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Movie Review: "Romance, Conflict, Boundations, Hope… and Tamasha"
"Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living." - Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

A little too somber, deep sounding quote, however, the context is apt to define the core of "TAMASHA".

In similar reference, a scene from "The Amazing Spider Man" (2012), where an English faculty comes out with the following -

'I had a professor once who liked to tell his students that there were only 10 different plots in all of fiction. Well, I'm here to tell you he was wrong. There is only one: "Who am I?"'

Thus, the tagline -

"Phir wohi kahaani ek baar…

Majnu ne liye kapde phaad…

Aar Tamasha beech-bazaar!"

Dubbed as Wrtier-Director Imtiaz Ali's "most complex story" so far, TAMASHA rightfully defines the character-driven, fable-like drama where a lot has been inspired from a plethora of writings – be it the Shakespearean romance of "Romeo and Juliet", our Indian folk-lore of "Heer and Ranjha", the epic of "Ramayana" and even vague references to "Astrix in Corsica" - all come together in a very theatrical, play-like ("tamasha") narrative of our (initially) unnamed protagonists - DON (Ranbir Kapoor) and MONA DARLING (Deepika Padukone). They promise to have a "no-truth-policy" with each other for a week of pure fun and frolic in France, after which they'll never meet.

"Like all stories", they do meet after a few years when TARA moves to Delhi to look out for that serious crush who comes out to be this very polite, sincere, profession-oriented VED. They hit it off (initially), and like every story things don't work well and end up in an ugly fashion.

Though, "unlike" every story - with the characters in-between the conundrums of the "facade of formality" and the "cloak of casualness", we discover a long-buried history of conditioning - the pain, the hope and to do the things the way they are always done. As humans, running a "rat-race" was never easy, though just meant to be; because people stopped asking the necessary question - "Why?" Though, the discovery doesn't end there; it unfurls into the grandeur of the true sense and the motive of existence.

As actors, Ranbir and Deepika are stretched to their limits; especially the former, with more screen-time and giving a subtle reminder to his past performance in "Rockstar" with his intense monologue-like, sonnets and mimicking-tribute to Dev Anand (who starred in 1952's "Tamasha"). Nevertheless, Deepika is outstanding and un-exaggeratingly outshines him.

A. R. Rahman in his 3rd collaboration with Imtiaz Ali and the lyricist Irshad Kamil, gives a fusional touch with the theatrical folk-lore. Songs sound good but aren't very catchy, with the exception of - Matargashti (Mohit Chauhan), Agar Tum Saath Hoh (Alka Yagnik, Arijit Singh), Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai (Mika Singh).

Imtiaz Ali has indeed put in great efforts in socio-psychologically describing his plot. Also, it does take efforts to watch this two-hour plus film due to its variable momentum and the slow first-half. However, the viewers who choose to sit through would find something worthy - something subjectively honest - as offered in all of Ali's films. Since, the depiction is through the mind of a storyteller, the transitions of characters are subtly distinct - a mark of above-ordinary screen-writing and direction. With DoP S. Ravi Varman ("Barfi!") and the regular editor Aarti Bajaj ("Highway", "Jab We Met"), even the intricate shots preserve certain rawness.

As a viewer, the film's theme is more of "3 IDIOTS meet WAKE-UP SID", with the crass humour-filled dialogues of a regular "Imtiaz Ali film" mixed the on-screen chemistry of Ranbir-Deepika, and some thrills down the way to keep one entertained.

Rating - 7.5/10

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