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‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ Review: Vidya Balan & Pratik Gandhi Make a Mesmerising Duo

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

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‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’ Review: Vidya Balan & Pratik Gandhi Make a Mesmerising Duo

In a particularly moving scene in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Waymond says to Evelyn, “...in another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” For Waymond, even mundane domestic tasks would become special if he had Evelyn by his side – the domesticity is something he dreams of having. But that isn’t always true. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Shirsha Guha Thakurta’s Do Aur Do Pyaar revolves around a husband and wife who have both found companionship outside their marriage. A cocktail of nostalgia and familiarity leads to the two starting an ‘affair’ of their own. The setup is interesting – two people in a loveless marriage engaging in adultery of sorts because of the commitment they’ve made to the ‘other’ in their lives. The lies they once told each other are ones they’re telling for each other. 

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It’s smart to make a funeral the setting of rekindling feelings. Do Aur Do Pyaar doesn’t give adultery the usual treatment we see in cinema – instead, the film takes you away from the expectations of monogamy and asks you to look at relationships as what they are on a molecular level. It’s obvious why the main couple Anirudh Banerjee (Pratik Gandhi) and Kavya Ganesan (Vidya Balan) fell in love and while the reasons for their estrangement aren’t obvious at first, they’re understandable. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Set in urban India, their cultural identities become intertwined with who they are as people. Kavya doesn’t like Ani’s Begun Posto recipe and Ani can’t stand the steel utensils she carries around – the rejection of these almost feels like a rejection of parts of each other. Kavya’s strained relationship with her father, only further soured by her decision to elope with Ani, also looms over their relationship. And so does Ani’s father’s death. They’re both shaped by their circumstances and it gives the audience enough to understand them. 

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In places, you wonder if the couple is still together because they ‘have to be’ – separating directly translates to accepting that their decision didn’t pan out the way they expected. Kavya, for instance, made a decision that goes against her dominating father’s wishes and clearly clashes with her patriarchal surroundings. Perhaps they’re both bogged down by the expectations that come from their rebellion. Kavya’s grandfather’s funeral takes them both to her hometown. While almost everyone around them gossips about them, they’re pushed closer together. Without a single flashback, you can almost watch the younger Ani and Kavya fall in love. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

One of the scenes featuring the lively track ‘Bin Tere Sanam’ from Yaara Dildara was my personal favourite. It’s also one of the scenes that reminds you of Vidya Balan’s sheer screen presence. As Kavya, Vidya Balan doesn’t miss a single note. While switching between the sensuous Kavya, the mature Kavya, the torn Kavya, and the frustrated Kavya, Balan keeps the character alive in every scene. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Vidya Balan in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The way writers Suprotim Sengupta, Eisha Chopra, and Amrita Bagchi have written the character of Kavya is also worthy of mention. Oftentimes Bollywood writes the ‘strong female character’ as an archetype but with Kavya, the strength is a part of who she is. They’ve also taken care to not demonise any of the characters. 

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Even the ‘others’ in the marriage in question get sensitive tellings. Both Ani and Kavya, perhaps in an attempt to escape the mundanity of their lives have found solace in artists. Ani’s partner Nora (Ileana D’Cruz) is an aspiring actor who plays a character Rosie in a play (perhaps an ode to Waheeda Rehman’s character in Guide?) She pushes Ani to find his love for music again, using her own art to do it sometimes. Kavya’s partner Vikram (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is a ‘wanderer’ looking for a place to call home. In an intuitive decision, we often see what Vikram gets from the relationship but we rarely get to hear from Kavya. This isn’t something sinister – it’s just another instance of the makers not placing the relationships in the film in a box. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Vidya Balan and Sendhil Ramamurthy in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Even Nora isn’t on the other side of the Madonna-whore complex (another thing we often see in cinema). She’s just a woman trying to carve out a space for herself – in her career and in her partner’s cluttered life. Ileana D’Cruz also plays the role with a sincerity that makes her memorable despite the shorter screen time. Ramamurthy, who gets the running gag of not being able to speak Hindi fluently, excels primarily when he’s emoting. In scenes with Balan he falls slightly short, making the character feel less effective. This is perhaps also because he gets some of the movie’s most ‘predictable’ or cliche dialogues.

On the other hand, Pratik Gandhi continues to prove his mettle as an actor. His comedic timing aside (we saw an incredible amount of that in Madgaon Express), this is an actor who understands every character he plays. 

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However, there are instances when the pacing feels uneven, threatening to derail the film. This mostly happens when it feels like the film is trying to tie some things up so it can get to resolving what matters. Some of the more cliched dialogues feel jarring especially because they stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the film. The editing, too, feels rather abrupt in places – the audience doesn’t get time to sit with some of the scenes. And yet, cinematographer Kartik Vijay keeps you hooked to the ‘emotion’ of every scene with the muted palette. Vijay’s gaze on the more intimate moments is that of a viewer instead of a voyeur which, again, is rare. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

Ileana D'Cruz and Pratik Gandhi in a still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Do Aur Do Pyaar could’ve had multiple endings – in fact, there are at least two scenes where the film could’ve just naturally ended but it chooses to stick it out. When a film decides to take such an insightful look into relationships, the understanding that stories like this can’t just be wrapped up must come naturally. And it does, despite the reliance on melodrama towards the end. 

'Do Aur Do Pyaar', starring Vidya Balan and Pratik Gandhi, hit theatres on 19 April.

A still from Do Aur Do Pyaar. 

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

A film like this could’ve easily taken the easy way out but, till the very end, it focuses on its main characters – it focuses on the love Ani and Kavya once held close. Maybe their love lost its sheen once they ran out of things to fight against or maybe they forgot to keep showing up. But somehow, Ani and Kavya are always around. Their lives are so tightly knit together that a simple stepping away wouldn’t do it justice. 

It’s in the way they move around the house, almost predicting where the other will go next. It’s in the way they manage to make Chicken 65 a sexual innuendo and a comfort food. And above all, it’s in the way Ani never seems to change his frame and Kavya has developed a muscle memory of fixing it for him. 

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