It is curious to note how the writing of a script follows star ratings so closely, and with such cognizant calculation. Here, in this Tanu Weds Manu sequel, there is a clear shift of emphasis from Manu to Tanu. In the first film, Kangana Ranaut played a temperamental airhead from Kanpur who really didn’t know what kind of man she wanted or why. R Madhavan played the doctor from London, a man with education and gravitas, the life anchor she needed. So she went ahead and married him.
A few years into a rocky marriage and Madhavan’s character is underwritten to make way for Ranaut’s star act: playing the high-strung estranged wife and drama queen of Kanpur, and also a second role, as a Haryanvi athlete in Delhi who becomes her husband’s new love interest. It is a canny sequel that figures in her new star equation after the success of Queen.
What Ranaut cleverly does with this double role is to demarcate feminine and masculine characteristics in women. On one hand, she declares that Tanu is back as the seducer of Kanpur’s fragile male sensibility, enticingly playing the wounded wife and the alluring single woman of the future, just one step away from receiving her divorce papers. On the other, she plays Kusum, the tough Haryanvi with the boy cut, armed with a hockey stick and ready for battle. Both women are attractive, but in different ways, and it is interesting that the two of them end up mesmerising Manu.
What is also appealing in this movie is that Tanu is quite frank about being simultaneously attracted to Manu and to her ex, the rakish Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill), as also the idea that old familiar vibes can be so easily resuscitated. This is a complex portrait of a woman’s persona and sexuality, and Ranaut has delivered it beautifully through a hilarious comedy of manners. This film is easily the funniest of the year.