Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tanu weds Manu Returns, an overhyped-overrated film

There are certain movies that you don't want to watch only because you made your mind that way in advance for some very unrelated reasons. Tanu weds Manu Returns (TWMR) was one such movie for me. Lately, I have been appalled by the idea of feminism that Indian main stream entertainment community is promoting of late. It all probably started a long ago and I don't actually seem to remember the exact point where it all began. But surely this vogue video of women empowerment featuring Deepika Padukone took this feeling of disgust of mine towards feminism to its peak. Not wanting to watch TWMR was one reaction that came to me with that same disgust that I referred to in the previous line. It was publicised and promoted and then reviewed as something that has a strong female character and that defines the feministic revolution in India. However, due to unknown reasons to me myself, I finally chose to watch the movie, just in case...

Having seen the first instalment of the franchise, it was much easier for me to relate to the characters and the concept. The movie starts off where it ends in the first part. Tanu is marrying Manu with Lata Mangeshkar's Sun Saahiba Sun playing in the background. The unusual couple that Tanu and Manu would make was quite evident in the exactly opposite personalities portrayed by their characters in the movie. And when the movie shifts to a chilling day in the countryside outside London four years later, it was clear enough that the inevitable has broken loose. One just gets the feeling that four years were way too many for this couple to have realised what they were telling their mental rehabilitation counsellor there. And its there where my problems with the movie starts. Why a mental rehabilitation centre? Why not a marriage counsellor! Well, maybe because Manu alleged Tanu to have a bipolar disorder they went to a mental rehabilitation centre but then the way the sequence culminated was bizarre. It didn't make even a little sense in sending Manu to the asylum and cutting loose a moronic alcoholic that Tanu is. There are some beautiful dialogues in the sequence and some over-perfect analogies that crack you up but then it was very clear that who actually was the problem in the marriage. Anyways, lets move further..

Tanu moves to India to her hometown Kanpur and informs Manu's friend Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal) and his family about his being in the asylum. Pappi reaches London and instead of getting his friend-brother out of the asylum chooses to roam about in London only because he had spent a lot of money to have come there (The money, by the way, in all probability, were Manu's father's). A charming, humourous character that Pappi was in the first movie comes in his very first scene in this one as a forced comedian and continues that way through the whole length of the movie. His witty one-liners and the presence of mind in the first movie have been reduced to repetitive, irritating gibes. A real waste of the talent.

Manu, a cardiologist, also is brought back to India and is delivering a lecture on cardio-vascualr diseases at the Biology department of the Delhi University. He happens to speak on a heart condition called arrythmia. He says that there are two kinds, Bicardia and Tricardia. He also goes on to define the two conditions and then I realised what he wanted to say was Bradycardia and Tachycardia respectively. Such a level of ignorance on the part of the director or the dialogue writer was not expected by me. To have made a whole movie with such little research on the subject, I think, is unpardonable. I lost all the interest in the movie then and there only but managed to come back and continue from there on just for the sake of it.

During that same lecture, Manu happens to have a glance at a haryanvi female athlete from the university who is a doppleganger to Tanu. Having a desire to live with Tanu for his extreme love towards her and having his realisation after the four years of marriage of the fact that he can't, he falls for Datto (Kangana 2.0). Meanwhile, Tanu is in her self mode of a careless girl that she was in the first movie. Taking the help of one typical 'Bhaiyaji from UP', a law student-turned-lawyer (Zeeshan Ayyub), she starts meeting her ex boyfriends and finally meet the real bhaiyya ji of the first movie, Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill). There are some good sequences involving Shergill and Ayyub in the typical bhaiya-tone of the goon-land of UP. Shergill is as good as he was in the first movie and Zeeshan Ayyub manages to impress till comes the climax.

The movie starts to descend from here. Tanu gets to know about Manu's marriage to Datto and then feels victimised and wronged on the hands of Manu. Too many characters, concepts and sequences have been forced to move a movie that is going nowhere from there. The Bihari friend of Tanu's (Swara Bhaskar) comes in with her own problems of giving birth to a child through artificial insemination and not telling her husband about it. Pappi's one-sided affair with a punjabi girl that ends into a sort-of-kidnapping of the girl by him with the help of Manu and Datto. A garba-bhangra mix in a punjabi household. And a khap panchayat types scene in the haryanvi village of Datto's. All these sequences and the characters therein create a khichdi that starts as a confusion and goes on to become unpalatable and extremely painful for your heads.

The real problem starts with the victimisation of the character of Tanu. It was all OK when she was flirting with the english guys during her marriage in London and then roaming around the streets of Kanpur with her lawyer friend to see and meet all her ex-boyfriends. The moment she comes to know about her husband's second marriage, the feminism in her starts boiling and she ends up saying, "Hum thode bewafaa kya hue, aap badchalan ho gaye", where in reality it is she who is both bewafaa and badchalan at the same time. It was beyond my understanding, the way she was presented in the movie as someone who is facing the falsehood when in reality, she herself is the one who is false here. Geeta Dutt comes in with the background song Ja Ja Ja Bewafa. The soulful song picturised on Tanu with a bottle of whiskey in her hand roaming on road in a lonely night promises to be a great scene but with the backdrop of the story of TWMR, the whole sequence becomes meaningless. So is the referral to Pakeezah, with Tanu dancing in Manu's marriage.

The sequence leading to the second marriage reveals Tanu realising her love for Manu and her stubbornness to be the part of that marriage. Everybody starts to root for her and her pathetic condition is visible to every-single-body. It goes beyond senses for me that these people couldn't see what she managed to do with her husband during her marriage. A seriously loving and caring person, Datto, has to pay the price and sacrifices her love for someone who doesn't even know what its all about being married and being a loveable couple. The movie ends with Tanu reconciling with Manu and that's where the whole idea of TWMR comes out to be flawed and the viewer comes out to be cheated. It teaches you that you don't need to push hard enough to be in a marriage happily and you can roam around your exes and still your husband will take you back whole-heartedly, beacuase afterall Its her choice!

A passing remark for the director. He didn't even care to work that much hard on his characters that a mole on the neck of Datto's character continue to come and go through the whole length of the movie. Such lazy piece of crap that's not well researched is what the director Anand L Rai has managed to get away with. Sad!