Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 25, 2011

Marry go round

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:32 pm

February 25, 2011

Cast: R Madhavan, Kangana Ranaut, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal

Director: Anand L Rai

Unpredictability is usually a good thing when it comes to movies, but Tanu Weds Manu is unpredictable to the point of being bizarre.

R Madhavan plays London-settled Dilliwala Manu Sharma who falls hopelessly in love with the girl his parents have selected for him, the moment he first sees her. No problem there, except that the girl Tanu Tripathi, played by Kangana Ranaut, happens to be unconscious during their first meeting. Creepy, some would say.

In tracking the haphazard romance between Tanu and Manu, this film travels like a video diary through North India: from Kanpur to Lucknow to Meerut to New Delhi to Punjab. This gives the narrative a charming touch, but that thrill fades quickly.  And you notice the hitch almost immediately – Tanu Weds Manu suffers from a painful Jab We Met hangover.

Chattering nineteen to the dozen and wholly spontaneous, Tanu could be a distant cousin of Kareena Kapoor’s Geet. Yet where Geet was endearingly goofy, Tanu comes across as plain selfish. One minute she’s ordering Manu to call off their engagement so she can run off with her boyfriend, the next, she’s leading him on shamelessly when she runs into him at a friend’s wedding. And yet, just why she’s so rebellious remains a mystery to you.

Don’t spare any sympathy for Manu. He’s stuck in the ‘silently suffering romantic-hero’ stereotype. In short, he’s a big bore. He continues to pine for Tanu knowing full well she’s already committed, he convinces her parents to approve of the man she wants to marry, he even accompanies her to buy a wedding dress. Sure his puppy-dog devotion yields results. But not before the script takes so many harebrained twists and turns that nothing can surprise you anymore.

On the upside, Kangana Ranaut is a pleasant surprise in a cheery, upbeat part that we haven’t seen her take on before. She rises to the challenge, only hampered occasionally by her mangled dialogue delivery. R Madhavan, meanwhile, stuck in a thankless role is endearing at first, but is reduced to a doormat by the end of the film. And it’s hard to root for a pushover. But the winning performance in this film comes from Deepak Dobriyal (of Omkara) who offers a hilarious, uninhibited turn as Manu’s best friend and confidant, and just watching him react to Manu’s obsession with Tanu are some of the film’s best moments. In contrast Jimmy Shergill, as a friend Manu makes along the way, turns scowling into a fashion statement, over-reacting all the way.

Tanu Weds Manu isn’t all bad. There are portions in the first half that enjoyable. But held together by a fractured script, they fail to take good shape. I’m going with two out of five for director Anand Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu. It’s got some fine moments. Unfortunately they’re few and far between.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. U captured it in a single line so well, Rajeev. The minute i saw the promo i knew it wld be a jab we met knockoff. And to add, Kangana ranaut with those unrealistic plastic lips and face, seems anything but real. Coupled with her bad diction, it would be a pain to see her enact even a spinoff on Geet. Dont know wat prompted Kangna to go gaga over plastic surgery. She looks totally unlike how she was when she came in woh lamhe and gangster and the difference is so obvious. Cant see any film now with such an obviously plastic actress.

    Comment by Ryan — February 26, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  2. What do you think after taking Ranaut, the movie will be a hit?….. Never….

    Comment by Kunal — February 26, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  3. The unlikely pairing was supposed t be the luring aspect f this film. But after a not-so-bad first film, the film is very cliched. And Kangana has obviusly had some botched face-job. The comic timings were non existent in a dragging second half

    Comment by Vikas — February 28, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  4. Hi Rajeev,

    Surprisingly – Until you mentioned , I had not really noticed (or be demotivated) by the fact that the subject of this movie is close to Jab We Met had. Not that I am totally illiterate filmwise to notice that, but I havent heard many of my friends also say that “jab we met” ki copy hai!

    Even when you mention that it has a jab we met hangover, it still doesn’t change my opinion of the movie. I guess one can still have lot of themes like those But with a different treatment like this one.
    The points you bring out are very very intresting, the unpredictability, the lack of a proper backstory with Tanu’s character being rebellious. Girl being unconcious etc.

    However, there is something that your review does not convey is that this movie is entertaining.
    Maddy, Kangna, Jimmy etc may be not very nicely merged into the storyline and appear as standalone some times, but there is something that has excited the audience (primarily from North India). That is the director’s ( or screenwriters?) eye for detail here.

    the locations are all real, and not the KJO type pink yellow flourescent sets. The houses / Kothi’s and the Chhhat(rooftop) are all that a typical north Indian (if not others) would have seen in their life time. This I believe excites the audience. An Audience can tell cleverly between an amazing and a hopeless performance, however its not so easy for a general audience to tell between a 6 and 6.25 performance. This is where the Film’s entertainment quotient takes over the flaws of performances or the script!

    Deepak is amazing as expected. ( added to my new list of favs after Irfan Khan). I am glad you wrote a word of appreciation for him.

    From the above I only wish to comment that – your review sounds a little too critical of ( to the extent of trashing) the film. Entertainment Value can be perceived differently and is subjective. However, the level of detail showcased in the movie ( going to the dyers after purchasing the shadi ka joda, kacchua agar batti under the bed before sleeping) are worth praising.

    I hope you are able to appreciate my two pence. Nevertheless, the movie has the flaws you mention, which surprisingly the movie is able to hide if it is not for a third persons comment.

    Avid follower of your reviews.

    Comment by Amit — February 28, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

  5. just a diff to your opinion…Madhavan was simple and delightful to watch…a change from normal rom heroes.

    Comment by deepak — March 1, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  6. While the title of the film itself is quite catchy what many dont know is the fact that it took a while before the makers could zero in on the same…..The fact is that the film was earlier titled Manu Weds Tanu as the director Anand Rai felt that to be the appropriate title. However Kangna who plays the character of Tanu in the film insisted that the title should be Tanu Weds Manu and not Manu Weds Tanu as the tale and narrative unfolds from Tanus point of view.

    Comment by Carabini — March 21, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  7. I guess 3 stars should be given rajeev

    Comment by Salar — March 27, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  8. Pls state which portions of the first half are “enjoyable”!!! I found none. Severely boring and terribly sickening, that movie was torture!!! Going by the scarcity of stars u usually possess while rating movies, u have over-rated this one!

    Comment by Snehita — April 26, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

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