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Do Aur Do Pyaar Review: An Unpretentious Little Gem That Is Remarkably Comfortable

The stars of Do Aur Do Pyaar. (courtesy: applausesocial)

A drama about extramarital affairs – yes, not one, but two – that threaten to tear a couple apart could easily have lost its way and turned into a convoluted mess had Do Aur Do Pyaar been just another Bollywood marriage story. It is not.

There is confusion all around when forbidden love begins to go out of hand. All of it is, however, confined solely to the orbit inhabited by the four individuals – a woman and her husband and their respective lovers – involved in the two secret liaisons. The film itself is no muddle. Far from it. It treads a clear, uncluttered path.

Enjoyably blithe and commendably mellow in equal parts, Do Aur Do Pyaar, directed by first-timer Shirsha Guha Thakurta, strikes a fine balance between the highs of clandestine romance and the lows that come with the struggle to keep it under wraps.

The film’s principal strength lies in the unusual, phenomenally felicitous pairing of Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi as a married couple who have drifted apart after years of wending their way through a stagnant relationship.

The two lead actors flesh out a pair of real and relatable characters who are stuck in a marriage gone kaput and are looking for – and finding – excitement elsewhere. They are aided by the controlled, non-judgmental tone of the writing.

Scripted by Amrita Bagchi, Eisha Chopra and Suprotim Sengupta. Do Aur Do Pyaar takes the audience into the Mumbai home of Kavya Ganeshan and Aniruddh Banerjee a decade and a bit after the two college mates eloped from Ooty and cut off all ties with the former’s family.

Fifteen years after they first met and 12 years after their wedding, their relationship is as good as over. As they go through the motions, Kavya and Ani now have a lover each to spice up their dull, uneventful lives. Kavya has a serious affair with a handsome hunk while Ani is deeply involved with an aspiring actress.

Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy, consistently in his element in his second Hindi film), the new man in Kavya’s life, is a globe-trotting photographer from New York. Ani’s affair with Nora (Ileana D’Cruz), a girl who is as impulsive as they come, has assumed serious proportions.

But two and two do not make four in Do Aur Do Pyaar. The calculations inevitably go awry. Furtive messages and calls are exchanged as Kavya and Ani hide their affairs from each other. Neither knows what the other is up to but both are acutely aware that it is time to go their own ways.

A death in the family forces they couple to make a trip back to the hill town where it all began for them. Long-dormant feelings are rekindled, memories are jogged, songs sung in happier times come rushing back and a marriage on the brink of collapse stumbles upon a second chance.

Do Aur Do Pyaar, a remake of the 2017 Hollywood film The Lovers, does a fabulous job of adapting the original material to the requirements of a Bollywood drama about a marriage between a Tam Brahm woman and a Bengali man that when, things are on an even keel, thrives on their cultural and culinary differences.

Nowhere do the two worlds collide as playfully as they do in the kitchen. When better times are recalled, we witness a clash between Ani’s beygun poshto, a recipe he picked up from his thakuma (grandmother) and Kavya’s Chicken 65, which, as she reminds her husband, originated in a Chennai restaurant. She’s gone vegan since but he is still uncompromisingly non-vegetarian.

Years of being together has robbed Kavya and Ani’s relationship of the spark that brought them together. Let alone not having had sex for years, they do not even talk and bicker anymore. Silence engulfs the relationship. They share a home but a wide river of indifference separates them. The sleep on the two edges of the bed with their faces turned away from each other.

Do Aur Do Pyaar uses their sleeping postures as a barometer of the health of Kavya and Ani’s marriage. The brief return to her childhood home, where her father (Thalaivasal Vijay) still holds a grudge against her and her mother (Rekha Kudligi) does her best to make her feel welcome, takes them back to the restaurant-cum-bar where Kavya proposed to Ani. They end up on a bed so small that they end up sleeping in each other’s arms. But will the couple be able to reignite the passion that has gone missing from their marriage?

Their professions, too, define them. Ani owns a floundering cork factory that he inherited from his father. Kavya is a dentist. Neither of the two desirable people who stir up their lives and push their marriage to the brink is trapped in the sort of drab routine that Kavya and Ani have gotten accustomed to.

Nora is an actress who, when we first see her, is readying herself for an audition that promises to be her ticket to the big time. Vik is a photographer who has travelled the whole wide world and sees in Kavya the promise of a stable home.

At one point, Vik says to Kavya that he has been to every city in the world but no place has ever felt like home. I am done wandering, chasing and running, he asserts. His peripatetic existence serves as a sharp contrast to the stasis of Kavya’s life.

For Kavya and Ani, life revolves around the office and the clinic. When at home, they do not exchange a word. They go about their chores – regulating the air-conditioner temperature, worrying about the size of the garbage bags and keeping a tab on the anti-allergy tablets that are now a daily necessity.

The dreariness of domesticity and the lure of liberating dalliance collide in Do Aur Do Aur Pyaar but not for a moment does the film adopt a moralistic stance on the married couple cheating on each other.

Refreshingly dispassionate about matters of the heart but unfailingly engaging in the way it treats human equations within and outside the institution of marriage, Do Aur Do Pyaar is an unpretentious and genteel little gem that is as remarkably comfortable in its skin as the four characters that it revolves around.

Cast:

Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi, Ileana D’Cruz and Sendhil Ramamurthy

Director:

Shirsha Guha Thakurta




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