Pati Patni Aur Woh was terribly misogynistic. Will the Kartik Aaryan remake fix mistakes of original?
A remake of Pati Patni Aur Woh, starring Kartik Aaryan, Ananya Panday and Bhumi Pednekar, will hit the screens of December 6. Before its release, let us revisit the 1978 original.
“Ek baat yaad rakhna. Pehli raat jo billi maar le, woh hi mauj karta hai. Usse dab mat jaana.”
“Arre, nahi, nahi. Usko toh dabana hai.”
In this early scene from BR Chopra’s Pati Patni Aur Woh, a bumbling Ranjit (Sanjeev Kumar) takes suhaag raat advice from his cronies, who tell him to show his wife Sharda (Vidya Sinha) who’s the boss. Such troubling and casual misogyny is abundant in Pati Patni Aur Woh, which begs the question, why would someone choose to remake this deeply problematic film from the 1970s in the present day? Your guess is as good as ours.
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The Pati Patni Aur Woh remake, directed by Mudassar Aziz, will feature Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday in the lead roles. The film has already been in the eye of a storm for a controversial dialogue on marital rape.
Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978) begins with Ranjit and Sharda bumping into each other on the road, quite literally. When they meet for a second time at a friend’s wedding, sparks fly, and one song later, they are married.
Everything is going swimmingly in their lives, until Ranjit gets a stunning new secretary, Nirmala (Ranjeeta Kaur). Her introductory sequence features shots of her new boss ogling at her breasts and close-ups of her cleavage, because this is still a pre-#MeToo world, where workplace harassment is apparently A-OK.
Nirmala explains that she is forced to work because she has responsibilities; otherwise “koi Hindustani ladki working girl nahi hoti”. Ranjit applauds her thought process and decides to woo her. He goes about this by lying that his wife is on her deathbed and emotionally manipulating Nirmala into a relationship.
As Ranjit is busy juggling between his ‘patni’ and ‘woh’, Sharda gets suspicious and catches him canoodling with Nirmala in a park. He is eventually confronted by the two women, and runs to his friend Durrani (played by Asrani) for help.
When that does not work either, Ranjit gives Nirmala money as a last-ditch effort to control the damage, and tells Sharda that she blackmailed him into giving her the money. Yet again, Ranjit is caught in a lie because Nirmala drops by his house to return the money to Sharda.
In a moment of epiphany, a heartbroken Sharda realises that Ranjit is a pathological liar who does not hesitate to cast aspersions on an innocent woman’s character to save his own skin, and decides to leave the house. But, of course, the onus of saving the family is on her and she stays for the sake of her son, as she cannot be ‘selfish’ enough to choose her own happiness over her family.
The couple goes back to pretending like nothing ever happened, and the film ends with Ranjit getting a new secretary and pulling off the same old tricks. Because, obviously, boys will be boys.
At the trailer launch of the new Pati Patni Aur Woh, director Mudassar Aziz said that he has retained the “essence” of the original, despite giving the film a modern spin. One can only hope that it is not an uninspired remake packed with the blatant misogyny of the original. Come December 6, and we will know.
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