It’s unfathomable as to why a pair of seemingly sensible, accomplished women such as Manju (Tabu) and Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh) give a cad like Ashish Mehra (Ajay Devgn) so much rope to dangle from. But if you can ignore their questionable choice in men, there’s a lot to enjoy in ‘De De Pyaar De’.
This bittersweet romantic comedy, directed by Akiv Ali, revolves around a well-preserved investment broker, Mehra, 50, who begins dating a gorgeous, gregarious 26-year-old engineer Ayesha, who moonlights as a waitress on weekends in London.
This oddball couple live in a romantic bubble filled with pillow fights, smoothie-blending and intimate massages. But their idyllic existence gets a rap when man-child Mehra returns home to India to introduce his sprightly partner to his estranged ex-wife Manju and kids, who are closer to his lover’s age. The meet-the-ex-wife/surly kids/grumpy in-laws episode gets murkier by the minute.
Tabu’s turn as the unflappable and level-headed Manju is an absolute knockout and she dwarfs other key players with her commanding screen presence.
To be fair, it’s not that the others were doing shabbily, but it takes someone like Tabu to elevate the movie into fun territory.
The film truly takes off when a seasoned actor like her steps in and shakes things around, especially when the events on screen careen dangerously towards a syrupy, melodramatic love story about an old dude and his perfectly coiffured and maintained girlfriend. Their whirlwind courtship loses its sheen after the first 20 minutes.
Singh is immensely likeable as the skimpily clad, freakishly-fit Ayesha, while Devgn’s wry humour and dead-pan eyes are an acquired taste.
Unlike the norm, it’s not the first half that’s enjoyable in ‘DDPD’. The eventful second half that sees Mehra’s skeletons from the past tumble out is a riot. Jimmy Shergill as a bespectacled smarmy suitor for Manju is a hoot, but tainted actor Alok Nath’s (who has been battling sexual misconduct claims) comic antics leave a bitter aftertaste. However, the film injects nuggets of progressive, unconventional ideas such as live-in relationships, divorce and parenting without making it too obvious.
A scene in which a stoic, single mother Manju breaks down in frustration with her former lover is searing. Tabu shines in that moment. Both Tabu and Devgn — who have featured in hits such as ‘Vijaypath’ — have this studied camaraderie and heightened comfort level that only real-life married couples have. These two communicate with their eyes, more than words.
‘DDPD’ is also one of the rare movies that make you root for the estranged couple, rather than the ones in love. Will Tabu’s character get her happy ending in life is a thought that could haunt you.
While majority of the film is immensely entertaining, a few twists in the second half seem laboured and bizarre. But before it turned ludicrous, director Ali manages to rein things in.
‘DDPD’ may not make you wiser in love, but it’s a clear indication that loving or losing someone is one gloriously complicated and messy affair. So, take a plunge with ‘DDPD’ that doesn’t scar you in any way.
Don’t miss it
Film: ‘De De Pyaar De’
Director: Akiv Ali
Cast: Tabu, Rakul Preet Singh, Ajay Devgn and Jimmy Shergill
Stars: 3 out of 5