take pride in shattering.
Well, the more I divulge its contents to you, the further do I sabotage the effect the film will have. All Tamasha asks of you is to allow the story and its characters to sink into you and work their poison. But treat it as an average entertainer, and you will leave the theatre disappointed, scorning yourself for believing in brand names like that of Ali's or Ranbir's.
This movie had its flaws, plenty of them as opposed to the director's earlier works, but I can hardly recall any of them. Did I get too busy attaching myself to Ved and his tribulation? Or were they flaws at all and not clues to a puzzle?
Some portions are so open to interpretation that they can be misunderstood. I was particularly unimpressed by the absence of a deeper and distinct characterization of Deepika's character; an area which had immense scope but was left unexplored. Only until I realized that Taara existed only to act as a canvas for Ved to paint himself on. Nevertheless, Deepika shines on to deliver one of her most likable performances ever. She does an extremely magnetic portrayal of a modern day working woman but only to get overtaken in charisma by her co-actor. Ranbir delivers one of the best performances of his career (to be rivaled only by Jordan of Rockstar); an array of emotions, extremities of character but he shifts smoothly enough to blur the line that stops you from connecting to a fictional character. The supporting cast including and especially Piyush Mishra does an extremely impressive job. Cinematography by Ravi Verman beams with uncommon elements and has a key role in the vaporous glamour the movie possesses and so does the production design. Music by A.R.Rahman is an undeniable highlight of Tamasha. The background score is high on intensity, yet blends so easily with the narrative. The songs might not have had the gargantuan public influence like previous albums of Rahman, but they end up adequately complimenting the heart-wrenching vibe of the film. Watch out for the striking picturisation of 'Agar Tum Saath Ho' and 'Chali Kahaani'; memorable winners of the day.
At the end of the day, Tamasha (much like Mani Ratnam's Raavan) functions differently for different sets of the audience depending on the level of interpretation, depending on whether or not you want to join Ved in his soul-searching. I am skeptical about this movie's appeal to the average movie-goer, but Tamasha is deep enough to be indifferent about such reviews.
But despite technical aspects standing out so well, you remain awestruck solely because of the intricate direction. Just when you had thought you have fathomed Imtiaz Ali's level of understanding human subtleties after Rockstar and Highway, Tamasha arrives, tossing your ideas around, shaking your faith in convention, making you redraw the boundaries of intellectual cinema you had just finished drawing.
This is an exquisite piece of art, meant to be savored frame by frame, its nuances to be noticed, lauded and reinterpreted over and over till you forget how pointless this is. It is more of a poem than cinema, a dish for the contemplative and the troubled, a nightmare for the pragmatic, which you should love boundlessly or hate dismissively but not throw into the dungeons of commercial scrutiny.