The trump card in this movie, and in the first Tum-Bin as well, is the casting of actors with a lower profile. A big movie star usually arrives with a preordained image, identity and expectations. When you suddenly remove that from the equation of a romantic film shot abroad in an exotic location, and get actors to behave like normal Indian expatriates, with the usual obsessions with food, romance and music, it looks real. This is what happens in this second film, set in the Scottish highlands. The story is about a Punjabi family, consisting of one doting father and three daughters.
As in the first film, which unexpectedly did well with audiences, the movie is about the vulnerability of a woman when she loses her lover in an accident. During the period of her mourning, tears and memories may make her mind irreconcilable to the loss, but her extreme emotional state can also make her susceptible to a deeply sympathetic person who enters her world with gentleness. So much so, that she may even fall in love with him. This is the dubious and somewhat predatory thesis of writer and director Anubhav Sinha. He applies it for the second time, configuring it with different circumstances and characters.
Taran (Neha Sharma) is in love with Amar (Aashim Gulati) when a tragedy takes place on the skiing slopes. The family of ‘Papaji’ (Kanwaljit Singh) struggles to cope with the devastating blow. The father’s idea is to bring in traditional Punjabi warmth to their cosy little home, so that a feeling of normalcy returns to the everyday activities of life. A cake is baked, a song is sung and an amusing discussion on the pros and cons of one of Taran’s sisters dating a Pakistani, takes place. The consensus that the women arrive at is that Pakistani men are unreliable, but are just too hot to resist. There is much laughter produced by this perennial anti-national quandary faced by Indian women.
The conversations in the family home are so desultory that they actually appear unscripted and real. This is the charming part of Tum-Bin 2, but, contrarily, this absence of substance in the writing also starts to affect the plot. As soon as a stranger enters, brought into the house by ‘Papaji’ to affect a change in the mindset of his sad daughter, we hear inane philosophical ramblings about death and reconciliation. Shekhar (Aditya Seal) walks in and drives Taran around the countryside, comforting her, wiping her tears, empathizing with her distress, giving her something to live for, and, eventually, getting her to fall for him. Is this the real deal, or is the whole thing an elaborate ruse?
In short, much of the ideation of the Tum-Bin 2 concept resembles English language paperback romantic fiction. The difference is that it is adapted to the loves and heart-breaks of the sub-continental diaspora, and so the conversations and the ambience are set in this culture. It is an oddball of a movie, cliched and predictable in many ways, but never boring.