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It might become a hit, but Pati Patni Aur Woh is the same old movie, made only with an eye on the box office, constructed with lame wife bashing WhatsApp forwards.
Pati Patni Aur Woh is a movie that got into serious controversy way before it’s release. The movie’s trailer had a dialogue where the ‘biwi se pratadit’ (husband victim) Abhinav Tyagi played by equally charming Kartik Aryaan rants to his friend saying ‘Agar biwi se sex mang le to hum bhikari, agar sex na de to hum atyachari aur agar kisi tarah us se sex ka juggad kar bhi le to bhai balatkari bhi hum’. (If a husband asks for sex from wife then he is termed as a beggar if he doesn’t give sex then he is not a good husband and somehow if he manages to get sex from his wife then he is termed as a rapist).
As expected a dialogue making fun of a serious issue like marital rape received the same amount of backlash. Hence in the movie, the word ‘balatkari’ was replaced with ‘badsanskari’. But the major question over here is – Is changing a word enough to make a movie full of male victimhood and wife bashing cringeworthy WhatsApp forwards at least look entertaining and sensible?
Despite writer-director Mudassar Aziz constantly saying that the movie is different from the original Pati Patni Aur Woh directed by B.R Chopra in 1978, it kind of revolves around the same storyline as the original, just with a little modern relationship touch to it.
The movie is set on the backdrop of Lucknow-Kanpur where Chintu Tyagi played by Kartik Aaryan is a PWD officer. He is married to Vedika Tripathi. 3 years after his marriage enters Tapasya (because obviously, you need such a name to create lame jokes and dirty innuendos) and Chintu falls for her. Now in order to gain her sympathy, he lies that his wife is in an extramarital affair.
The only difference between the original and the new version is the reboot gives female actors more agency. It never portrays them as ‘lachaar’ or ‘bechari‘. Still towards the end we women turning into extensive emotional labour for the man to see his mistakes.
Pati Patni Aur Woh is “meant to be a light-hearted comedy”. Which obviously the makers don’t want anyone to take something from. Also, we can’t ask everyone to do responsible cinema. But the bigger question here is when will the time come when we understand that movies do shape our opinion?
The problem is not that the movie showcases adultery. The problem is how it shows that.
Showing adultery is not wrong, but showing the #MenwillbeMen attitude, continuous wife bashing in the form of lame jokes, and portraying the movie in a way which shows it as an ode to male victimhood is where the problem lies. And the problem is also in the way the movie ends.
Now imagine if the movie was titled Patni Pati Aur Woh then how the scenario would have been – would the Pati have forgiven the Patni for having an extramarital affair? Sadly No. More sadly, what Pati Patni Aur Woh has shown is the reality of many marriages in our society.
Women having to live in deceitful marriages despite knowing their husband cheats, because ‘Mard hai bhatak jata hai’. (Men commit mistakes) In fact, a lot of time if a man cheats in a marriage it’s blamed on the wife. Why? Because she is not able to keep him happy. Apart from that many women for the sake of traditions, love, and from the fear of society judging them for being divorced choose to forgive their deceitful husbands rather than opting for divorce. Now showing this on the big screen you believe it or not will influence many men out there. It will make them think that in the end, their wives will forgive them irrespective of whatever they do. AND THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM.
Now for a second if I leave all the wife bashing, misogyny and patriarchal problems of the film and only focus on the technical aspects. Sadly then too the film doesn’t have a lot to offer. Apart from few laughing moments, lame and Tik Tok worthy dialogues, wife bashing cringy WhatsApp forwards, and distracting one-liners, the movie sadly doesn’t have anything else to offer. It’s ironical how Ananya’s character in the movie is looking for a plot and the makers of the movie have just forgotten to write one for Pati Patni Aur Woh.
If you don’t believe me then the movie has a dialogue ‘Is Se Pehle koi ladki tumhari hassi ki tarref kare to pehle ye socho is hassi ka karan kaun hai’ (Before a woman praises your smile, ask yourself who is the reason for your smile in the first place). The movie is full with such dialogues, all of this is coupled with overacting that gets under your skin.
These are just put in randomly because the director probably thought they were funny.
In one such scene, a cop asks the character Fahim Rizvi his name. When the cop gets to know that he is a Muslim then he jokingly comments that he (Fahim) needs to be careful or else he will be ‘encountered’. And don’t even start me on the ‘bechara pati’ dialogues.
With no originality, no integrity, no coherent plot either, this is one big mish-mash of sexist WhatsApp jokes that are ‘supposed to be funny’!
It’s very important to understand the impact of cinema in our society. For example, if through a good artistic empowering film like Pink cinema tries to influence society to learn something good, then through misogynistic and patriarchal movies like Kabir Singh and Pati Patni Aur Woh, we are influencing the society to learn being irresponsible and violent.
It’s high time that we cut the bulshit idea that ‘It’s just a film’. Objectifying and restricting women in old Bollywood movies was wrong. Making fun of rape in 3 idiots was wrong. Violence and toxic masculinity in the name of love in Kabir Singh was wrong. Similarly portraying male victimhood and men will be men attitude to display comedy in Pati Patni Aur Woh is wrong.
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