Friday, May 20, 2011

Tanu Weds Manu: The Story of a Pacemaker Salesman and a Wild Child

No trip to India is complete without a viewing of a Bollywood movie, so while in Mumbai we all bought first-class ($3) tickets to an afternoon showing of Bollywood's latest romantic comedy, Tanu Weds Manu.

While Dave, Russ and Erica napped, Jenn and I watched the movie with rapt attention. Because the film was in Hindi, we did the best we could to figure out what was going on.  It turns out that the film's tagline, "A wonderful mismatch" could not have been more appropriate to describe the disconnect between our version of the film and the actual plot.  After you watch the trailer, take a look at the two plot descriptions below - mine and Jenn's, and the one from Wikipedia. Honestly, which is more ridiculous?

Jesse and Jenn's Plot Description

Shopping montage!
Manu is a pacemaker salesmen who decides its time to get married.  His parents bring him to meet Tanu who is so drunk that she passes out while they are chatting.  Manu obviously finds this charming, so both families take a trip together.  On the train, while Manu's family and Tanu's family engage in a rousing song and dance number, Tanu corners Manu and shows him her boyfriend's name tattooed on her chest (she is kind of a bad-ass). Manu reluctantly agrees to stop pursuing her, but is sad.  Luckily he has his wacky and zany brother around to cheer him up.  (This brother is sooo wacky! What a character! We wish we knew what he was saying because it appears to be hysterical!).  Manu meets with a few more girls but his heart just isn't in it.  His heart is obviously with Tanu.  This is so meaningful since he is a pacemaker salesman, you know, he deals with hearts all day. Anyway, Manu goes to a friend's wedding and guess what, Tanu is there!  Over a series of shopping montages, laughing-in-the-rain montages and driving-in-the-car montages the two start to develop feelings for each other.  But then Tanu's boyfriend shows up, and he is a gangster! Something confusing happens, and then Manu gives Tanu a creepy stalker-ish collage of photos he has taken of her while she is sleeping and otherwise unaware. Instead of running screaming in the other direction, Tanu decides to marry Manu.  The gangsta boyfriend crashes their wedding, waving a gun around, and there is a tense moment when Manu does absolutely nothing heroic or romantic, but just stands there totally blank-faced. Then there is a dance number, the end.

Promotional poster.  What is "sharty"?
(Besides the obvious definition, which I assume was not what was intended)
Wikipedia Plot Description

Look at those braids! Boy, is she spunky.

Manoj 'Manu' Sharma (R. Madhavan) is a NRI Doctor living in London. He comes back to India on family pressure to find a bride to be and get married. He begins meeting a few girls with his parents and his friend Pappi (Deepak Dobriyal). The first in line to be met is Tanuja 'Tanu' Trivedi (Kangna Ranaut). At the meeting time, her parents claim that she is ill, and has taken tablets which have made her drowsy. While Manu talks to her, he finds out that she is asleep, thereby not listening to him at all. Upon seeing her, he falls in love with her, and says to his parents that he is willing to get married to her. While on a trip together, Tanu takes him away from their family members, and says that she had intentionally taken five tablets to fall asleep, therefore trying to get rejected by him. She tells him in a rather vulgar language that she loves someone else, and that she has his name tattooed on her breasts. She was also seen smoking. She demands that Manu rejects her. Manu considers the odds, and though he loves her, he asks his father to announce that he cannot marry her.
Weeks pass, and Manu sees different girls, but couldn't be able to forget Tanu. Of all the girls, he meets Ayushi (Prachi Desai), who has trouble using her left hand. Her brother is Raja (Jimmy Shergill), a small goon. When Raja asks him about his thoughts of getting married to his sister, Manu says that he does like Ayushi, but can't marry her because he loves someone else.
Though Manu decides to return to London, Pappi tells him that their friend Jassi (Eijaz Khan) is getting married, and asks him to come to Punjab with him. Upon arriving, Manu finds out that Tanu is present there, and she is a friend of Payal (Swara Bhaskar), Jassi's bride-to-be.
Aw. Young pacemaker love.
Over the course of few days, he becomes close to Tanu, but their new friendship is shattered when Tanu's parents arrive, and Tanu thinks that Manu called them. Due to this, Manu decides to return back. However, Tanu realizes her errors, and asks him not to leave, as her lover is coming tomorrow, and she wants help in eloping and marrying him.
As it turns out, Tanu's lover is Raja. They are about to be married, but are not able to find a pen to sign the papers. Though Manu has one, he lies about not having it, and the marriage is postponed. Raja confesses that he doesn't want to be married this way, but no one in Tanu's family will accept him, that's why they are eloping. Manu talks to Tanu's father, and convinces him to accept Raja.
During Tanu's wedding preparations, Tanu sees Manu's wedding gift (A poster made up of her pictures Manu had taken on different occasions), but does not realize that he loves her. Raja is not able to buy Tanu a wedding dress due to time shortage, so he asks Manu to help him out. After Manu gets Tanu her dress, he confesses to Tanu that he did had a pen, but did not want her to be married, that is why he lied. At that precise moment, Raja appears, and takes Tanu with her. Now Tanu has mixed feelings, and after reaching home, when she confirms with Manu that he loves her, she decides to marry him, not Raja.
Raja, however, is not willing to call off the wedding, and says to Tanu's father that if the wedding does not take place, he will kill him. Manu still prepares for the wedding. By bribing the Inspector, the family of Tanu get Raja arrested. However, Raja arrives to the wedding place at the same time as Manu, and he threatens to kill him. Manu however refuses to be scared and proceeds with Tanu for the wedding. It is then when Raja realizes that Manu is the right choice for Tanu, and allows them to get married.

After the movie, wondering what the hell that was all about.


  1. Wow, I just laughed out loud at that poster (obviously)! So ridiculous.

    Loved your interpretation of the movie. Interesting that the trailer had English, but the actual movie didn't have any subtitles.

    I guess this doesn't qualify as an Indian wedding for your bucket list, but at least you got a few rousing dance numbers out of it!

  2. foreign film? hindi? that's my kinda movie. i'll be looking for it at the landmark theater soon.

  3. Sam -- I knew you'd love the poster :) The mix of English and Hindi in the Indian movies and TV is always so fascinating to me. They often switch back and forth within the same sentence.

    Mom -- It's already been spotted in a theater in NYC, so I'm sure it's coming to LA! You'll have to tell me how it is with subtitles.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.