The phrase “trying too hard” became evidently clear to me when I watched “Tamasha”(2015) directed by Imtiaz Ali. The instance when someone asks you to forcefully believe in an experience which calculates to a much ‘thought over’ emotion it ends up in a sheer disappointment. Cinema is a medium which takes us into a parallel dimension of experience through a carefully driven narrative and a simple inculcation of experiential indigenous values that all of us go through in our lives. Films have shown us that a simple love story between two characters can be portrayed in several ways. The one that always crosses the mark and manages to touch our hearts are the films that show a clear divide between the narrative and the character detailing. Tamasha fails in having a successful narrative style though it tries to create its own ‘unorthodox’ niche for itself. The whole purpose of a narrative is to guide us through a script like how a baby is guided to sleep in its cradle. As the movie opens, it mixes up our thoughts with a child’s innocent imaginations about a storyteller’s story that he has heard with a violent rush of characters and images while simultaneously a play is being staged somewhere. The fact that the movie wants the audience to experience its own ‘tamasha’ is rendered futile with the imposition of what is apparently normal, mediocre or true love. You can either let the audience be a character of the movie or let the character be independent, aloof of what is going on. But you can never let the movie be the audience to a character. It becomes a rigorous exercise in our minds that eventually results into a big letdown. The background score by AR Rahman and the unconventional camera work is what saves the movie a little merciful grace. He mesmerizes us with a beautiful tone of melody, bass tones and notes that bring gravity to some of the scenes. This is the positive point in terms of experimental sound scores and adaptive screenplay. When we hear Sukhwinder’s Singh’s voice in the song ‘Chali Kahani’ it is like honey to our ears as it quenches the thirst of Bollywood in us. Similarly ‘Heer toh badi sad hai’ and the raw voice of Arijit Singh in ‘Wat Wat Wat’ are the good moments in this movie. The conversation that Ved(Played by Ranbir Kapoor) has with the rickshaw wallah, a wannabe singer, after his break up is a light moment which fills an empty void in us asking for the missing personal element in the whole movie.
Deepika’s portrayal of the loving, caring and rooted ‘Tara’ is truly notable in the scene where she asks Ranbir Kapoor whether he really is himself or is he different when he proposes to her at a crowded dinner party. Her gesture of asking him to talk in private outside for two minutes is a beautiful aspect in the script and the concern about where he is headed is notable for the love she has for him. These are the solid trump cards for the screenplay which unfortunately are short lived. It becomes a predicative game of repetition and forceful script change as the so called ‘normal’ Ranbir tries to colour himself again with his inner child. Meanwhile, Ranbir’s take on Dev Anand and Robert DeNiro are light takeaways from the film which entertain us to a certain extent. However, as the movie progresses, the details missing in his character are evidently shown up like how a hollow coffin of a script shows it’s skeleton of bones. A man lives his life with certain experiences, emotions and a societal upbringing. The whole social aspect is missing in the movie which is why the rickshaw wallah scene makes us feel happy for a while and then withers away into bubbles of forcefully written characters. We start to think whether movies are only stories of characters which are strictly defined. It is definitely not. Equal dignity needs to be given to the mis-en-scene or the whole volume of each scene in a movie. The surroundings need to speak to us in a discreet yet understandable manner. The consequence of a story or a movie which does not give space for thought and contemplation within ourselves leads to a suffocative experience wanting us to surpass scenes hoping the next shot will be a lighter breeze. When the mind is lost in this kind of hope there is no space for appreciation and when there is no eagerness for appreciation, there cannot be a fulfilling experience. There are ways of developing new styles of film making and there are also ways of just creating good films with solid scripts. If you are stuck in between these two it becomes a lost cause where you do not satisfy yourself at the end of the day. Striking the right balance between the two should be the key aspect that film makers of this generation must work upon.