With a more-than-impressive Rs 38 crore opening weekend, Kangana Ranaut’s latest film Tanu Weds Manu Returns looks all set to bulldoze past the other two big winners of May this year: Gabbar Is Back and Piku. Indeed, the queen of the moment is Kangana: The driving force behind this mad caper which lays its canvas between Kanpur and Jhajjar. In fact, critics are already speculating she will be the toast of all eyes in next year’s award ceremonies.
However, at the risk of sounding discordant, we have a question: Isn’t a lead character just as good (okay, even bad) as its supporting cast? The truth is that while we are busy waxing eloquent on another Queen-like performance by Kangana, we are completely ignoring some other stellar performances in the film. Here’s giving credit to three other characters in the film that helped prop up our love for Tanu/Datto.
Pappi Jee (Deepak Dobriyal)
The original 2011 film Tanu Weds Manu presented Dobriyal in a completely new light. We noticed his latent potential despite a small role in Omkara (2006), and then Gulaal (2009) gave him the mileage above other character actors. But he deserved more than a sidekick’s role, and that happened with Tanu Weds Manu. His character Pappi was Manoj Sharma’s docile friend but Dobriyal played it in such a manner that he became the most remembered character of the film. This time the audience was waiting for Pappi Jee and he didn’t disappoint. Though some critics say his act was over the top, none of them cited it as anything hampering the flow. If you give Tanuja Trivedi’s (Kangana) overt wild-child act the benefit of doubt, then you should also consider Pappi’s character growth in the last 4 years. His absent-mindedness or stupidity could only go higher, thanks to the ‘projection’ Indian cinema is used to. The evolution of Manoj Sharma’s (R Madhavan) emotional fool character wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Pappi’s insane mannerism.
Manu’s father (KK Raina)
Sharma Jee senior is a veteran and he is not doing it for the first time. For the uninitiated, KK Raina played Ajit in Doordarshan’s milestone show Byomkesh Bakshi. He has also co-written films such as Ghatak, China Gate and Dahek. Such an experienced actor is expected to understand the nuances of this medium. His excellence and command over the situation is visible right from the credit sequence where he forces himself into an awkward dance with a bemused Navni Parihar (His ‘samdhan’ in the film). He just nails it in the scene where Manu asks for his advice on relationships. He preaches and preaches a lot while his wife keeps muttering ridiculous things in the background, and then he gets up, picks a wiper and blasts the tubelight on the wall. It’s insanely funny to see such a paradox.
Advocate Arun Kumar Singh (Zeeshan Ayyub)
Raanjhanaa gave him the right kind of footing in Bollywood, and Tanu Weds Manu Returns was his chance to stamp his authority over the roles that belong to chirpy, witty North Indian guys, preferably UPites. In the sequence where he confronts Raja Awasthi (Jimmy Shergill) for the firs time brings out his brilliance. As a difficult, boisterous tenant, his act is worth praising. Yes, he hammed, but imagine someone else in that role and you’ll understand the dimension he has provided to the story. Also, his expressive face is a big asset for the directors; they can wipe off and write emotions on it with ease. He depicts the real essence of being a Rampuri in Kanpur.
Probably, Tanu Weds Manu Returns wouldn’t have been the same film without these three actors