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Last year, I had seen one of the most progressive movies in Indian cinema through Queen. That movie was a celebration of one actress's prodigious talent - Kangana Ranaut. It was a movie that deserved the accolades. So, it was with the same expectation that I went to see Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Having seen a sassy performance in Queen, I thought that Kangana would offer traditional Hindi moviemaking that has been dominated by helpless simpering heroines the same difference she gave to Queen. How wrong I was! I hadn't seen the original, but if it was as bad as the sequel, I would not want to even think of trying this.
The movie opens with a wedding. Predictable. A lot of dancing. And then 4 years later, here we are in front of a mental institute that looks rather like a castle. A what? Yes, you read it right. We are shown inside a bizarre interrogation room where Tanu and Manu attack each other in a battle of "let's look the most immature" to 3 psychologists who I wouldn't want to trust my little finger with let alone my mind. One doctor speaks Hindi. Anger from Manu. Screeching from Tanu. And then for reasons I can't fathom Manu is taken away and locked up inside the mental institute. Yes! Is this the 21st century? There is even a visual of him receiving what looks suspiciously like an electric shock.
Tanu meanwhile is shown moving around London and then after a bizarre phone call with her best friend takes the next flight to India, while courteously informing Manu's friend/relative? about her husband's stay in rehab...or whatever I can think. I thought, ok, movies have bad beginnings. It should improve right? Tanu gets back. Makes friends with a lawyer who is a tenant at her parents house (no one seems particularly aghast she has left her husband), and is shown drinking copiously at varied times. Scene Two of the many bizarre scenes in this movie? A towel-clad Kangana sashaying down to interrupt a bride-seeing ceremony for her sister (?). Don't ask. It gets worse. Manu is rescued and makes his way back to India. Issues a directive asking Tanu to apologize. And that's enough for Tanu to break into a fiesty "Move On" song, where she cavorts around with the lawyer tenant and eyes another guy...who builds buildings, I think.
Mess gets compounded when Manu eyes a lissome young girl who with a pixie haircut he believes looks like Tanu. With his friend, they pursue the poor girl. Right. Best way to win a woman over. Standard Hindi movie formulae. Kusum (that's the poor girl) does give in (shouldn't all women give in to their stalkers?) and then, Manu decides to get remarried while thinking he has been served a notice for divorce.
Some absurd capers in between that I can't understand and then the finale. Tanu comes back teary-eyed and drunken, begging her husband (ex?) to take her back. Manu pushes her away once. Then promises to marry the hapless Kusum no matter what. Tanu vows to watch the wedding because of some internal karma she needs to expunge. Assorted characters hang around, adding to the confusion. Manu and Kusum start the wedding. And then, of course, Kusum asks the guy before they complete the saat pheras if he is sure. Manu grins stupidly and stupidly grins and grins some more. Wedding off. Tanu and Manu reunite,hugs, and kisses. Kusum is seen crying. And then laughing. Frankly, by the end, I was so happy for her that I believe she should have been dancing with joy instead of marrying this nut!
Have I seen anything worse recently? What was Kangana thinking? Yes, she is brilliant as Kusum, transforming herself from suave bitch to athletic chick all the time. But is there a worth in doing so? And what is this podgy Mahadevan who looks like he has to constantly cover his paunch underneath thick sweaters? This is regressive movie-making. The kind that encourages you to think that it's ok to promise to marry another woman and then jilt her at the altar. Of course, critics will say at least he didn't do that after the marriage, so the woman's honor is intact! What about the man? His honor is enhanced because he decides to get married in what seems like 2 days after his divorce?
Sigh. This is receiving fantastic reviews. I must question my own lack of insanity although Firstpost agrees with some of the inane logic. Maybe I shouldn't think so much. Maybe I should scream "Move On,"and take in absurdity as part of the experience of watching a Hindi movie. Along with the smug patronization of women in it.
Movie Sockometer: Stinking
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