I remember the first time I watched Jab We Met an era back — during my school days — and I was taken in by the madness of an unbalanced and deranged love story. Opposites attract and I have time immemorial believed in the idea (having witnessed a number of happy couples around me). Imtiaz Ali’s movies usually weave this concept in an ideally accepted way. The irony to this has been the fact that I have always loathed love stories — the quintessential Bollywood kinds. They are dramatic, unreal, exasperating, unintelligent, dreamed-up and most importantly, they run around stories you cannot even relate to or imagine happening in the real world. But the stories told by Imtiaz Ali through his films have always been about characters you will come across in your everyday life — some however being slightly overripe — but it could be forgiven considering the lavishly inflated stories Bollywood has forever produced.
I will blatantly confess to having watched the movie Rockstar eight times in theatre and a countless number of times in my mac. I was so astounded by the intensity of love portrayed in the movie that I don’t really have a comprehensive word to describe it. I could carelessly and implausibly watch it a million times — counting it among a handful of Bollywood movies I have so far fancied. The reason being that a story so impulsive and propelling to be directed and acted out within a ‘controlled insanity’ was no easy task and I was carried away by a dreamy affair for quite some time thereafter — telling myself over and over again “what is love if not madness” — until reality grounded me in the most obscure way.
I was awaiting the release of Tamasha since the time a friend showed me the trailer. The craziness of love, greed for happiness and peace, the pompous ways of narrating a simple story and at the end a guy meeting a girl in the most unconventional and unexpected way, and adding more life to each other’s lives are pronounced elements in every Imtiaz Ali movie.
Tamasha is no different from it either but what adds more glory to this artsy story is how the film is essentially about two soulmates, their togetherness as strangers and their loneliness in familiarity. It is about how a man fights with his inner self and how he is helped by the lady-love to understand himself and come to terms with who he is and what he actually wants to be. I was thrilled to see how the male protagonist starts to get the answers he had been questioning life throughout and they do leave me feeling warm and fuzzy, but that’s not enough — it is more than just about love. It is more about love adding more meaning to each other’s lives — a sense of understanding the complexities of human behaviour and about strayed strangers journeying towards each other, finding comfort forever thereafter. It is a complex story about people and how often people need people to complete themselves and bring life back to life.
Now Tamasha is not just about finding soul mate — there’s more to it. It is about a character finding answers to his life — battling between the self that he is with the self that he actually should be and how turn of events make him realise the ‘tamasha’ he has made of himself and his life all this while. They are like windows leaping out to open more windows and in the process opening reasons to live life fuller and richer in spirits. What took me aback was the angle of the movie being a story teller’s journey. How art (be it of any kind) can conquer the human mind in gripping ways!
The film is also about a woman who invests in a relationship — the one who expresses her feelings and seeks direction in love. She is also the trigger — the mirror in which the male protagonist will eventually spot his real reflection. The one who will make him realise that he is no average — he is no mediocre — he is much more than what he considers himself to be. The movie neither pretends to celebrate love in pompous ways when it is present nor fake paranoia when it is absent — and that makes the story more close to being real and less of a Bollywood tell-tale.
There’s no denying my inclination for Imtiaz Ali movies and I can heedlessly trust I’ll enjoy watching them every single time but this movie has been a little more of a fanciful affair. The story and the characters of Tamasha will hang on to me for quite some time until, of course, reality comes to ground me in undetermined ways.
It’s crazy how often we can relate to stories in the most unnatural ways ..