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“For a long lasting marriage it’s important to be friends,”  Director Shirsha Guha Thakurta On Her Outstanding Film Do Aur Do Pyaar.



In Do Aur Do Pyaar, Shirsha Guha  Thakurta takes on an urban marriage   and breaks into two extra-marital affairs.

   Says Shirsha, “I feel every marriage or relationship will have their own keys. But  for me personally I feel – for a long lasting marriage – its important to be friends,  its important to talk, its important to fight, its important to be comfortable with each  other. It’s a very underrated romantic word. Comfort. You need to be each other’s comfort  food. Find your own Chicken 65 .

  She reveals  her sources  of inspiration. “It will sound cliched because I am Bengali .But Satyajit Ray of course. The simplicity and  beauty and humanity in his storytelling, agnostic of whatever the genre, will always be my  biggest inspiration. Then of course  Hrishikesh Mukherjee,Wong Kar Wai, Sam  Mendes and Alexander Payne.”

   That entire chunk of the  film  where Kavya(Vidya Balan) and Ani(Pratik Gandhi) visit her home in Ooty is not in the original film  Azazel Jacobs’ The Lovers. Says Shishra, “Honestly, that’s my favourite part of the film. That was the only part we could really open it  up, have lots of other characters, more fun, more music, before things became really  messy back in the smaller, more real world. The surroundings were beautiful, the actors  and characters and faces were lovely, it had so much flavour. Given a choice I would stay  in that world for ever , but then real life crept in. Exactly like it did for Ani and Kavya. In our heads there was a separate movie in Ooty with Kavya and Ani’s college romance  and running away and the scandal in the Ganeshan household. We just didn’t show that  to you.”

The spoken lines by all the four protagonists are the best we have heard in years. Where did these wonderful  words come from?   “All that is Suprotim, Eisha and Amrita  Bagchi. The writers. Given that we wanted to make a very  lived-in, real love story, they had the difficult job of writing dialogues that sounded real  and everyday and yet keep it engaging. Sometimes the simplest things can sound so  beautiful or funny. Like my favourite line is , ‘Kabhi Kabhi shayad pyaar kaafi nahin hota’. It’s such a simple thought but it’s so layered , and it is the heart of our film. It goes against  everything our films generally tell us : that it’s all about falling in love ,and once you are  in love, its absolute and forever. It is  not.”

 Shirsha confesses she has  always been interested in what happens to all those perfectly in love couples that  we show in our films. “What happened to Raj and Simran after running away on the train  at the end of DDLJ twenty years later? Where are they now? Have they become flatmates  instead of lovers? What happens when the initial chemistry has worn off and love  becomes a habit. This has always fascinated me. I see people around me struggling  with this in our modern lives – To hold on to this Hallmark version of love, with so many  distractions, with social media. Real Love is not a straight line – its cyclical. It comes and goes. The songs and books all  lied.So when my producers Swati Iyer and Tanuj Garg brought this story to me , an  adaptation of an independent American film called The Lovers by Azazel Jacobs, I  jumped at the opportunity of telling a story of love which was lived in and more real. This was in 2020 just before Covid hit – it’s taken four years to finally bring this story to  you.I liked the one liner of the original film .But the movie itself was offbeat  and culturally very different. The writers, Suprotim Sengupta and Eisha Chopra did a fantastic job of making  the structural changes. I loved their idea of taking  my protagonists Ani and Kavya back to her hometown  to rekindle their chemistry. I specially loved the idea of them disrupting a funeral and not  say a wedding which is the traditional Bollywood choice it seemed more fun and  fresh. They made the characters much more nuanced and fun and relatable for our  audiences than the original.”

The casting , agrees  Shirsha, was magical. “I got lucky. Vidya was absolutely the first choice. She brings a vulnerability and  beauty and warmth to the role that no one else could have. You can’t take your eyes off  her. There is no lie in her fire. I don’t think this film would happen without her.Pratik Gandhi is an absolute surprise and delight.He plays the Bengali nerd with such  affection.Tell me about his casting?  We knew we had to cast someone who could hold his own against the acting  powerhouse that Vidya is. Also, Ani’s character would do things which audiences might  construe as wrong. Ani shouldn’t come across as someone smug and revelling in the  cheating and adultery but actually be confused and messed up. And Pratik nails that.”

Their dance together….Bin tere sanam mar mitenge  hum  will never be the same again  “It’s such a fun catchy song. It was Suprotim’s idea to use that song. He made us watch the  original video in which the hero heroine do strange dance moves in front of some thin  malnourished cows .The producers and I knew straightaway we wanted those dance  moves in our film. And Vidya and Pratik killed it!”

   Shirsha felt Sendhil Ramamurthy  and Ileana d’Cruz   also fitted  the bill perfectly. “We knew we couldn’t give them too much screen  time .So they had to really stand out. Ani and Kavya were looking for things in Sendhil  and Ileana that they couldn’t find in each other anymore. We always thought of the four  characters together as an ensemble.They complemented each other Kavya was vivacious and larger than life .Ani was sincere and laidback .Nora was neurotic and needy .Vikram was independent and very hot And most importantly – they had the same quality that Vidya and Pratik have – they look  and feel relatable and likeable – And we feel for their story arcs as well – which was  very important for the movie to work. They should seem credible threats to the marriage .”

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