Movie Review: TAMASHA (2015) – Misunderstood Story Of A Protagonist With Mental Ilness
Imtiaz Ali makes great movies. Sure, they have their flaws but they’re experimental and abstract enough, dealing with subject matter on a much deeper level than his contemporaries, that his movies can be classified as truly great.
He’s a director that pushes boundaries, albeit in a very familiar way, and almost always about a similar protagonist. His last movie ‘Tamasha’, is the story of a creative soul wanting to be a storyteller, obsessed with stories, but ironically Ali makes many mistakes while telling this particular story itself.
So here’s my Spoiler filled Review of ‘Tamasha’ directed by Imtiaz Ali
‘Tamasha‘ is all about Ved, (Ranbir Kapoor) a boring engineer suppressed by societal pressure to conform, until one day his creative side attempts to break through in order to save his love, and more importantly, himself. Or rather, that’s what the writer-director would have you believe, because none of that reveals itself until the second act. And even then it’s kind of misguided.
The story starts in the French town of Corsica, a word so often uttered by the characters that I feel like it’s where my neighborhood bar is located. A cute-meet occurs as the helpful Ved rescues damsel in distress Tara, (Deepika Padukone) initiating a whirlwind vacation and essentially a no strings attached (platonic) fling, as they promise to never reveal anything about themselves to the other.
The rest of the first act is the two having adventurous fun set against gorgeous exotic locations, while basically roleplaying as obscure characters from old Hindi films, with go nowhere conversations. Tara is perplexed but very much intrigued by Ved’s completely energetic dedication to his role and his general love for life.
Predictable inevitability strikes when Tara falls in love with Ved, and then spends years pining for him after the trip ends. She eventually tracks him down and the two embark on a more normal, everyday relationship. The plot turns as Tara discovers Ved to be a completely underwhelming and uptight office slave; a complete 180 from the man she spent a week with years ago. Shocking!
‘Tamasha’ is a flawed execution of a tortured artist’s soul repressed by the conventions and expectations of society.
Strangely enough, the movie feels a lot better, poignant almost, if you watch the whole thing under the assumption that Ved is suffering from an actual mental illness. An earlier song montage shows a young Ved seeing characters from famous stories in his everyday life; hallucinations. When Tara breaks up with him, Ved reacts with inexplicable range of emotions that involve sudden changes in voice and expressions that are almost reminiscent of demonic procession; schizophrenia. Ved’s insistance on literally acting like a completely different person, not for the departure it provides or the excitement of something new, as seems to have been the case for Tara, but more as a necessity, also indicates some sort of multiple personality disorder.