The opening scene of Tanu Weds Manu-Returns is four years after where it’s prequel ended. Four years after marriage, Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) and Manu (Madhavan R) are seeing psychiatrists ‘cause they cannot stand each other anymore. The movie opens with Madhavan claiming his wife is mad and has bipolar disorder. I almost threw a glass at the screen at how stupid men cannot handle their marriage and make wives go through insanity and oh well, the nerve to call them so. (Refer to my previous post on Bipolar disorder.
Before I could outrage, the movie quickly turns around. Madhavan reacts violently at the psychiatric center and is institutionalized. Kangana leaves him there and returns to Kanpur. There isn’t much to look forward to in the movie except Datto’s role. And oh, Kangana’s performance – Queen of Bollywood indeed.
Madhavan has nothing much to do in the movie, or in Bollywood itself these days. He returns to Delhi and meets a spitting image of his wife, Datto, a sports-quota Delhi student with a Haryanvi accent. The entire movie is Kangana’s show and if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy the movie frame-by-frame. The Haryanvi accent and body language of sports student and the coy, notorious image of a London settled spoiled wife- Kangana plays both roles- effortlessly and brilliantly. Almost as if she lived through the roles and loved acting them.
Tanu’s role is realistic. You can argue that it is not, but it is. The couple fight and turn things sour but they still think of each other and react like a typical couple who don’t expect things to go worse. Manu calls his nagging wife as a Bipolar and she leaves him at the mental asylum and does everything to provoke him and make him jealous. Neither of them expect to fall apart but it happens. Enter Datto, Manu finds himself following her. First for how she reminds him of Tanu and then is amused by her nature and genuineness. Madhavan does his little bit well to fit into the picture well. Unlike other Kangana’s movies, there is very little on women’s independence or empowerment in this movie.
There is a brief speech by Datto’s uncle to her family in her village. That scene where Datto rebels violently with her own family to save Manu and is locked up, with Manu looking at her in awe. The closing scene where she says, “The next round around the fire, marriage is confirmed. Are you sure you want to marry? Don’t worry about me, I am an athlete, I want to be first always…” And she leaves her own marriage with a sporty face and shuts herself and breaks down to tears. This sums up a lot about reality- how young girls are brave to stand up for themselves, Indian girls stuck between opportunities in a city, their traditional backgrounds and caught in matters of the heart at this age- how things can break them no matter how they appear, how men don’t have the courage to admit they messed up (Madhavan could have told her the night before the wedding when she comes to ask him if she’s sure) and how love can make two people do stupid things to annoy each other, knowing they still love each other. Call this silly, but this is reality. The difference between a girlfriend’s guts and a wife’s mischief taking advantage of her husband’s loyalty- else, what would make her roam around with ex-boyfriends till she receives a divorce notice.
There are some things no current leading actress in Bollywood but Kangana can play. Perhaps her village and simple upbringing and struggle to stardom is an advantage for such rustic or notorious characters. I can’t imagine elegant Katrina or Deepika Padukone being able to do the rustic Datto’s role. Maybe Piggy Chops/Kareena? I can’t imagine Vidya Balan doing a sports student role and I am beginning to think Kangana would have done a better version of Mary Kom.
I surely enjoyed the sequel than the part one. Part one, Tanu Weds Manu was some kind of north Indian mashup of Chennai Express and Dum Dum Dum. Tanu Weds Manu Returns is hilarious but not flawless if you want to pick at it. Why are they seeking marriage counselling at a psychiatric center? And how the entire family (both Tanu and Manu’s) is working for Madhavan’s second marriage with Datto -is plain cinema. A feeble dialogue by the mother sums up what the audience is thinking- “pata nahi hum kiski side pe hain”.
My friend who recently began watching Indian movies- asked me if all of Indian movies carried some women-centric messages, cause all the movies people have suggested to her have been the likes of English Vinglish, Queen, Mary Kom, Fashion, 36 Vayadhinile, Kandukonden Kandukonden, so on.
The movies in that genre have certainly done well, but I don’t agree all of them were great movies. 36vayadhinile had me leaving the movie even before intermission, something I have rarely done. The genre is pleasant and I don’t mind seeing another movie of a woman discovering herself and travelling the world, if it is with Ms. Ranaut.
These are some of my favourite scenes of Kangana Ranaut:
1) Queen- Whats there to not love about this movie –
2) Fashion- Jalwa