Towards the climactic sequence of 'Tamasha', director Imtiaz Ali had his trumph card planted -- in the form of 'Agar Tum Saath Ho', a painfully melodious song depicting a desolation, a hurt that only the millennials could feel. Millennials, because self-discovery is formatively a newer concept -- a piercingly visceral, yet aesthetically glorious process of knowing oneself.
AR Rahman played to his strength and made a bitter-sweet symphony about love. And singers Alka Yagnik and Arijit Singh, with this, sang one of their career-best tracks.
She isn't able to win though, and both sit on the seating-stool and lay their head on the counter of the cafe.
Tara then caresses Ved on the back of his head. But to no avail.
Ved leaves Tara in tears.
Deepika's eyes telltale what the entire song says -- the difference between longing and belonging. Tara belonged to the 'Don' she had met in Corsica, but the Ved she was with was a semblance of that free-spirited stranger. She did not belong to him, but longed for him.
When Ved leaves, Tara falls to the ground as if praying for his return.
He does not return. But six months later, her 'Don' comes back to her.
'Tamasha' is known as much for Ranbir Kapoor as it is for this song. His oeuvre speaks volumes about his knack of presenting a forlorn figure on the silver screen. The film took this further with Ved -- who was as lonely as he was confused.
The potion to this dilapidated soul was the manic pixie dream girl -- Tara. Deepika had -- by the time she sank her teeth into something as rich as Tara -- done 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' whose Naina also showed Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor's Kabir) the way ahead.
But her Tara was miles ahead in terms of the richness of character. She was independent, beautiful, understanding and loving -- all of which helped and goaded Ved to get back to his real self.
The song 'Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai' chronicled Tara's wait of four years -- where she pined for that one person who made her come alive -- and that too as a backpacker falling in love in the Corsican fairytale.
When the movie released in 2015, people could not make much sense of Tara. Why would a girl -- who could have had the world falling for her -- wait for a guy for four years? Was it the love? Or the excitement?
Or was it that she never waited for 'Don'? She just waited for THE connection that she felt with him in a matter of few days.
She had moved on; but she never felt the connection that she did with 'Don' again. So why settle for anything less?
She did not. Not even for Ved -- the machine who would participate in the rat race, because everyone else was. She wanted her 'Don'.
In 2020, when Deepika has completed over 12 years in the industry and has the likes of 'Leela', 'Mastani', 'Rani Padmini', 'Naina', 'Piku', and 'Veronica' to her credit, her 'Tara' stands out as the one character she made the most memorable. Her 'Malti' in the upcoming 'Chhapaak' may outsmart 'Tara' though.
Deepika has been through depression, and is WOMAN ENOUGH to admit and accept that. It's her mental strength and agility that made her absorb what Tara felt when she longed to be with 'Don' -- her 'Don', who had her heart and soul.
Conforming was never the alternative -- not for Tara, who did not conform to Ved's idiocy to adjust into a normal routine, and not for Ved, who broke the shackles of monotony he himself had tied around him.
Conforming was not the alternative for Imtiaz Ali as well, who gave a rather poetic detailing into what goes into self-discovery. He did not conform with the rather low standards of other Bollywood movies.
This is a scene during the course of the climax of 'Tamasha' where Ved narrates his story to his parents. The storyteller in him has found himself in that sequence, and is longing to get recognised by people he reveres the most.
"Toh kaisi lagi kahaani...
Ending kharab hai? Ending sahi nahin hai...
Toh koi baat nahin. Apni kahaani hai. Ending change kar denge..."
Ved then withdraws from the rat race he had unwillingly become a part of. And jumps and runs to be back with his Tara.
'Tamasha' was no run-of-the-mill love story -- it was about a worldly truth and some unworldly love. And as much as the movie belonged to its protagonist, its storyteller, its locales, music and backdrops, it was held by one star performer -- the manic pixie dream girl, who with her sensitivity and sensibility, took the narrative notches higher. Tara -- unknowingly -- taught how to love, because had it not been for her, Ved would have never found himself. Maybe that's why he bows down to her at the end. To her love.
On Deepika Padukone's 34th birthday, India TV Recommends 'Tamasha' for Imtiaz Ali's unique storytelling; exemplary music; Ranbir Kapoor's trajectory of Ved; but most importantly for her true-to-self portrayal of a girl in love; and lastly, for the motivation you would require to discover yourself.