Director: Mudassar Aziz
Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Renu Ravi Chopra, Juno Chopra, Krishan Kumar
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar, Ananya Pandey
Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Rochak Kohli, Sachet–Parampara, Tony Kakkar, Lijo George – DJ Chetas
Duration: 2 hour 8 minutes
How would you react if you find out that your loved one is cheating on you? By either plotting, confronting, or ignoring. In this film, for some odd reason, all three options are pursued with varying intensity. Plotting for revenge, confronting post-revenge, and ignoring the very thing that led the husband astray.
Right from the outset, I had a fear lingering, that Pati Patni Aur Woh would hold its offensive humour on its sleeve, proudly if not indifferently. Happy to report that it doesn’t milk the potential to mine (too much) distasteful humour. The problem lies elsewhere.
The story, much like it’s musical palette is a rehash of an old beat. A blatant rip off of Ritviz’s Udd Gaye sets the tone.
The not-happy (not unhappy) married couple, Vedika (a bold-ish and beautiful Bhumi Pednekar) and Chintu (a Kartik Aaryan performance in a Kartik Aaryan genre film) are forced to soul-search. Chintu’s attraction to Tapasya (played by a passive, robotic Ananya Pandey), Delhi’s South Bombay girl compromises their marriage which is 9 parts boredom, and 1 part Bhumi Pednekar’s ravishing sexuality.
The first half is shits-and-giggles, elevated by Pednekar’s style and swagger. She truly has a screen presence that I cannot wrap my head around- it’s so engrossing and frustrating because of the kinds of stories it is stuck in. (Read: Bala) Watch her the moment she finds out about Chintu’s affair- it isn’t exceptional, it is just… real. There’s heft but there’s also a sly smirk. What now? You wonder with her.
Kartik Aaryan makes his contractual obligation- a rant, but this time he tethers it to the mundane boredom, the ebb and flow of a madhyam vargiya purush, the Indian middle class male. I don’t have much doubt about its viral potential. Everyone loves seeing themselves as a victim, and I am in awe of how he has created an enduring (so-far) legacy around victimhood.
He gets a rousing anthem as a background score, in fact the score begins a few moments before he begins, warming us up. I’ll admit the first time I watched his Pyaar Ka Punchnama rant, I was intrigued. I was also briefly, entertained. But the point of being in the industry is to watch what is unique and novel and make it formulaic and dare I say, boring.
That was the primary vice of this movie for me. It wasn’t the humour that plays quietly with the patience of progressives, but the humour that never lands. It is perhaps a little telling that in a movie where Chintu is spending time with two beautiful women you keep waiting for his interactions with the other beautiful man, his best friend, Fahim played with verve and joy by Aparkshakti Khurana. His comic timing is impeccable. He hams, but it’s okay because we laugh.
A point needs to be made about the character of Tapasya, the entrant who creates the conflict that gets the movie going. She is the one who stirs Chintu’s conscience. Him getting caught by his wife makes him act on this conscience. And it is his wife’s plotting that makes him repent. There’s nothing about Chintu Tyagi that is greater than the sum of his resume. He comes into a meeting with his potential wife with a sticky note with questions to ask. When he is asked about it, he says he is an engineering student, he always comes prepared to meetings. But who will prepare such an endearing dimwit for life?