4 days


I watched Tamasha.

It is a story about a guy who fancies himself as a storyteller and manages to get through the film without telling a single story. A lapse the director explains away as “all stories are the same”. How are all stories the same? How is, specific to the movie, the story of Sita and Helen of Troy the same? One of them was deviously and forcefully abducted, the other willingly ran away with her lover. They can only be the same in the world of this movie, where women and their thoughts and desires do not matter.

Still, Imtiaz Ali has improved- there is no fridging in this movie, unlike Rockstar. Here, the “heroine” is merely a vehicle for the “hero’s” epiphany. She also manages a career, though has almost no life or thoughts of her own. Deepika, like Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, only faces the camera in profile, from her “good” side, but this isn’t as offputting as in Casablanca because it is anyways a crap movie, and Tara a featureless character.*

Also, the message. Can it be any stupider. All children love listening to stories, this doesn’t make them creative or talented storytellers as adults. Ved is particularly bad, of course, the Robot and Clown** thing is dumb and irritating.

Finally the setting. Both Corsica and Delhi float in a no-man’s land. The only thing Imtiaz Ali admits about Corsica is that Asterix once visited there. Asterix, mind you, a series steeped in the history of Europe.  This is a result of the fear Bollywood has that the rootless modern Indian middle class will not want to watch its crappy movies if they get even a whiff of background, or roots. Or maybe Imtiaz Ali finds his rural Bihar roots unmarketable and shameful, and denies both himself and his characters roots in the process. This avoidance of backgrounds means that the characters live in generic upper middle class homes and cannot talk to each other. Talking will tell us things about them, so they must communicate via background music.

Again, she finds him by reading Catch-22 in a fictional Delhi library. Apart from the fact that Catch-22 disproves Imtiaz Ali’s hope that all stories are the same, it has no relevance to the story. Or maybe it is used for that reason, we learn nothing about Ved and Tara by the books they name drop  A better reference could have been to Gone Girl, the book which can very easily describe the future of Ved and Tara.

  • If you have never noticed this in Casablanca, watch the movie again. Ingrid Bergman is much plainer on the other side of her face and knows it. Deepika, whose face is symmetrical, does it to show off her dimple.
  • **Unless you show clowns as scary, you do not get creativity points nowadays, Mr Imtiaz Ali.

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