De De Pyar De Is Cuddly Winsome & Naughty

De De Pyar De

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul  Preet Singh

Directed by: Akiv Ali

Rating: **** ½ (4 and a  half stars)

Okay , guys,  there is  news. Ajay is  back to  spelling his  surname as  ‘Devgn’.  He  confuses  me in every film, dropping an ‘a’ as though it was  a primetime soap’s  fluctuating ratings.

In this film Devgn’s title  is  not all that  is confusing. His 50-year old highly successful  London-based executive has abandoned  his  wife(Tabu,  if you please!)  and two  grownup children who understandably  hate their  father. He  is now pulled   into  a romance and  relationship with a  girl  half his age—literally. Yes Ayesha(Rakul Preet Singh) is actually 25 to  Ashish(Devgn)’s   50.And she has the hots for him even as he tries  his best to fob her  off.

But she’s soon in his bed, with full makeup on. That’s Rakul Preet Singh  for you. Never forgets  her war-paint even when the war  is called off. Rakul  plays the silliest  girl-in-love I’ve seen. Ayesha not only chases Ashish(Devgn)down  until he  surrenders to her demands, Ayesha accompanies  Ashish  back to India to his ex-wife’s home in an idyllic  hill station which  looks  like  a cardboard cut-out infused with  unexpected  life  and  vigour.

While the first-half with Devgn being seduced with whammy  one-liners and  snarky  retorts breezes  by with  an invigorating  absence  of  stereotypical  romancing,   the second-half brings us  the phenomenal  Tabu  as Devgn’s  still-to-be-divorced  wife.

 This  is when I  seriously starting seeking signs  of  splendour  in  the saga.

And  I got it!  There  is  a sequence  where the wife Tabu sitting down on the bed with a grim slightly befuddled  ex(?) husband  has  a glorious meltdown wherein she  blurts out how she  longs  for just that one day in her  life  when she doesn’t have to worry  about anyone but herself. The camera(manned  majestically by Sudhir Chudhary)  loves  Tabu’s face in that sequence….it records  her  angst as though that face, for a few minutes,  becomes  the map of the human heart.

If you are a  Tabu  fan, then be  warned: the  script comes  to   terms with the logistics and  dynamics  of  her character—an estranged wife who has singlehandedly brought up her two children –quite late in the day. A major part  of the  plot is  adorned with  perky  Rakul’s  over-the-top chirpiness .She is  like  Jaya Bhaduri  in Guddi  without  the  school dress  but the skirt is still short.And so is the talent.

It beats  me why any man would prefer  this annoying child-woman (who confesses she loves to drink and who  sits in a prospective  bridegroom’s lap to check out whether ‘anything happens’) over the  magnificent Tabu.

 But then that’s  the beauty of the journey undertaken by the human heart.  You never know where  it is going until you get there.  De De Pyar De is  filled with  a kind of wondrous  audacity. The  dialogues are  smart-alecky  in  the way  two  tipsy lovers spar over the whats app when they know  all along,  that their fast-flowing words  would fade into daylight. 

The  performances are  interesting as long as the actors are  not saddled with underwritten roles, like Jimmy Sheirgillis. For once his struggle to make  his character  credible fails. Kumud Mishra, another actor we can always depend on, is also left  trying to  find a centre  to  his sketchy character. But Sunny Singh as a silly suitor is  brilliant  in  a cameo. Just goes to  show it’s not the size that matters.

Unabashedly  dedicated  to amplifying the  central conflict in the love  triangle featuring a  middleaged man  , his newly-acquired  girlfriend and his  sensible wife, De De Pyar De creates an vivacious  afterglow in  its  exploration of  a dead marriage. The fires that  Rakul Preet Singh’s  booze-friendly bartender’s role kindles in the  past-his-prime hero’s life may  seem  a little far-fetched. But  director Akiv Ali works on  making the  relationship seem predestined rather than predesigned. You may wonder why any sane man  would make  a move away from a  wife as  focused and calming as  Tabu. But you can’t judge  the protagonist  for his  choices in  life.

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