Lamhe  and Tanu weds Manu returns  are the finest examples of a Double role portrayed on screen in the last 25 years of cinema in Bollywood. Both movies were based on strong, female oriented scripts. Though Lamhe was commercially a disaster, Sridevi won accolades worldwide & a Filmfare trophy for her remarkable performance as Pallavi/Pooja. It was late Yash Chopra’s dream project and probably one of his best directorial ventures. Scripted by late Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza, it is indeed a masterpiece when one thinks of Two roles played by a single actor which are totally in contrast. This year we have yet another stupendous execution of a double role by the Thespian Kangana Ranaut in Tanu weds Manu Returns which is a sequel to Tanu weds Manu. The actor has left the nation singing hosannas for her role as Tanu/Datto.
Sridevi played the mother/daughter duo of Pallavi/Pooja in this iconic love story. The Diva presented the ethnic, mature, suave & emotional Pallavi who is deeply rooted with her culture & folklore. She is devoted to her father and her heritage. Young and on his maiden visit to Rajasthan after his childhood, Viren [Anil Kapoor] falls in love with Pallavi who is much elder than him. Ignorant of his feelings, she builds a bond of friendship & trust with him. After she passes away in an accident with her husband, Viren takes the infant Pooja under his care but never looks at her. At 18, Pooja is vivacious, bright, vocal & in awe of her Kunwarji; waiting to grow up and walk along with her Prince of dreams. She is aware of the age gap with him facing her yet she is strong enough to defy the boundaries of her upbringing. She tries to win his love & attention unaware of her mother’s presence in him. She is sensitive like her mother but stands determined after awaking to Viren’s passion for Pallavi. When confronted by the furious Viren over her display of feelings & his declaration that he can never reciprocate because she is Pallavi’s daughter; she holds her tears and the pride of her being to say “ Mein Pallavi aur Sidhhartha ki beti hoon Kunwarji!”. This particular scene was enacted by Sridevi in the best of her potential as an actor to defy the hints of Incest which was feared to have lingered the Indian audiences. She returns home but her confidence in her individual love unites her with Viren.
For Pallavi’s role Sridevi was criticised by many for appearing overweight on screen but her unique versatility as the country’s leading female actor was visible in the second half when she transforms into Pooja. As an audience it is easy to accept Sridevi in both roles individually. She is clad in native Rajasthani costumes singing folk songs, dancing in rains, shedding tears of separation from her beloved, displaying an outburst at her mean relatives, fighting for her father’s pride. Whereas in the latter half, she is in the “Chulbuli” avatar we have loved in Chandni & Chaalbaaz previously as well. She tries to woo her Prince with a parody of songs, she is adamant to make him wear the “spunky” sweater she has bought for him, she dances in rage of jealousy after seeing him with another woman: she is a reflection of her mother; yet she is convincing as a separate personality. Lamhe features in OUTLOOK Magazine’s list of top 100 hindi films. It’s a cult movie in its genre. A modern “Magnum Opus” for lovers.
TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS:
Kangana Ranaut plays the finest Double role of this century as Tanu/Datto in this Romantic Comedy. She has delivered an impeccable performance confirming her stature as Bollywood’s rarest Natural Born Actor. Tanu is a bold, rebellious & a fearless girl all set to break the family norms. She is an impudent/Audacious/brash & a spoilt daughter. She is arrogantly insolent & boldly rude; disrespectful- seeking a zesty life minus social restrains. Though she doesn’t seem to believe in Love yet she seeks the affection when deprived of it. She is “Simply Complicated”. After learning about her husband Manu’s liaisons with Datto she insolently remarks “ Mein zara si bewafa kya hui, aap toh bad-challan ho gae Manuji!”. Datto on the other hand is simple, athletic, brave, bold & fearless(like Tanu); rises from a rural background on her own merit. Determined to fight the social model, she is a self-made girl who holds her self-esteem high and sails with her simplicity. She holds no complexes & considers Tanu just like another woman out of Manu’s life. After being summoned by Tanu on her physical appearance & buck teeth, she rebuts her confidently. Tanu tries to search herself and locate what’s missing in her. In a beautifully executed scene towards the climax, she walks down the lanes of Datto’s village drunk in silence. Kangana’s expertise in her field shines where she depicts the internal pains of her failure to change with the tunes & commitments of marriage. With the song “Ja Ja Ja o Bewaffa” playing in the background, she searches herself, even adorns a wig to look like Datto & finally resigns to the situation facing her. She ends up confronting Manu by simply stating “Mein toh hamesha se hi aissi thhi;paagal. Aap kyon badal gae?”. Datto is what Tanu isn’t. Datto is what Tanu should be to achieve the marks of fulfilment & serenity in her abridged married life. As an audience, one relates to both the women separately as 2 individuals. But the brilliance of Kangana’s talent as an actor is victorious when we end up loving Tanu no lesser than Datto. A true contrast, played to perfection by the champion.
With dialogues like “Ke kar reha thha baahan faelake, yo jagah sae Shah Rukh Khan bannan ki?” “ Pichhli lugai ke plaster tootte nahin, aur aa gaya sand se bhiddne!” Kangana has primed haryanavi like none other previously on screen.
Bollywood’s maiden woman-oriented masterpiece to have crossed the feat of over a 100 crore earning & still running strong, this movie belongs to Kangana Ranaut. She received not one, but two letters of praise including a poem by the legend Mr. Amitabh Bachchan declaring “ Main apne aap ko bhagyashaali samjhta hoon, ki mein uss udyog se judda hoon,jisme Kangana bassti hai!”.Deserves not one, but two National awards.