Director: Aanand L Rai
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, R Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Rajesh Sharma
Watching Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns
is like watching an athlete at the top of her game — consummate skill with effortless grace. As both the rebel without a cause, Tanu, and the Haryanvi sportswoman Kusum, Kangana is pitch-perfect.
The film is set four years after the fiery Tanu wed Manu Sharma, the London-based doctor played by R Madhavan. Sadly, their romance seems to have reached its expiry date. Soon, she returns home to Kanpur. He follows. Her ex-fiancée, the menacingly sexy Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill), comes back into her life.
Meanwhile Manu finds himself falling in love with Kusum, a national-level athlete who is the spitting image of Tanu.
There’s also a priceless wedding sequence in which Sardars do dandiya. The sight of strapping men wearing mirrored frocks alone is worth the price of the ticket.
The plot might be convoluted but these are people we could know. These families, with their nagging mothers, exhausted fathers, samosas and paranthas, are familiar. And into this north Indian heartland, Aanand Rai and Himanshu Sharma insert an unexpected and heartfelt plea for gender equality. Both Tanu and Kusum are fierce rule-breakers.
The strong writing is complimented by equally strong performances. Deepak Dobriyal is wonderful as the hapless, permanently rejected Pappi. However, Tanu Weds Manu Returns rests on Kangana’s shoulders and she carries it with her Herculean talent. Parts of the film are over-stretched and clunky — especially the climax. But if you can get past the over-blown drama, this film is a treat. I left the theatre thinking about Kusum. She is so terrific that she overshadows the bumps in the film.