Imtiaz Ali's "Tamasha" (2015): A cinematic triumph that seamlessly blends commercial and art-house elements

A homage to the art of story-telling

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Tamasha (2015) - By Imtiaz Ali
Our Rating: 8.0
IMDb Ratings: 7.5
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Romance
CastDeepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Javed Sheikh
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 139 min
Color: Color

Summary: Tamasha is about the journey of someone who has lost his edge in trying to behave according to socially acceptable conventions of the society. The film is based on the central theme of abrasion and loss of self that happens in an attempt to fit in oneself back.

Tamasha, the latest offering from the renowned Indian filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, is a romantic drama film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles. Produced by Sajid Nadiawala, Tamasha revolves around two free-spirited individuals, Ved (Kapoor) and Tara (Padukone), who meet in Corsica, France but choose not to disclose their identities and only interact with the help of role-plays. They nonetheless fall in love but promise each other never to meet again once they leave Corsica. “What happens in Corsica stays in Corsica,” as Tara playfully puts it. After sharing some intimate moments together the two finally part ways as per the promise. But, as fate would have it, they meet once again a few years later in India and instantly reconnect. However, Tara soon begins to realize that Ved is not what he appeared to be back in Corsica. Has Ved really changed? Or is it Tara who is at fault?     

Ranbir Kapoor (as Ved) and Deepika Padukone (as Tara)  in Tamasha, Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Ranbir Kapoor (as Ved) and Deepika Padukone (as Tara)  in Tamasha
Tamasha is essentially a film about the endless possibilities of life. In life we are often so busy following our daily routines that we fail to realize that at all points in time we have a choice to rejig the things and start afresh. All we need is a strong will to break the monotony. The movie inspires us to exercise our right to choose and seize the moment instead of continuing to live a life that others chose for us. As Imtiaz Ali explains, “What Tamasha is trying to say is that don't be satisfied with the stories you hear around you, create your own myth, choose your own story. Sometimes in trying to belong, you lose your edge, you become blunt and you forget who you are unless someone comes to remind you, someone who has seen you at that time. It’s not that simple because it takes the undoing of entire life’s experience to get in touch with yourself and your wild energy.”

Ved (Ranbir) and Tara (Deepika) share an intimate moment, Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Ved and Tara share an intimate moment
In Tamasha, Imtiaz Ali pays homage to the very art of storytelling. Ved is enchanted by stories and grows up listening to the yarns of an old tale-teller who despite his mastery is not beyond mixing up Ramayana and Iliad. Ali also pays a memorable tribute to the great Dev Anand. In Corsica, during one of his role-plays (so as to keep his true identity hidden), Ved imitates the legendary Indian actor. According to reports, Kapoor took special classes from mime artists in order to achieve the same. Ali elicits brilliant performances from Kapoor and Padukone who to their credit do justice to their delicate caricatures. The two look great together and share great on-screen chemistry. While the movie's subject bears some resemblance to Before Sunrise, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, and Good Will Hunting, starring Matt Damon and Robin Williams, the treatment of the subject certainly makes it unique.

A Still from Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha
Overall, Tamasha is a cinematic triumph that seamlessly blends commercial and art-house elements. It is also one of the most memorable films of the year. Every Indian youngster ought to watch Tamasha along with his/her parents. Much like Taare Zameen Par and 3 IdiotsTamasha reminds us that each child is born with a distinct set of qualities and the onus truly lies with the parents to allow their children to excel in life while pursuing their dreams instead of bludgeoning them into submission and forcing them to live in mediocrity. That all of us need not be doctors or engineers or bankers, for there are other avenues to be explored based on our interests and aspirations. The movie's complex narrative (with its different timelines) may pose a few challenges to the casual viewers but a little patience can certainly make it a rewarding experience. Tamasha comes across as a very personal work and while it may not be able to match the commercial success of some of Ali's earlier films it will certainly encourage other leading filmmakers in Bollywood to make more such meaningful films that simultaneously entertain, inspire and make us think.

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your insightful comments are highly appreciated!


Tamasha (2015) Trailer (YouTube)

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  1. Absolutely great review ...i loved it for its unique storytelling apt for a name like tamasha ..very deep and meaningful movie of any person is today's fast paced life ...very identifiable and some great take aways from the movie ! Ranbir and Imtiaz are a lethal combination and they have proven it yet again after Rockstar and deepika looks and acts good too .

  2. Glad you liked the review... thanks for sharing your valuable views... I couldn't put it better myself! :-)

  3. Wonderfully reviewed Murtaza. Yes as you said, this movie definitely falls under one of the memorable movie list. Ranbir came back strongly after some disastrous outing in his last three attempts. Excellent screenplay by Imtiaz and superb music make each one to stay seated throughout the movie.

  4. Glad you liked it... regarding Tamasha, my thoughts exactly mirror yours... credit to Imtiaz Ali and team for executing the concept so beautifully!

  5. Moving performance by Ranbir. His pairing with Dipika reminds of Raj - Nargis chemistry.


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