Adultery is one of Bollywood’s preferred topics to explore comedy subjects within. You know, it is a crazy adventure for an average Indian adventure to break rigid rules to commit the dastardly sin – often referred in hush-hush tones as an affair. In director Mudassar Aziz’s Pati Patni Aur Who – which is a remake of a 1978 film by the same name – Kanpur’s middle-class government engineer Abhinav alias Chintu Tyagi (Kartik Aaryan) finds himself in a perplexing love triangle with his wife Vedika (Bhumi Pednekar) and the standard, desirable other woman Tapasya (Ananya Panday).

Early in this film, which is designated to be a comedy, Aziz establishes how women forever snub Chintu whereas his wife-to-be, Vedika is quite smart and desirable. Even as they tie the knot, theirs is an equal relationship with them addressing each other by their surnames. In a faux attempt to highlight equality, they even have a Tyagi – Tripathi nameplate on their gate. Boredom trickles deep  in Chintu’s already monotonous life to which Tapasya makes an entry ala Shah Rukh Khan from Main Hoon Na, one fine day. Throw in a prototypical bestie (Aparshakti Khurrana repeats his act from Lukka Chuppi) and you get the perfect comedy of errors – in their imagination, that is.

The issue with Pati Patni Aur Woh is primarily in the fact that its comedy just does not fly. The film comes across as a series of events laced with dialogues that are sprinkled with choicest Hindi words that you find either in high school textbooks or in a dictionary. Do people in Uttar Pradesh talk like that? I doubt. I give it to Khurrana, Aaryan and Pednekar for pronouncing them right but somewhere it gives jitters for the film playing excessively on regional stereotypes.

Pati Patni Aur Woh also struggles hard to find an actual issue that would distance Chintu from Vedika. There is hardly any besides her frequent insistence to move to Delhi. As for Tapasya, it is unsure whether the character is actually ditzy or if it is in the actor’s inability to perform the part right. Somewhere through the narrative, we feel, as if Tapasya is a mere spectator in Chintu’s life as much as we are. What does he want? Nobody knows, Tapasya included.

True to Kartik Aaryan’s erstwhile films, Pati Patni Aur Woh is staged in a small-town setup. The city stands effectively chronicled by the DOP (Chirantan Das) and his obsession for circular pans is evident throughout. The film does better in its smaller elements though, be it the flirty student of Vedika’s named Rakesh Yadav or Chintu constantly reminiscing his ex-lover of 45 days called Neha. The former, when mixed with tinges of nostalgia and some decent acting from the actor, is a decent episode to abridge an otherwise boring screenplay. Dialogues, as I noted before, are excessively wordy which ironically ends up adding some spice to the otherwise bland array of incidents. To add to the woes, the music score (credited to an opening credit frame filled with composers) is listless and so is the original score.

Performances are uneven in Pati Patni Aur Woh. If Bhumi Pednekar is spot-on as the small town firebrand wife, Ananya Panday seems marginally disinterested despite her constant, wide-eyed grin.  Kartik Aaryan is occasionally funny but his dialogue delivery still needs a great deal of work. It turns all the more troublesome when he is pitted opposite Aparshakti Khurrana who is a far more uninhibited performer.

I would rather say that Pati Patni Aur Woh is a film that just doesn’t try. Mudassar Aziz sticks to the basic ingredients that is required to design a saleable project in the comedy genre but the screenplay lacks any flavour of humour. Towards the finale, the film tends to get slightly better all thanks to Pednekar’s notably good acting chops but it soon nosedives as a run-of-the-mill twist surfaces. Pati Patni Aur Woh left my memory minutes after I stepped out of the cinema hall which tells a lot about its merits as a comic fare.

Rating: ★★

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