…Oh I have plenty! Let’s start from the beginning?
From the first shot, it’s established that our hero loves stories; listening to stories. Does he like telling stories too? We don’t know, not yet. He grows up listening to Ramayan, Mahabharata, Shakespeare, Heer Ranjha, Laila Majnu, basically all classics. But, when we see him in Corsica, meeting Deepika for the first time, he suddenly becomes this Bollywood junkie introducing himself as Don and talking about Teja ka sona. There’s also completely avoidable Dev Anand mimicry which stretches over two scenes. I am sure I am not the only one who felt a bit of a disconnect here. Was referring to literature too much of a risk for Imtiaz Ali? In order to secure his commercial audience, Ali went way off the track.
After the Corsica trip, we see four years of Deepika’s life go by in a song. She is clearly very sad and much in love with our hero Don, but we have no clue about what’s happening in our hero’s life. Does he live like a robot for all those years? Was he a robot before the Corsica trip? Or he became one after that? Did he try to get out of the job and the life he doesn’t want? Is he equally in love with Deepika? Does he miss her? Does he try to contact her? About the last question, he clearly has her dad’s number; remember she calls her dad from Ranbir’s phone? Aaaah! See the loophole there.
So we don’t know if our hero is equally in love; his reaction on seeing Deepika after all these years doesn’t say that either. His behaviour is controlled, unlike his Corsica version where he was this free spirited, fun loving dude. He is this regular bloke with a regular job whose life is like a giant alarm clock. Who forced him to be that robot? So far we understand that that’s who he is in real life.
Shit hits the fan when Deepika breaks up with him for being a different person. Here we see a shift in Ranbir’s character; clear signs of depression and maybe borderline bipolar disorder. He snaps at people, has fits of anger and completely goes berserk in front of his boss. A lot of you might argue that he snaps because he has been controlling his emotions too much. Fine, I agree. But, why does he have to? Because of the job that he has to do? But he doesn’t have to. He clearly does not have the responsibility of his family. Even if he has to, the time that he spends at Hauz Khas Social can be spent doing interesting things. You know, the things that cool people do despite having a day job – stand-up comedy, poetry slam, story reading, food pop-ups. His father is not even half as bad as Bhairav Singh from Udaan; that man was awful. Even if he is, he is sitting miles away to find out about his post-work adventures.
Our hero is forced to study engineering, but by the looks of it, it doesn’t seem like that he has clue about what he wants to do. Not even when he is in college, not even when he is working, not even when he is with Deepika and not even when she dumps him. The sudden realisation sets in after the storyteller – Piyush Mishra, calls him a coward. Isn’t he one? My point is, why blame the duniya and samaaj if you’re not clear in your head in the first place?
Thank God he figured out what he wanted to do and did it gloriously and with much success (the film needs another reality check here); for those in real life who didn’t or couldn’t, good luck to all the Deepikas with them.
In my opinion Tamasha has a good concept with absolute superficial treatment. Imtiaz Ali likes to wear that intellectual hat but also wants his boy-meets-girls and happily-ever-afters. He shows you a glimpse of mental disorders but doesn’t want to delve into it because delving into issues require hard work. But Mr Ali, when you work hard you get Udaan, or even Birdman. .