May 17, 2019 / 11:21 AM / a month ago

Movie Review: De De Pyaar De

Handout still from “De De Pyaar De”.

Akiv Ali’s “De De Pyaar De” (Give me Love) tackles rather unusual topics for a Bollywood romantic comedy, including remarriage and a love story between an older man and a younger woman.

Much like his characters, Ali’s film has sudden moments of lucidity when everything makes sense. But for most of its 134-minute runtime, the narrative is incoherent.

The protagonist of “De De Pyaar De”, written by Luv Ranjan of “Pyaar Ka Punchnama” fame, is a 50-year-old divorced man. Ashish (Ajay Devgn) is a rich investment banker who lives in London, while his ex-wife and children live in India. He seems to be living the perfect bachelor life – pumping iron in the gym, relaxing in his swanky apartment and partying on the weekend. But everything changes when he meets Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh), who happens to be half his age.

“This is not an age gap, it is a generation gap,” Ashish’s friend tells him in one of the film’s best lines. Fully aware of the many hurdles that could come their way, Ashish and Ayesha decide to tie the knot. But before they do, Ashish must introduce his fiancé to his estranged family in India, a meeting that threatens to derail both his past and present relationships.

Ranjan and Ali insert too much flippant humour and unnecessary subplots in what is already a wafer-thin storyline. There are many threads here that might have worked if the writer and director had taken them to their logical ending – Ashish’s troubled relationship with his kids, his wife Manju’s (Tabu) mature handling of their divorce, and the consequences of introducing your traditional family to your young fiancé.

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All of these are sacrificed at the altar of low-grade humour and a few songs. The cast seems equally disinterested. Ajay Devgn sleepwalks through his role, and Rakul Preet seems to treat every scene as a ramp walk – pirouetting and pouting rather than emoting.

Tabu is the only breath of fresh air here; she is unaffected and natural as can be. It is only when she is on screen that the film is infused with life. If the story were told from her perspective instead of that of the rather self-centered Ashish, we’d have a better film on our hands.

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