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 a light mood, 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 litterateur, 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 for me because I am also a married man.
© Copyrights reserved