TAMASHA (A Review-ish)
Imagine if this blog would have been a thing if I would have believed a guy who told me this movie sucks because he did not understand what was going on. No wonder we don't talk anymore. It is safe to say my inspiration was triggered by a Bollywood movie with an IMDB rating of 7.2. Imtiyaz Ali's creation is a blessing I recognized only after 4 years of its release. I'm not sad I didn't find it earlier, except, glad that I was evolved enough to understand the movie scene after scene. This movie was necessary in a way because it highlights the problem of self realization and how critical things can get when you don't know what you want and who you are. So here's my take on it; all personal and maybe unnecessarily deep, but it's vomit you cannot hold it in.
The movie begins with a theater drama, where on stage there's a Robot on a treadmill just walking ahead and a Joker interrogating him about himself. The robot's answers immediately made me think that this is how people become once they're directly subjected to global competition. The robot represents monotony, well enacted by Ranbir Kapoor later in the film. The Joker, Deepika Padukone, calls herself the heart of the Robot. In this scene the robot slightly shuns the Joker, for saying ridiculous things like listening to your heart, because it's not ideal and it's rather weak. Yet, Deepika sticks to her explanations ahead in the story.
Cut to where a boy, probably in his preteens, is seen being told off about his behavior of telling random stories, by his teachers as a complaint to his father. His father is certainly not impressed. The boy has a habit of collecting money to give to an old man who sits under a tree and takes money to narrate classical stories; stories of romance, mythology and mostly romance, which according to him, are all the same.
The boy's state of childhood represents how he is a clean slate and his imagination is vivid and so full of thirst that sometimes he steals a couple bucks from his father’s wallet to go listen to the old man narrate different stories every time; sometimes that aren't even the continuation of the previous ones.
Since we tend to remember the good things better, the old man had an impression equally as strong as everyone else who was trying to tell the kid to stop being the way he was; his distinction and free mind wasn't appealing to society so it eventually perished with him being a prey to monotony, despite all the fire in him.
Emotions bottled up inside explode with even a tiny little shake. That happens to the boy when he grows up and finds himself in Corsica, France (brownie points for the beautiful location) and meets a girl. His spontaneity that was locked inside and shut out for so long splutters out and they make a pact that they'll not tell each other their identities, no facts, only lies, just a big role-play and fun times. Soon time comes when the girl leaves and the boy does too. Where the girl takes her memories and cannot seem to move on, the guy leaves the place and his spontaneity behind.
4 years later, under account of unfinished business, fate brings them together again. The boy, who spoke to mountains, danced in carnival parades, called himself Don, is Ved Sahani- a 9 to 5 Product Manager who is nervous in front of a conference of people, is not spontaneous but a puppet. The girl, Tara Maheshwari, tells him what she sees. That he isn't himself. He says this is me and that was not. She says otherwise and they part ways. Basically your entire midnight existential crisis hits him in that moment thinking who is he: the one that he likes to be or the one that others like him to be? It made a lot of sense to me in that moment because you've been told one thing your whole life and then someone tells you that you're in fact something else, you obviously will not believe it because it's foreign and strange. Besides, wouldn't you rather believe 10 people with the same answer than 1 person with a different one?
Tables turn. He is back inside his head. Even when occasional pep talks in the mirror with himself, where I saw him trying to curb the person with imagination and the one who tasted freedom and wanted more, don't help; he seeks his answers by going back to the storyteller because only he knows what happens next. He gets his answer. Not the answer he was searching for, but the answer that he never looked for. The story teller tells him that you're a coward asking me about what happens next in your story.
You are the protagonist of your own life, your own story.
In the next scene you see it narrated so wonderfully by Ved, (I dare you to not a shed a tear) explaining to his father how there's a Robot who calls himself mediocre, regular and ordinary but his companion Joker tells him that he is so special that he makes her feel special when she is with him. But he denies it. She asks him again, “Don’t you think you are something else too? Did no one ever call you special?” and the Robot says, “I remember a snake calling me special. It was my childhood.” A snake so vicious and ready to attack that as soon as we grow up, it gets crushed to the ground. Joker says, “Why don’t you choose your own race? You’ll definitely come first in it!” Robot ignores her and says, "I cannot stop, I will not open my eyes."
Just like this, he continues to run in the race he is unaware of, remains average, mediocre, never actually wins and eventually dies. Ved concludes by saying that he can change the ending. Everyone can.
The story gains even more light when he goes back to Tara, his Joker, companion, his heart who always knew who he was. And he turns his story into a staged drama.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tamasha.
When life becomes a Tamasha you put a stage under it and watch it inspire others (this blog is a live example). Not to mention the last bit of the movie where everyone applauds for the drama's cast, Ved bends, bows and lays out on the stage, silently thanking Tara for having faith in him when he did not, reminds me of the phrase "behind every successful man there's a woman" and it's true kids.
So stop denying what that one person who believes in you keeps telling you. Try to ponder over it. They might not know you for long but they know you better than others in a way. They know and have faith in those parts of you that everyone else refuses to acknowledge. Allow others to show you your beauty. Accept it. It's not toxic.