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Tamasha: No more than a pretty spectacle

Ranbir Deepika

A promising premise, unconventional treatment, luminous visuals and energetic performances by the lead pair of Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone make Tamasha a distinctive love story.

Yet, it isn’t the sort of film that is likely to send audiences into paroxysm of delight. Superficiality and predictability are the undoing of Tamasha.

Writer-director Imtiaz Ali knows his onions all right and the director of photography S Ravi Varman composes frames that are both bewitching and evocative.

At a basic level, therefore, Tamasha is a film that would pass muster by most yardsticks. But given the benchmark that the film seeks to touch, it falls disappointingly short.

This story of a pair of young lovers, which unfolds in two time frames separated by four years, revolves around a man (Ranbir Kapoor) who is compelled by his father (Jawed Sheikh) to abandon his dreams and follow a path of conventional career advancement.

Trapped and unhappy, he goes on an outing to Corsica, France. There, he befriends a fancy-free girl (Deepika Padukone) who, on a cue from him, agrees to pretend to be somebody that she isn’t.

They reveal neither their names nor their identities to each other but travel around the place like two long-lost friends. Yes, friends and not lovers.

He calls himself Don. She passes herself off as Mona Darling. They promise not to speak a shred of truth. At the end of this weeklong and exhilarating encounter, the duo parts and decides never to meet again.

But in a fairy-tale of the kind that Tamasha aspires to be, you never say never, especially in matters of the heart. The woman realizes that she is in love. So, a few years later, she travels to Delhi from Kolkata in search of the man who caught her fancy in a faraway land.

They meet again but nothing is the same anymore. This man – his name is Ved Sahni – is a staid product manager in a telecom company and leads a life so crushingly boring that Tara – that is what the woman is actually called – recoils in horror.

It sets off a chain reaction that sees Ved fly off the handle repeatedly before going off the rails completely. His only hope now lies in reclaiming the life that he wanted for himself.

Two young individuals desperate to give the stories of their lives the spin that they deserve make for a fascinating duo. If only the exploration of true love had the depth of their dreams, Tamasha would have been an outright winner.

It isn’t. Yet, thanks to the chemistry between Ranbir and Deepika and the occasional stretches when they plunge headlong into their roles, Tamasha is no washout either.

Watch Tamasha for the verve that the leads bring to the table even when there isn’t much on it to dig one’s teeth into.