Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015): Indian filmmaker Anand Rai's critique on the institution of marriage

Riding on the success of Queen, Kangana once again carries a film on her shoulders

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Tanu Weds Manu Returns, movie poster, Directed by Anand Rai, starring R. Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut
Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) - By Anand L. Rai
Our Rating: 6.5
IMDb Ratings: 8.6
Genre: Comedy  | Drama | Romance 
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, R. Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 128 min
Color: Color

Summary: Tanu and Manu's marriage collapses. What happens when Manu meets Tanu's lookalike Kusum - and when Tanu returns?

Tanu Weds Manu Returns is a 2015 Indian rom-com directed by Anand L. Rai and is the sequel to the 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu, also directed by Rai. Written by Himanshu Sharma, Tanu Weds Manu Returns stars Kangana Ranaut, R. Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill, and Deepak Dobriyal in the pivotal roles. The movie is set four years after the dramatic turn of events of Tanu Weds Manu wherein the seemingly incompatible duo of Manu and Tanu had managed to get hitched, overcoming all odds. Manu and Tanu now find themselves on the brink of separation. As with all things life, the passion has subsided and it’s replaced by monotony and solitude. Their marriage seems more like a burden and a formality than a symbol of mutual love and respect. Their decisions are no longer driven by love but by their own egos. And yet, whether they want to believe it or not, all is not lost. And, so, they must both suffer, for although life is a great teacher, alas, it teaches things the hard way. As a scrutiny of the institution of marriage, Tanu Weds Manu Returns reminds this critic of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colors: White (1994) and Kangana Ranaut's portrayal of a seemingly selfish, inconsiderate wife of Julie Delpy's brilliant turn in the very film.

Kangana Ranaut as Manu in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Basking in sun, in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, directed by Anand Rai
Kangana Ranaut as Tanu in Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Tanu Weds Manu Returns is the kind of cinema that the Indian masses crave for. It’s a formula that just cannot fail in a diverse and colorful country like India. We Indians love to celebrate. The dozen or two religious festivals are just not enough. Festivities are an innate part of our lives. And marriage functions are the grandest of them all. For us, marriage is just not a union of two individuals but it’s an alliance of two families. It’s an occasion that gets everyone excited—be it the children, the young, or the old—for it is perceived as the greatest celebration of life. In short, the marriages are a singularly viable business. For Bollywood, it’s a bankable subject like no other. Some of the biggest commercial hits in the history of Hindi cinema revolved around the theme of marriage. Films such as Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) exploited the Indian sentimentality for the traditions and rituals associated with marriage particularly well. And the trend continues with more recent films like Band Baaja Baaraat and Tanu Weds Manu. So, while the subject pretty much remains the same, the treatment of it often varies like the case with Tanu Weds Manu Returns. If Tanu Weds Manu was a testament to the efficacy of very fabric of marriage in binding us together then Tanu Weds Manu Returns is a gentle reminder of its fallibility.

Kangana Ranaut as Kusum and R. Madhavan as Manu, in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, directed by Anand Rai
Kangana Ranaut as Kusum and R. Madhavan as Manu
Tanu Weds Manu Returns is a non-stop entertainer from start to finish, but, in order to fully enjoy the film, one needs to be credulous enough to believe anything and everything that’s on offer. In other words, the viewer must be willing to suspend the disbelief concerning the implausibility of the narrative. Once the viewer makes this compromise, Tanu Weds Manu Returns will prove to be a rollercoaster of a ride. The film certainly shows us the dark side of marriage but it does so without appearing too grim. Marriage is like any other partnership but sometimes the patriarchal mindset can make the male partner behave in a rather chauvinistic manner. Now, that’s fine as long as the fairer sex is willing to bend but the modern Indian woman can be every bit as feministic in her ways—if that's the cast it will certainly set the two of them on  a collision path. In Tanu Weds Manu Returns, we witness how a free-spirited girl and her pragmatic husband fail to meet each other’s expectations. How a lack of mutual understanding and respect takes them on the brink of divorce. How young couples forget that a marriage is never “all take and no give.”

Jimmy Shergill as Raja in Tanu Weds Manu, Kangana Ranaut as Tanu, riding a bike, Directed by Anand Rai
Jimmy Shergill as Raja Awasthi in Tanu Weds Manu 
Overall, Tanu Weds Manu Returns offers truckloads of entertainment and can be enjoyed by one and all. The movie's witty dialogues and crude humor immensely add to its entertainment value. Tanu Weds Manu Returns has an undercurrent of social commentary which is quite relevant to the modern Indian society. It also serves as a critique on the institution of marriage. But, the film shouldn’t be mistaken for anything more than what it really is—a sophisticated example of commercial escapism in cinema. Riding high on the success of Queen (2014), Kangana Ranaut once again carries a film on her able shoulders with her essaying not one but two deeply contrasting albeit powerful caricatures (both of which are a treat to watch). Kangana is in the prime of her career (although the film didn't fare well at the box office, her performance in Sai Kabir's Revolver Rani was widely appreciated) and she just seems unstoppable. Kangana is well supported by the rest of the cast. Here it would be just make a special mention of Deepak Dobriyal as "Pappi" and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as "Chintu". There’s no denying the fact that Kangana is the most bankable actress in Bollywood today. She is no longer the troubled prodigy she once was and has certainly come of age as an actress par-excellence as far as Hindi cinema is concerned. Tanu Weds Manu Returns has its share of flaws (among other things, the ending is far from satisfactory) and it relies heavily on time-tested gimmicks but that doesn’t stop it from serving its purpose, that of entertaining the masses. Recommended!  

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

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4 comments:

  1. Saw the movie last night. I agree with your review in toto!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved the movie. The script is weak and the end atrocious. But the screenplay, dialog and a sterling cast were clear winners.

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  3. Glad to hear that, Deepak... and thanks for sharing your thought! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I couldn't have agreed more...the dialogues and the performances make the movie tick!

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