Trust Anand L Rai(director) for giving us some of the most flawed on-screen characters ever.
Now I haven’t seen the original Tanu Weds Manu so my knowledge of the first movie and the characters is pretty much limited to the Wikipedia synopsis that I’ve read on the day of watching the movie. But five minutes into the movie and I was able to identify the differentiating traits of both the protagonists Tanu and Manu. Credit also duely goes to actors Kangana and Madhavan for bringing these people true to life. I think the first movie ends with the promise of a marriage between Tanu and Manu and this sequel starts off with the wedding, filmed in a typical retro style. Anyway, for anyone who’s seen the first movie, it should be pretty much apparent that nothing is gonna be dandy going forward for the couple, given their hugely questionable and contradictory intentions.
So staying true to our assumptions, ithe movie starts off in London four years after the wedding in a mental asylum (which is strange, whatever happened to marriage counselors?) where Tanu and Manu are practically cribbing about each other in front of a doctor. This was a great scene, though, and I loved how it immediately sheds light on what has transpired since the wedding and tells us about the characters in particular as well. Long story short, it doesn’t end well for Manu and he gets admitted into the mental asylum and Tanu returns to India when she realizes how boring she is all by herself. Enter Pappi (or is it Puppy?), the delightful sidekick to Manu who first has to get to London to release Manu from the asylum. The real fun starts when Manu returns to India and comes across a Tanu look-alike in Delhi. The highly spirited athlete named Kusum. He’s enthralled by her persona and attitude and quite immediately falls in love! I think this part is very interesting and if given some thought will make us understand the climax a bit better. I will say no more of the story though, you really have to watch it on the big screen. It’s a love-pentagon (yes gone are the days of simple love-triangles!) that makes sense.
I really liked the dichotomy that exists between Tanu/Manu and also Tanu/Kusum. And the whole movie basically rests on this understanding of ours. While Tanu’s self-indulgence is what makes or breaks her, Manu’s reluctance to take control of his life is something that puts him in a fix often. And Kusum, well… she is someone who has her heart in the right place. Some might call her inspiring, but what I really adored was her fearlessness in following her instincts. All the while possessing enough wisdom to know when to let go of things. She is practically the anti-thesis of Tanu.
So it was mind-blowing indeed to see that Kangana plays both Tanu and Kusum.
Yes! There have been lots of Indian actors who’ve done dual roles before but in my humble opnion, none have shown such breathtaking distinctiveness between the two roles as she does. Infact, it’s extremely easy for anyone to assume that Kusum is played by a totally different actress, unless you know better. If Kangana was a revelation in Queen, she takes it several notches higher in this one. She gets the characters down to the T, be it Tanu’s disdain or Kusum’s earnestness. I have only one word for her. Stellar.
As for Madhavan, I thought he was okay. I don’t undestand why so many are ogling over him though. Yes, he still retains his cuteness factor but from a performance point of view, there was nothing to get excited about. I actually loved the presence of Pappi who brightened every scene he was in with funny one-liners. The rest of the cast were perfectly suited too.
As for the other departments – the narrative never slackens, and even when it does feel like it’s going nowhere at times, there’s always Kangana in one frame or the other to hold your attention. So you will never realize the time pass by. Much of the credit has to go to the screenwriters for keeping the proceedings varied enough to be engaging but not gratuitous enough to be boring. Even the subplot involving Pappi’s love interest is nicely woven into the main storyline.
As of my writing, the movie has already crossed a box-office collection of 100 Crore rupees and it’s still growing day by day. As they say, the proof is the pudding. You won’t take away any life lessons from this one but I can promise that you will definitely have a jolly good time. And some of you might just revel at the juxtaposition of some of the more interesting characters written in recent times.
Other things that stood out in the movie:
- The music was very functional and never broke the flow. Also loved the usage of old Hindi songs in the background, especially in that midnight drunken walk scene.
- I dunno if it was intended, but I thought the usage of cramped localiites and narrow roads in the second half somehow added to the effect of the constriction that Tanu and Manu were going through.
- The whole makeup department for bringing out that visual difference between Tanu and Kusum.
- Kusum’s Haryanvi accent, and the way Kangana does it to perfection.
- The interval twist. You won’t see it coming! 🙂