Saturday, 28 November 2015

Je Suis Don. My Review. Tamasha

Director : Imtiaz Ali

Starring : Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Piyush Mishra, Jawed Sheikh, Vivek Mushran

Many people are alive, but don't touch the miracle of being alive
Thich Nhat Hanh

Main Don hoon… aur tum..
Main.. Mona Darling…

The thought of being able to be anyone in the world, and break away from your own mundane life…

The thought of throwing caution to the air, reject all the conformity you have been closed in, like a creeper being minded with a stick, deciding which direction it should take.. if given the freedom, may bloom in all directions, wherever it finds space to grow…

Finding that one person who sees the real you… who sees the extraordinary in the ordinary you... 

We keep lying to ourselves, giving consolation prizes in form of material acquisitions… survive in the race. But that isn’t living, that is not what life is.
Imtiaz talks about this and more in Tamasha. And I could relate to all of it…

The story of Ved and Tara, becomes the backdrop as you may find yourself looking to the film to give  answers… and in the end you might realize, you already knew the answer… but like so many of us.. found it much more convenient to avoid looking on the inside, and face the truth.. that yes, mediocrity stems from conforming, and happiness is a state of mind.. and not a job.

Two strangers, a chance meeting in the fairy tale beautiful Corsica. The boy tells the girl, let me not introduce my real self, that is boring… and why should I, when here… I can be anyone I want to… The game intrigues the girl and she agrees too… We see two people, who have their own reasons to find happiness in an alternate reality, escape… but after a few days of living in a bubble, reality knocks and the girl goes back to India… not before breaking their own wow to not “cross the line”.

They had promised each other they would never meet again in “real” life. But the girl has already fallen in love with the boy.

Four years pass as Heer Toh Badi Sad hai plays… And they meet again.. not by chance, but by the girl’s design.. and the Don of her dreams turns out to be an ordinary guy, he is no Don, he is sweet… boring.. a creature of routine. She tries hard to scrape off the layers that hide the man she fell in love with...

And what follows is a journey of Ved… desperately seeking Don… 

Imtiaz has woven a complex film in Tamasha.

For example the childhood flashes of Ved… where he is the happiest when listening to stories told by an old grandpa figure, who charges for his tales, often mixing them up.. and the director underlines how all love stories are the same… but also questions do they need to be? The story within the story, shown with some inspired mise en scène, where Ram wears a sweater as he leaves to hunt for the deer…and Sanyukta walks through the church aisle…
The imagery is beautiful, yet it is a child’s imagination, replete with impossibles… as dreams mostly are.. but for young ved they are real.. more real and relatable than the expectations of his father, son of a partition family… who feels financial security is paramount, as they had lost everything when they left Pakistan.

I also loved the use of the chapters with individual titles format, consistent with “we all have a story to tell” motif.

From what can be simply taken as a film about the self-actualization of the protagonist Ved, Tamasha to me was much more than that. It brings forth the angst which lot of my friends caught in the 9-5 culture discuss, who would rather be trekking the Himalayas or going for a bike ride to Goa, but don’t. We can… that is the message of Tamasha. In 3 Idiots the Engineering vs Dreams has been tackled, yes… But I like the way Imtiaz has created Ved.

If I have any grouse with the film is that I wish I knew Tara better. But she to me is just the catalyst… And within that role, she comes out as a strong woman, yet weak when it comes to what her heart wants. She can walk out on the man who she finds to be a shadow of the person she was in love, yet come back and accept she can not be without him... 

As the film delves deeper into the psyche of Ved, you feel his pain, and root for him to break free of his shackles, man up even.. 

There is a Ranbir monologue in the climax of the film,  that stirred me so much…and reminded me of the quote… "We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing"

The froth of Corsica, the golden hues, the crystal waters of the Mediterranean make you relax and feel you are free as a bird, on an adventure, and is a perfect foil for what follows, I could see why Imtiaz has deliberately kept the pace slow, nothing much happening... giving you time to actually unwind.. before the drabness of mundane life hits the characters and you...  

The tie wearing, routine bound Ved who is a volcano at the edge of eruption, when stoked gently by Tara, he truly loses it… and though at times the anger may seem sudden, if you are with Ved’s psyche, it is understandable.

As Melvin said in As Good As It Gets, “You want me to be a better man”, in Tara Ved finds someone who finally pushes him to break out of his shackles.
Heartbreak leading to achieving your true potential is something Imitiaz has used in his earlier films too.. Rockstar, JWM. Here he also uses a Rickshaw driver… whose story touches a chord in Ved, and he makes a big decision in his life.

Coming to the crackling pair of Ranbir and Deepika, they both left me dazzled with their performances. Ranbir is truly one of the best actors of his time. He is almost flawless as he creates two distinct people.. Don in Corsica and the Product Manager Ved. Deepika.. aah.. a diamond that keeps shining brighter as each performance unfolds. Their chemistry fires the screen, it is a must watch just to see these two share screen space.

The film is filled with memorable moments between Ved and Tara… and some really funny lines… The scene between Ranbir and Vivek Mushran really stood out. 

The cinematography by S. Ravi Varman is top notch, wouldn't have expected anything less. The music is not the best of Imti-ARR-Kamil combo. But Heer and Agar Tum Sath ho really worked for me. 

Imtiaz Ali yet again proves he is one of the strongest individualistic voices of Hindi cinema. Take a bow. 


My Verdict : 3.5/5