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DIRECTOR: Aanand L Rai
STARRING: R Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
RATING: 4 stars
A sequel is always a tough act to follow, even more so if its predecessor had won adulation and conquered the box office. But the marriage party of Tanuja Trivedi and Manoj Sharma are back with yet another winner in Tanu Weds Manu Returns!
A film that questions, in its own quirky way, whether the ‘spark’ that ignites love between two opposites can actually continue to burn brighter or does it slowly flicker and go off, enveloping everyone that basked in its glory with darkness.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns begins where the last film left off, with a grainy home video of Tanu and Manu’s marriage with all the characters that you usually see at a desi wedding party – the intoxicated uncles, the flirtatious-friends-of-the couple, the kids grabbing chunks of ice cream at the counter and the wild dance. All of which help in reintroducing Pammi, Payal and Jassi and set the tone for the laughs to follow.
Fast forward to four years and the love marriage has now developed cracks with Tanu and Manu in London, seeking marriage counselling at a mental asylum (the strangest illogical blunder). As they both vent their points-of-view and frustrations, you learn that Tanu misses her days of wild abandon, the attention of numerous suitors, and seeks more from her marriage, while Manu seeks his marital stability at the nearest supermarket, shopping for grocery and a simple dinner with friends. Things get nasty and Manu is taken into custody for anger management/mental care while Tanu jets off to Kanpur to enjoy the freedom she craved. The caring wife that she is, she calls Manu’s friend and sidekick Pammi (the lovable and comic Deepak Dobriyal) to inform him of her husband’s misfortune.
Back in Kanpur, Tanu transforms into the vibrant, colourful and beautiful woman she left behind. With her crazy lovers, including the stylish Raja Awasthi, back at her heels at the slightest flutter of her kohl-lined eyelashes or the smile of her full bright red lips. She even adds a new admirer to her list in the form of a distant cousin – Advocate Arun Kumar Singh aka Chintu (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub). Manu, on the other hand, mopes around in Delhi waiting for that one phone call from his wife, begging for his forgiveness and in a strange twist of fate, chances upon a young, innocent athlete Kusum "Datto" Sangwan. Needless to say, he falls for her, wooing her over paddleboat rides roadside treats, and small trinkets.
It is here that you fully realise the acting prowess of Kangana Ranaut, that is if you ever doubted it. From the body languages of the voluptuous Tanu to the petite Datto, their accents, and the passion for their interests, Kangana breezes through the two roles effortlessly. The actress is on a roll; Kanganais certainly one of the few heroines with the uncanny knack of picking more identifiable characters and playing them with a conviction that endears her to the audience every time. R Madhavan, as the quiet husband who believes he has given his marriage everything needed to make it last, forever plays his part to a T. Without the fear of being upstaged by Kangana.
Of course, the film has its flaws. But then that’s what Tanu Weds Manu Returns is about --- teaching everyone that nothing and nobody is perfect. It is up to us to accept the shortcomings and turn a blind eye to the negatives, to look for the silver linings and ignore the rest.
Watch Tanu & Manu for the comic love triangle, the amazing cast that includes friends and family, the vibrant colours of Kanpur, Delhi and Jhajjar, the melodious songs that complement every frame. Watch it for the fun and laughter, the anger and the pain.
D'Souza is associate creative director at an advertising agency