Actor Kartik Aaryan today revealed the heavily-criticised sequence about marital rape in his upcoming film Pati Patni Aur Woh has been modified, keeping people’s sentiments in mind.
The sequence, featuring Kartik Aaryan and Aparshakti Khurrana, shows the former ranting against women, saying, “Biwi se sex maang lein, toh hum bhikaari. Biwi ko sex mana kar dein, toh hum atyachaari aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke uss se sex haasil kar lein na toh balaatkaari bhi hum hain.”
Hours after the trailer of Pati Patni Aur Woh released, Twitterati expressed their disdain over the sequence. When Kartik was asked on Thursday morning about the criticism, the actor responded, saying, “This dialogue got highlighted and we didn’t realise it when we were doing it. We had showed it to a lot of people, but no one had pointed it out. We didn’t want to hurt anyone’s sentiments. This isn’t the topic of our film nor was this our intention.”
“When the trailer came, we realised that we shouldn’t hurt anyone and should remove it immediately. Usually, this doesn’t happen in films. We took responsibility because it might have come across as something that wasn’t our intention. We realised we shouldn’t have used that word at all. We have rectified it and made changes because we don’t want to hurt people’s sentiments,” he said.
Later in the day, when the press sat down for an interaction with Pati Patni Aur Woh director-writer Mudassar Aziz, he slammed the outrage on social media against the sequence, saying people reacted without understanding its context. The director also shared that the word “balatkari” has been edited from the sequence.
Aziz said, “A lot of people said the dialogue insinuated that marital rape is ok. What’s the line? A man seems to be saying ‘If I do this I’m called this, if I do that I’m called this also.’ Ninety nine percent of men in the country do not even know when they are committing marital rape. Coming back home after work and waking up a sleeping wife, even if you indulge in foreplay, that’s not consent. A filmmaker presents that line in a film, everyone starts to tell him to remove that word from the film. We have reached a stage where a 12-year-old needs to know what rape is. If you are not going to say ‘balatkar’, no one’s going to understand what it is.”
“It was very unfortunate that the word has had to be replaced. It is unfortunate because I maintain my stand that even a 12-year-old needs to know what rape is. The act is wrong, but if you are not going to talk about it, if they aren’t going to know what the term stands for, you are going to be a generation that’s unaware. Don’t stop the word, stop the act,” the director added.
A journalist then argued that the tonality of the sequence appears to make a victim out of the lead character (Kartik Aaryan), and it is problematic. Mudassar Aziz replied, “Centuries ago, people who had easy access to guns and went about firing it were called ‘trigger happy’. Now, we are in a ‘finger happy’ generation which doesn’t waste a single second in putting out an opinion on something that one hasn’t entirely seen or don’t know the context. I make films for people and I want them to react after watching them.”
“Nobody is making light of this situation, but if you are not going to talk about it, you are never going to come out from the woods. I am amazed that in this country, with such high rape percentage, we don’t use the word rape in our films? What do you want to call it? Rape percentage won’t drop if we don’t mention ‘rape’ in our films or books. Let’s talk about it. By muting that word, you are not getting anything. What sort of double standard is it that in one film a person reads ‘balatkaar’ 36 times from a letter and everyone was laughing. (in an apparent reference to a scene in 3 idiots),” he added.
Another journalist countered that response towards misogynistic art has been on the rise since the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, and the evolution of social media has subsequently pushed for feminist discourse.
Mudassar Aziz remarked, “What has actually changed is that people were not on social media then. Today, we want to be so quick in forming judgement. I am not the least bit affected by it because I know the film I have made. I have grown up in a household where my mother and sister have done most of the decision making. They watch every film I make and I sit with them. Everyone who thought I was sympathising or emphathising with the idea of marital rape is going to be rudely shocked. The women in this film take the man apart.”
He added, “It’s a free country. It can’t be that I ask you to let me use the word ‘balatkaar’ but at the same time put forth a condition that no one should react on it. I am saying let both the ways be open – neither remove my dialogue nor I am shutting down your reaction. You react. Let me use the dialogue and with that a necessary discourse will be created.”
Pati Patni Aur Woh, the official remake of BR Chopra’s 1978 comedy of the same name, also features Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Pandey. The film is scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 6.