"Tamasha" is the love story of a storyteller who falls in love with a girl who helps him to rediscover his lost self.
It is the romantic tale of two strangers - Ved Vardhan Sahni (Ranbir Kapoor) and Tara Maheshwari (Deepika Padukone) - who meet in Corsica, France. Wanting to be mysterious, the duo pledge, in the backdrop of a local carnival, "What happens in Corsica, remains in Corsica".
The dialogue, somewhere in the second act, "Andar se kuch aur hi hain hum, aur bahaar se majboor", which means, I am somebody else within but helpless externally, lays the foundation of the film, albeit a wee bit too late in the narrative.
Narrated in a dramatic and avant-garde manner, the film evokes a sharp polarised reaction. You either love this "Tamasha" or don't quite relate to the lives of the characters.
The lead pair, Deepika and Ranbir, are great performers and they charm you in their inimitable style. They are natural and it is a treat to watch them perform with gay abandon. Their onscreen romance is palpable, but unfortunately they do not touch an emotional chord with the audience as their characters are shallow, one-dimensional and poorly etched.
The actor, who plays the young Ranbir, is exceptionally well cast, as he bears a striking resemblance to Ranbir and is a confident performer, who in fact sets the tone of the character, Ved.
Vivek Mushran as Ved's Punjabi boss in a telecom company, is competent and lives his character, albeit in a miniscule role. Veteran actor Sushma Seth, in a one-scene appearance, was completely wasted.
While Imtiaz Ali's script is skilfully crafted, the treatment is abstract and the screenplay confusing.
The plot is like a complex tableaux put together. The narration is divided into chapters like 'Teja Ka Sona', 'Ishqwala Love', 'Andar Ki Baat', and 'Don Returns'. In between these chapters, is the psychological drama laden with messages about following one's heart and being true to yourself.
With Ved, oscillating between bouts of sanity and insanity, as a freewheeling dude and an emotional human being leading a robotic life, the film vaguely reminds you of Raj Kapoor's "Mera Naam Joker".
Mired with repetitive montages to demonstrate the routine and with nothing concrete happening in terms of the story progression, the pace of the tale is slow. Furthermore, with being low on the entertainment quotient, it makes for tedious viewing.
Visually, the film is bright, vivid and dazzling in parts. Cinematographer Ravi Varma's frames are artistic. He has captured the magnificent locales of Corsica and Shimla with sincerity and aplomb. The music by A.R. Rahman, as usual, is good, but does not leave an indelible mark in the narration. And the film is well-layered by Aarti Bajaj's crisp and sharp editing.
Overall, the film entertains you in parts. If you have patience for Imtiaz Ali's serious existential philosophy, then you might like the film. Else, watch it only if you are a Ranbir and Deepika fan.