Kanpur wali ‘teekhi mirch’ Tanu is back. So is Manu, the ‘bheegi billi’ from London. Four years back, in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, they met, sparred, and mated. Now, they are still together, but the marriage has become more a rattle of guns than a bed of roses.
Will the strife cause permanent fissures, or is it just a temporary fork in the road? Tanu and Manu step apart to see what they see, and we get a sequel which is better than the original.
This time around Rai invests more in his characters, and he wins the sweepstakes just with his lead actress. Tanu’s fieriness gets more heft, as the girl who is not ready to be woman, the woman who wants to be girl again. She is a bundle of contradictory impulses, a spitfire in one moment, a soft ball of mush in the other. And Kangana Ranaut plays it beautifully, mixing up the familiar with the new.
Delivering freshness is always the challenge in a sequel. We’ve met the principal characters before. R Madhavan is still effectively restrained as Manu, who is still the sedate guy he used to be, but this time given a little more to do, especially after he bumps into a Tanu look-alike Datto (Kangana Ranauat, in a double role).
Tanu, meanwhile, is back doing what she does best: rousing tempers, creating a ruckus, being a pest: what saves her, and the film, which keeps veering off to give its leading lady too many chances to play the curly-haired wild child, is that she can’t quite hide her hurt and the pain.