It’s an interesting concept to have a fifty-year-old man pair against a twenty-something woman. ‘Cheeni Kum’ had an eccentric chef falling in love with a woman half of his age. Even ‘Nishabd’ had a shade of ‘Lolita’ woven around it. The fact remains that the idea of an older man in a relationship with a young woman oscillates between cringe and open-mindedness of the society. As an individual, you perceive it, the way you feel about it. And, frankly, there are no two ways about it. Director and editor Akiv Ali’s ‘De De Pyaar De’ is a silly and campy take on this concept, where it brings ‘Cheeni Kum’ to the levels of ‘Meet The Parents’, only here the family to be met is an ex-wife, a pair of kids old enough to get married and grumpy parents. It ain’t exactly LOL fun yet has several breezy moments to have the audience glued to the screen.
The film begins in a scenic London, where a twenty-something Aisha (played by Rahul Preet Singh) falls for a fifty-something Ashish (played by Ajay Devgan). Three songs and several minutes after, which feels like a whole eternity, Ashish decides to take Aisha to meet his family, who lives at Kulu. An angry daughter who is irked to see her long lost father walking into their life, when she’s about to get engaged to her beau, makes Ashish lie to his family that Aisha is his secretary. And the family lies to the groom’s family that Ashish is the uncle! Unknowingly Aisha and Manju, Ashish’s ex-wife get into a competition of sorts, about who knows Ashish better. Amidst all this, Ashish looks for a way out to seek approval from his family, as he is caught between two fires.
To be honest, the film does seem rushed in for its first hour, where the director leisurely lays out the story about Ashish and Aisha falling for each other. The entire first half of the film is about them meeting, falling in love and have a momentary breakup, only to get back together. On paper, it may have looked like a way to show the level of understanding between the couple, but on screen, it lacks charisma. Rakul Preet, who looks like a million bucks, has a really flat way of delivering her dialogues, which undermines her character. Hindi films have a stereotypical view about free-spirited women in general and here also, the writer Luv Ranjan and director Akiv Ali use the same trope. Ajay Devgan plays his brooding self, a welcome change from his usual loud avatars in Rohit Shetty Cinematic World or the very recent ‘Total Dhamaal’. His self-restraint is equally matched up with the vivacious Rakul Preet. The soon-to-become-cliched film becomes engrossing at the second half, with the advent of mademoiselle Tabu, who, for the lack of a better word, is electrifying.
As the ex-wife Manju, who despite being estranged from her husband, holds the reign of her husband’s life, Tabu makes the whole film come alive. Tabu has a strange way of owning up the screen, where you simply cannot ignore her! She plays this ex-wife, who has managed to keep the family afloat, in the absence of her husband. A strong woman, who singlehandedly has brought up a daughter and a son, who even has a series of oneupmanship with his husband’s girlfriend about her husband’s likings and dislikings, Tabu steals the show. In one of the most pivotal moments of the film, we see this strong lady, breaking into tears, for being the woman life has turned her into. Tabu is one of the finest actors in this country and she proves it again and again. Several actors appear in guest appearances such as Javed Jaffery, Sunny Singh, Kumud Mishra and Jimmy Sheirgill, who sparkle in their individual minuscule appearances.
The film, despite its ‘fun’ genre, does discuss two important things. One, the relationship between a couple whose age disparity is beyond the so-called permissible age and two, an estranged couple’s friendship, despite their individual status quo. The film hits its zenith due to these rare moments. Luv Ranjan, the writer of the film, famous for his so-called misogynist views in films like ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’ and ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ke Sweety’, actually tones down this time and turns the table where we have the leading actor, constantly getting chided for his age. The scene where Manju defends Ashish against the entire family is nicely written and tells you that Luv Ranjan knows his audience’s pulse very well. Overall, it’s an enjoyable film.
This weekend, have fun at the theatres with ‘De De Pyaar De’.
The Cinemawala Rating: 3/5