Pati Patni Aur Woh Review: Kartik Aryan’s film doesn’t rise beyond sleaze
It takes the fantasy world of old Govinda movies and grafts it onto a real milieu
Love is born between Lucknow and Kanpur. And so are lies. In Amar Kaushik’s Bala, Ayushmann Khurrana wore a wig to impress a Lucknow girl, far from his balding, Kanpuriya self. Though the film had two female leads, Ayushmann wasn’t two-timing them — a predicament that falls upon Kartik Aryan in Pati Patni Aur Woh. I do not use ‘predicament’ lightly. Abhinav ‘Chintu’ Tyagi (Kartik) is a victim, or so he imagines himself. A compulsive liar and a cheat, he never misses a chance to beg the audience’s sympathy. By the time the box-office numbers come in, I’m sure he won’t be disappointed.
Cast: Kartik Aryan, Bhumi Pednekar, Ananya Panday
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Sample the nickname — ‘Chintu' — an endearment meant to infantilize Abhinav, making him seem ‘cute’. He also titters when he speaks, a squeaky, inward chuckle that everyone makes fun of, until he meets Tapasya (Anaya Pandey). Chintu is an engineer in Lucknow’s Public Works Department, and Tapasya is his client. They go around town, scout plots, and eat at restaurants. Something like a romance blooms, if only in Chintu’s head. He begins staying up nights thinking of Tapasya. For once, he admits she’s out of his league, but adds that he is in it for the ‘khushi’ (happiness). Life, it seems, is finally looking up for Chintu. There’s just one problem.
This pati, sadly and inconveniently, has a patni — a Kanpur girl he wedded three years back out of parental compulsion. Vedika (Bhumi Pednekar) is a physics teacher with dreams of moving to Delhi. She’s disappointed in Chintu, and though they live in the same house, are virtually reduced to unloving flatmates. This codependency has severely bored Chintu, driving him to seek comfort elsewhere. So frustrated does he get with his marriage that, when confronted by his best friend, he makes a speech about mistreated, middle-class men. The next scene? Chintu lying about his wife’s affair to further his own.
In 2005, Chandan Arora directed Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh, another comedy about a married man in Lucknow. More recently, we had Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Bareilly Ki Barfi, with a similarly knotted plot. Both films used the modest Uttar Pradesh setting to make neat observations on love. The canvas of Pati, Patni Aur Woh, however, is wholly dirty. Its humour doesn’t stem from escalating confusion or clever lines, but plain sleaze. It takes the fantasy world of old Govinda movies and grafts it onto a real milieu — a scary combination by all means, as hinted at by Bhumi’s ‘single-screen/multiplex’ line.
It’s also a milieu that has Kartik Aaryan hooked. After Luka Chuppi, he is back in a ‘small-town’ film, escorted by buddies Aparshakti Khurrana and Sunny Singh. Kartik does his best Akshay Kumar impression till date, and it’s disheartening to see director Mudassar Aziz crumble under his star presence, throwing in a club number to appease some fans. But worst of all, it’s sad to have Bhumi caught in their midst — a progressive actor swimming through a year of weird choices.