(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of ScoopWhoop)

Rating: ***

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Kangana Ranaut, R Madhavan, Jimmy Shergill, Deepak Dobriyal, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub

Director: Aanand Rai

Let me tell you a little secret. Prior to watching Tanu Weds Manu Returns (TWMR), I tried watching Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and couldn’t get past the first half. Aanand Rai has definitely come a long way since the last one here.

Joining an august list of sequels that are better than the original, Tanu Weds Manu Returns serves as the perfect display for Kangana Ranaut’s comeback in Bollywood. And man, what a comeback it is.

Post Queen, Kangana has been unstoppable, and her double role as Tanu and Datto reaffirms why she shouldn’t be stopped. From the privileged, adventurous, sexually-charged Tanuja or Tanu, to the young, driven, socially-awkward Kusum or Datto, the reigning Ranaut’s diversity has probably set new standards for what a double role means in Bollywood. Hence, she deserves not one, but two mentions in the ‘cast’ list of this film.

TWMR has another hero though. No, not Madhavan. Writer Himanshu Sharma. Even if you hate the music, hate the acting, hate the plot, hate everything, you cannot hate Sharma’s witty dialogues. From sher-o-shayari , to typically ‘whistle-worthy’ Bollywood lines, to completely unexpected comic analogies, to just everything Datto, Sharma has managed to fit it all beautifully in this film.

Sample Datto’s Haryanvi brilliance here.

But beyond Kangana and Himanshu Sharma, the film has not much else to offer. R Madhavan’s Manoj or Manu is as boring as in the last film. Sure, he contradicts the two lead characters of the film, but did he really have to be this flat? Maybe. Maybe not. In either case, it would be wrong to not acknowledge how refreshing that is, as Manu is to Tanu/Datto what Heer is to Raanjha, or what xyz Bollywood actress is to a Khan — the passive other half.

While Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub (Tanu’s divorce lawyer), Jimmy Shergill (Tanu’s ex-lover), Deepak Dobriyal (Manu’s brother) keep us busy with their entertaining dialogues, their characters could have been more fleshed out.

The other thing about TWMR is that it stretches too far for an ending as typical as any other. Coupled with bad music, the length of second half with its over-the-top drama is a bit of a put off.

However, Kangana saves the day yet again. In one scene, her Tanu walks the streets, alone, drunk, sad and owns the night, reversing the trope of the ‘ nashe mein dhut ‘ drunk man roaming aimlessly and abusing his lover. In another, Tanu and Datto have a face off, and unsurprisingly, no one else on the screen matters anymore.

All in all, watch Tanu Weds Manu Returns if you liked the first film, but also watch it if you didn’t, because… Kangana.