For a story, it requires two persons. One is the storyteller or narrator and the other is listener or audience. There lie two kinds of narration for every story. One is “Subjective Narration” and the other is “Objective Narration”. Consider a fly on one of your house’s walls, all you can do is watching how it flies and what it does. You can never enter its mind and relate yourself with the fly. You may agree to what the fly does or you may not. This is called “Objective Narration”. Consider that you’ve agreed to Ranchod Das’s principle of “All is Well” in Raj Kumar Hirani’s “3 Idiots” because it’s “Subjective Narration”. It means, you watched 3 Idiots only in the perspective of one idiot.
All these things needed an introduction because of Imtiaz Ali’s “Tamasha”. After a “Highway” journey, he came up with narration of “Tamasha” starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. “Sajid Nadiadwala” produced it under Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment production house. It’s the third collaboration of Imtiaz and A. R. Rahman.
Ved (Ranbir) and Tara (Deepika Padukone) meet each other in their vacation at Corsica, France. They make a promise to each other that whatever they speak about themselves should be a “lie” and should never meet again after they leave Corsica. But it happens that they meet in Delhi after some years. The rest story deals with what happens next.
“Why always the same story?” was the publicizing phrase for “Tamasha”. But Imtiaz’s narration made me reform this phrase as “Why always the same narration?“. As said, there are two kinds of narrations and a story narration can be either objective or subjective. But Imtiaz Ali implemented both in narrating “Tamasha”.
Imtiaz seems to have a great influence of Christopher Nolan if observed how he takes off the plot. For old times sake, remember Jai travelling in a flight to meet Meera in “Love Aaj Kal”, “Rockstar” Jordan giving concerts in various places, Mahavir’s truck crossing different places on a “Highway”. All these have one of their coming scenes as their take off scene. He followed the same strategy in his “Tamasha” as well. The story didn’t take off dramatically yet it lies within the story’s boundaries. Having “Chali Kahaani” at the inception was apt. It promised that there’s going to be something peculiar in the coming minutes of narration.
And you know what happens in Corsica?
Everything is objective, starting from introducing Don (Ranbir) and Mona Darling (Deepika) to each other. You can be either a friend or an enemy of them but you cannot be one of them. You just have to watch them lying to each other, climbing mountains, drinking water from the pond like animals, telling stories to earn bread and kissing each other deeply before getting separated.
You can also enjoy watching them dancing “Matargasthi” with rich visuals by cinematographer “Ravi Varman”.
Few Years Later…
It’s objective when a Punjabi troop narrates Heer’s (Mona) condition in a Bhangra style. It lies the same even when she climbs up and down a staircase in one of the restaurants in Delhi. You can never know how to make your entry into the plot until Ved (Ranbir) and Tara (Deepika) meet each other for the first time.
As said, your narration can be either objective or subjective. I don’t know whether Imtiaz experimented by combining both of them for a single plot’s narration or he might have ended up subjective being failed to be objective. As you start struggling inside, Imtiaz opens a plot’s door for you and from then you can be someone. You can be Ved who leads a perfect life or you can be Tara who gets excited for every word she speaks to him or you can be Ved’s boss who always cares about discipline among his employees or you can be that auto rickshaw driver who sacrificed his dream of singing for the sake of his family.
Imtiaz brilliantly linked all the stories Ved listened in his childhood to his life at a point of time.
The second half’s subjective narration not only opens doors for audience to enter but also let Ranbir prove his versatility. He is unmatchable in his transformation from “Don” in Corsica to “Ved Vardhan Sahni” in Delhi. Besides being subjective and objective at the same time, Imtiaz Ali narrated the same plot visually and verbally. For example, remember Ved getting dressed in the same way every morning and Tara waving him ‘bye’ every evening. Also remember that eunuch who taps Ved’s car’s wind shield for money. He shot number of shots on a single plot element for which “Aarti Bajaj”‘s editing helped a lot, he explained it verbally later and made his listeners feel a repetitive narration.
The scene where Tara asks Ved to give the ring back let Ranbir and Deepika excel their acting skills. Though it sound unconventional at a moment, it’s highly convincing. Followed by “Tum Saath Ho” gracefully sung by Arijit Singh and Alka Yagnik with a great camera work by Ravi Varman again, was touching. From then, narration turns completely subjective and you can easily relate yourself to Ved. But it takes a lot of dedication and love towards the character for Ranbir to portraying multiple variations.
In objective narration, audience engages hismelf highly to find a door for entering the plot. But while being subjective, the narrator should be highly careful as everything comes under listener’s control. I felt Imtiaz failed at this point. How much he excelled being objective, he got confused that much while being subjective. Had he managed to be more careful, his narration would’ve gone to the next level. Higher amount of verbal narration and the regular pre-climax sequences were the damagers. But there lied something later in the name of “Tu Koi Aur Hain” sung by master Rahman himself. Rahman always picks selective numbers in his album to lend his voice. One can blindly judge if there is a song sung by Rahman then it’s going to be a special one. Imtiaz came back and tried to make his audience happy by reinventing Ved in this song. But I don’t know why he had to shoot an unnecessary scene at the end with Ved and Tara dancing in a grassland kind of place.
So, “Tamasha” is such a film which may be an indigestible feast for common audience and a fascinating experience for wannabe screenwriters.
- A. R. Rahman’s Original Score. Finally Imtiaz learned to use Rahman a little for background score besides songs. He should try to extract a lot from him like how Asutosh Gowariker and Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra did. Rahman excelled as usual.
- Ravi Varman’s Cinematography. It’s at the top level. All the visuals were very colourful especially the ones in Corsica.
- Ranbir and Deepika. Ranbir showed his versatility once again while Deepika competed with him.
- Objective Narration. Imtiaz Ali has got a God level objective narration in the Corsica sequence.
- Aarti Bajaj’s Editing. Imtiaz Ali’s narration always comes up with a perfect editing of scenes. Bajaj’s editing was stupendous in the “Wat Wat Wat” song sequence.
- Production Values. Sajid Nadiadwala trusted Imtiaz’s work a lot and never compromised in making the film appear rich.
- Subjective Narration. Heavier verbal and repetitive narration brought down the plot’s intention suddenly. Apart from this I found no lowland in this film.
What should be learned from “Tamasha”?
Try to be either Objective or confidently Subjective in the plot’s narration. If you want to have both then try to balance them well.
– Yashwanth Aluru