By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Tanu Weds Manu Returns”; Cast: Kangana Ranaut, R. Madhavan, Jimmy Sheirgill, Deepak Dobriyal, Eijaz Khan, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyb, Rajendra Gupta, Navni Parihar, K.K. Raina and Dipti Mishra; Director: Anand L. Rai; Rating: ***
Very rarely do sequels create an impact as the original, but in the case of “Tanu Weds Manu Returns”, the intensity is as forceful or more than the original. Once again packed with sharp and witty dialogues, fine performances and a feel-good factor, “Tanu Weds Manu Returns” excels as a scaled-up family entertainer.
This sequel takes off from where it left in the previous edition in 2011 and returns with the lead pair after four years of jaded bliss. Their marriage is now on the rocks. Tanuja Trivedi aka Tanu is as moody as she was and he, Manoj Sharma aka Manu is at the end of his tether.
Still in London, their divorce is inevitable after Tanu manages to ensure that Manu is kept back in St. Benedict Mental Hospital in Twickenham in Britain. She returns to Kanpur to her family. Manu too returns forlorn to India where he lands up meeting Kusum Sangwan, who is Tanu’s lookalike. Seemingly in love with Kusum, he decides to remarry.
With well-etched but flawed characters, the performance of each actor is noteworthy. Kangana steals the show with the dual role she essays. In both her characters, she is distinct in her sartorial style, speech and mannerisms. As Tanu, she is an extension of herself as portrayed in the earlier edition. But as Kusum Sangwan, a Haryanvi athlete, she brings out a sharp contrast, exhibiting her prowess as an actress. Kusum’s simplicity and sincerity get you emotionally attached to her.
R. Madhavan complements her with his overall subtle and restrained performance. He plays the traumatised husband to the hilt. But he also hits the right high-pitched notes convincingly as the harassed husband at the mental hospital.
Of the rest of the supporting cast, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as advocate Arun Kumar Singh is vibrant. With his casual, yet evocative performance, he displays sparks of brilliance. Deepak Dobriyal as Pappi, Manu’s confidante is over-the-top. He is repetitive and after a while, is jarring in the narration.
Jimmy Sheirgill as Raja Awasthi has a few scenes where he makes his presence felt as the unlucky man-in-love. Swara Bhaskar as Payal along with Eijaz Khan as Jassi, make a fine pair and are fairly noticeable.
Director Anand L.Rai’s plot is punctuated with moments of family tension and spiced with great rustic colloquial one-liners that sparkle. The dialogues keep you in splits.
His screenplay is frothy and he takes a lazy approach in certain scenes. Though scene after scene you roll with laughter, they falter at times with forced humour. This is evident in the seminar scene, where Manu is invited to give a medical speech.
The graph of the narration too, is inconsistent. The first half though flighty, is engaging. The second half digresses with lengthy unwarranted scenes; especially the scene which has Geeta Dutt’s song “Ja, ja, ja bewafa” as the background score and Tanu wandering aimlessly on the streets.
The rest of the songs merge well into the narration. The English jazz number, “So What if I am an old school girl” takes you by surprise. It stands out as an odd piece, but one that settles well into the overlay. It is well-picturised too. The background score is loud and excessive, but suits the overall design of the film.
Conceived as a realistic film, the production quality is apt and cinematographer Chirantan Das’s frames are atmospheric. They capture the small town ambience perfectly.
Kangana’s performance unarguably ups the viewing quotient of the film. So watch this film for her and Himanshu Sharma’s razor-sharp dialogues.