Tabu, Rakul Preet shine the brightest in this refreshing twist to modern-day relationships- Vijayalakshmi Narayanan
Before we begin, let me exclaim this, loud and big. The women win in the Luv Ranjan universe, for a change.
Having been a staunch, dismissive viewer of the’ Punchnama’ films and ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ in the past, I was skeptical about the treatment that might be doled out to the women in this Ajay Devgn-Tabu-Rakul Preet Singh-narrative. But man, I’ve been surprised, and how.
Set in London, 50 year old money man Ashish (Ajay Devgn) meets 26 year old Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh), an engineer who moonlights as a bartender on the weekends. Ayesha clearly believes that men are like fine wine. Ashish is aware of the restrictions, his age brings him, despite the obvious suggested to him by his shrink/friend (Jaaved Jafferi). Yet, love happens between the two, despite a brief moment of doubt. Trouble comes calling when the duo land up to meet the folks in Manali and skeletons come out of the closet, with the appearance of Ashish’s ex-wife Manju (Tabu).
Written by Ranjan, Tarun Jain and Surabhi Bhatnagar, the film is laced with clever lines sprinkled throughout the film with enough room for a dialogue to be started upon pressing issues that hinder modern-day relationships. Romance dominates most of the first half, so the plot kicks off in the latter. The hick-up though, is in the pacing of the film. Which is a bit alarming considering debut director Akiv Ali is a senior editor in the business. The music of the film is a welcome respite in these remix-plagued times with ‘Tu Mila To Haina’ and ‘Chale Aana’ emerging as clear favourites.
In the hands of lesser-capable actors, the film would’ve been a frivolous watch. But leading ladies Tabu and Rakul Preet deliver strong, impactful performances that are relatable and inspiring. Tabu is exceptional in a key scene where she shatters stereotypes about age gaps, parenthood and fidelity. Rakul Preet falters in the emotional scenes but brings a lot of individuality and respect to a role that is constantly under judgement. Kudos to Devgn for embracing a part where his age is practically the butt of all jokes in the film. I particularly enjoyed the spin-off his ‘Singham’ gets. Jimmy Sheirgill, in an extended cameo as Manju’s prospective suitor, brings the house down in the second half. The rest of the cast is barely serviceable, though a wiser casting decision could’ve been made in case of Ajay and Tabu’s daughter in the film.
Eventually, ‘De De Pyaar De’ is a harmless, fun watch that delivers the laughs and offers the food for thought.