... but doesn’t.
Although I feel like this movie is too clichéd to have any spoilers, I will nonetheless hand out a warning: This post contains spoilers. Click away now if you do not wish to come in contact with any.
Tamasha, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, directed by Imtiaz Ali was a film that I was genuinely excited about (and I’ll admit, I don’t easily get excited by Bollywood films) but it turned out to be pretty disappointing. In order to understand why I didn’t like it, you should know the film better.
The premise of the story is simple – Girl meets Boy in a foreign city, Girl needs the Boy’s help for whatever reason, they fall in love (in a week!) and go on their separate ways till years later they meet again only to discover that the boy isn’t as extraordinary as she used to think. She breaks it off with him, pushing him into an inevitable journey of soul searching post which the Boy turns his life around and cut to the end scene: Cheesy narration + Happily ever after. "Why always the same story?" the poster asks as the movie proceeds to tell you the same old story.
Tamasha is what would have happened if Ranbir Kapoor would have come back in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani only to let his friends know his fancy job didn’t work out and he got sucked into the corporate world. And then Deepika Padukone reminded him of his travel journal and they went on a world tour together. But no matter, we’re here for Tamasha not YJHD.
The scenes shot in Corsica were barely 30 minutes and consisting of one (or maybe two) song, excessive flirtations and one scene where Ranbir Kapoor’s character (Ved) did something amazing (doesn’t matter what) and Deepika Padukone’s character (Tara) looked at him with dreamy eyes. But it’s okay. You expected this bit to be clichéd and you enjoy it anyway. Like the trailer mentions, in Corsica they make a promise to not reveal their identities so they can escape their lives and it’s baggage for a week. The opening shot of Corsica is that of Tara switching to Hindi in order to cuss a French guy and the following scenes also show them making fun of French people which is cheap humor, overdone and not really funny. But hey, maybe I’m just really picky.
4 years later, Tara hunts down Ved like a stalker, gets together with him and then 6 months after that, when he proposes, turns him down. Her reasons: "This is not you Ved, you are not the guy I met in Corsica". She forget conveniently that he explicitly said he wasn’t the real him in Corsica and this mediocre, corporate guy who goes to sleep in his Bluetooth is the actual him. But no, within 7 days she has him all figured out, insisting that his friends, family and even he doesn’t know himself. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Ved agrees, and he tells her this. And I would have a loved a movie about a girl who fell in love with a wild boy, discovered he is average and realized that an average boy was also worth loving.
When Ved opens up a world of possibilities for the director/script writers with that line, they look at it, bob their head, scratch their beards and then Mark says, “What if he is actually as special as she thinks?” “Wow, Mark! That is a novel idea. Let’s go with that one.”
When Tara rejects Ved, she seems to trigger something that turns him into a bipolar person. Now, I don’t know a lot about bipolarity but I am willing to bet my first born that that is not how bipolarity works. And continuing onto this line of thought, when towards the end Ved decides to pursue his dream of being a roadside storyteller and wins back Tara, he stops having mania attacks. No more mental breakdowns for him, not now that he is ready to walk into the rest of life with happiness tucked away in his back pocket.
“And guys what if when Ved has mood swings, switching from screaming at his boss and begging for his job within seconds, in order to lighten the atmosphere we use it for insensitive comedy?” “Damn Mark! you’re a genius. Here’s your bonus. Don’t worry; the fools at the ticket counter will pay for it.”
Now of course it is arguable if he is actually bipolar because we deal with our mental issues in Bollywood like we do in real life (by not talking about them at all). The movie never explicitly talks about it, brushing it under the carpet and distracting the audience by other plot points. However Tara is attending a bipolar meeting in the end cut so maybe it counts for something.
Ved has always wanted to be a storyteller, fascinated with the world of stories and is forced to take up engineering. As my friend kindly pointed out – Digvi look, this could have been your future, as much as I appreciate the courage and patience it requires to change streams (especially from engineering to Arts), I must say 3 Idiots did that several years ago. This movie preaches about following the same old path, running a race we don’t know why we are running. It encourages doing something original and in this process the narrative of the film promptly turns into something that is unoriginal. The irony doesn’t escape me either.
And this version of events annoyingly enough turn Deepika Padukone’s character into a type A Manic Pixie Dream Girl (google it). Her entire existence has one purpose and it is to prod Ranbir Kapoor’s character into the right direction. She doesn’t exist if she isn’t bettering his life which let me tell you, despite what movies will have you believe is not what women were born to do.
This entire movie teeters on the edge of becoming something wonderful but Mark with his unoriginal ideas doesn’t let it. (Thanks a lot Mark). It survives because of a brilliant costume team, Ranbir Kapoor's acting and video editing. I would give it 6 stars out of 10 because it has potential but then again, I would give it -23 because the worst kind of movies are the ones with potential that gets wasted.