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'Tanu Weds Manu' Review

'Tanu Weds Manu' Review: A seedha saadha NRI doc Manu (Madhavan) who claims to have resided more than a decade without any close friends in London comes to India on a bride hunt and finds a suitable one in the wispy form of a pot-smoking, vodka-guzzling Kanpuri kudi Tanu (Kangana Ranaut). It’s a mismatch as odd as it gets, because though he falls head-over-heels for this foul-mouthed chatterbox, she is dead against the arranged match and instead wants to hook up with a Lucknow gunda named Raja (Jimmy Shergill).

Manu, the poor soul, nurses the heartbreak and even helps Tanu and her goon beau elope. The plot thickens when Tanu and Manu cross paths against the backdrop of a big fat Punjabi wedding. Love for Manu seems to be taking root in Tanu’s heart, but then Raja rears his head. Drama, peppered with clich├ęd emotional conflicts and standoffs between the two suitors follow, and, given the film’s title, we know whom Tanu will eventually choose.

The predictability of the plot is well compensated by the melee of oddball characters that director Anand L Rai crowds the story with. There’s is an utterly likeable sidekick (Deepak Dobriyal) and a Sikh friend (Eijaz Khan) of Manu adding fun to the proceedings. There’s Raja’s crony (Ravi Kishen) and Tanu’s best friend (Swara Bhaskar) chipping in from the margins. And full credit to director Rai for the brisk pace at which the first half unspools. Alas, the same can’t be said of the second half, when the story stagnates and we see more of Jimmy Shergill than would have liked to. It’s a clear case of a story losing its steam after a triumphant start. Even the build-up to the climax is somewhat overblown.

Warts and all, Tanu Weds Manu still remains a watchable fare thanks to the wonderfully realistic milieu of India’s crowded, dusty small towns and their middle-class families with their colourful characters that remain pivotal to the story until the very end. On top of it, music by Krsna breezes with vim and vigour. The humour mostly remains light-hearted, sometimes evoking laughs, sometimes falling flat.

Kangana performs well as a small town rebel without a pause. Her body language is decidedly bratty, her dialogue delivery, at times bordering on lisp, creditably raw and edgy to suit her character. Madhavan shines as a submissive, love-struck NRI with no firangi airs. The actor’s naturally charming persona adds tons to his character’s credibility.

On the sidelines, Deepak Dobriyal impresses the most while Ravi Kishan is reduced to a caricature. Jimmy Shergill is all frowns but Swara Bhaskar does leave a mark as Kangana’s friend who tries to hammer some sense into the reckless Tanu.

All in all, Tanu Weds Manu is like the shaadi ka laddoo that you can neither resist nor happily bite into. Make time for this matrimonial comedy if you haven’t yet tired of watching the reruns of Jab We Met.