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It’s indeed rare for Bollywood to come up with movies which show the saga of Life after love stuck boy & girl unite in wedlock. Tanu weds Manu Returns seemed to be one flick, which does that job quite well. However Bollywood being a dramatic art portrayer continues its tendency to blow things up & let the audience either get reinforced in their dysfunctional belief system or start thinking about creating a functional Life. Looking at the eagerness with which this movie is being accepted it’s clear that either people are identifying with what’s being offered or are curious about what happens after girl weds boy.
There are many messages in the movie which highlight a dysfunctional relationship. Wedding of this sort is clearly not a norm, as we wrongly presume. Dysfunctional aspects in any marriage can be corrected with little willingness & effort. Let’s take a look at all those messages, delivered at one place or the other.
Loneliness within the Marriage
In the movie it’s very clear that Tanu’s issues begin when she starts getting lonely. This is an issue in many marriages. We all need something or the other to keep us engaged. Before getting married, it is extremely important for the person who is expected to relocate, to find out the sort of environment which will be available in new base. Assuming that it is the girl who will be relocating in line with Indian culture, she needs to know her engagement pattern beforehand & find out if that pattern can be expressed in new environment. For instance if she is relocating to another country, she needs to find out the sort of engagement opportunities available & if those are in her liking. Here, Tanu is an extremely carefree & outgoing person who is worshipped in her town hence finds it totally out of place when she is placed in London alone with Manu. She needs people & their attention to engage and she gets materials & comfort instead which make her extremely lonely. One needs to engage & feel at home to have a functional relationship.
Most of the women seem like persons with Bipolar Disorder..??
Throughout the movie the tendency of Tanu to over react, seek attention & lose control over her mood as well as behavior often is highlighted. If movie is considered her lifetime, she can be suspected to have some issues. On the other hand movie normalizes her portrayal with that of every woman & indirectly suggests that women could be persons with emotional issues & it’s normal. Normalcy is the situation where a man or a woman, in wedlock or outside the wedlock, is in control of his/her life irrespective of the situation. If you are not able to own your life there is always a way to make it possible. Women might be expressive in their emotion however it doesn’t mean that they do not or cannot have control over their moods & behavior.
Nagging & Cribbing from women & Silence from men is the norm..!!
In the movie we see Manu’s father’s efforts to escape from his wife’s cribbing & nagging with the aid of his muteness & alcohol, as a ritual aiding long commitment. When the family is lead in this way, the woman never feels heard in her lifetime & the man keeps all his longings & emotions suppressed forever in his illusional world. In a functional marriage both the parties feel heard & both the parties feel free to express their opinions. Any marriage where we see continuous disconnected communication is dysfunctional.
Once I commit, I cannot back off even if whole of me is against it..??
In this movie Manu stays committed to marry Kusum though he becomes aware of his still existing love for Tanu. He reasons & backs off his decision calling it one of his rare virtues to stand by a decision. At a superficial level this one seems like a virtue. However is this quality to hold on to a decision though all your thoughts & emotions are against it a virtue..?? It is important in a relation to be committed & work for the growth of relationship along with the growth of yourself. However a relationship which starts with a self & partner deception in the name of commitment to another cannot be called functional save virtue. Commitment can be established only by being honest to yourself as well as partner.
One would keep loving another person for the way he/she looks like
Here Manu falls in love with Kusum mainly because she looks like Tanu though she isn’t like Tanu in any other way. After being in relationship for certain number of years & experiencing each other as whole persons rather than a face or just a carefree or caring attitude, if one still tends to identify the person with the face, it is just an obsession with the face & not love. Once you have married someone & reach a stage where you cannot stand each other, you might learn to eventually stand each other & develop intimacy however rarely fall for another person with similar face. In marriage you develop relation & intimacy with the whole person & not just with the body or face.
I love you & I hate the way you are..!!
Tanu here is looking for some stability & that is what she loves about Manu however she cannot stand anything else about his personality. Manu is attracted to the carefree attitude in Tanu & it’s hard for him to accept the other parts of her. They depend on each other to balance & complete them in a need based way. In every relation there are certain aspects where partners are different from each other in a complementary way which keeps the flames on however there also is a great extent of similarities which make them identify with each other & walk together. In any marriage where similarities are too few & no inclination to develop similarities there is an issue.
Open communication is something I can’t practice or won’t practice...
Tanu & Manu did need the presence of mental health professionals to discuss the health of their wedding. Tanu, though carefree & concerned hesitates in showing her love directly & Manu is too inhibited to make the first move. You cannot rely on the situation & people surrounding you to mediate & make you understand each other. It’s important for the couple to take initiative & communicate in every possible way, till the other person understands what was communicated. In a functional relationship one can look at a situation from minimum 2 angles, one being your own & another your partners.
I want ‘you’ to understand me while I continue my non understanding
Both Tanu & Manu from beginning did not have any intention to separate. They just reacted to the situation. Manu did not intend to divorce Tanu however he took his anger & helplessness as an intention to separate & approached the lawyer. Tanu had all the intentions to apologize & unite however did not know how to react to a mild & caring husband reacting out of character. For a marriage to sustain before making the partner understand you, you need to understand yourself. You need to be clear about your intentions & willing to make partner understand your intentions. When you are clear in your mind you certainly can make the partner understand you. Once there is understanding there cannot be a dysfunctional wedding.
Tanu & Manu Returns is a well-directed & well-acted functional movie portraying dysfunctional relationship. By the end of the movie Tanu & Manu came back to square 1. I am sure you might have taken the other route & learnt a lot about functional relationship after that meaningful experience..!!
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