Tamasha, as far as I know, is the first instance in Hindi cinema of the Zipless F**k. The phrase, coined by Erica Jong in her 1973 novel Fear of Flying, denotes a sexual encounter between two strangers, who don’t even know each other’s names.
There is no emotional involvement here, no commitment, no agenda. There are absolutely no strings attached. Tamasha gives us the Bollywood version. Ved and Tara meet in Corsica. This is the kind of sun-kissed Mediterranean island where inhibitions are automatically checked in at immigration.
So Ved, played by Ranbir Kapoor, becomes Don; and Tara, played by Deepika Padukone, becomes Mona Darling. They make a promise to tell each other only lies. For a week, they live in a delightful fictional world. But then reality intrudes, as it must.
In Tamasha, director and writer Imtiaz Ali grapples with many big ideas. The film is a celebration of storytelling, of the power of lies to reveal the truth. It is also about the transformative power of love. And it’s about following your passion and seizing the day.
Imtiaz is a fabulously talented director but eventually it proves to be too much messaging for one film. Tamasha’s first half is enchanting. Corsica is gorgeous; so are Ranbir and Deepika. Though Tamasha is about Ved’s evolution, Tara is a far more interesting character. As long as the film stays with her, it’s interesting. But post interval, we have to watch Ved unleash his inner artiste, which is a bit of a bore.
Tamasha starts to feel indulgent and predictable. The writing also gets lazy — Imtiaz settles for stereotypes and simplistic resolutions. We even get a philosophical rickshaw driver, who shows Ved the way.
But even as the story stumbles, Ranbir and Deepika power through. They have a special kind of talent — the ability to be both extraordinary and instantly relatable. They are transparent actors. Their tears have a genuine ache.
So for the price of a movie ticket, you can experience their magic and travel the world (for no apparent reason, Tamasha ends in Tokyo). That seems like a good deal to me.
Watch trailer here: