The movie revealed its true intentions and its lesson: Men will always be men
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Ananya Panday, Bhumi Pednekar, Aparshakti Khurana
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Chintu Tyagi, resident of Kanpur, rants to his friend that husbands are the most vulnerable creatures on the planet earth. They suffer the insults of their parents, and when they get married, they’re persecuted by the watchful and suspicious gaze of their wives. In short, there’s no one more pitiful person than a put upon, middle class, husband.
This scene comes about half an hour into the remake of 1978 comedy with the same name Pati Patni Aur Woh, directed by Mudassar Aziz and starring Kartik Aryan, Bhumi Pednekar, and Ananya Panday. BR Chopra’s original movie featured Sanjeev Kumar, Vidya Sinha and Ranjeeta Kaur in the leads. The new feature adds some twists to the original but to no help.
Chintu, played by Aryan, has been married to Vedika (Pednekar) for three years. He’s a PWD employee but finds no joy in his work. His life at home isn’t as exciting as it used to be, and his parents are stressing the need for a grandchild. Vedika, his wife, is a teacher and a spitfire. She doesn’t leave an opportunity to humiliate him for her enjoyment, but shows clear affection when she wants. Chintu’s boredom with his life and wife, leads him to pursue Tapasya, a young, working woman who is looking for a plot of land and needs his help. He’s infatuated with her at first, but then begins to get attracted to her fresh personality. Slowly, he begins to lie, and craft elaborate plans to stay with Tapasya, all the while lying to Vedika about his growing closeness with her.
Here are some major problems we find with the script by Mudassar Aziz.
Chintu, as a character is so annoying and charmless, it’s difficult to think why Vedika even cares to make efforts in their marriage. He makes little attempt to liven up their relationship, and treats Vedika more like a burden than a companion. He’s quick to fall for Tapasya, because she’s more modern and has a good English accent. At least that’s what we’re meant to believe he sees in her, because Tapasya never divulges why she’s interested in Chintu, except maybe because he has a “cute laugh”.
The humor is also hit and miss. A lot of jokes about the misery of husbands are stuffed into the initial scenes, and treated as small clips that the makers thought would look good when they’re cut and tweeted by like minded people later on. Mudassar’s direction is flat, and unengaging. He stages a lot of scenes as if they’re part of a small play, with no stylistic flourishes, and relies on slow motion for the characters, to emphasize points that have already been made. The movie is a little too fast paced. No scene is allowed to linger for more than a few minutes before we cut to a gag. Still, if you’re in the mood for light entertainment, and don’t want to waste time thinking about all these things, the movie can provide amusement.
As for the performances by the cast, Bhumi Pednekar, as Vedika, attired in glamorous sarees is perhaps too forceful a presence to even tolerate Chintu’s tantrums. She’s educated, and smart. In a bizarre scene, she mimics Sushmita Sen’s chemistry teacher from Main Hoon Na, as a student in her class fantasizes about her. But, Pednekar’s ability to adapt to dialects and her natural charisma makes her an easy highlight of the film.
Kartik Aaryan, remains Kartik Aaryan in yet another movie. His attempts to compensate for shoddy writing that makes Chintu into a dithering scumbag who appears ungrateful even as he has a very satisfying life with a beautiful wife, fail because he’s unable to transform himself completely in the character. You’ll be sick of his whining pretty quickly. Thankfully, there’s Aparshakti Khurrana, as his friend Fahim. A comedic standout, Aparshakti brings an irreverent energy to his scenes. He also helps in dragging Chintu back to earth every once in a while when his rants become unbearable.
Ananya Pandey is a more curious case. As the sophisticated, worldly Tapasya, she’s never flat, or dull on-screen, but she appears younger than her co-star, and shows no overt attraction toward Chintu that’d persuade the audience that she really likes him.
The feature film has been surrounded by controversy since the trailer launch. Thankfully, the martial rap[e joke has since been edited out of the movie, but it does make one feel as to the intentions of the makers. Clearly, as the plot moves on, Chintu’s hypocrisies and self-serving nature is highlighted to show that even though he thinks of himself as a victim, its Vedika who has had to sacrifice more in their relationship. Bhumi Pednekar gets a few lines towards the end, which were written to portray her character as a strong willed woman capable of outsmarting even the most conniving of men. But because we spend so much time with Chintu, and so little with Vedika, this looks more like pandering to feminists than a true statement that’s earned by the movie itself.
And of course, any attempt by the movie to appear woke and progressive is shattered by the ending scene (for this reviewer, at least), as the movie reveals with the help of a cameo, its true intentions and its lesson: Men will always be men.
Pati Patni Aur Woh ends up being confused between what it’s saying and what it really wants the audience to take away from it. At most, the movie is intermittently entertaining, and diverting, but it could’ve been so much more.