Director: Imitiaz Ali | Year: 2015

My Impressions Of ‘Tamasha’ In  12 Bullet Points

Bullet Point 1: What a f***ing smart script!

Bullet Point 2: During this period, Ameen Haque also did a course in Film Appreciation by FTII and National Film Archives of India. “We had a workshop with Devdutt Patnaik and this helped me reconnect to mythology. So different aspects of storytelling started becoming a part of my life,” adds Ameen.

Soon Ameen moved to Bangalore and continued his work in advertising and theatre, and in 2012 he started Storywallahs.

“We consume stories on a daily basis, they define our decisions, the ideology we follow, political leader we choose, career path and even our life partners,” says Ameen Haque, chief storywallah of Storywallahs. The organisation was created with the belief that stories are wisdom disguised as entertainment; and to leverage that wisdom in business and education is their main goal.


Bullet Point 3: “Woman” by John Lennon

Woman I can hardly express I My mixed emotion at my thoughtlessness I After all I’m forever in your debt I And woman I will try express I My inner feelings and thankfulness I For showing me the meaning of succsess I oooh well, well,oooh well, well,

Woman I know you understand I The little child inside the man I Please remember my life is in your hands I And woman hold me close to your heart I However, distant don’t keep us apart I After all it is written in the stars I oooh well, well,oooh well, well,


Bullet Point 4: I have never sat as bewitched by an actors’ performance as by Ranbir Kapoor’s  performance in the film except perhaps by Dilip Kumar in ‘Sagina’. His performance is like a Hindustani classical raga…starts with an alaap, introducing the notes and the theme; then moving into a faster tempo, bringing  the melody into sharper relief, making it more evident , then adding improvisations, mixing things up, building upto a crescendo, never letting go, until you are all frenzied inside, standing up and applauding as the light come on. This transition happens at the point when he meets Deepika for the first time after his break up and he alternates between playing at being cool and collected  and exploding like a dynamite with a short fuse.  It reminds one of Leonrado DiCaprio in Wolves of Wall Street. If anyone can play that role in Bollywood, it is Ranbir.  Like an Ustad, who adds enough embellishments and improvisations  while playing the same melodic phrase over and over again, making it sound different each time, Ranbir makes each mirror-talk of his look different and we simply don’t know what to expect the next time he faces the mirror. His interactions with different people – the storyteller, his father, his boss, the autowalla – are all in right key and so authentic. His final showdown with his boss is a real hoot , yet any adman one who has dealt with a tight-assed client or any employee who has dealt with a boss blissfully unaware of his own ridiculousness can empathize with the scene.

Tamasha 1

Bullet Point 5: Is Ranbir Kapoor the greatest actor of his generation? Does the sun rise in the east?

Bullet Point 6: What did I learn new about Deepika in the film? That she can cry as if she really meant it. That she has the world’s loveliest dimples. And she makes ‘Chinese torture’ sound like a delicious experience one must go through. And that she is every inch as good as Ranbir, but this really is Ranbir’s film, kya karein!

Bullet Point 7: I like the way people like Imtiaz Ali, Vishal Bharadwaj, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and AR Rahman are cross-fertilizing one another’s talent and creative style. Bhradwaj in Omkara learnt from Kashyap how a swear word can be as poetic as a Ghalib’s shair if used correct. Bhansali in Ram Leela picked up the trick of how to make your dish more digestible and healthy  by adding a bit of roughage. Here Imitiaz uses Piyush Mishra, a Kashayp staple, quite tellingly and his use of songs owes a lot to Kashyap too. He now has learnt that a tender heartbreak moment can be best outlined by an autowalla song   “ Udti chidiya ko haldi ragad ke lagawat..wat.wat”. ( Incidentally the introduction of the autowalla character was a great idea as it shows  that a creative free spirit being trapped in the robotics of a monotonous job , is not something that afflicts only the rich and educated elite.) And yes, the whole film itself is layered more  like a rich Rahman composition than a typical, linear, whistleable Bollywood melody. It may take some getting used to, but in the end is so wholesomely satisfying.

Bullet Point 8: I like the way the top Bollywood directors of today are maturing as to how to use  songs in films for today’s audience. My wife who loved ‘ Agar Tum Saath Ho ‘ so much before seeing the films said, the song wasn’t as impressive in film as in the TV promo.  “That’s because the director doesn’t stop the film to showcase the song”, I told her. It blends into the film like every other song does.  I especially liked thew ay the ‘ Wat Wat ‘ song was cut away at mulyiple points to accommodate some plain vocalizing, snatches of storytelling and Ved’s own brooding.

Bullet Point 9: I have always admired the Bollywood grammar – of disrupting the narrative with a song or a commentary or some other device, so that we are not totally carried away by the emotionality of a narrative, mistaking it to be real…like it happens with Hollywood grammar.  I like the central device of the storyteller and the constant refrain of Ved’s childhood breaking the flow of the narrative now and then, allowing us to take a breathe, absorb what we have seen, and reflect.

Bullet Point 10:  Though ‘ Rockstar’ was a larger-canvas film, this too is no less ambitious in terms of delving into complexities of human emotions  and mapping out the tortuous path that two hearts beating in love must take before they can find and accept each other’s truth.

Tamasha 2

 Bullet Point 11: If we inspect the palette used to paint ‘Tamasha’ what are the shades of colour we discover?  Jab We Met, Rockstar, Tare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots,  Rang De Basanti… are a few I could spot.

Bullet Point 12: Is this Imtiaz Alis’ smartest and most accomplished films yet? Yes.

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