Untangling Tanu weds Manu
I was watching “Tanu weds Manu” today. Yes, on a new year! I’m a big fan of Madhavan, and it’s a tragedy we don’t often see him in Hindi movies. I watched this movie 10 years ago on a flight back from Busan (South Korea) to Delhi in 2011. I could relate to Madhvan’s character somehow. A decent man who is deeply in love and struggling to deal with it.
Tanu hated Manu when she met him. In one of the train scenes, she curses him and tells him, “(loose translation) Fucking London return. What do they think of themselves!” But slowly and gradually over the course of the movie, she ends up falling for him.
That’s a puzzle that this movie solves. Madhvan never plays a hero or does any extraordinary task. On the contrary, he acts foolishly at times. He is ready to bear his heart and make himself available to be used to quite an extent. At one point, he is ready to be a witness to her court marriage.
One scene that epitomizes this transition from hate to love happens at the place where Tanu is staying with her friend. Just before this scene, Tanu’s Mom and Dad come to Kapurthala (Punjab), and she is livid.
With any stretch of bias, it seemed Tanu was acting rude and irrational. But the way Manu acts in this scene lays the foundation for what’s about to happen. While she is visibly angry, he is kind to her. Even in standing with Jassi and offering to drive, he shows kindness. Then again in taking care of her dupatta that was stuck in the car. That’s what defines his love for Tanu.
One of the first definitions of love that stayed with me was of Karan Johar’s — love is friendship. Then different movies/novels have thirsted their perspective. Vampire Diaries came up with this one — “When it’s real, you can’t walkway”. But at times, it gets quite vague. Then one of my recent favorites was Ted’s speech in How I Met Your Mother.
Tanu weds Manu has a different take. Human beings are a bag of emotions, and this bag aches for kindness. Especially when we know we don’t deserve it. Love, it seems, is a just continuance of this kindness. And I seem to agree with it. At least for now!