‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ movie review: Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi wow in this tale of diminishing returns in relationships

Bright performances and inspired writing light up Shrisha Guha Thakurta’s perceptive yet light-hearted take on the changing matrix of marriage

April 19, 2024 01:03 pm | Updated 05:27 pm IST

A still from ‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’

A still from ‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’

Somewhere between a light-hearted and a heart-warming take on marriage and extra-martial affairs, Do Aur Do Pyaar generates emotional resonance because of its immensely believable leads and inspired writing.

Evaluating if love is enough to sustain a relationship, the bickering doesn’t get emotionally draining and the resolution feels safe but director Shrisha Guha Thakurta gets the pulse of the urban, upper-class relationships right. Without judging the straying of partners or villainising the other in the matrix, the film, drawing from American actor-writer Groucho Marx’s popular quote, tests the boundaries of marriage as an institution with a light touch and a perceptive gaze. As the narrative flows, the sexual energy between the characters gets contagious and the emotional flux feels believable.

Bangla boy Ani Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi) and Tamil girl Kavya (Vidya Balan) are in the middle overs of their love marriage. They spend the night on the same bed but are not physically hitched anymore as their emotional wavelengths have more troughs than crests. They have even stopped fighting with each other. Well, both have found love and physical intimacy outside. Ani is dating an emerging actor Nora (Ileana D’Cruz) and Kavya has become the muse of a hotshot photographer Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy).

Based on Azazel Jacobs’s The Lovers (2017), the film’s twist comes when Ani and Kavya start rediscovering their lost touch. As their scoring rate soars, it threatens to unhinge their newly formed bonds outside of home.

‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ (Hindi)
Director: Shrisha Guha Thakurta
Cast: Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi, Ileana D’Cruz, Sendhil Ramamurthy
Run-time: 137 minutes
Storyline: A couple rebuilds their spark while in the midst of extra-marital relationships

Taking off from the Hrishikesh Mukherjee brand of slice-of-life cinema, writers Amrita Bagchi, Eisha Chopra, and Suprotim Sengupta use familiar tropes of funeral, family and festival to tie the knots between unfulfilled expectations and forbidden relationships. Drawing from the allegory that everyday life presents, they generate moments that make you chuckle and introspect at the same time. Be it the salt water of the Bombay Sea as a symbol of corroding relationships or referring to laugh lines for both age and ageless appeal, or commenting on vegan food choices, the writing makes a cliched theme refreshing. The bickering over Bangla food and stainless steel utensils in the kitchen works well to underscore the fault lines in an inter-community marriage.

Thankfully, Nora and Vikram are not depicted as emotional parasites. Though Ani and Kavya hide their illicit relationships, their moral ambiguity is not underlined with a highlighter. They are just responding to circumstances. Ani lost his carefree voice and infectious energy after his father’s demise, making Kavya feel insecure and unwanted. Ani is in a shell at home for he finds Kavya too decisive. The wandering photographer is looking for a home and warmth that Kavya exudes and Nora needs a caring shoulder like Ani’s as her struggle in her career is getting longer. The good thing is that the writers focus on the moments rather than indulging in a match-the-following exercise, making the experience wholesome.

The performances add vigour to the writing and remove the creases when the writers begin to flaunt their wordplay. Walking the thin line between tragic and comic, sharp and vulnerable, Vidya and Pratik form the thumping lifeline of the film. They share an easy chemistry and comic timing. As a woman seeking validation, Vidya once again drops vanity to expose emotional wounds. The narrative expects her to explore Kavya’s sensual as well as exasperating side and Vidya ensures that the transformations don’t jar. One of the underrated actors in the Hindi film industry, Pratik shows his class as an everyman who neither imposes himself in a relationship nor expresses himself fully. In the scene where he plays football with a mobile phone in hand, Pratik beautifully brings out this in-betweeness in Ani’s character.

Sendhil, who seems like a new Milind Soman in a meaningful film, plays the brooding wanderer yearning for the shore. Ileana is an absolute delight as the charming ghost of a girl circulating between Kavya and Ani.

Before the audience starts feeling that the characters have too much time for two-timing, the makers draw the curtains and take a safe exit.

Do Aur Do Pyaar is currently running in theatres

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