Do Aur Do Pyaar marks terrific turns from Vidya, Pratik

Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi in Do Aur Do Pyaar. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

Extramarital flings in movies, come comic or emotional/tragic, have been shown so much in Hindi movies. In this day and age, the trend is to get real—and have a fresh, new spin.

Based on the Hollywood movie, The Lovers (2017), this film, let me state at the very beginning, removes the basic charming simplicity of the original’s plot by infusing needless (and terrible) songs and stretching the end like an over-pulled rubber band. The element of the couple’s son being a cardinal point of the plot along with his girlfriend is removed, and replaced by the funeral of the heroine’s grandfather. The latter device seems inspired by some recent comedies and a yen to show the South Indian culture with humor and a sympathetic-cum-satirical bent towards their age-old traditions.

But I am racing ahead: the story first. Kavya (Vidya Balan), a Tamilian dentist, is married to Anirudh Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi), a Bengali, for the last 15 years. But their marriage has lost its ardor. At 38, Kavya is involved with a devoted-to-her NRI, Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and Anirudh with Nora (Ileana D’Cruz), a mercurial actress and model.

However, Kavya and Anirudh continue to live together, sleeping at opposite ends of their king-sized bed and sans any real affection. Kavya had defied her conservative family back in Ooty and run away then with Anirudh. She had already told him that she did not want children and he had agreed. Their romance had been quite a whirlwind caper, with them doing mad things like stealing restaurant napkins and dancing to chartbusters there.

However now, the staleness is such that they find themselves at their best only when they are with their lovers. Anirudh has long since given up on his original ambition of doing music, has lost his devilish charm and manages his father’s cork factory, but Nora encourages him to reignite his old passion.

Both Kavya and Anirudh are waiting to summon their own guts to confess to the other the need to separate. And their lovers are obviously waiting for them to do so too. But then comes a twist.

Idealistically, and also probably because was searching for what he really wanted, Anirudh decides to accompany Kavya to her grandfather’s funeral. In the city of their courtship, they relive the good times they once had and revive their lost feelings for each other.  And when they return to Mumbai, they start cheating—but on their extramarital lovers! This makes Vikram and Nora more demanding and desperate.

Kavya, who has complained that their marriage has gone so cold that they do not even quarrel with one another, and Anirudh, even reunite physically. What happens next forms the rather elongated and needlessly convoluted second half of the film that dilutes the impact. This was a film that needed a quick resolution either way, but while retaining a few segments of the original, Do Aur Do Pyaar, extends the narrative to a full 142 minutes when The Lovers was a crisp 90 minute-plus rom-com!

Nothing also is revealed about how Vikram and Kavya met, ditto Anirudh and Nora, and why their relationships have developed to the extent shown. Their reluctance to open up to their spouse to inform them that they are moving on demonstrates an inability to communicate with each other. But again, as in these times, it is this very kink that has caused the distancing.

The film is full of relatable moments and tangy humor and the references to the Chinese dish, Chicken 65 as an original Tamil creation and also to the Bengali poshto are well-conceived. The term ‘vegan’ is also shown as more of a fad, as Kavya also likes chicken!

Homely and identifiable (to married people) moments and also the very natural animosity (for a reason) between Kavya and her dad, are all depicted well. And for these, debutant director Shirsha Guha Thakurta deserves full marks. In adapting this story to the Indian context, if she has gone wrong in the length and convolution in the second half, she has been spot-on in the way she has shown four good human beings and their interplay at the crossroads in their lives.

The only aspect of the film that jars (apart from its total lack of buzz, despite coming from established producers!) is the horrendous music by a bevy of suppliers (I cannot call them music creators or composers!) and lyrics providers (not lyricists!). In the former list, we have names like Lost Stories (DJs), The Local Train and When Chai Met Toast! If film music was so easy to make, why did so many composers spend years in toiling as music students and assistants???

Vidya Balan delivers another spellbinding performance, and for someone like her, this character is in a different league altogether. She is brilliant indeed, especially in her lighter moments. Giving her perfect company is Pratik Gandhi (whose mannerism of removing and wearing his glasses is standout and natural) as Anirudh. His affectionate or confused looks are all fabulously done.

Sendhil Ramamurthy, who does well in NRI series, is a shade uncomfortable here as Vikram. His character also does not carry much conviction. Ileana D’Cruz lives her persona of Nora, and has clearly improved as an actress.

From the support, I loved all those who played the South Indians, but the high marks would go to Rekha Kudligi as Kavya’s mother and K. Rajan as Krishnan. I also rather enjoyed the cameos of the four Chinese clients of Anirudh (Joseph Chang, Lio Ching, Ken Yanaginouchi and Tsyuoshi Yamamoto) and of Arihant Bothra as the obituarist. The seasoned Thalaivasal Vijay is impressive but routine as Kavya’s father.

Do Aur Do Pyaar is a fresh look at an extramarital affair and I recommend a watch. Despite the extra length, it emerges as a heartwarming and entertaining film with a vital message—communicate with your spouse, no matter what.

Applause Entertainment & Ellipsis Entertainment present Do Aur Do Pyaar  Produced by: Swati Iyer Chawla, Tanuj Garg, Atul Kasbekar, Sameer Nair & Deepak Segal  Directed by: Shirsha Guha Thakurta  Written by: Azazel Jacobs, Suprotim Sengupta, Amrita Bagchi & Eisha Chopra  Music: Lost Stories (DJs), The Local Train, Subhajit Mukherjee, Abhishek-Ananya & When Chai Met Toast Starring: Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Ileana D’Cruz, Thalaivasal Vijay, Rekha Kudligi, K. Rajan, Joseph Chang, Lio Ching, Ken Yanaginouchi, Tsyuoshi Yamamoto, Arihant Bothra & others






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