Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978) Poster

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Are the men essentially flirts ?
jmathur_swayamprabha6 October 2011
In pre-independence India polygamy was not illegal for any male and the financially capable ones, especially the royals used to go for more than one woman in their lives. Well, it's something that had been continuing since ages. Now polygamy has been declared illegal (especially for the Hindus) in India and practically also, whether rich or poor, the men do not find themselves as capable of affording more than one wife. Still, it is a common assumption that men cannot be satisfied by being devoted to only one woman and even when they cannot marry one additional woman, at least they go for flirting. Being licentious is considered something very bad, however being flirt has a relatively mild connotation. I have heard in lighter vein that everybody (man) finds the wife of the other person better than his own. However, the phenomena of extra-marital affairs of men with unmarried girls, is something pretty common in today's society.

Without going into the intricacies of the issue as to how and why extra-marital affairs evolve, let me review a brilliant comedy of the seventies made on this theme only which tells the story of a man who had entered into love-marriage with his wife but after a few years of marriage, gets ready every time to fall into an affair with one girl or the other (she must be beautiful though). This memorable comedy is Pati, Patni Aur Woh (1978). Legendary director B.R. Chopra had made this movie which is a highly entertaining one and presents the husband-wife-other woman triangle (i.e., Pati, Patni Aur Woh) in lighter vein, generating a treasure of laughs for the audience.

The hero is my favourite actor - Sanjeev Kumar who plays Ranjeet and the heroine is the girl next door heroine of the seventies - Vidya Sinha who plays his wife - Shaarada. Ranjeet and Shaarada had entered into the life-long relationship through love-marriage and now they have a lovely kid also (played by the child artist - Master Bittoo). Ranjeeta forms the third angle of this triangle in the form of Ranjeet's beautiful and unmarried secretary - Nirmala.

The story starts with the animation pictures of the Adam and Eve story as to how they fell from the paradise and settled on the Earth. Adam, i.e., Ranjeet is happy with his original Eve, i.e., Shaarada and the family life including their son also. However he is not able to resist the temptation of having an affair with the beautiful secretary joining his office, i.e., Nirmala. He tells her a lot of lies regarding his 'sad' family life and successfully woos her by gaining her heartfelt sympathies for him. As usual, no wife can ever be ignorant of her husband's affair and Shaarada also comes to know it. When Nirmala gets aware of the lies spoken to her by Ranjeet, she leaves the job in a heartbroken state. Shaarada hopes that now Ranjeet won't repeat this but as they say, old habits die hard.

A married man's being licentious (or flirting if we present it the milder way) is a serious issue for the society and before that, the family which is the founding unit of any society. The learned director and the writer (who is none other than the famous Hindi literativist, Kamleshwar) conclude that the men are essentially flirts (if not all, at least a majority of them) and their women cannot stop them from flirting because it's their basic instinct. Even when a man is devoted to his wife and feels responsible towards his family, he cannot escape the temptation of flirting an attractive girl (upon getting a chance). However the writer-director duo has not made a serious movie, it has made a hilarious comedy.

Right from the pre-marriage encounter of Ranjeet and Shaarada to the ending scene of the movie (post the end of Ranjeet-Nirmala affair), the film is a laugh-riot. Even where it does not generate loud laughs, it generates tickles. The Adam-Eve story provides a highly interesting start to the movie and thereafter it never digresses from its principal (and the only) objective of making the audience laugh. The script, the direction and the dialogues, all are topnotch.

Sanjeev Kumar, Vidya Sinha, Master Bittoo and Asrani (Ranjeet's friend) have left no stone unturned in creating laughter for the viewers. Ranjeeta has got a profound role but it's the profoundness of that role only which is the premise of this comedy. She has been a good actress (though underrated) and she has done well.

Technically the movie is good. According to the middle-class set-up of the story, the movie has been given a simple look. It's a low budget movie but made and presented in an aesthetic way.

Ravindra Jain's music is equally hilarious as the movie is. Thande Thande Paani Se Nahaana Chaahiye and Ladki Cycle Waali create a lot of laughs when heard and watched on the screen. Na Aaj Tha Na Kal Tha and Tere Naam Tere Naam Tere Naam are also good in quality.

Well, though it's a comedy, it leaves a serious question in the end. The hero has been shown to be devoted to his wife and son, fulfilling all his responsibilities towards them and sharing all the joys with them too. Nowhere is there any dissatisfaction for him from his marital life. Then why at all, should such a person go for wooing a girl outside his marriage and enter into an affair ? The question put up by me in the title of this review comes to fore again. Can't the men avoid flirting despite being happy in their homes ? Or is infidelity something quite pleasure-rendering for the males ? The question is ticklish.
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The Man, his Wife and His Mistress
Chrysanthepop13 October 2011
B.R. Chopra's hilarious 'Pati Patni Aur Woh' is a laugh riot from start to end. As the title suggest, it tackles themes like monogamy, infidelity and betrayal. Chopra addresses these issues but with a good dose of humour. The formula of a love triangle between a husband, his wife and the other woman has often been repeated in Hindi cinema especially in the more recent times and, in addition to its cheeky sense of humour, what stands out in 'Pati Patni Aur Woh' are the characters and their interactions.

Ranjeet and Sharda have had a love marriage and both are happy except that Ranjeet is not fully satisfied and he tries to woo every other unmarried hot chick that comes his way (unbeknownst to his wife). Then there's the beautiful Nirmala who although modern, feels that she is forced by circumstances to work in order to provide for her family. All three principle characters are very well defined and easy to relate to.

Being among the most versatile actors, comedy comes natural to Sanjeev Kumar and he is terrific. As sleazy and a bit of a scum that Ranjit is, there's something likable about the fellow. Vidya Sinha too is great as the strong-minded loving wife. Ranjeeta Kaur is spellbinding as the other woman. She is so stunningly beautiful. Who wouldn't fall in love with her? She remains one of the most underrated actresses.

The songs aren't classics but the funny lyrics had me giggling. The only song that should have better been left out is the 'Tere Naam Tere Naam' track.

Overall, 'Pati Patni Aur Woh' is a fun movie about the common people. The film opens with an amusing animated sequence that tells the story of Adam and Eve and closes with the appearance of another beautiful actress.
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Simplicity !
elshikh43 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
A few sets, low budget, plain story, uncomplicated direction, all of that can make another ordinary or mediocre work, but surprisingly (The Husband, The Wife and The Mistress), despite some problems with its message at the end, is an example of simple movie yet classic.

Actually this type of stories is quite familiar in the Arabian old movies, or TV production, but something is really authentic about this lovely movie from India. Let's see what we have : the great charisma and talent of Sanjeev Kumar (his comedy is just natural). The good - not exaggerating for a second – performance from (Vidya Sinha) as the wife and (Ranjeeta) as the secretary. Although it's very well known plot; the movie itself admitted it at its title, or nearly sneered at it, but there was a wonderful spirit to make something not that melodramatic. The clever cynical dialog like "Where have you been before ?" the double meaning first question to the secretary. Or "I'm his servant" the wife's replay sadly for the mistress's question in the phone. The nice, and not that long or many, songs. Even the magical presence of (Parveen Babi) in her cameo at the last scene. I think the secret remains in all of that together with effective sense of truthfulness and cuteness all over it.

It was smart move not to make the secretary's character as the usual stereotype (the nasty home-wrecking femme fatale), which pushed us to sympathize with her, and made the whole story as a man who lived the dilemma of loving 2 women in the same time, and his wicked tricks to hide that as well. Moreover, look how the husband was reading secretly books about different sexual pleasures to grasp what he really misses with his wife. Some slight touches can be so right.

There are wonderful scenes such as the one where the husband kills the cat at the start of the marriage. It's a common proverb, I though all my life, till this movie, that it was originally Egyptian; since we have it at our own folk culture too ! It's about treating the wife roughly, to confirm certain meaning of manhood, and to guarantee blind compliance from her, yet the movie mocked at that sweetly, since the husband and his wife here had love.

Though, I hated some weak moments : The lipstick on the handkerchief as the start of doubt (ancient stuff). Introducing the wife for the secretary as a journalist; to have all the relationship's history, and in detail, naively ! The noisy joker friend, who woos the secretary from day one, suddenly became the wise mentor at the and.. etc.

Furthermore, some basic points : Why this husband who achieves a very happy peaceful life with his little family would be attracted to this girl, for something else her obvious beauty ? Or her western clothes ? (In the time that his wife seems imprisoned into that sari forever !), like it's just a study about man's pure caprice, but even if, that weakened the drama, since nobody changed at the end; neither the husband or the wife ! Not to mention, why all the incessant sexual education since it was platonic love and nothing more ?! Actually, with that cold ending you'd feel that his wife didn't care much about compensating this aria, so the problem is still on !

Originally, the climax wasn't good as the situation was finished by the girl's noble departure. And there was no solid convincing reason why this wife forgave her husband that easily (too many confrontations, but not that deep since the characters themselves aren't that complicated). To look eventually like a manifesto, apparently inane, about how marriage is more important than anything, and that the husband is the only criminal all the way.. So feminine point of view, and not that fair too. Or does it a man's point of view yet with heavy feeling of being blamable ?! Both ways, it doesn't solve much at the end, and the message wasn't powerful : don't cheat on your wife or you're going to live some short-lived tense, and don't change for your husband to cheat on you again and again !!

Anyhow, if we skipped the last 10 minutes, the aesthetic feel was warm. I was attached to it strangely. Nostalgically or else, I think this movie has great moments where the simplicity rules and all the elements collaborate to present something sincere and enjoyable. I don't think that they said : Hey, let's do a classic. I think they made a good work that hit, nearly, all the marks. So it's not poor, it's simple. And sometimes simple is one definition of classic.
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