Film: Pati Patni Aur Woh
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednkar, Ananya Panday and Aparshakti Khurrana
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
The belief that a marriage is not a rehabilitation centre for badly behaved men becomes stronger as you watch Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan’s unthreatening and tame romantic comedy ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’.
This cautionary tale of emotional infidelity in times of chronic marital monotony has its mix of golden and infuriatingly grating moments, just like any real-life marriage.
Aaryan plays Abhinav Tyagi aka Chintu Tyagi in the throes of a quarter-life crisis. Just like his parents wanted, he’s a topper of his college and marries the woman of his parent’s choice as soon as he lands a respectable job at a government office in Kanpur. His wife Vedika is fetching and feisty, played with grit and gumption by Bhumi Pednekar. They are blissfully content in their uneventful lives, but Tyagi’s harmonious life is rattled when Tapasya (Ananya Panday) walks into his office. He harbours an inappropriate crush and lies his way into Tapasya’s heart. The plot is predictable and doesn’t stray far from the revealing trailer.
What we liked about the film
It’s the collective performances that elevate this mediocre romantic comedy into watchable cinema. Pednekar as a small-town wife who dreams of migrating to a bigger city like Delhi and nags her husband constantly about it is a hoot. She is immensely likeable. The same could be said about Panday and Aaryan. Though you never fully understand why an accomplished woman like Tapasya — a self-made entrepreneur from Delhi — would be attracted to a conventional, borderline-nerdy man like Tyagi, their forbidden friendship is mildly engaging.
But it’s Aaryan’s best friend Aparshakti Khurrana as Fahim who had our hearts. His comic timing is impeccable and he has a sizzling chemistry with his hapless college mate who’s also in top form. Their verbal sparring about his impending infidelity and the way he protects his friend’s philandering ways is wildly entertaining. The same couldn’t be said about the chemistry between Tapasya and Tyagi. It’s purely vanilla and the heat that you expect from a couple hurtling towards an illicit affair is sorely missing. It should also be noted that Aaryan’s monologue and tirade about married men being trapped in loveless unions has been tweaked and the reference to marital rape has been removed completely.
What we disliked about the film
The pace is problematic. The movie moves languidly in the first half and is flaccid for most parts. It’s the second half where the comedy gains some momentum when the women seem to take charge of Tyagi’s transgressions. All forces are at work to make Tyagi — who’s essentially a narcissistic cad — look like a bumbling idiot. In reality, he’s just a petulant man-child who refuses to take agency or charge of his life and the women in his life bear the brunt of his immature nature.
But none of that is explored in this film that climaxes into a chaotic comedy of errors. The vivacious women, especially Pednekar, deserves someone better than Chintu Tyagi. He isn’t half the man for her. While Panday doesn’t do too shabbily, she looks coltish in the scenes where’s she on call to look bodacious and fiercely attractive. She’s supposed to be the embodiment of that unattainable woman in a man’s life, but Panday comes across as an adorable girl-next-door with youth on her side. The movie focuses largely on the man’s perspective and doesn’t give much love to what a woman or a wife wants. If I had to pick, I would be more interested in knowing why or why not a well-rounded individual like Vedika would stick to her personality-stripped husband.
Director Mudassar Aziz has put together a comedy that’s perfect for a one-time-watch. It isn’t life-altering, but makes for a pleasant watch.