Okay. About Tanu and Manu. I believe in them. I believe they are real, flawed people. Of course it’s considered inappropriate to flirt with people. But that Ricksaw driver is her ex boyfriend. There are flirty people in this world who spare almost no one.
Yeah they’re wed, and that’s the problem. Tanu met Manu in the brilliant, rustic, chaotic land of North Indian marriages. But they live in the clean, organized, sterile English country side. Neither their marriage not their sanity was safe there.
So they’re back. To a world full of amazing characters, where Tanu is a legend in her street and where Manu is…. well the same dull, sincere guy. There is contemplation, then serious contemplation about separation, a legal notice gets sent, and then life throws a curve ball.
Turns out theres a Tanu lookalike. Same face, different person. This one is not a flirty rebel, but a tomboy. And our guy is first intrigued and then enamoured. Amazingly, so is she. Meanwhile Tanu is rekindling old flames and setting fires. In addition to the same old suitor from part 1, there’s another, more cunning and a lawyer to boot. What happens next is an entanglement that seems hard toconciee and nearly impossible to resolve.
But it is not simple. Never simple. because we still have to add the eccentric parents, the races atmosphere, and for the sake of variety, this time we add Haryana. Not the scary Haryana of NH 10, though we saw its traces here, but a Haryana revelling in a wedding. Not a grand one, but small, intimate and amazing fun. And we have another wedding, where Sardars and Sardarnis are trying hard to garba. There is the hero’s sidekick, the lovingly named Pappi, who wants a starring role this time, to show our guy how marriage is done. And plans to rescue his love before she is forcibly married off to another. And there’s a twist there too.
All in all, this movie takes the tradition of celebrating love in the midst of weddings, and showcases a shattered marriage, a few smouldering flames and a lot of real characters, real drama. The choice, this time, is primarily with our hero though. And the love he has for the look-alike, is it the differences from Tanu that he loves, or the similarities?
This movie is about a complex web of relationships. About conformists and rebels, about the dull and the bright, about the things people can and won’t do for love, and about things people can and don’t accept for love. And this film is about Kangana Ranaut.
For too long we have had hero led films. Even though Madhavan is a star in his own right and a good actor, this film is about Kangana. She is a powerhouse of performance. In the two roles as different as can be, she expertly manages the accent, the mannerisms, and the body language. She does the big things right, she is able to establish the two as separate expertly. But what she does brilliantly is getting the subtleties right. In small, subtle reactions, she shows what the character is really feeling underneath how she is behaving. She shows how people who only see the surface judge both of them wrong. That our hero is not the male actor here.
Kangana is the hero of the film in so many ways. Doing the hard heroic things while Manu is the stoic, silent type. He has his strength, and his moral compass telling him to do the right thing, but he sometimes fails to see the bigger right. The right thing to do and the right of the person standing with, or against, him.
And thats what the film is about. The people who are, for the most part, trying to do the right thing. Just unaware of what the right thing is. Isn’t that what marriage is all about? Isn’t that what life is all about?
There are several stories in the western folk lore of selling the soul to the devil. Usually about the devil tempting you with fame and fortune but damning you to an eternity in hell. It usually is about an innocent guy, hard on luck, making a deal when he sees no other option. Bombay Velvet is about one such deal.
Amongst the most famous first lines of a novel is this gem from Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. ” I never quite agreed, but I’m not one to pick fights with Tolstoy. Let’s just meet the characters before we start judging classic lines.