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B R Chopra Would LOL At Pati Patni Woh



Pati Patni Aur Woh

Starring Kartik Aryan, Bhumi Pednekar, Ananya Pandey

Directed by Mudassar Aziz

Rating: *** ½ (three and a  half stars)

First things  first. Apart  from  a riff  of  Thande thande pani se nahana chahiye  in  the  background and  the  end-entrance  of  a  femme  fatale(Parveen Babi  in the origin, Kriti Sanon  in the  new  version) there is  no similarity  of any kind  between B R Chopra’s 1978 sex comedy Pati Patni Aur Woh and its new Kanpuriya avatar.

Sanjeev Kumar—may his soul rest  in one piece—is replaced by a  moustachioed Kartik Aryan, way too young to  play a husband going through  a midlife crisis, but we’ll let that be. Whatever Kartik lacks in the years, he  compensates for with his intuitive feel for  the young Indian sexually active  male’s  appalled rejection of  matriarchal bullying.

As usual, Kartik playing the average  bloke , this time a Kanpur  guy named Abhinav Tyagi ,  transfixes his character’s gaze  in the hemisphere of the hangdog. He  is perpetually perplexed  by  the  direction into which  the women in his life  take him. Strangely all the best male  lines are  given to Kartik’s  Tyagi’s  best friend Fahim Rizvi  played by Aparshakti Khurrana. The natural-born scene-stealer  has a whale of a time  sinking his  teeth into  a role  and  dialogues that  seem  to be fated for his consumption.Aparshakti doesn’t lose his character’s mojo even when a mirthfully menacing cop(played by  the wonderful Manu Rishi  Chadha)  jokingly threatens to  deal with him in an ‘enounter’.

This,considering everything, is pretty abysmal humour.

The same relish, alas, cannot be derived  by us, the audience . The  extra-marital affair gets itself into a  lather  of chaos in the second-wife with Tyagi no longer sure  what he wants: wife  or distraction. This dilemma of distraction is   dealt with in the plot with such simmering bustle that  we  never  get  a chance  to become emotionally involved  with the  triangular  turmoil.

 It’s  all done in a rush  of  tongue-in-cheek  joy, as if  the  director says,this is comic  territory, so no harm done even if  the  hero has strayed  from the straight and narrow path.This is a  dangerous  way to deal  with infidelity. B R Chopra  got away with its because  of Sanjeev Kumar’s exceptional talent that made  the  unfaithful husband’s  roving eye seem bearable.

Here in the  alleged remake  Tyagi’s betrayal is intolerable. Bhumi Pednekar’s character  takes  the full brunt of  the adulterous insinuations. She  is that  reliable rock that  prevents  the  boat  from rocking, and a dependable actress to play the dependable spouse to an undependable husband.

Ananya Pandey’s  Other Woman act is thoroughly  uni-dimensional. Not her fault. You can’t cast a kid as a sexy world-weary  seductress and  get away with it.

Pati Patni Aur Woh manages to entertain in spite of its  lopsided  representation  of  marital  betrayal. You may or  not  come away from this  enjoyable  film rooting for  the  roving eyed husband the way you did  for Sanjeev Kumar  41 years ago. Lekin  zamana badal gaya hai. Times have changed. Who knows this better than poor Tyagi?

Perched  dangerously   on  a windowsill at one point in the plot, Kartik’s Tyagi can be seen wondering what he is doing there.That is a feeling which this  politically  incorrect drama cannot avoid.

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