Okay! So first thing first. As a millennial, it’s quite impossible to miss the sappy quotes of Rumi shared by your overtly romanticizing friends on social media. But still, if you haven’t taken the pain to google “Rumi” let us do that for you. In Brief, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī aka Maulana was a 13th-century Persian Poet and Islamic Scholar. Later in his life, he met a dervish (a member of a Muslim (specifically Sufi) religious order who has taken vows of poverty and austerity) – Shams which changed his life completely. The meeting of two often considered as the meeting of soulmates and even though the end tragic, their love for each other is later become the inspiration of poetic work of Rumi. At the present day, Rumi is one of the most read poetic across the globe, even in a country like the USA which has prevalent Islamophobia.
Coming to Imtiaz Ali. His cinematic work is majorly confined to love and self-discovery. His movie “Tamasha” is not successful at the box office in churning numbers still manages to have quite a number of followers who loved the movie and its subtext. This includes me too. Though Imtiaz Ali’s all films are somewhere based on Rumi’s Philosophy, Tamasha stands out because it kind of depicts the love story of Rumi and Shams. Let’s decipher the connections.
The Names – The name of the character played by Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha was Ved and Tara respectively. As we all know Ved means old Knowledge laden scriptures written as a guide to a “Perfect” Lifestyle. Rumi was a Maulana also and used to teach his pupils about Holy Quran and the way of life according to it. In Hindi, Tara means Star. In Persian, Shams means Sun which is a star. Okay, so this may sound a bit forced connection to you. Let’s move to next.
The Story – Rumi was a famous Maulavi in Iran, who used to live by the rules and books and even used to interpret that for others till the time he met a dervish illiterate mystic – Shams, and everything changed after that. Shams sensed the real “Rumi” inside maulana and forced him to question on whatever he was believing for decades. Now the story of Tamasha. It’s not a mere coincidence that the lead of “Tamasha” – Ved was living a rules-abiding life till he meets Tara ( Shams means Sun in Persian, that is also a star). Remember the first scene of Tara when she traveling to a far land Corsica and had no money. She was begging for life. Isn’t that a dervish lifestyle just like Shams. Tara eventually re-evokes a deep desire in Ved to find his own story.
Self Discovery- In Rumi and Shams story, Shams leaves Rumi and disappears for a while forcing Rumi to start a journey in his search but eventually Rumi discovers himself and becomes of the mystic and poet he always destined to be. In Tamasha, Tara also leaves Ved saying that I thought you were someone and but you are not that person. When Tara leaves Ved, Ved loses his mind and start questioning everything and eventually discovers his calling – He also becomes a storyteller too.
The Creation – We all know the famous Dervish Dance whose adulterated form that we have seen in many Hindi Films. That dance was originally created by Rumi and Shams as the “Whirling Dance of Sema”. The creation of something spiritual and artistic also results in the Imtiaz Ali’s story in the end when Ved creates Stage Show!
Imtiaz has always been inspired by Rumi and hence even the in the “Rockstar” he clearly used the couplet of Rumi’s poetry – “Far away beyond the ideas of right and wrong, there is a beautiful land- I will meet you there”. Recently in Harry Met Sejal the tagline of the film itself was – “What you seek, Is seeking you!” again a Rumi Quote.
Still Imtiaz quote Rumi in an interview – “ Appear as you are and become as you look.”Tamasha is definitely ahead of time if not flawless. Tamasha defies the norms of society which always kills the artist inside us who is no one else but a child survived.