‘De De Pyaar De’, a relationship comedy featuring Tabu, Rakul Preet and Ajay Devgn, may not make you wiser in love, but the lead players feel their film is worth putting a ring on it.
They call it a “mature take on relationships”. ‘DDPD’, directed by Akiv Ali and written by Luv Ranjan of ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnamma’ fame, is a tale of a well-preserved 50-year-old man Ashish Mehra (Devgn) falling in love with a nubile 24-year-old woman Ayesha (Preet). But their new relationship hits a roadblock when they meet with Mehra’s ex-wife Manju (Tabu) and grown children.
Gulf News tabloid! tracked down the lead players of ‘DDPD’ and talked about relationships, dating apps and more...
In conversation with Tabu
The appeal behind DDPD: “It’s a mature take on relationships... Though I don’t have a personal experience of things like this, you will be amazed by maturity on display while dealing with relationships. It’s humorous and serious in turns, but never frivolous… It’s probably the first time that you see a situation where an ex-wife and an ex-husband have to come together, along with the family that surrounds them. There’s a lot of novelty in that idea.”
On her role in the romantic dramedy: “I play Manju, a significant part in Ajay’s [Devgn] life and I appear in the second half of the film. She’s one of the nicer and sweeter characters that I have played of late … And yes, I don’t stuff him in a suitcase [like her role in the blockbuster ‘Andhadhun’].”
What she wants her fans to take away from DDPD: “Relationships can grow and evolve. You can have normal, non-dramatic relationships with your exes. I don’t know how far people can do it because there will be an element of awkwardness because at some point those two people were romantically involved. But it’s worth trying to be civil and friendly.”
On relationships with wide age gaps: “Some women like being with older men and some women like being with men closer to their age... What happens in cinema often reflects our reality. Being in a relationship with a person is a personal choice and hinges on your personality. Who are you most excited to be with, is the big question.”
On relationships that turn bitter with time: “Your bitterness depends on how a relationships play out. Even if you are not romantically involved, if you have children, then you cannot deny the fact that she’s the mother of your children. You cannot will it away and there’s no need to… Sometimes, you can never assume what happens in a man-woman equation. No relationship is ever the same … Relationships often depend on what you need at that particular point in your life. What are your needs? Who are you most comfortable with? There are many women who may feel comfortable with men older than them. You never know what makes a relationship tick.”
On her idea of an ideal relationship: “While it’s each to their own, if you leave it to me I would like to be with somebody who’s my equal. That’s my norm. Honestly, everyone has their own personal choices. We may not understand their choices fully or agree with it, but you cannot will any relationship away.”
On age being a crucial factor in relationships: “How a person views a romantic relationship in their forties will be drastically different from how a twenty something views it. If you are in your forties and you have gone through a journey with somebody, you may be at a different place... In your mid-40s, emotions like jealousy or possessiveness may not matter at all. In your twenties, you are still discovering yourself vis-a-vis a romantic relationship. Relationships are the biggest explorations of the human self. You know yourself a lot better.”
On Bollywood films featuring ageing heroes with younger lead actresses: “But the girls are agreeing to play such roles, why blame the heroes only? You should ask the girl why she’s agreeing to it. Though I am not putting the blame on anyone here. Remember, she’s agreeing to it.”
On working with Ajay Devgn, her co-star from 'Vijaypath' days: “We are both similar in many ways. We have known each other too long and we know what we are doing in a film … There is a huge amount of trust in each other. The founding factor in any relationship — be it with friends, co-workers, director or actors or your lover — is trust. We share that kind of equation work wise. He is also the most hassle-free actors in our industry. All we want to do is do our jobs sincerely and get out of the sets. We want to go back to our lives. We don’t make a big deal about it all. We look at work objectively. You can have as much fun and accommodate each other as much as you can too.”
In conversation with Rakul Preet
On Bollywood growing up through their films like DDPD: “There has been a big change in the scripts that are coming our way in the recent past. Look at films like Andhadhun, Badhaai Ho or Badla, these are films which were a favourite among the critics and which ruled the box office … Audiences are taking such films well. It is a great time to be in the film industry as there is so much experimentation.”
On relationships that feature wide age gaps: “It doesn’t matter. All that matters is how happy you are in that relationship. Would you rather be in an unhappy relationship with a person closer to your age, cribbing and cheating, than a happy one? That’s what our film talks about. There’s emotions, humour and an underlying message shown realistically in ‘DDPD’. Films like these resonate with what’s happening around the world. Also, if the relationship with wide age gaps don’t matter to the man and the woman in that said relationship, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.”
Her idea of a perfect relationship: “It’s all about how well you complement each other.”
On actors handling their own relationships in real life and a mantra that she follows: “I have not had a relationship in a while. I have been single for the longest time. I am the worst person to ask for a relationship mantra. Some of the journalists keep asking if I will be OK to date a guy who’s older than me … I go: ‘get me a guy first’.
On her single status and being on dating apps: “I am not in denial about it. But I think I am too good for anyone who isn’t fitting my bill... Being an actor, you can’t be on dating apps. And where’s the time? Your work is demanding and I have realised that you can have a relationship only if you happen to stumble upon someone in your line of work.”
Her favourite romance: “I am a sucker for a good love story. I loved A Star Is Born. Now that’s a classic. There’s a boy, a girl and a conflict. I loved how emotional the actors were.”
On doing comic scenes in DDPD: “Crying on the big screen is the easiest thing to pull off as an actor. It’s tougher to make people laugh … But I don’t have the world ‘difficult’ in my dictionary.”
In conversation with Ajay Devgn
On playing his age, 50, in DDPD and not some young dude: “I have always played my age in my films. In my movie ‘Drishyam’, I played a father to a 15-year-old girl. I have always tried to play roles closer to my actual age. Everyone knows how old actors are. The real high comes when you can still do what you did in your 30s at your 50s. And, when people tell you that you don’t look fifty, that’s a better high.”
On DDPD tackling stereotypes around relationships: “As soon as you see an older rich man with a younger woman, you assume the relationship isn’t legitimate or their feelings for each other is less important. You may think the girl is after his money and he’s after her looks. But why can’t you all just accept the fact that their feelings for each are genuine and that they may genuine people.”
On trolls that emerge right after a movie’s release: “These days anybody with a phone is a critic.”
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‘De De Pyaar De’ is out in the UAE on May 16.