Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Fun Redux


In a fast-food world where falling in love and then fighting to keep that love going because the logical culmination to all of this seems to be marriage, Tanu Weds Manu Returns takes a breezy look at “..and they didn’t live happily ever after.” What causes couples who fought the whole world to be together fall out love? Exactly which window is it from where this love goes flying out? And how?

Director Anand L. Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma couldn’t be bothered with such relational and causal intricacies. The fact of the story is, Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) and Manu (R. Madhavan) have hit the sour peak in their marriage.  That’s how the movie opens and this, perhaps, is the weakest spot in the story, especially Madhavan being unceremoniously locked up in the asylum right away. (To me, both looked equally on the fringe of being committed.) But Anand Rai is quick to move out of this zone and swiftly carries us into the next chapter of the couple’s story that’s partly hilarious, partly heart-warming and is also a superb look at how rebound and pain can cause people to behave in ways that are more damaging to themselves and their one-two-three degree of separation relationships than they can imagine.

Kangana cocking a snook in her towel
Kangana cocking a snook in her towel

And in this entropic world of rebounds (Madhavan’s world) and defiant chaos (Kangana’s world) walk in other characters. Some are reprised from the first part, others are new. But all, crucial and delightful. At no point in the movie can you fault the director for making the plot uninteresting. Contrived, sometimes. Delightfully crazy, always. Across all situations, the movie sails through because of how the characters react, evolve, and eventually accept what’s coming their way. Kangana Ranaut as Tanuja (Tanu) is in her element. We’ve seen her here before – cocking a snook at the world, liquor bottle and curls hanging with equal measures of disdain (towards the institution of marriage) and defiance (against Manu). However, it is in her Kusum (Datto) – Tanu’s look alike, for whom Manu falls – where she’s magnificent. And it’s not just her teeth or her hair. It’s her. Her delivery is a whiplash of Haryanvi dialect, her eyes brimming with fire or innocence to whatever life throws at her, but never self-pity. In Datto, Kangana conquers her next personal bastion, bringing alive a character who’s sure of what she feels and what she wants in her own charming countryside way. And as the movie nears its end, she’s on top of her game, brilliantly portraying both characters undergoing upheavals that are on opposite sides of the emotional spectrum. The likeable R. Madhavan remains that. He’s quietly emotional, suppressing more than expressing, allowing other actors (especially Kangana and Deepak Dobriyal) to dominate the proceedings. He blooms nicely toward the end, racked by doubt, torn between love and commitment (he feels both for both the Kanganas, but in differing measures).

The unbelievably good Kangana
The unbelievably good Kangana “Datto” and the likeable R. Madhavan

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is tops – as the tenant in Tanu’s father’s house who refuses to pay or vacate, but quickly falls for her, he shows dazzling sparkle. Rajesh Sharma as Datto’s brother is on the dot, as Sharma usually is. We also see some sadly industry-underutilized actors here. Jimmy Shergill returns as Raja Awasthi, more accepting and more a fed-up observer, but very good. K.K.Raina as Manu’s father is in fine form in a superb drinking scene where he’s trying to tell Madhavan that marriage and happiness are just a mirage, what matters is the spirit – all this set to the background of his own wife firing on all barrels of non-stop nagging.

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub sparkles
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub sparkles

If someone were to ask me for an alternate title for this movie, it’d be “Deepak Dobriyal Returns”. As Manu’s best friend Pappi, he’s simply brilliant and the life of the movie. When he’s onscreen, you simply can’t look anywhere else – his face is a riot of expressions, his voice jumping from disbelief to pleading to lecturing to self-pity. When he’s not on the screen, you actually feel the energy flagging down. Deepak Dobriyal sets upon the movie superbly, chewing each scene with relish, with as much relish as he attacks the samosas. (I have a feeling the movie theatre ran out of samosas in the interval thanks to Pappi’s tryst with samosas. I was dying for a bite, too.)

Deepak Dobriyal relishes each scene and each samosa
Deepak Dobriyal relishes each scene and each samosa

The music by Krsna Solo is good in parts, especially the catchy Banno and Move On tracks. But the highlight is Old School Girl that begins in the funny zone, and before you realize it, segues into a nice little love track. But did the background score have to be so loud, all the time?

There’s nothing subtle about Anand Rai’s style. And with a set of such raucous characters, why and how can he be? He does, however, pay a touching tribute to the movie makers of yesteryears in a night scene where a drunk Tanu walks out, rejected by Manu, and walks the streets, glass in hand. This scene is set to OP Nayyar’s classic “Ja ja ja bewafa” (Aar Paar), and there’s some very nice angles here, especially when the camera follows Kangana, focusing only on the glass in her hand.

Bottom-line: Thank you for a good time, Mr. Rai. And thank you for the samosas, Deepak.

@aanandlrai @ActorMadhavan @kangna_ranaut @jimmysheirgill @deepakdobriyal #TanuWedsManuReturn @jiteshpillaai

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Official trailer, Tanu Weds Manu Returns: