Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha is an earnest effort at announcing the arrival of madness because being normal means being mediocre. A robot and a clown take us back to the life of a boy who loves to live inside stories. Every day he walks up to the story-teller in town to listen to how Sita awaited Ram and how Laila and Majnu fell in love. Interspersed with these shots, is a bewildered family wondering at the boy’s solitary conversations and unreasonable bursts of ecstatic joy.
Cut to Corsica, the boy, now an adult (Ranbir Kapoor), meets a girl (Deepika Padukone). The girl has lost her address, wallet and money. The boy helps her and takes her on a joyride into his world of stories. Three days later the girl is hit by the world outside because when the two had met, they had decided not to divulge their names to each other and also agreed to never meet after Corsica. Painfully aware of losing a dream, the girl makes love to the boy and leaves, hoping that she would be out of the dream as soon as she reaches home.
Back home, however, the girl waits for a time when she would meet the boy. When they finally meet as Tara and Ved, a new chapter begins with Tara learning that the man she loves lives a very different life. He follows strict daily routines and never breaks any rule. Though she finds the difference striking, Tara waits for Ved to break into a jig. As days pass, Tara’s smile fades and she realises how Ved has tamed his madness to conform into the world that demands normalcy.
In his effort to project the mind of Ved bursting at its seams, Ali takes cue from Shakespeare’s, “All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women merely players”. While all of this is certainly new, Ali’s storytelling wavers at several points in the movie. Wellmeaning attempts at showing Tara and Ved as yin and yang is a pain at times. Though Tamasha has its heart in the right place, in his enthusiasm to celebrate madness, Ali lulls the audience with over indulgence. So when the movie finally ends and the Ved-Tara Jodi appears onscreen to show one last shot of their madness we are forced to ask: “Haven’t we spent enough time on this?”