Star cast: Prashant Narayanan, Aruna Shields, Naved Aslam, Lucy Hassan.

Plot: Mr. Singh (Naved) and Mrs. Mehta (Lucy) have an affair, about which their spouses are aware. Mrs. Singh and Mr. Mehta lament together and, in the process, they too have an affair! What’s more, Mr. Mehta, a painter, also paints Mrs. Singh in the nude.

What’s Good: The story idea about the first cross-affair but surely not about the second one; the nudity.

What’s Bad: The excruciatingly slow pace of the drama; the ridiculous effect of the affair between Mr. Singh and Mrs. Mehta; the censors playing spoilsports by asking for the nude scenes to be distorted by using pixels.

Verdict: Mr. Singh Mrs. Mehta will be appreciated neither by the Singhs and the Mehtas nor by anyone else.

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Loo break: Plenty, but you will miss the nude scenes of Aruna Shields, or whatever there is of them.

Medient, Tarlac and Crossover Joint Ventures’ Mr. Singh Mrs. Mehta is about two married couples. Ashwin Mehta (Prashant Narayanan) and Sakhi (Lucy Hassan) are a couple. Ashwin loves Sakhi so much that he is even prepared to overlook the extra-marital affair she is having. Karan Singh (Naved Aslam) is married to Neera (Aruna Shields). Neera suspects Karan of having an affair with another lady. When she learns about the identity of the lady, Sakhi, she knocks her door but meets the lady’s husband, Ashwin, instead. Both realise that the affair is between Mr.Singh and Mrs.Mehta.

Mr. Mehta (Ashwin) and Mrs. Singh (Neera), distraught with the unfolding events, give each other company and solace. By the by, Ashwin and Neera also get close to one another and have an affair. Since Ashwin is a painter, he also paints Neera in the nude. This painting of a lady in the nude impresses Ashwin’s wife so much that for the first time, she encourages her husband to paint more and even holds an exhibition of his paintings. Before this, Sakhi had asked Ashwin never to paint and she was happy supporting him with her income.

The film, written by Pravesh Bhardwaj, not only has an unusual story but also quite a weird one in which the most unlikely thing happens – two persons, unhappy with the knowledge that their spouses are having an affair between themselves, also end up having an affair! It is quite a ridiculous thought that a lady and a man, who are both reeling under shock and disbelief and are shattered by the actions of their spouses, would end up committing the same mistake as their better halves.

The drama moves so slowly that it tests the audience’s patience. The screenplay seems to have been written just so that the nude body of Neera can be exposed to the hilt but the censors have poured water on that by asking for the nude scenes to be distorted by pixels, thereby greatly reducing the voyeuristic app- eal of the film. The audience will feel agitated on seeing Ashwin and Neera doing nothing at all to stop the affair between Karan and Sakhi and instead themselves getting physically close to each other. Dialogues are ordinary.

Prashant Narayanan is a fine actor and he does very well in this film too. He is especially fantastic when expressing his frustration and helplessness. Aruna Shields does an average job. Naved Aslam is so-so. Lucy Hassan barely fills the bill.

Pravesh Bhardwaj’s direction is hardly any better than his uni-dimensional script. The narrative pace is excruciatingly slow and makes the film seem like it is made for the festival circuit. Shujaat Hussain Khan and Sharang Dev’s music is good but extremely class-appealing. Amitabh Varma’s lyrics are weighty. Mahendra Pradhan’s cinematography is quite nice.

On the whole, Mr. Singh Mrs. Mehta is too dull and dry to make any impact. To add to its tale of woes is its horrifyingly weak promotion. A box-office disaster!

By Komal Nahta

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