Pati Patni Aur Woh review: Pati patni and the mystique of the ‘woh’

Not a remake, but director Mudassar Aziz’s disruptive approach turns the (love triangle) genre on its head

Rating: 3 /5

By Mayur Lookhar

Pati hona paap hain,” It’s a sin to be a husband. A frustrated Chintu Tyagi [Kartik Aaryan] tells his best pal Fayeem Rizvi [Aparshakti Khurrana].  No, Chintu Tyagi is not weighed down by any marital responsibility.  Here is a man who is struggling to deal with the fact that his wife has left him, after she blew the lid over his extra-marital affair.  

Oh no, not another misogynistic film by Kartik Aaryan, the feminists would argue. Don’t jump the gun for you would be mirroring Chintu Tyagi. It’s no remake of B.R. Chopra’s 1978 love triangle but 41 years later, director Mudassar Aziz turns the ‘pati’ ‘patni’ aur ‘woh’ on its head.

The original played along standard lines where Ranjeet Chaddha [Sanjeev Kumar] clearly swayed towards adultery by having an extra-marital affair with his secretary Nirmala [Ranjeeta].   Aziz shuns the old school trope as he doesn’t want anyone to be judgmental about his pati patni aur woh.  

Aziz sets his film in Uttar Pradesh with Chintu Tyagi working in the Public Works Department.  His wife Vedika Tripathi [Bhumi Pednekar] teaches at a private coaching centre. She is physically attractive, and so the lusty minds would question, “Why does Chintu need a ‘woh’ when his wife is so damn hot?

“I enjoy your company,” Tyagi tells Tapasya Singh, the ‘woh’ [other woman] in his life.  May be, all that he needed is a friend. He impressed the girl with his goofy nature and a big lie that his wife is having an extra martial affair.  

In an interview earlier, Aziz and his actors all said that no person is to be blamed for the ‘woh’ here is no specific person but just the situation that the trio find themselves in.   The original film ended with Sanjeev Kumar’s character issuing an apology each to his wife Sharda [Vidya Sinha] and Nirmala.  Chintu Tyagi doesn’t even get to say an apology as his wife leaves the house but the story takes few fairly predictable turns here.  The subsequent events appear bizarre, messy. But it also sets apart Aziz’s film from the original and causing disruption to the genre.  While the disruption is refreshing, but it also leads to the question, if there really was nothing then what was all the fuss about?   The ‘woh’ here has a mystique element to it.  If not the conventional, the what is this woh?

More than an extra-marital affair, Aziz harps more on the mundaneness in a relationship that leads to a void between Chintu and Vedika.   The director though doesn’t build enough mundane moments. Vedika and Chintu meet for the first time, the next moment the arranged marriage takes place and it is followed by the couple having very little communication. They’ve been married for three years but there is little to show of it.

Aziz’s disruptive trope also leads to a messy screenplay. All of it makes sense in the end, but it doesn’t build enough engagement through those moments.  As a viewer, one is left to say, “What the hell is really going on here?”.   

Pati Patni Aur Woh [2019] is effectively a sitcom. Chunk of its humour is derived from situations where Chintu is trying to conceal his extra-marital affair.  The original film banked heavily on such situations.  With Chintu’s secret affair being busted shortly after the interval, the primary plot comes to halt.  The Happy Bhag Jayegi [2016] director must have faced a dilemma here. If he packs more sequences of Chintu hiding his affair, it would end up looking as a clone of the original. The director is brave to limit the populist trope, but he reignites viewer interest by throwing up few surprises and etching out few hilarious characters.

Aparshakti Khurrana played the Muslim friend to Kartik Aaryan in Luka Chuppi [2019]. It is a similar role here but Khurrana is armed with terrific punches, better dialogues.  It is Fayeem [Khurrana] who provides the humour quotient in his conversation with Chintu, Vedika or Tapasya.  Not often do we find an actor in the supporting cast impressing more than the male lead.  Khurrana did that in Stree [2018] too.  He thrives in playing these nervy but hilarious characters who eventually bail out his friend.  His impeccable comic timing only elevates his performance.

Most men would like to be portrayed as strong, witty, intelligent characters. Aaryan though revels in his goofiness.  The messy situations are embarrassing for his character, but Aaryan’s frenzied or panicky reaction are a delight to watch.  He truly epitomises the simple, innocent middle-class man. He’s got the looks, but he’s not a smooth talker.  In their first meet, Vedika says that she likes sex.  Tyagi pauses for a few seconds and then just breaks into a laughter. It’s the same with Tapasya, too, where the man is mostly left blushing.  Be it on or off screen, Aaryan’s sex appeal lies in his shyness.  

Vedika Tyagi is a vastly different patni to the one played by Vidya Sinha in the original.  She’s no housewife but a confident, beautiful and independent woman. Pednekar has a sex appeal to her that’s never seen before.  For a lively character, how could any mundaneness creep into the Vedika and Chintu relationship?  Her hubby may be emotionally detached with her, but her young student Rakesh Yadav  [Shubham Kumar] crushes on her. Yadav is truly hilarious.  Pednekar loves breaking taboos.  You wouldn’t imagine Pednekar in the shoes of Vedika, a woman left heartbroken but she doesn’t really fight.  Pednekar though is not one to surrender meekly.  She eventually gets to do what she likes the most,  – initiate relevant conversation.  

This reviewer didn’t see Student of the Year 2 [2019] but it turns out that Ananya Panday was worth all that praise.  She has a fine screen presence, and backs it up with her tremendous confidence and flawless dialogue delivery.  Panday was clear that she wouldn’t play a home breaker, and neither did Ranjeeta in the original. However, despite Chintu confessing that he lied to her about his wife’s extra-marital affair, Tapasya’s conduct thereafter borders on the bizarre. For a righteous woman who dumped her earlier boyfriend for being non-committal, why would Tapasya still yearn to be with the man who has confessed to being a liar? She wins the trust of Chintu’s parents and starts addressing them as mummy and papa. It looks pretentious and you sense something’s out of order here.   Panday though enhances her reputation as an actor.

Aziz’s cast does its job, and while its disruptive plot is refreshing, the messy screenplay drags Pati Patni Aur Woh down.  Trim the chaotic scenes and this story could have been wrapped up under two hours.  The original was regressive but the uncomplicated story telling made it more endearing.  Humorous it is but Aziz’s film doesn’t pass off infidelity as humour.  Aziz’s Pati Patni Aur Woh has its flaws, but Aziz stays loyal to his noble intentions.

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