Ajay Devgn’s last romcom appearance was in Dil Toh Baccha Hai, as a middle-aged man falling for a younger colleague. The actor insists his new film, De De Pyaar De, treads a different path. “This is not a (love) triangle. It’s a different kind of a humorous film about a younger girl, an older man, and his wife. It’s a good relationship film, actually,” he says.
The actor, who turned 50 last month, rebuffs the criticism that male actors shy away from playing their age. “All my contemporaries talk openly about their age now. If you see Salman’s Bharat, he is also playing his age in parts of it,” notes Ajay, adding that age for him is never a deterrent from taking up something challenging.
The trailer of De De Pyaar De was slammed for retaining scenes featuring rape-accused Alok Nath. Ajay, who has since maintained that those portions were shot before the #MeToo accusations surfaced against the actor — and that the option of a reshoot was commercially unviable for the producers — continues to hold his stance.
“I have given my statement. I will stick to it. If people don’t want to believe it, what can I do?”Known for their hit onscreen pairing through the 90s, Ajay Devgn and Tabu reunited for the 2015 murder-mystery Drishyam. This was followed by the franchise comedy, Golmaal Again, and now De De Pyaar De.
Tabu says shooting for the film felt no different from her time on Vijaypath (1994), which marked her first collaboration with Ajay. “We really haven’t changed as people,” she says. “He still looks, and is,
On the portrayal of age-disparate relationships in Hindi films, Tabu comments, “In society, it has always happened. In films, the template was always set at the same age. But I feel audiences are ready for anything now.” She adds that she wouldn’t mind doing a similar film with the genders reversed. “It all
depends on the script and the character.”
Although celebrated for her edgier roles, Tabu has appeared in a slew of comedy films — including Chachi 420, Biwi No. 1, Hera Pheri, and Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya. Declaring her fondness for the format, she says, “Comedy is a good practice ground. Also, you feel good when you say funny lines. People everywhere want to get entertained.”
In De De Pyaar De, Rakul Preet plays a 26-year-old woman who starts dating a man twice her age and accompanies him to his parental home, where chaos ensues. “My character, Ayesha, is a fun-loving, free-spirited, independent girl. She does a HR job, but is a bartender. She loves to get people drunk and is quite proud of it. She makes her own choices and can take a stand for herself.”
Rakul made her Bollywood debut in the 2014 film Yaariyan before charting a successful career in the Telugu industry. She made her comeback in Hindi with 2018’s Aiyaary, in which she played a cyber-expert. On re-establishing her Bollywood career with De De Pyaar De and the upcoming Marjaavan, the actor contends, “I was all of 20 when I did Yaariyan. It was released two months after my Telugu debut Venkatadri Express, so I got busy with work in Tollywood. I am glad I came back with Aiyaary as I am much more prepared for the Mumbai industry. I am happy that people are noticing me again.”
De De Pyaar De marks the directorial debut of editor Akiv Ali. The film’s concept, Akiv shares, was pitched by director-producer Luv Ranjan while working on Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2. “Luv asked me if I’d considered directing a film. I told him any person involved in filmmaking does think about direction. However, it was too nascent in my career to make that switch. I was happy being an editor. But somehow it worked out and I ended up directing this film.”
Asked if Ajay Devgn gives inputs to his directors, Akiv notes, “There are two kinds of inputs: destructive and constructive. Ajay’s inputs were always creative and constructive.”