Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
I’ll be honest. I didn’t go into the cinema with a lot of expectations. And it’s tough to disappoint someone with such incredibly low expectations and such basic level of hope that could have been possibly tied to the makers of films such as Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (which I also absolutely loathed). But disappoint me it did. Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh and Tabu’s De De Pyaar De is neither intelligent nor hilarious. It’s just boring.
Even though there is enough loud music enough to give you a headache, a very hot young girl named Ayesha (Rakul Preet Singh) who embodies the manic pixie dream girl archetype to a T (she has an engineering degree but she works in a bar for ‘fun’) and she shimmies her behind to songs like “Munday kehnde waddi sharaban main” and “Meri hot kamar jo hildi ae” (oh the very directness of it all!) and Ajay Devgn, as Ashish, brings all of his swag to the character but it still doesn’t work. Mainly because for the first 45 minutes of the film, all we see are jokes about age. Then more jokes about age. Oh and then a couple of more jokes about age. You get the point. They start to get repetitive. Any insights about relationships seem buffers to the actual point – where’s the problem? Perhaps the bigger problem than the age gap is the fact that there was absolutely no chemistry between the two. Just none. Even when they kiss, it evokes no emotion, no rooting for the duo.
Shah Rukh Khan once said (and I know I use this a lot to make a valid point about any romance or why it does or doesn’t work) that to make a love story work you have to empower the woman’s emotion. In De De Pyaar De, there is no reason for us to believe in the girl’s conflicts. She is one-dimensional and unrealistically perky. What is her life’s story? What about her parents? What made her choose the life she does? She clearly is a firecracker, is there anything else she does with her life except run into or run away from boyfriends? How does she make money? How can she take time away from her job?
What Ayesha’s character also does is set these unrealistic standards for women. When she walks out of Ashish’s room, her hair is perfectly coiffed and it feels like she’s walking onto a fashion catwalk instead of sleeping off a drunken night in a stranger’s house. If you want me to relate to this woman, at least mess her eyeliner a little bit? Oh and she also makes daal chawaal. Hot and endearing. No one can resist her. Except the 50-year-old Ashish who has been there done that (no pun) and is too cool for a girl like her. So while he has a problem with everyone intellectualizing his issues, he ends up talking to her like she’s a two year old. He says stuff like, “Tu khud se struggle kar rehee hai ke tu mujhe resist kyun nai kar paa rahee”. To be honest, paaji, main bhi nahi samajh pa rehee. There are a lot of things I couldn’t come to terms with. For one, seeing sexual assault accused Alok Nath giving one-liners like the world is the same place as it was before he was accused of sexual harassment by Vinta Nanda. And two, I don’t understand how Tabu was only given screen-time for the second half. She was absolutely breath-taking and quite easily the best performer and one of the few well-rounded characters in the film. Even when she made cringe-worthy sex noises.
There is far too much gyaan in a film that wasn’t supposed to give us life lessons. It was supposed to make us laugh and cry and have a good time. But at the end of the movie, I really wished they had gone with Netflix on this one. De De Pyaar De is literally every fluffy tub-of-ice-cream caught-in-a-bad-romance film ever. Hollywood has made these films dime a dozen. They have to be either really horrible to fully enjoy them or sensitive enough to make you cry into your pink towel. De De Pyaar De was neither.