Do Aur Do Pyaar Review: Vidya-Pratik’s Breezy Equation

Pratik Gandhi’s emotional range makes him a treat to watch while Vidya is as wild as she’s wise, observes Sukanya Verma.

IMAGE: Ileana D’Cruz, Pratik Gandhi, Vidya Balan and Sendhil Ramamurthy in Do Aur Do Pyaar.

Do Aur Do Pyaar opens with a quote from Groucho Marx (‘Marriage is a wonderful institution but who wants to live in an institution?’) but it’s a Woody Allen line (‘What happened after the honeymoon? Did desire grow or did familiarity make partners want other lovers?’) from Husbands and Wives that best makes sense of its musical chairs of matters of the heart.

Kavya Ganeshan (Vidya Balan) and Aniruddha ‘Ani’ Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi) would be mistaken for roommates if not for the cheerful wedding pictures adorning the walls of their cosy flat.

Over the course of 15 years of domestication, romance has long left the building. Yet, neither can bring themselves to admit they are seeing someone on the sly.

Kavya, a dentist, is close to buying a sea-facing home with her NRI photographer beau (Sendhil Ramamurthy) while Ani, a cork exporter, has found an anchor in an aspiring actress, Nora (Ileana D’Cruz).

Despite the dull state of their coupledom, there’s an underlying feeling of care, one that Do Aur Do Pyaar preserves almost defensively, by showing Kavya and Ani’s respective adultery in a self-conscious light.

It’s as though the makers don’t want us to grow fond of their partners lest it divides us over whom to root for.

The film itself is pretty clear about reaching out to the romantic over the realist in the crowd.

Turns out, it’s not such a bad thing when the likability of its leads comes to fore in ad film-maker Shirsha Guha Thakurta’s confident directorial debut.

When a death in Kavya’s uptight Tamilian family in Ooty results in the husband and wife reconnecting and returning to the roots of their romance, it’s a reunion between comfort zone and chemistry.

Drunken dancing to ’90s ear worms unfolds in spontaneous scenes of awkward run-ins and believable bonhomie while Ani’s foot-in-the-mouth syndrome provides moments of laugh-out-loud comedy.

Based on the indie rom-com, The Lovers that premiered at the Tribeca film festival in 2017, its official Indian adaptation by Suprotim Sengupta and Eisha A Chopra veers away from the American original’s middle-aged existentialism to offer a frothy, fun-filled look into enduring friendships in marital relationships.

Even when Do Aur Do Pyaar surrenders to its ‘You don’t realise how much you miss something until you have it again’ impulses, its farcical premise is always in touch with its emotional core, bolstered by Kartik Vijay’s lyrical camerawork and a lilting soundtrack of assorted artists (The Local Train, Lost Stories, When Chai Met Toast, etc).

Where it succeeds most is humanising a couple at its most irrational and vulnerable.

In Kavya and Ani’s case, it stems from one’s daddy issues and another’s sacrifice on the altar of responsibility.

Of these, Kavya’s heated arguments with her disapproving father and the overdue understanding they arrive at find a far more visible expression than Ani’s vague frustrations.

With all the focus on Kavya and Ani rekindling, Nora and Vikram are bound to take a back seat.

Despite their sidekick status, a luminous Ileana and fetching Sendhil are a picture of charm and humour.

Do Aur Do Pyaar doesn’t discredit either yet denies them a fullness of character, which prevents us from investing as one otherwise would.

Though his inflections are more Gujju than Bong, Pratik Gandhi’s emotional range makes him a treat to watch in project after project.

The man has his finger on both Ani’s snappish tone and suppressed disenchantment. But it’s the abandon with which he lets loose and rounds off Vidya Balan’s headstrong, hopeless romantic that lends their chicken-baingan equation a bulk of its bite.

Vidya’s authenticity is Kavya’s greatest asset. Whether it’s the intensity of her fights, letting her hair down at every nostalgic opportunity or going along with Do Aur Do Pyaar‘s chaotic conscience, she is as wild as she is wise.

Unpleasant ends are neatly tied as faith and fantasy come out on top.

Clearly, Do Aur Do Pyaar is more attached to ‘institutions’ than Groucho Marx ever claimed to be.

Bah, what does he know? The man married thrice.

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