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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Pati Patni Aur Woh movie review: No laughing matter

Pati Patni Aur Woh movie review: If only this new triangle had made more of Vedika’s spunk, and Tapasya’s spirit, it would have been a much more interesting take on contemporary marriages and mores.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: December 7, 2019 8:34:48 am
Pati Patni Aur Woh review Pati Patni Aur Woh movie review: The film’s casual misogyny is problematic.

Pati Patni Aur Woh movie cast: Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar, Aparshakti Khurana, Ananya Panday, K K Raina, Manu Rishi, Navni Parihar, Geeta Agarwal, Neeraj Sood, Shubham Kumar, Sunny Singh
Pati Patni Aur Woh movie director: Mudassar Aziz
Pati Patni Aur Woh movie rating: Two stars

Kanpur residents Abhinav Tyagi and Vedika Tripathi come together in holy matrimony, and have a good time of it, till boredom strikes. Single, strikingly attractive Tapasya hoves into view. Pati (Aaryan) slips and slides, patni (Pednekar) is left holding the can, with woh (Panday) caught in the middle.

The remake of B R Chopra’s 1978 hit has a ready-made template, not that marital infidelity or of any other kind, needs one. This version manages to pull off the same ‘mofussil’ feel, tracking between Kanpur and Lucknow (currently hot Bollywood flavours ), but overall it has the same flavor of boys-will-be-boys, and men will stray, poor fellows, what else can they do.

Sanjeev Kumar’s two-timing ‘pati’s demeanour through the film was one of conquer-em-all smugness. Kartik Aaryan’s 2019 husband mixes a bit of bewilderment and shame-after-the-fact in it. What’s also different, up until a point, is ‘patni’ Vedika’s pleasing upfrontness in matters carnal (‘humein sex bahut pasand hai’, she says, and her would-be spouse’s jaw drops), and other thorny issues: how, for example, do you deal with a younger man’s advances? Why with a mixture of tap-on-the-wrist and shy-sly pleasure. Nicely played.

If only this new triangle had made more of Vedika’s spunk, and Tapasya’s spirit, it would have been a much more interesting take on contemporary marriages and mores. But oh no, it’s more interested in Abhinav’s whiny lines about an ex-girlfriend whom he still pines for, and his awkward passes at the new entrant in his life, even if the film never really is able to explain why he is such a magnet for both the women, who could clearly do better.

But much more problematic is the film’s slipping into casual misogyny and patriarchy: the choice of attire, Western for the bad woman and Indian for the pati-vrata, is a mouldy thing. The wife’s making eyes at a former lover is a matter of concern, but it’s perfectly okay for the husband to be handed a forgive-me-because-you-are-my-true-love arc.

Also, while it is great that Aparshakti Khurana (the best thing about the film) plays a regular working-joe modern-day Muslim character, it is worth noting that a couple of cops hold out threats of ‘encounters’, with an actual line like ‘Rizvi, you be extra careful’. Yes, this exists, and yes, it is quite appropriate that the action is taking place in Uttar Pradesh, ‘jahaan sab cheez ka uttar milta hai.’

Khurana, who is getting rapidly type-cast as the hero’s sidekick but is still managing to pull off a perky act, is also made to spout the worst line of the film, involving a woman and ‘lena’ and ‘dena’. It is also worth noting that this line, and the sequence, which is played fully for laughs, is the one which garnered the maximum laughter in the theater. Clearly, dialogue writers have no cringe-meters.

Our ‘pati’ may have redeemed himself, and the ‘patni’ and ‘woh’ may have lifted the film somewhat, but to wish for good taste in a comedy dealing with straying husbands and wives-and-other-women-in-holding patterns is no laughing matter.

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