Kartik Aaryan On Sexism in His Films, ‘Pati, Patni...’ Controversy
Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar and Ananya Panday talk about the marital rape controversy in ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’.
Cameraperson: Sanjoy Deb
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune
Kartik Aaryan, Bhumi Pednekar, and Ananya Panday-starrer Pati Patni Aur Woh is all set to release on 6 December. The movie revolves around a married couple and their relationship. Directed by Mudassar Aziz, it is an adaptation of BR Chopra’s 1978 film of the same name, which featured Sanjeev Kumar and Vidya Sinha.
After the trailer was released, social media came down heavily on the makers of Pati, Patni Aur Woh for a particular sequence wherein Kartik tells his friend that if a man requests sex from his wife he is labeled a bhikari (beggar), if he does not have sex with her, he is an atyachari (cruel man) and if somehow he manages to convince her through “jugaad”, he is branded a balatkari (rapist).
The Quint spoke to the cast about remaking the iconic film, the controversy it has stirred and more.
What was it about the script of the film that stuck with you? Because there have been other films along the same trope.
Bhumi: The fact that the basic concept might be similar but the newness of what the script had is what really stayed with me. Even though you are taking something that has been done a few times in the past but it still is something that had me really hooked on and I was still invested in all these characters and it has a new twist.
Kartik: Once you come out of the theatre, you’ll realise, you’ll say that you haven’t seen something like this before. You have never seen a story like this and how it shapes up to something which you would have never thought [of]. I really love the situations in the film; they are so relatable. I mean every other person, him or her, would relate to it and they will just say that it’s my story or someone else’s story or my neighbour’s story.
You have got a lot of love and ever since Pyaar Ka Punchnama and your rant went viral and people still go back to it and talk about it. But do you think that you should play different kinds of roles? It’s not just comedy, right? As an actor you might want to explore more?
Kartik: I really want to and you’ll see my choices in the future, and in the past also I have done quite a few films which were always of different kinds but they didn’t work. People don’t talk about those films; they only talk about my three-four hit films. You should be talking about Akash Vani, which was in between. And I did a film called Kaanchi, which was again a women-centric film. Then I did another film Silvat by Tanuja Chandra. So it’s not just the Punchnama series or Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety , or a Luka Chuppi which talked about live-in relationships in small towns. That was again a taboo subject. So I think I have really been doing stuff which is different from each other, but somewhere down the line people always talk about the stuff which works, which makes money at the box office. My intention is not that I am doing a rant in this film so I will do it.
At the cost of sounding harsh, on Twitter we see comments such as, ‘Why is Kartik leaning towards sexism in the film?” How do you take it?
Kartik: Pati Patni Aur Woh is not a sexist film. I am really getting a lot of love and I have seen a lot of love which is unconditional and they wouldn’t do that unless there’s something positive which is coming out from me. On Twitter or or Instagram, if there are 10 negative comments, so there are 100 positive comments with that. But those 10 comments are highlighted because that’s sensational.
Bhumi: So we are not ignoring that and they are being reciprocated to in the most correct way possible. In Pati Patni Aur Woh especially, it’s an out an out commercial film. You are playing to the gallery but it has been done with a lot of sensitivity. All these three characters are very empowered and at no point are they playing into stereotypical cliches. And we are not showing a wife who needs help rescuing or the ‘woh’ is the vamp or the husband is like a sexist ass. A film like this can easily go wrong, it can easily be the epitome or personify sexism but it hasn’t because the makers and the producers have made sure that it doesn’t go down that path. The messaging of the film is not that and we’ll go away from what we are trying to say.
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