Kangana Ranaut is downright awesome as the hero of Tanu Weds Manu Returns (Photo: A still from Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
Heartbreak is a strange disease. If expectations have been crushed, feelings have not been reciprocated; we assume that our heart is broken, because such misery, barrenness and lack of oneself do not require a medical proof. Through printed words, moving images or swirling music, we have been fed that this is it. This is the worst of human conditions. So our cinema in despair handed a glass of booze to our heroes so that they can weep about their heart’s calamity in perfectly sung melodies.
Devdas epitomised it, and we made it staple of our popular culture. But this week’s release, Tanu Weds Manu: Returns gifts us with a grave crisis. Faced with rejection, Kangana Ranaut’s Tanu drowns herself in alcohol while Geeta Dutt comes back to us in melancholic splendour with her Ja ja ja bewafa. In a scene, director Anand L. Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma took away the hero’s inheritance of a broken hearted hoover fixer sucker guy and gave it to the heroine.
R. Madhavan’s Manu who played the quiet guy in the first film returns with weaker resolve, while Kangana’s Tanu revisit us with stronger will. Truman Capote famously said, “You can’t give your heart to a wild thing.” But Manu fell for the wild Tanu in the first film, and suffers his worst fate in the second. Tanu is that impulsive untamed thing, designed to make a mess of her life, but the good part is she gets to decide how she’s going to mess it up.
If this wasn’t enough, Tanu has a doppelganger Kusum, another feisty girl and a state level athlete who is not sorry about her tough to decipher Haryanvi accent in a globalised world where English sets the bar. And when needed, she fights with a potential Khap situation with terrific gusto while her man, Manu is tied down and reveals no trait of the rescue ranger Hindi film hero.
In a film riddled with plot contrivances and logical slits, Tanu and Kusum, both the characters played by Kangana in Tanu Weds Manu: Returns beautifully subverted the march of the cocky boys and men, mouthing crackling lines.
And Kangana post her Queen (2013) crown seems to be the alibi for all the delight we are going to experience at the theatre. The way she plays both the characters as distinct individuals is a triumph of her craft, something that is really going to make her contemporaries insecure.
All the praise aside, there is still a provision for a little grudge. Dear Hindi cinema, why the high-spirited hearts get harked back by traditions? Our heroines can live a life without happy endings, propelled by compromises. Look at Rosy, she did that in 1965, five decades ago.