Review: Raat Gayi Baat Gayi
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia
Direction: Saurabh Shukla
With her husband sitting beside, the wife quickly sizes up a waiter at a coffeeshop, and bluntly passes him on her phone number. She looks at the husband then, and asks, “Now do you know how it feels to be hurt?”
There’s a touch of universal truth in that moment. It sort of explains why women should feel more betrayed when cheated on. They can quite often get whoever they want. Whether married, single, old or ugly, the fairer sex is rarely short of attention. They’re still seldom bowled over by flattery.
They keep their calm around male hunters; most of them being pests, anyway.
It’s usually the man who slips even if a stranger gave him half a look; a hint of an opening. His woman has probably a right to feel wasted on an ungracious loser.
The thought behind that scene (whether intended or not) is however completely lost on the film. The husband thereafter starts to ridiculously hum the Dil Chahta Hai song: ‘Jaane kyon log pyar karte hain…’ His wife imagines a flash of romance, and instantly hugs him back.
What’s true of that wasted scene is pretty much true of the entire film. That gentleman (Vinay Pathak) at the cafe, an unexplained moron in his manners, is kicked out of his house, caught chatting up a soft-porn stranger on the Internet. His best friend Kapoor (Rajat Kapoor) has a bigger issue to deal with. It isn’t clear if someone spiked his drink with ‘roofies’ at a perfectly sober party the night before. But a married Kapoor has absolutely no memory of an eventful night beyond a point. He can’t recall whether he did (or did not) bed this unknown, mysterious girl (Neha Dhupia), who’d apparently walked in with her boyfriend, walked around endlessly, blank-faced, in a backless dress, and who’d found Mr Kapoor’s first name Rahul, “interesting”. His wife’s been behaving differently since morning.
We hang on until the hung-over hero figures his momentary loss of reason and memory, moving back and forth to the party, or from one apartment or phone conversation to another; still dullness in the air; a local version of the Pakistani soft-voice, and box-guitar fusion, in the background.
You can sort of tell what the filmmakers could be trying to suggest: A bunch of mid-aged men — ‘pseudo’ Saxena, stone-faced Kapoor etc — going through mid-life crisis; fighting temptation over a “settled” life.
You realise quite early on the makers just don’t know how to make their wonderful point, besides for most parts, humourlessly tire you off to sleep. Even when they attempt the atmospherics, they get back with hollow conversations that mention Einstein, Ghalib and Rembrandt, and an unrelated profundity of the century: Why are all men the same. The picture is largely set at a party only as fake and boring as the flick itself. You could leave both.
Bashes in ‘Bollywood’ back in the day meant a grand piano at the centre. The hero crooned away his message of love. The heroine joined him for a dance. A huge crowd of suits and sarees gathered in a circle, quietly stared, and sipped their drink. Some white people floated in the back-rows. Oh we miss those! This one neither touches nor tickles. Better still, get us Hangover any day.