After a little over three weeks of not stepping foot in a theatre, I admit I was facing what can be termed withdrawal symptoms. This might be why I was more excited than strictly necessary to watch Tamasha. But then again, it is an Imtiaz Ali movie, so some excitement is natural. I must disclose that watching young people deal with all kinds of internal issues (regarding themselves and their love) tends to set me on edge at times. But I’m trying to work on that. [However, this does not mean I’m going to warm up to Neethane En Ponvasantham, that’s still a difficult one for me.]

Now that honest revelations are done with, I should move on. Tamasha is about Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), a creative type, stuck in a job that not only requires him to wear a tie everyday, but is also mind-numbingly monotonous. He’s the bird that wants to fly away – only he doesn’t know it yet. Enter Tara (Deepika Padukone, who is as sparkling and luminescent as that name). They meet in Corsica, and get to know each other in a way that deviates from the normal. They bask in each other’s presence (and in the sun), and form a bond so special, it alters Tara in ways she cannot describe. She is morose and feels incomplete once gets back to her life in Kolkata.

When the vacation ends and the story shifts to Kolkata, it lets us think we are going to spend some time with Tara and get to know her better. Unfortunately, that optimism is misplaced. What does she do for a living? She’s evidently very successful at her job (her company sends her to Delhi on an assignment and puts her up in a swanky apartment), but we don’t know much else. Her family is seen in one shot, for maybe two seconds. What about her friends, does she have any? Or does she spend all her time considering What If scenarios in her head? What about that boyfriend she broke up with as soon as she returned? When in Delhi, she chances upon a bookstore-cafe that she thinks Ved might frequent, and hangs around until she runs into him. And just like that, they are together again.

For Tara, something is missing though. She is with Ved, but she remembers him differently. She doesn’t recognize this corporate minion (I would have been happier with a little less of the Robot vs. Following Your Heart explanations). So she breaks up with him and sends him reeling. He reacts in strange ways, his life doesn’t make much sense to him for a long time. It finally does, of course, but you knew that – with some help from a storyteller and an auto driver who is a rockstar in his head. I had some trouble buying into Ved’s seesawing emotions, and I want to attribute this partly to Ranbir Kapoor. I couldn’t help imagining Ranveer Singh in all those sequences: he always comes across as if he’s barely suppressing his manic energy, and it could burst out anytime.

Tara is just every woman in every movie then. A woman who is defined by her love for the man, whose purpose is to help him discover himself and set him free. But what a woman she is. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.


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