Pati Patni Aur Woh is a modernized version of BR Chopra’s original from 1978. How Mudassar Aziz’s film is different is it reinterprets the cheating of partner by adding some progressiveness, though superficially.
Directed by- Mudassar Aziz
Produced by- Bhushan Kumar, Renu Ravi Chopra, Juno Chopra, Krishan Kumar
Starring- Bhumi Pednekar, Kartik Aryan, Aparshakti Khurana, Ananya Panday
Abhinav aka Chintu played by Kartik Aaryan is an IIT pass out. From college, he directly lands in Vedika’s, played by Bhumi Pednekar, terrace for an arranged marriage meeting and guess what, they get married – no brainer. Three years passed by, and the victim of borehood decides to have a fling when he encounters Tapasya Singh played by Ananya Panday, without realizing the repercussions of it.
Can complexity of an issue like extra-marital affair be diminished in humour that too reduced to nothing – but self-realization? Can morality be judged by any law? As in the film an inspector says “… ab toh illegal bhi nei hain”. And what about the emotional distress caused by infidelity? After watching this 126 minute long saga on infidelity, these questions might strike you without offering any answer to them.
A re-adptation of 1978 Pati Patni Aur Woh, the 2019’s remake tries to incorporate some progressiveness maybe because of the time it is made in – the #metoo, #timesup, etc. In the earlier version, the justification of infidelity is given on the grounds of “men will be men” ideology. However, in 2019 the ideology has been bent a little by portraying the wife to be financially and sexually liberated – as Vedika is a professor and she is not a virgin. Though, it is indeed progressive when she says in the beginning that if you have no problem with my lost virginity, we can get married. It is almost bridging a gap between putting white bed sheets for the first night to check a woman’s virginity to being assertive and taking control of her own virginity. However, the trying to be progressive becomes too apparent as and when the film progresses.
It is almost ironic how this progressive dialogue by “the wife” on virginity turns into a marital rape joke by the end of the intermission as in a typical Kartik Aryan monologue which has become a signature now. He says “ … biwi se sex mange toh hum bhikhari, biwi ko sex na do toh hum atyachari, aur agar biwi se sex hasil karle na … toh balatkari bhi hum hain”.
The ignorance is not just limited to issues like infidelity and marital rape but also on religion as a cop warns a Muslim character, Fahim Rizvi played by Aparshakti Khurana “… tu toh sabse pehle marega…” and by this what the cop means is that because he is a Muslim in India, he will be killed in an encounter first. And Rizvi does not bother to counter. Such an insensitive comment given away without any purpose just for the sake of the attempting comic timing or style.
Nevertheless, amidst such taxing ignorance, the film has managed to save itself from turning into a crass comedy. Maybe, the intention was to modernize the concept of vulnerable women inside a marriage – but the message goes unnoticed because of its problematic plot.
Another recent series Out of Love on Hotstar deals with a similar subject of infidelity. It was a more realistic take on the subject but at the same time, extremely cruel which indoctrinate the idea of an extra-marital affair or cheating into one’s head. In that sense, Pati Patni Aur Woh maintains a distance from the audience and affects you little or not at all.
Another question which sprung in my head after watching this movie is that, why are the intelligent and smart women in the film so invested in the guy’s character, as if their universe is revolving around the man without the thought of whether he is even worth it. This way, the film does not only doubt their intelligence but also stereotype them by donning the wife in a Salwar Kameez and the ‘other woman’ in a skimpy dress.
Bhumi Pednekar is as usual pleasing to watch on screen. Her sensuality, her boldness and her willing to mould herself into a wife, without having to lose her voice is excellent. On the other hand, Ananya Panday has a long way to go.
The small town of Kanpur is another character in the film, which has become a thing after films like Bareilly Ki Barfi and Stree to name a few.
If you are going through a tough phase in your relationship, get a break from such treatments of similar issues, try Hope Springs by David Frankel, starring Meryl Streep to get a breath of fresh air.