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Morning sickness


Raat Gayi Baat Gayi

Rating: 2

January 01, 2010

Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Anu Menon, Navneet Nishan, Dalip Tahil

Director: Saurabh Shukla

Raat Gayi Baat Gayi has the ingredients for a movie one would probably enjoy very much, but somehow they never come together.

There’s a Hangover-style premise, in which a married man wakes up the morning after a night of heavy drinking with no recollection of whether he slept with the red-hot siren he was flirting with at the previous night’s party. There are some fine actors working here including Rajat Kapoor as the man in question who must piece together the events of the previous night, Vinay Pathak as his buddy who’s preoccupied with marital issues of his own, Dalip Tahil as the host of the party who seems determined on delivering holier-than-thou sermons, and even Neha Dhupia as the mysterious hottie who Rajat Kapoor’s character may or may not have done the nasty with.

Not so much a raucous comedy, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi is in fact a slice-of-life ‘relationship movie’ in which characters yak solemnly and endlessly about fidelity and betrayal. There are a few nice touches here and there, mostly the casual exchanges between characters and the natural performances, but many key scenes – including the centerpiece seduction sequence between Rajat and Neha – are heavy in dialogue and lacking in action or drama. As a result, the pace drags and boredom sets in.

Ultimately the film examines the modern Indian marriage, peeping into the problems that plague couples who’ve been together more than a few years. Rajat’s wife, played by Iravati Harshe, is facing insecurities related to her career; Vinay Pathak’s wife, played by Anu Menon, needs to be reassured that he still loves her when she discovers his Internet porn; and Dalip Tahil’s wife, played superbly by Navneet Nishan, can’t help trying to solve others people’s problems because her own marriage might be a sham.

Saurabh Shukla directs with an easy hand, allowing the actors enough room to interpret their characters, but it’s the writing here that’s mundane. Most scenes lack the energy that was required to elevate this film into the sly, tongue-in-cheek satire that it was intended to be. What you get is a promising but sadly tiresome film that feels too long even though it’s less than two hours in running time.

I’m going with two out of five and at best an average rating for director Saurabh Shukla’s Raat Gayi Baat Gayi; the film makes some interesting observations but doesn’t do it interestingly enough!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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