If the only time your lachrymal glands come into play is when the friend of the hero, and not the hero or heroine, gets teary, you know theres something not quite right about the love story.
Directed by Aanand L. Rai, the guy who opened his innings by copying Hitchcocks Strangers on a Train and was lazy enough to call it Strangers, Tanu Weds Manu yo-yos between Kanpur, Lucknow and Punjab for two hours but struggles to cover the distance between the two hearts in the middle.
Tailored on the lines of Imtiaz Alis underrated gem Socha Na Tha, Tanu Weds Manu is about how the arranged marriage between Tanu and Manu goes awry but they end up together out of love. Obviously, thats no spoiler as the all-knowing title would tell you.
But Tanu Weds Manu may jolly well spoil your afternoon, evening or night if you choose to invite yourself to this wedding. You should have an idea early on, when Manu (Madhavan) confesses to a sleeping Tanu (Kangana) that just like her, he too has a Che Guevera photo in his room.
When she does wake up, Madam Che rebels! By not marrying him. Shes got a cigarette on her lips, vodka in her breath and an Awasthi tattoo near her dil. Thats Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Sheirgill) a gunda with a heart of gold. So, our London-returned pacemaker-engineer-doctor, Sant Manu Sharma naturally gravitates towards an uneasy triangle.
Jab se Aditya and Geet met on the Punjab Mail, its become cool for the Bollywood boy and girl to end every sentence with yaar and boss and darling. But with familiarity has come nonchalance. Tanu and Manu have that happy feel-good tu-tu-main-main going but theres not an iota of passion in their romance. You know, they are like... just ainwayee!
And the problem is not just with the writing (Himanshu Sharma), which clumsily puts together clunky scenes — and unashamedly resorts to old Hindi film songs — to ramble towards a preconceived end.
The casting of the lead pair is a catastrophe. Madhavan with three chins to show for his Bolly hibernation has played this role of the so-good-its-boring man-in-love so many times that he could have played Manu blindfolded. You secretly root for the impossible — Jimmy (charmingly good in an extended cameo) to get the girl.
But then again, you look at, rather hear, the girl and you feel Tanu ke liye Manu hi thik hai. Kangana, who has made a Bolly career out of frizzy hair, bare legs and drunken rants, reminds you of Upasna Singh in this film. Upasna who? Remember Johnny Levers wife in Judaai who only went abba dabba jabba? Well, Kangana does that here, scene after scene, till theres no hair left on your head. A Kareena Kapoor or Anushka Sharma could so easily have given Tanu Weds Manu a head start.
The only reason to watch this film, if you want to play the Che this World Cup week, is Deepak Dobriyal. The same guy who played Langda Tyagis friend Rajjo in Omkara. He is terrific as the friend of the hero, Pappi — Naam leke bataye ki deke?
Talking of Pappi, Mika is around as well but he only Jugnu-s into action when the end credits roll. By then the games lost. Despite ManU.