The best way to enjoy Tanu Weds Manu , apart from putting your children and phones on silent mode, is to turn off that part of your hearing faculties that are allergic to Kangna Ranaut's diction and screechy delivery. Turns out that English is not the only language she isn't comfortable speaking. Her Hindi is equally awful.
And if the film is watchable despite her distracting vocal cords, it's purely because of the freshness in treatment and landscape. With its tour of small town North India — from Kanpur to Lucknow to Kapurthala — and the juxtaposition of the opposites — shy boy and talkative girl — it has echoes of Jab We Met as the boy-gets-smitten-with-girl-planning-to-elope-with-boyfriend triangle unfolds.
But thankfully, there's plenty of work for the supporting cast here. Be it Deepak Dobriyal or Swara Bhaskar or Eijaz Khan, they get meaty chunks to bite into and the ensemble makes up for Kangna's affectations with a refreshingly natural sense of realism. And, Tanu Weds Manu finds its emotional anchor in R. Madhavan who is rock-solid as the soft, strong, sensitive and sentimental sap.
The Beauty and the Beast fairytale template gets turned on its head, probably to keep up with the times in a world that lives as a tightly knit social network. Tanu Weds Manu gives us The Rowdy and the Geek. The girl's a messed up roguish rebel without a cause and the guy Mr. Goody Two Shoes who refuses to “be a man” when his friend prods him to go get her earlier in the film — simply because she loves the other guy. To complete the triangle, we have the angry young alpha-male (Jimmy Shergill) who only sees things in black and white — he's the typical Hindi film hero type of yore, the chauvinist.
Like the old fairytale, the Rowdy takes her own time to realise that the Geek was the man she really loved. In that sense, Tanu Weds Manu , in the tradition of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam , is the return of the soft, sacrificing, sap and the eternal romantic. The guy with a heart big enough to get the girl married to the guy she loves but not noble enough to tell them where the ring has fallen when it's time to exchange the rings. Okay, that scene was from Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, but there's a similar moment in Tanu Weds Manu .
If she went all the way to tattoo her boyfriend's name on her chest, how easy does it become for the boy or the girl herself to come to terms with the permanent reminder of an ex-lover? It's interesting that it doesn't seem to matter. Maybe the boy loves the girl as she is, with her scars. Surely a step ahead for the Indian hero.
Towards the end, as the three central characters take turns to be confused about what they want, the person who seems most clueless about what he wants to do next is the filmmaker. But for the need to manufacture a grand finale and a twist every few minutes even if it's silly, Tanu Weds Manu is a wedding you don't mind attending because the groom's a really nice guy. Plus, it helps when there are some good old love songs playing on the radio all through.
Tanu Weds Manu
Director: Aanand L Rai
Cast: R. Madhavan, Kangna Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Swara Bhaskar, Eijaz Khan, Ravi Kissen
Storyline: Manu, London-based doctor, comes bride hunting and falls in love with Tanu, a rebel without a case, the first girl he sees but it turns out that she already has a boyfriend and a tattoo of his name on her chest.
Bottomline: An unlikely love story that seems like it was made up as they went along, especially towards the messy, contrived end.