Monday Musing 248 - 'Tamasha' is 'Tare Zameen par - part 2'
Those who thought that the Ranbeer- Deepika coming on screen again would be ‘Ye Jawani hai Deewani’ returns would be disappointed. ‘Tamasha’ is more a ‘Tare Zameen Par’ returns. It is a movie that every parent must watch rather than the young ones in search of romance.
This might sound like a movie review but that is the price one pays for risking a musing that emerges out of the triggers from a movie. Cut to its bones, the movies simple message is – do not mess with the natural talents of your child or else he will turn out to be a mediocre zombie who will mouth platitudes and live a meaningless life of a drone and will have a botched up (love) life.
Tamasha runs more like an allegory than a motion picture – it flows like a sun down grand mom tale. The opening sequence is an ode paid to the ubiquitousness of stories that we all have grown up with – stories of our epics, stories from our religions, love stories and so on an so forth. The grainy images of the school boy’s enactments during plays makes a lovely backdrop that quite literally tells the viewer how deeply entrenched is the culture of storytelling in human society. It serves as the backdrop in which such imagination centric childhood then gets tormented and maimed by the pursuit of employment driven education. I am not surprised that the punching bag is ‘maths’ and ‘engineering’ – for these two represents best the terrorism of this bias on students at least in the last few decades. One could easily add medicine and now MBA to that list of tormentors! There are some brilliant shots in that early part where the story enamoured child is day dreaming and names of all other academic subjects are appearing on the screen like villains distracting him. Not a word said – but don’t they say that a pictures speaks a thousand words!
The way such a child turns into a robot when he joins work is brilliantly essayed. The meeting room scenes are comic only because they are exaggerated versions of reality. The yes-manship, the trite and mouthed-to-death lines in the powerpoint obsessed meeting room scenes bully home the point that for someone whose heart is not in the work that he does and who was meant to do something else will only experience a soul crushing meaninglessness that will corrode his joy. The person becomes a shadow of him and loses his joie de vivre and how such a pauper will only be a drag to people around him and the work that he does.
The melodramatic scene towards the end in the conversation with the now insane old story teller is poignant, particularly when the old man says something to the effect – ‘you must be out of your mind – you are asking me how your story ends – go find your end to your story’. Do we know what we want our story to look like? Do we have the courage to write it?
Tamasha is not a romantic pot boiler. It is more a parent education initiative. Good job Imtiaz Ali. Clearly you know where the shoe pinches. The love story was just a red herring and it worked quite well.