Tanu Weds Manu

 

Bhai mazaa nahin aaya ji…

Pic: Viacom 18; source: Wikipedia

Hello ji, I am Manu Sharma (R. Madhavan) … I am a London returned doctor, looking for a bride in India. I land in Delhi and my parents directly take me to Kanpur to meet a girl and her family. The girl is sloshed and passes out when we meet but I am so desperate that I fall in love with her instantly. The girl’s name is Tanu ji… she is pretty, has collagen injected pout, drinks vodka or rum neat, smokes up and abuses in our mother tongue. I like her a lot as she reminds me of what I do not possess – a spine.

Hello ji, I am Tanu Trivedi (Kangana Ranaut)… I am a Delhi University graduate and think that I am the god’s gift to mankind. Please don’t mind the way I talk as I still do not have a diction coach. I love a contractor boy from Lucknow but flirting-shlirting with bakras like Sharma ji aka Manu ji is good for my ego. He seems like a little lost puppy, wagging his tail and following me in the hope of some affection; no harm in playing along, you see.

Director, Anand L. Rai’sTanu weds Manu’ doesn’t have a path breaking story-line but a safe plot which usually works for a rom-com. But what’s required is an exciting screenplay (story by Himanshu Sharma) and crackling chemistry between the lead pair; think ‘500 Days of Summer’ or closer home, ‘Jab We Met’… but ‘Tanu weds Manu’ falters on both. Of course, there are mandatory wedding in Punjab scenes and some genuinely funny moments but not enough to sustain the film. The first half is silly but interesting; the interval moment holds a big surprise but after that it’s a downward journey as Madhavan’s character starts becoming a door mat and Kangana gets more irritating.

In such films, a lot depends on the lead actors’ charm. Kangana looked promising in the promos but her diction fails her again as she sounds completely unconvincing. In fact, you end up laughing at the way she says her lines than what she says. Madhavan is nice in the first half but his character becomes so weak in the second half that you stop feeling sad for him. The supporting cast is more interesting with Deepak Dobriyal as Manu’s best friend Pappi; this guy steals the show whenever he comes on screen. Eijaz Khan plays Jassi, Manu’s Sardarji friend very well and Swara Bhaskar as Payal, Tanu’s childhood friend has more charm and talent than the leading lady. Jimmy Shergill is good in his few scenes but his character isn’t well written; Ravi Kissen is wasted in his two bit role.

Madhavan’s stylist should take note and give him clothes that do not highlight his… eh… man breasts! Kangana looks nice in some parts and scary in some with her bee-stung pout; her wedding look in the climax is ghastly. The film’s soundtrack (music, Krsna; lyrics, Rajshekhar) has some nice Punjabi songs like ‘Sadi Gali’ (RDB) and ‘Jugni’ (Mika); and some really bad ones like ‘Mannu Bhaiyya’. Cinematography by Chirantan Das is good and a little bit of brutal editing (Hemal Kothari) in the second half would have helped the film a lot.

Overall ‘Tanu weds Manu’ is just about average and can be watched once. Tip: go in a large group and you’d enjoy it more… preferably after downing Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka* like Tanu ji.

My rating: ** ½ Two and a half stars on five

*Kwaarter Baawttle Vodka – borrowed from Anna Vetticad’s Tweets and Blog.

 

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Band Baaja Baaraat

 

Shaadi Mubarak –Wedding Planners of the Year

 

Pic: Yash Raj Films

Super bored of the designer romantic comedies released this year (read my earlier column, Rom Com Gone); I was looking forward to Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baaraat (BBB) as the promos looked tacky (in a nice way) and fun. The film thankfully lived up to its promise of ‘Fultoo Dhamaal, Mother Promise!’ Yes, that’s the copy they’re using in the film’s promotional material. And that’s the kind of writing the film has, which makes it enjoyable. Written by director, Maneesh Sharma (story) and Habib Faisal (screenplay), the film’s strength lies in its middle class Delhi feel and the lack of polish making it so endearing.

About the lead pair, BBB has Anushka Sharma who reprises the simple yet feisty girl character again, two years after her debut as Taani in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. She plays Shruti Kakkar, a middle class girl from Delhi who has the dreams and the drive to make it big. Opposite her is Bittoo Sharma, played by newcomer, Ranveer Singh; a student in Delhi’s North Campus who wants to do binnesse (business) so that he does not have to manage his father’s sugarcane fields in Sahranpur. Shruti and Bittoo start a wedding planning binnesse in partnership called Shaadi Mubarak and achieve great success by leveraging each other’s strengths. However, the dream run does not last long as they break one major rule of binnesse, mixing vyaapar (business) with pyaar (love). Just like the plot, the film is great fun in the first half but loses steam towards the second only to have a predictable ending.

Anushka is impressive and appears extremely confident, while Ranveer nails the character of Bittoo with his look and mannerisms; Bread Pakore Ki Kasam like he says in the film. A special mention for the supporting cast, mostly unknown actors who fit the characters well; a flower vendor who looks like a flower vendor and not Anupam Kher type actor in bad make-up.

Coming back to the writing, the dialogue is sharp, witty and colloquial; all Dilliwallas can relate to the wrong use of English and Punjabified pronunciation. A large part of the film is shot in Delhi’s residential areas, making it look more relatable. Come to think of it, this kind of depiction of the city is not new but we have loved it again and again in films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Do Dooni Char and now Band Baaja Baaraat. Special mention for the production designers, Sonal Choudhry and T P Abid for retaining the Delhi feel and designing the kitschy wedding sequences, the USP of Shaadi Mubarak. Camerawork by Aseem Mishra is nice and some of the wedding sequences look like actual shaadi videos only. A big disappointment is the music by Salim Sulaiman, which fails to match the film’s energy.

Overall, Band Baaja Baaraat is a fun watch and if you’re looking for a light entertainer this week, then go for it.

My rating: * * * Three stars on five

– Shrey Khetarpal

 

Bride Wars

 

Chick-flick that didn’t click…

 

 

 

 

 

Bride Wars, poster courtesy: www.movieposter.com

Bride Wars, poster courtesy: http://www.movieposter.com

 

 

 

 

A perfect wedding… Hollywood loves the subject and there are a number of chick-lit and rom-com films dedicated to this theme. Some are genuinely enjoyable (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding), while some are just like stale popcorn (think Made of Honour). Bride Wars, starring Anne Hathaway (Emma) and Kate Hudson (Liv) clearly falls in the second category. A single episode of Sex and the City packs more punch that this ninety minute film.

Liv and Emma are best friends till they get to know that their weddings are scheduled for the same day by the almighty wedding planner, Marion St. Claire (played by Candice Bergen). None of them want to leave the much sought after venue, The Plaza and decide to stick to the date expecting the other to change. Friends-turned-rivals, both brides begin to plan their weddings and sabotage the other’s. The plot seems interesting till here, but the script is extremely flimsy after this point. There are a few funny moments but not enough to keep you away from checking emails or messages on your phone.

Performance wise, I enjoyed Candice Bergen’s (Miss Congeniality, Sex and the City) sugar coated, cold hearted wedding planner act and Kristen Johnston’s (3rd Rock from the Sun), self-obsessed, alcoholic bridesmaid show. Both Anne and Kate disappoint with extremely average performances. You do not connect with Emma the way you did with Andrea (played by Anne in the delightfully funny, The Devil Wears Prada) and Kate reminds you a lot of her mother, Goldie Hawn (not in terms of good acting but in age).

Overall, Bride Wars is a mediocre film by director Gary Winick, whose Charlotte’s Web and 13 Going on 30 were quite enjoyable.

My rating: * * Two stars

– Shrey Khetarpal