Character Analysis: Rickshaw Walla
Played By: Ishtiyak Khan
Streaming On: Netflix
Tamasha is one of the cinematic gems by Imtiaz Ali. While the film enjoys a large and loyal fan base for the way it told Ved’s story, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Rickshaw Walla after watching him in the movie multiple times.
When Ved meets Rickshaw Walla during a ride, he is seen singing – “Tu Meri Zindagi Hai”. It’s a very famous 90s song from the film Aashiqui and quickly establishes that he has grown up singing same song. He is in Delhi as a rickshaw driver who wanted to be a singer.
When Ved meets him he immediately relates to his ‘majboori’ and recalls his convo with his dad regarding not being able to understand ‘maths’. As Rickshaw Walla tells Ved about how he had to give up his talent to follow a routine and run his family, it reminds him how he too has also been living with a mask and no one is interested in the real him. When Rickshaw Walla says, “Abhi aapko mujhe dekh ke samajh nahi aa raha hoga sir, lekin jab ham Allahabad mein stage pe gaaya karte the na, bandh jaati thi janta, progrram khatam karne ka naam hi nahi leti thi”, Ved feels that he is on the path where he will be like that Rickshaw Walla one day. Rickshaw Walla at that moment is a catalyst who moves Ved for some time. He remembers his father’s dialogue about responsibilities and connects it with responsibility monologue of Ricksha Walla.
In the same moment, Rickshaw Walla remembers when he used to sing the song “chammak choria se nayan wala larhaavat, urhti chirhia ke haldi pakad ke lagavat”. For Rickshaw Walla, that chammak choria se nayanwa larhaana now means making all the impossible tasks possible. What was “Aashiqui” at that time has become different thing altogether. He is a man who carries so much in his heart but doesn’t have anyone to talk it out. He is the sole breadwinner of the family and to pour his heart out, he talks to passengers. In our daily life we meet so many people like him.
“Urhti chirhia ke haldi pakad ke lagavat” tells his story how he is trying to make ends meet in this difficult world. “O re beauty apni duty to pe line maar ke nibhavat hai” talks about his commitment and how he has killed his dreams for the sake of his family.
After the flashback, at the Dhaba, Rickshaw walla is seen singing the same song for himself. Like a man heals his wounds on his own.
Please give him a power hug if you meet him in the real world. Kudos, Ishtiyak Khan for playing the character.