De De Pyaar De inhabits a world which can make sense only to the person who wrote this film. It is a strange land where adult children are progressive enough to experiment living-in before marriage but belonging to a family where parents are separated is anathema, so much so that they are ready to pretend that one of the parents is conveniently dead. Where husband and wife pretend to be siblings for the flimsiest of reasons.
Ashish Mehra (Ajay Devgn) is a successful venture capitalist in London who is apparently single though he is fifty. He is content with his situation till he meets Ayesha Khurana (Rakul Preet Singh), a girl whose character oscillates between being bohemian and conservative as it suits the writer. She actually belittles Ashish for not having sex with her while she was passed out drunk, never mind that it would be rape. He is a successful man and she has just started her career, but Rakul is not charmed by the money, she likes the stoic, jaded older man for what he is. The film could still have been an intelligent take on the relationship between two people with a massive age difference. But it is not. It takes a sensitive topic and tries to make a farcical comedy of it.
Once the relationship between the unlikely couple is established, the film quickly moves to India and into a large household that Ashish left behind. Considering the characters that populate his family, one really can’t blame him for running away. There’s a daughter who behaves as if he was an abusive father, his own parents don’t want him around because he separated from his wife. The only sane person in that house appears to be his wife Manju (Tabu). While Manju is happy to have kicked out her husband from their lives, she is nevertheless bitchy towards the young woman he is with. It is hard to understand why she left him if she was pining for him all the while.
Anyway, the film changes tracks completely and goes for the laughs which are few and far in between. It also at times becomes preachy about the benefits of cohabiting while at the same time making it sound perfectly normal that a girl’s marital life would be in jeopardy if it became known that the parents lived separately. Ashish, too, suddenly becomes a weak person unable to speak up. It’s a far cry from the confident and commanding man he was right before he returned to his family. And there’s Jimmy Shergill too, reprising his Tanu Weds Manuesque act.
Ajay Devgn has put in a restrained performance though he does not necessarily look the suave venture capitalist he portrays. His earthy persona is at odds with the requirements of the role but he is able to pull it off. Tabu is solid while Rakul Preet Singh looks pretty. I feel sorry for Jimmy Shergill. He is a fine actor who has become a prisoner of his sown success as a small-town street-smart fixer wearing loud clothes and hankering after the girl. I hope he gets to play characters that he deserves.
De De Pyaar De is undone by its poor writing and lack of consistency. No pyaar lost for this film.