In this sequel to Tanu Weds Manu, Anand LRai glimpses into the uncertainties of a character like that of Geet in Jab We Met. It’s getting into the crux of the unexplored shades of her from the earlier version. As a result, there’s more detailing into the sub-texts and the reasons behind her peppiness, inconsistencies in decision making and the thoughtless, free-minded wordings.
Interestingly, the film takes off in a mental asylum. This now more or less resembles the personality traits of what we imagine from an on-screen Kangana Ranaut, especially after Queen, in the way she brings her body language and uses that recklessness to her advantage.
The director displays some infectious form here to accomplish wonderful control over the situational comedy, emotion and sarcasm that the purposelessness of the plot doesn’t quite haunt. He’s a conventional filmmaker in the sense of building an atmosphere. Tanu Weds Manu Returns continues from where it left in the earlier part and the tone, for starters is consistent.
In a scene after which Tanu returns to India, she hugs a rickshaw-wala, calls him a friend, barely covers herself with a towel and breaks a prospective marriage in her house. The very audacity in her part is retained.
The comedy of errors begins with the introduction of her modest look-alike Kusum, an ambitious athlete, whose roots lie in the rurals of Haryana, studying under a sports quota in the heart of Delhi.
The conflict between Tanu and Kusum pans out well in the latter half. It’s hardly a matter of a few minutes that they converse, but the message is delivered with such a chill in the throat, shattering all the ego that’s left in the otherwise urban-centric Tanu.
The film in this phase surprisingly makes time for some progressive preachings. Rajesh Sharma, playing an uncle of Kusum, in a terrific emotional outburst, talks about the differences between the rural and the urban of the country, the freedom ought to be given to a woman in terms of career, home, marriage and the need for shedding caste, religion barriers and at last, female foeticide too.
Another character in the film goes for a test-tube baby under immense pressure from her family, while not opening up on the fact that her husband is impotent. This is done in an appreciable low-key fashion and there’s no hullabaloo.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns has sparkling writing going in its favour. But, the flavour isn’t bound together as a film with finesse. The plot hardly settles down, meanders everywhere and comes down to a old-worldly ending. Make no mistake though, there are excellent individual doings such as the ‘Dekho Kabutar’, the tenant advocate flirting with Tanu and threatening a case with false charges besides the skirmishes of an in-form Jimmy Shergill.
The film only moves around a vicious circle of characters, mostly the ones retained from the previous part and some new. The fact that aroma still remains fresh and equally colourful is an achievement in itself. Deepak Dobriyal and Zeeshan turn out to be wonderful complements to Kangana’s energy.
With Madhavan, he is here to compensate for the underplaying-needs of the story, considering the flickering intentions of the other diverse characters. The film’s first hour is a breeze, whereas it’s the second one that struggles with character transformations. With the Kangana look-alikes, it’s suggestive of what Ashutosh Gowariker tried to tell in a What’s Your Raashee? you try to identify your beloved from the people you see.
There’s humour but a lot of drama to script an ending. This particularly gets tougher to digest despite an energetic and a situational background score, especially after seeing the spirit of Tanu’s character sketch till then. Even then Tanu Weds Manu Returns, for all its promise is one of the better sequels, we may see for a long time.