“Tamasha”, A Mental Health Tamasha Of Bollywood
Tamasha is an Indian Psychological Romance Film written and directed by Imtiaz Ali and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala . the film tells the story of character Ved Vardhan Sahni (played by Kapoor) in three stages–as a 9-year-old child, a 19-year-old adolescent and a 30-year-old adult in a drama-based non-linear screenplay.
The film begins as an onstage skit as part of a spectacle by Ved and Tara. 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 who keeps mixing up his characters. Ved who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder has been shown suffering from behavioral and identity issues in the movie.
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.
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. The film ends with Ved pursuing his passion for story telling and in the process the movie shows how this helped solve his Borderline Personality Disorder.
What is problematic about the movie is the portrayal of the Borderline Personality Disorder and its potential causes. The movie gives an idea as if the story teller and his stories made Ved attracted to storytelling and could potentially have led to the problem. The idea is however, unclearly portrayed. As the story progresses, Ved shows many behavioral problems which are related to Borderline Personality Disorder. However, the end of the movie shows that Ved’s issues gets resolved as he battles his identity problem, giving a completely wrong portrayal of such a serious mental issue. To handle such sensitive issues with such levels of negligent is a serious issue and should be taken more seriously by the viewers and the public itself. The illness has been portrayed in a completely wrong way and misguides the viewers about the nature and the problems associated to such issues. In a society where we are already battling the social stigma of mental health, these movies are not helping but making it more and more difficult for these issues to be addressed in their correct form and nature. This is why we can call this as this movie as a “Tamasha of Mental Health”.