De De Pyar De Review

“De De Pyar De” is a film with a heart, with guts, and without no-brainer humor. Sharp, incisive about an interfering and hypocritical society (including teenagers), it makes a case out for letting human beings be. (photo provided)

Luv Films and T-Series Films present “De De Pyar De”

Produced by: Luv Ranjan, Ankur Garg, Bhushan Kumar, Krishen Kumar

Directed by: Akiv Ali

Written by: Luv Ranjan, Tarun Jain & Surbhi Bhatnagar

Music: Amaal Mallik, Rochak Kohli, Tanishk Bagchi, Vipin Patwa, Manj Musik, Atul Sharma & Garry Sandhu

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul Preet Singh, Alok Nath, Madhu Malti Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Inayat, Bhavin Bhanushali & Rajveer Singh Sp. App.: Jimmy Sheirgill, Sunny Singh, & Jaaved Jafferi

The primary credit for this delightful confection goes to Akiv Ali, the seasoned editor of (mainly) serious films, who turns director – and scores very high indeed! Here is a film with a heart, with guts, and without no-brainer humor. Sharp, incisive about an interfering and hypocritical society (including teenagers), it makes a case out for letting human beings be, while showing them rise above themselves, even as if they possess their faults, kinks and foibles.

It is difficult indeed to slot such a movie: among Ajay Devgn’s movies, the closest we can come to is “Pyaar to Hona Hi Tha” (1998), in which a rom-com of a rather fresh flavor (within the usual ‘wrong partner’ formula) and family elements merge into a smooth and emotionally fulfilling whole. In that sense, this film scores a shade higher, even if it lacks the brilliant music score of that film – an omnipresent malaise since many years now. But as a film, it packs a rare wallop with its mix of humor and emotional depth.

The second hero of this film is the script, including its superb dialogues. The three writers need major accolades for not bringing in the old-fashioned end of a romantic triangle between husband, wife and other woman (“Woh 7 Din,” “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” et al) which existed even earlier, by taking a bold stand of being progressive: a Luv Ranjan forte as seen in his earlier directorials.

The film even makes light of tying a ‘raakhi’ on the wrong man, pitches its own case for living-in (for youngsters in love) and delves, albeit transiently, into the issues pertaining to an older partner’s age if children are born. In this same premise, it also makes light of sleeping together in today’s times.

Ashish (Ajay Devgn), who works “in Finance” in London, encounters bartender and qualified engineer Aisha (Rakul Preet Singh) and they soon become friends, with Aisha taunting him all the time because he is missing out on exploiting a “hot girl” like her. Things start turning serious, and Ashish is warned by his psychiatrist friend (Jaaved Jafferi) to steer clear of “hot” gold-diggers and girls who are his daughter’s age.

When the two cannot live without each other, Ashish and Aisha decide to marry, but Ashish wants her to be known by his family back in India. His family comprises of divorced wife Manju (Tabu), son Ishaan (Bhavin Bhanushali) and daughter Ishita (Inayat), besides his parents (Alok Nath and Madhumalti Kapoor).

As luck would have it, on the day he arrives at the supremely lovely resort they own, Ishita’s would-be father-in-law (Kumud Mishra) and suitor (Rajveer Singh) are expected to arrive. Ishita has been livid at her dad for leaving them and wants him out, and in the sparring mess, Ashish introduces Aisha as his secretary!

A chain of incidents and emotional mishaps happen later until Ashish decides to make amends for Ishita. These by-products includes Ishaan falling in love with Aisha and lot of one-upmanship between the no-nonsense Aisha and Manju. The second half is as, if not more, delightful than the pre-intermission part, and is an outright and crisp winner. And we liked that hint of a sequel too.

We have only two issues with this film: one, the raucous, almost entirely Punjabi music of the film that has NOTHING to recommend, with the words not understood by every non-Punjabi, and the minor one is the liberal use of expletives that are clear visually even if beeped out. And yes, Hitesh Sonik’s background score gets too loud and predictable at times.

Coming back to the many plus-es, the direction is deft and does not seem like a debutant’s work. The cinematography (Sudhir K. Chaudhary) and production design (Shashank Tere) are awesome, and mention must also be made of the costumes for all the artistes (Niharika Khan and Aki Narula).

Ajay Devgn is perfectly cast as Ashish, who in a way, is helpless from beginning to end – helplessly and hopelessly in love and totally barraged from all sides in the second half. Tabu, who comes in almost in the second half, is magnificent all through, her expressions as vocal as many of Devgn’s silent ones. In the crucial scenes of her outburst before the family, her confrontation of sorts with her husband and girlfriend, and especially in her sequence in the bedroom where she pours her heart out to her husband, she is just magnificent.

Rakul Preet Singh is the life and soul of the film, the pivot around whom the story revolves. Truly hot (as her character Aisha claims to be from the beginning), she puts in a scorching performance as the girl in love and then delivers a very mature essay in the more emotional and relatively complex second half.

From the supporting artistes, Inayat jars a bit and Mishra, for a change, is seen hamming. We are amused by Sunny Singh’s cameo as Aisha’s nerdy boyfriend, but we do not know why Sheirgill is cast (in rather similar roles) as the loser in love. He could have at least been a shade different and a lot less predictable in his performance: this is the minor area in which the script errs from being perfect. Bhavin Bhanushali is cute, and the rest have really nothing to do.

Do not miss this oasis in the long desert we have seen in Hindi cinema since “Kesari” and “The Tashkent Files,” which were both serious and true-life stories. It has come at the perfect time, just as Devgn’s last film “Total Dhamaal” came when a light film was needed in the wake of “URI: The Surgical Strikes” and “Gully Boy.” But then, “Total Dhamaal” was a hilarious caper. This light movie speaks a lot out to society through its peppy, fast-paced (134 minutes) of entertainment.

Rating: ****

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