Rajat Kapoor and gang have cracked it. They seem to know that there's space for a different kind of cinema and the possibility to tell stories that explore the mindscape if they just keep the budgets low and their spirits high.
In the tradition of Mixed Doubles, Rajat Kapoor tosses up another tale that takes a closer look at our morality in his old ally Saurabh Shukla's directorial venture Raat Gayi Baat Gayi?
If Mixed Doubles was about a married man's newfound need to venture out of his marriage and convince his wife to sign up for a wife-swapping party, Raat Gayi Baat Gayi? is about the hidden desire and temptation of the married man.
How well do we know ourselves? Would you cross the line after a late night binge when you get a chance? Raat Gayi Baat Gayi? comes up with a disturbing yet candid answer. Its protagonist simply does not know.
Rahul (Rajat Kapoor) cannot remember if he cheated on his wife Mitali (Iravati Harshe) with a mysterious stranger Sophia (Neha Dhupia).
First thing in the morning, he sets out with his friend Amit (Vinay Pathak) who is having a bad day of domestic strife with his wife Nandini (Anu Menon) to find out what really happened.
Yes, there are a few larger than life moments that jar with the rather realistic tone of the film (like the entire sequence involving characters hiding in a cupboard) and some of the dialogues do sound out of place in a film that seems so real (Especially Neha Dhupia's ‘I'm dangerous' attempts at sounding enigmatic in the First Act).
But given her new, improved actress avatar, we buy into those borderline corny quips. It helps that the rest of the ensemble is solid.
Rajat Kapoor delivers a career-best and it's always interesting to see an actor slip out of his zone. He excels in the emotional scenes.
Vinay is ever reliable and every cast member, Iravati Harshe, Anu Menon, Dalip Tahil, Sudhir Mishra and Navneet Nishan, surprises you at some point or the other.
To Saurabh's credit, the writer-director creates a largely believable party full of eccentric, sloshed characters on their own trip and these small cameos, including one by Ranvir Shorey, produce a few laughs as the two narratives — Man trying to find out what happened the next morning and What really happened the last night — run parallel.
The director contrasts the jazzy, classy, romantic feel of the night with the edgy, screwy, realistic feel of the day between the narratives and keeps us guessing for a large part of the film.
So did the guy really cheat his wife or not?
In a commercial film, you can be pretty sure he didn't unless he's the villain of the film. If this were an arthouse film, he sure did cheat on his wife.
But given that this is from Rajat Kapoor's camp, the best you can do is guess.
Raat Gayi Baat Gayi?
Director: Saurabh Shukla
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Neha Dhupia, Iravati Harshe, Dalip Tahil
Storyline: A man wakes up with a hangover unable to remember if he cheated on his wife or not and sets out to find out what really happened the last night.
Bottomline: Here comes the Bolly-Woody Allen movie