Tamasha (transl. Spectacle) is a 2015 Indian romance film written and directed by Imtiaz Ali and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under his banner, Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. It features Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in lead roles and Ishwak Singh in Special Appearance. The film score and soundtrack album were composed by A. R. Rahman, while lyrics for the songs were written by Irshad Kamil. Filmed briefly in Corsica, Indian cities–Shimla, Delhi, Gurgaon, Kolkata; followed by two-day schedule in Tokyo, the film tells the story of character Ved Vardhan Sahni (played by Kapoor) in three stages–as a nine-year-old child, a 19-year-old adolescent and a 30-year-old adult in a drama-based non-linear screenplay.
The film was released on 27 November 2015 to mixed reviews by film critics. However, they widely praised the performances of lead actors but criticised the unsatisfactory togetherness of the plot. Over the years the film attained Cult Classic status with viewers praising it’s deep writing and concept. The film grossed over ₹136 crore worldwide,. The film received nominations for direction, music and performances of the lead actors, notably Kapoor being nominated under the Filmfare Award for Best Actor category. Padukone won the Stardust Award for Best Actress and Irshad Kamil won the Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics for his lyrical work to the soundtrack album of the film.
The film begins as an onstage skit as part of a spectacle by Ved (Ranbir Kapoor) and Tara (Deepika Padukone). The skit presents monotonous office lives of people in general along with their pasts, which are shown through flashback sequences. The film switches to a flashback, in Shimla, showing a child Ved being fascinated by the stories narrated by a roadside storyteller (Piyush Mishra) who keeps mixing up his characters.
The film then shifts to a time where Tara meets an adult Ved while both are holidaying in Corsica. After instantly connecting, they come up with an amusing verbal pact to keep their real identities undisclosed, with hopes of not falling in love, as they explore the island together. One of their frequent jovial activities include pretending to be movie characters where Ved often poses as “Don” and Tara, as “Mona Darling”. As their bond grows stronger, Tara realizes she is falling in love with Ved and afterwards, decides to leave Corsica despite their romantic friendship. The film moves back to another flashback where a young Ved is seen questioning the storyteller about the reason for happy times ending quickly, after noticing a sad part in all of his stories.
In India, after Tara returns to Kolkata, her father (Nikhil Bhagat) hands her over his tea business and she expands it by starting a line of tea boutiques, taking the company ahead. Four years later, after going to Delhi for work, she meets Ved one day, much to her surprise, and learns he is now a product manager. They reveal their original identities and she becomes excited to spend time with him, ready to act on her initial love for him. However, as they spend time together, she notices how vastly his charismatic persona and carefree attitude has changed. He talks differently, behaves more formally at their dates and shows up at a fixed time at her place. His monotonous and tedious lifestyle on a daily basis, from morning to evening in a similar pattern, includes him waking up on time, completing the morning chores, wiping the car, ignoring the hijra on the way, helping an elderly woman at his office, giving a presentation for work, and, meeting Tara in the evening. Ved, now more reserved, proposes to Tara with a ring on his birthday but she declines as she is unhappy with this reserved version of him. Ved leaves for his home and on the way, the driver (Ishteyak Khan) tells him about how his dreams of becoming a singer were crushed in earning his livelihood. Ved breaks down and his residual mental disorder is triggered.
Due to his borderline personality disorder, Ved ends up upsetting his boss with nonsensical presentations and random behavior display in business meetings. As Ved begs Tara to come back to his life, she indirectly informs him she is fixated in his cheerful personality from Corsica instead of his attitude of simply living by societal conventions. After claiming his lively nature to be his true, undiscovered identity and politely asking him to genuinely figure himself out, Tara tearfully expresses her realization of unintentionally hurting him and apologizes. Frustrated and confused, Ved leaves in tears. The next day, he slightly changes his daily routine at the office, gives the ring to the eunuch and afterwards gets evicted from his workplace for his continuous mindless actions.
Ved returns to Shimla and gets in a tussle with his father, Brijmohan Sahni (Javed Sheikh), after telling him he had lost his job and had been wandering around for six months. Ved then gains introspection from a reflection in the mirror, as he decides to meet the old storyteller from his childhood in order to complete his own story. Upon their encounter, the old storyteller criticizes Ved’s irrationality, and confronts him to complete his own story. This opens Ved’s eyes and he goes back to his house where he starts narrating events which happened in their family, using theatrics and metaphors in the form of storytelling to the family audience. Moved by his art of storytelling, Brijmohan forgives him for leaving his job and lets him pursue his life as he wishes.
Ved returns to Delhi and accepts the ring being kindly returned to him by the eunuch. Tara, after finishing a business meeting at Oracle in Tokyo, is surprised when Ved shows up back with his gleeful attitude and they both happily begin impersonating characters again. The film goes into a flashback and through a montage sequence, shows Ved in three of his stages as a child, an adolescent and an adult, sequentially. The film cuts back to the onstage skit again, which is in continuation of the opening scene of the film and the elaborated allegorical spectacle, as Ved and Tara prepare for its conclusion. The film ends with Ved taking bow amid the applause of audience.
Ranbir Kapoor as Ved Vardhan Sahni/Don
Deepika Padukone as Tara Maheshwari/Mona Darling
Piyush Mishra as Storyteller
Ishwak Singh as Tara’s friend (Guest Appearance)
Yash Sehgal as younger Ved Vardhan Sahni
Javed Sheikh as Brij Mohan Sahni, Ved’s father
Sushma Seth as Ved’s grandmother
Vivek Mushran as Ved’s boss
Kshitij Sharma as Theatre Artist
Nikhil Bhagat as Tara’s father
Faraaz Servaia as Tara’s brother
Punam Singh as Tea Executive
Ishtiyak Khan as auto-rickshaw driver
Svetlana Tulasi as the Hindu Goddess Sita
Himanshu Sharma as Lord Ram, Prince of Ayodhya.