Banners: T-Series, Luv Films, VV Films Limited
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Luv Ranjan, Ankur Garg
Director: Akiv Ali
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, Tabu, Alok Nath, Madhumati Kapoor, Inayat, Bhavin Bhanushali, Jaaved
Jaaferi, Jimmy Sheirgill, Kumud Mishra
Writers: Luv Ranjan, Tarun Jain
Music: Vipin Patwa, Tanishk Bagchi, Manj Musik, Amaal Mallik, Rochak Kohli
We’ve watched films on relationships and we’ve watched films that deal with realism. But when we have a film that deals with realistic relationships, things get really interesting. Editor-turned-debutant director Akiv Ali gives us a fresh take on love, friendship and exes, with his latest film De De Pyaar De, which stars Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh. The best part is the movie sends out a message without it mimicking a boring classroom lecture.
The story begins in London when Ashish, a successful 50-year-old, meets the free-spirited 26-year-old Ayesha, and even though the two are reluctant to start a relationship due to the massive age gap, a flirtation begins, which inevitably results in a relationship. As the bond between them gets serious, Ashish insists that Ayesha needs to meet his family back in India, which consists of his former wife Manju, two children and parents.
As the two fly down to the picturesque mountains in North India, they are faced with the issues that Ashish had run away from almost two decades ago. As he manoeuvres his new relationship while trying to right the wrongs of his old one, with the help of his once best friend Manju, things fall into perspective, which forms the crux of the story.
Akiv Ali, like his producer Luv Ranjan of the Pyaar Ka Punchnama series and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety fame, has also made a film on different relationship dynamics but managed to show a very unique take on it. But credit should go to Ranjan as well as Tarun Jain for penning it with the right mixture of drama, humour and the spirit they want to show.
The first half of the film takes a little long to establish the connection between Devgn and Singh’s characters, which gets a little tiresome with all the back-and-forth. But as soon as the second half dawns, Tabu comes in as a breath of fresh air and takes over the frame like the pro that she is. Her chemistry with Devgn has been captured through an expert’s lens by the newbie filmmaker, especially when we see a flashback of their Vijaypath days.
The film has been written well, keeping a finger on the pulse of today’s times. A father not only supporting but defending his daughter’s decision to opt for a live-in relationship and justifying that with the perfect balance of rationale and emotion is a great example of smart writing. The film feels like a blend of a Hollywood-style rom-com with melodies from the early 2000s and the thinking of 2019.
Witty one-liners are a part of every romantic-comedy and this is no different. Several comically situational scenes and some deliberate attempts make for a good, entertaining script. To Ranjan’s credit, there is hardly any gender-biased humour that he is usually known for. Another plus for the narrative is how the characters called out the clichés that could have been attached to them. For instance, how Rakul Preet Singh’s character of a young girl typically called a ‘gold-digger’ is nullified when she owns up to it and makes fun of it in one scene.
Shot in the beautiful locales of London city, countryside England and Himachal Pradhesh by cinematographer Sudhir K Chaudhary, the film gives you major vacation goals throughout its 2-hour and 20-minute run. Ali, who is a well-known editor in the industry, has edited this film and while there is a crisp cut during the comic scenes, the first half could have done away with a few scenes and many songs.
Speaking of songs, the album of the film is mixed with slow, emotional melodies and peppy Punjabi tracks. While the latter is enjoyable, the other songs have not hit any chartbuster lists.
In this day and age, with heartland stories ruling, we hardly see lighthearted fun on the big screen. Ali’s first attempt at direction with De De Pyaar De proves that there is still an audience for this genre of film if treated in the right way.
Performance-wise, Ajay Devgn is one of the few actors who has always played his age and looks good doing it. The actor plays his part of a 50-year-old falling in love with a much younger woman while still having a relationship with his wife, with his usual swag and straight-face humour. In one word, as always, he’s outstanding! Rakul Preet Singh has good screen presence and while she manages the light moments well, the substantial ones still need some work. Tabu, as usual, is amazing. She commands her scenes with her no-nonsense acting chops and ethereal beauty. Alok Nath and Madhumati Kapoor as Ajay Devgn’s parents are good. Inayat and Bhavin Bhanushali as Devgn and Tabu’s children are decent. Jaaved Jaaferi is his usual funny self in a special appearance. Jimmy Sheirgill is hilarious and Kumud Mishra is good.