Marital Rape ‘Joke’ In Trailer, But We’re Supposed Believe That ‘Pati, Patni Aur Woh’ Is Not Sexist

Posted: November 5, 2019

Trailer of movie remake Pati, Patni Aur Woh has a tasteless ‘joke’ about marital rape in its trailer, but actors and makers want convince us that the movie is ‘not sexist’. Yeah, right.

Actor Bhumi Pednekar, who plays the ‘patni’, Vedika Tripathi, in Pati, Patni Aur Woh says that the makers have been ‘very conscious’ to make sure that the film is not sexist. Yet, a dialogue in the trailer makes a ‘joke’ about marital rape.

It is almost expected at this point that a Kartik Aryan movie will have a healthy dose of misogyny. In Pati, Patni Aur Woh however, new lows have been reached.

In a dialogue, part of the trailer for the movie that dropped yesterday, he says, “Biwi se sex maang lein, toh hum bhikaari, biwi ko sex mana kar dein, toh hum atyachaari, aur kisi tarah jugaad laga ke usse sex haasil kar lein na, toh balaatkaari bhi hum hain.” Roughly translated, it goes, “if we ask our wives for sex, we are beggars; if we refuse her sex, we are called torturers, and if by some means we manage to obtain sex from her, we get called rapists too.”

The many problems with this

That dialogue is offensive and wrong on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin.

Firstly, in its attempt to focus on the ‘poor ickle raja beta who is so sex-starved’, it completely disregards the fact that women too need and want sex.

Secondly, it equates asking for consent/consensual sex to being a beggar.

Third, it completely misses the point that women in India are often left unsatisfied by the sexual performance of their spouses – so while it may not exactly qualify as ‘torture’, it definitely indicates selfishness and a lack of self-awareness on part of the men.

And lastly, but most importantly, by having the hero complain men are called rapists when they “obtain” sex by any means, it trivializes marital rape.

Marital rape is a real problem – 83% of Indian women face it!

Let’s get this straight — any sexual act, when performed without explicit and enthusiastic consent of all/both partners involved, is rape. So any ‘jugaad’ which involves coerced or unenthusiastic consent is also rape.

In India, marital rape is a huge problem. This paper cites the sources for the various statistics quoted below.

In a survey done by the United Nations Populations Fund in 2000, one-third of Indian men admitted to perpetrating some form of sexual violence against their wives. Another study done in 2011 by the International Center for Research on Women indicated that one in five Indian men admitted to having forced sexual relations with their wives. The National Family Health Survey, published in 2005-2006, indicated that one out of every ten married women disclose that they have faced sexual violence, either by being physically forced to have intercourse or being forced into performing unwanted sexual acts.

The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), published last year, revealed equally disturbing statistics.

83% of ever-married women between the ages of 15-49 years who have ever experienced sexual violence reported their current husband as the perpetrator with another 7 per cent reporting their former spouse. The most common form of reported sexual violence was the use of physical force by the husband for sexual intercourse against the will of his wife.

83%. 83% is NOT A JOKE!

Twitterati call out the misogyny

https://twitter.com/KrazyGal92/status/1191301227247587328

https://twitter.com/ShreyaTeresita/status/1191269812690800642

Irresponsible actors defending the movie

And yet somehow, the cast and crew of this movie seem to believe that the movie is not sexist.

Actor Bhumi Pednekar, who plays the wife in the movie, replied to a question at the trailer launch, to a question about whether she was skeptical about the movie being a sexist take on adultery, saying, “I do not think, anyone who is part of this film, including us actors, belong to that school. We were extremely conscious of the fact that we do not end up making it into a sexist comment. The moment I read the script I felt it was so beautiful. This is a subject that could have gone wrong easily. But they (the makers) have been sensitive and careful. I have to say it is a big achievement.”

Director Mudassar Aziz, said, “I have always put women at the forefront in all my films, and this film is no different. Once the film releases, the audience will realise that he (the ‘pati’ or husband) is the situation and these two women (‘patni and ‘woh’ — or, the wife and the lover) are driving the situation home.”

Yeah. Sure.

After all, any movie that has a female actor mouth the dialogue, “Hume sex bahut pasand hai,” (I really like having sex), must be so progressive and “feminist.” Insert eye roll.

The movie is said to be a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name, starring Sanjeev Kumar, Vidya Sinha and Ranjeeta Kaur.

It could be that like Bhumi points out, the subject matter of the film is revolutionary, and not a sexist, regressive take on adultery (though the trailer indicates that it is about adultery and quite sexist). But one does wonder why, when there are so many important and untold stories, filmmakers insist on rehashing the same old formulas.

Update

Following the heavy backlash received in response to the trailer, the makers of Pati, Patni Aur Woh have decided to edit out the offensive dialogue. A source speaking to Bollywood Hungama reportedly said, “Since Kartik Aaryan’s monologue in Pyaar Ka Punchnaama was a hit they thought of doing another one this time and got carried away. The offensive monologue will be edited out of the film”

Speaking to Zoom TV, actor Bhumi Pednekar also apologized, saying, “If we’ve hurt anybody’s sentiments we are sorry, coz that wasn’t the intention. Everybody who’s involved in the film doesn’t belong to that school of thought.”

However as it has been pointed out, this is all too little, too late. It seems like a hurried and half-baked attempt to cover up a bigger problem.

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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a

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