Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tanu Weds Manu Returns 

Kangana Doubles Winner

The one unusual aspect of Aanand L. Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu was the small-town hellraiser Tanuja Trivedi, who tries to be a rebel, but is just badly behaved and inconsiderate.  By the end of the film, she had two suitors, and she chose the London-based doctor Manoj Sharma (R. Madhavan) over the hooligan Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill).

Four years later, for some strange reason, they are bickering in a mental hospital in the UK, and Manu is locked up as a lunatic!  Obviously commercial Hindi films can’t take marital counselling seriously, and frown on the break-up of a marriage for the perfectly valid reason of incompatibility. (Later they also show a divorce taking place by just signing papers!)

Tanu returns to Kanpur, immediately starts behaving like a brat flirting with the rickshaw puller, turning up drunk and dressed in a towel to meet the people who have come to see her sister. Then she flirts with their paying guest Chintu (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub) and looks up her past flame Raja. Because she is beautiful and sassy, every man seems to fall in love with her. But if the film wants to say that annoying behavior is a sign of a woman’s emancipation, then the woman should also be seen as taking responsibility for her actions.

But Tanu Wed Manu Returns, is not a film for or about mature grown-ups—it has been made just to amuse an audience, which is as legitimate a reason to make a film. If some viewers expected more and are disappointed, they hardly count.

Tanu sends Manu’s friend Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal) to get him out of the asylum. They return to India too, where Manu spots and falls headlong in love with Kusum, a young athlete and a lookalike of Tanu.  For no logical reason but that he stalks her with a hangdog expression, Kusum falls for him too and wants to marry him, never mind the huge age difference. The courage that took her out of her backward village, and her ambitions as a sportsperson just end in a jiffy.

But sadly, the film is not about romantic errors or second chances either, it degenerates into a farce, a needless kidnapping (the girl simply vanishes) and every contrivance possible to get the entire cast to Kusum’s Haryana village.  Once they all congregate, Manu has to make up his mind between the two women.  Ideally both should have questioned their own sense in picking a hopeless wimp like Manu, but this is not a film about sensible people.

The film works in spite of all its shortcomings because of Kangana Ranaut who plays both Tanu and Kusum with intelligence and confidence. Actors like Rajesh Sharma as Kusum’s progressive brother Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub, Swara Bhaskar (as Tanu’s friend) and Deepak Dobriyal use their combined talents to prop up the film. The witty dialogue (Himanshu Sharma) and peppy music do the rest.


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