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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Do Aur Do Pyaar: Vidya Balan is phenomenal in this refreshing take on love and marriage

Pratik Gandhi too gives a terrific turn in the Shirsha Guha Thakurta-directed film co-starring Sendhil Ramamurthy and Illeana D’Cruz

Chandreyee Chatterjee Calcutta Published 19.04.24, 04:58 PM
A still of Pratik Gandhi and Vidya Balan from Do Aur Do Pyaar.

A still of Pratik Gandhi and Vidya Balan from Do Aur Do Pyaar. YouTube

Stale marriages where either one or both partners look for love elsewhere is a trope that is familiar. What is not is the absolute lack of judgement for either of the parties in the equation. An adaptation of Azazel Jacob’s The Lover, Shirsha Guha Thakurta’s directorial debut Do Aur Do Pyaar — starring Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Illeana D’Cruz — is the story of a couple who fall out of love, fall in love with other people, reignite their lost love and are torn between the two. And, for once, all of the above are okay.

Kavya Ganeshan (Vidya Balan) and Anirudh Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi) are an urban couple living in Mumbai who have been married for 12 years after a college romance. Their marriage has boiled down to functionary greetings, cold silences, allergy medications and each sleeping on their side of the bed with their phones.

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It’s very unlike the relationship that each has with the people they are having affairs with. Kavya is seeing globetrotting photographer Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and Ani (Anirudh) is with aspiring actress Nora (Illeana D’Cruz). They are doing the song and dance of lying to each other as they try to find their corner of happiness while they wait for the right time to tell each other about their affairs. None is the wiser because seemingly neither cares enough about the other, till a trip to Ooty for a funeral results in the rekindling of their love and affection. And in a twist that one couldn’t have foreseen, Kavya and Ani then start cheating on their partners with each other.

What is refreshing about Do Aur Do Pyaar is the absence of preachiness on how to make a marriage or relationship work or that one needs to stay in a marriage that has reached its end. Also, no one, neither Kavya nor Ani or their partners, are portrayed as the bad guy. The film in fact shows how Vikram and Nora bring out the best in Kavya and Ani, respectively. It fleshes out the characters of Vikram and Nora (her a little less than him) enough to make the audience care about them as well.

There is nothing over the top about Do Aur Do Pyaar. It is regular people doing regular things in regular relationships, which makes the film relatable. But that doesn’t mean it shies away from talking about issues like abortion and sex. It also touches upon inter-community marriages (Kavya elopes with Ani because her Tamil family doesn’t accept her Bengali boyfriend) and father-daughter dynamics but doesn’t focus on it at the detriment of the main plotline. Do Aur Do Pyaar walks the line between romcom and dramedy with perfect elan.

The best thing about Do Aur Do Pyaar is the acting, with Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi leading the way. Vidya is phenomenal with her infectious laughter and comic timing, and boy, can she cry. Pratik, who was spectacular in Madgaon Express, once again gives a terrific turn as the nerdy, vulnerable and sometimes boring Ani. There is a certain breeziness to their performances that make their history of 12 years believable, whether they are dancing drunkenly to an old Hindi song in a bar or seducing each other with food talk or breaking each other’s heart. It is the effortless acting that makes the movie worth a watch for just these two.

Sendhil Ramamurthy is great as the much-travelled photographer from New York who finds a home in Kavya. Illeana D’cruz is also good, but unfortunately she has the least fleshed-out character and hence lacks depth.

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