Have you ever been to one of those excruciatingly boring parties in which the conversation is so stilted and the guests so banal that you want to pick up a fork and gouge your eyes out? If not, you might want to catch Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi, which is pitched as a romantic comedy but is neither very funny nor very romantic.
Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi, like Hollywood’s monster hit The Hangover, features a night of serious partying followed by total amnesia. But director Saurabh Shukla isn’t mining this for laughs. Instead, we follow three married couples and their tangled relationships.
So Rahul, played by Rajat Kapoor, remembers being alone with the very sexy Sophia, played by Neha Duphia but he can’t remember what came next.
Amit, played by Vinay Pathak, is undergoing his own martial crisis – his wife has thrown him out of the house for being a porn addict. And both are being counseled by Saxena, a pretentious writer played by Dalip Tahil, who doles out advice about marriage and affairs but can barely keep it together himself.
This could have been a fun take on urban marriage but the script, by Rajat Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla, is absolute lead.
Characters strain to sound poignant even as they make incredibly inane conversation.
A sampler: Sophia says: Why are all men the same? To which Rahul retorts: That’s not true. Then she says: Shit, I’m so stupid. And he replies: No you’re not.
Shukla and Kapoor want to comment on the shifting moral compass in modern India and give us an insight into how urban folk, or at least the type who live in airy sun-lit homes and discuss virgin olive oil, live.
So, the women are struggling with compromised relationships, children and thwarted careers while the men struggle to understand what the women actually want. And of course everyone succumbs to temptation.
But despite the sexual situations and frank conversation – Saxena even asks Rahul if he used a condom – Raat Gayi never says anything that is new or truly bold.
The actors attempt to imbue depth into their characters but the only one who manages to become flesh is Navneet Nishan who plays Saxena’s loud wife Jolly.
Jolly knows that her husband is cheating on her but prefers to be boisterous and smiling. In one fleeting look, Nishan reveals the pain that Jolly hides beneath her forced jolliness.
These stray flashes also reveal the talent of this cast and crew – after all these are the people who helped create films like Mithya and Bheja Fry. But Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi is not their finest hour. (NDTV)