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‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ review: Your cheating heart

‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ is a worthy attempt at a life-like, level-headed relationship drama, but the nuts and bolts are loose

Pratik Gandhi and Vidya Balan in 'Do Aur Do Pyaar'
Pratik Gandhi and Vidya Balan in 'Do Aur Do Pyaar'

“In films they always show a full moon. Why do we always get stuck with half?” Pratik Gandhi says this to Vidya Balan while doing some of the worst drunk acting since, well, the last Indian film with a drunk scene. It’s difficult to make fun of film clichés while embodying a cliché yourself. 

Ani (Gandhi) and Kavya (Balan) are a couple from Mumbai, visiting her family in Ooty. Their marriage is on the rocks; they’re both having affairs, him with actress Nora (Ileana D’Cruz), her with photographer Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Still, when she gets news that her grandfather has died, Ani shelves his resentments—and his plans to come clean about Nora—and offers to accompany her to Ooty for the first time since they eloped from there 12 years earlier. 

Do Aur Do Pyaar starts with easygoing, flirty scenes of Kavya and Vikram, and Nora and Ani. It’s a crafty opening, making these two couples look like legitimate partners. Kavya is buying a house with Vikram; Ani and Nora are celebrating an anniversary. Only after 12 minutes does the film reveal that it’s Ani and Kavya who are married and live together. It’s so unlike a gotcha reveal that it comes as a mild shock, unless you’ve seen The Lovers, the 2017 American film that Do Aur Do Pyaar is adapated from, which has the same scene, except earlier. 

Both Ani and Kavya are building up the courage to confront each other—Ani is even coached by Nora in the etiquette of respectful breakups. But the Ooty trip puts that out of their minds for a bit. And something strange starts to happen—the two of them band together for the first time in years. It helps that an old adversary presents itself: Kavya’s disapproving family, especially her father (Thalaivasal Vijay). They get drunk, make each other laugh, and suddenly married life doesn’t look all that bad. Which, of course, is a problem when there are two people who expect you to leave your spouse for them any day. 

Critics like to list the little things that won them over in a film. In Do Aur Do Pyaar, directed by Shirsha Guha Thakurta, adapted by Suprotim Sengupta, Amrita Bagchi and Eisha Chopra, it’s the little things that turned me off. Kavya rocking with laughter at mystifyingly bad jokes. Her and Ani dancing wildly to ‘Bin Tere Sanam’ in a Ooty bar, a cliche served up cold. Another cliché—nature documentary as commentary on the state of a relationship. The running gag of New Yorker Vikram using the wrong Hindi words. Nora taking off her 3D glasses but continuing to look at the cinema screen. Ani saying “Appa… uncle… appam?” to Kavya’s stern father.

Other, better films are perched on the shoulders of this one. The grumpy Tamil dad reminded me of Shiv Subramaniam in 2 States (2014), whose developing relationship with Arjun Kapoor in the best thing in that film. A typist who asks if he should leave during a tense scene is like the plumber in Kapoor & Sons (2016). A massive blow-up at the end seems to reach for the wounding cuts of Closer (2004) and Marriage Story (2019), but without conviction. 

I will say that Do Aur Do Pyaar grew on me as it went along. It sticks to being a life-like, level-headed relationship drama. I was struck by how it never undermines the depth of emotion in any of the three relationships, leaving all romantic possibilities open till the last scene. I loved Gandhi’s deflecting, easily hurt Ani, and his scenes with the daffy, vulnerable Nora. It’s also nice to have a film that doesn’t try to soundtrack the audience’s every emotion—the score is mostly reduced to a short acoustic guitar figure reminiscent of ‘Blackbird’ that plays every now and then. Speaking of music, there’s a Lucky Ali track in there that’ll gladden the hearts of ‘90s kids. Sometimes all it takes to make everything seem right with the world is Lucky Ali humming for a few seconds before he starts singing. 



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