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Noisy night, unholy night
Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi? (A)
Director: Saurabh Shukla
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Vinay Pathak, Irawati Harshe, Dilip Tahil, Anu Menon, Navneet Nishan, Ranvir Shorey

The good thing about Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi?? If you take out the raat, it’s a smart and funny take on urban relationships with naughty little twists along the way. The bad thing? The raat makes more than half of the film and there’s way too much baat in that raat.

Saurabh Shukla’s third attempt at direction is about a house party featuring, among many others, three friends, their wives and a sexy seductress. Next day, one of the friends, Rahul (Rajat Kapoor) can’t remember what exactly had happened between him and the bare-back beauty who called herself Sofia (Neha Dhupia). The countless glasses of single malt had made him ‘tunn’ and he just can’t recall what he did with the ‘tota maal’ in the secret room of the house. No, he doesn’t use the word hangover… it’s a blackout!

Not only does Rahul’s wife Mitali (Iravati Harshe) leave him, Amit’s (Vinay Pathak) wife Nandini (Anu Menon) throws her husband out of the house because he surfs porn. The third couple, Saxena (Dalip Tahil) and Jolly (Navneet Nishan) have no such problems. At least that’s what you are made to think. So while the wives offer shoulders to each other, the guys gang up and figure out that the only way out of the mess is to track down sexy Sofia.

The script (Saurabh and Rajat) goes back and forth in time, the search for Sofia punctuated with vignettes from the night before. Sadly, those party people are downright boring and the mumbo jumbo they keep blabbering about are neither funny nor do have anything to do with the film. Even the chat between Rahul and Sofia, replete with double entendres, is not wicked enough.

The second half has much better moments. Ones that make you laugh and ones that make you wonder how fickle relationships are these days, whether they are locked by marriage or when they exist without commitment. The ending is a bit tame but aimed at making you leave the halls with a smile, which it does.

What works best for the film is the casting. With Rajat Kapoor being the man under the spotlight, you keep guessing what he could have done that night. After all, he is the man from Monsoon Wedding and Mixed Doubles. Also, the actor is effortlessly good, portraying guilt and guile with equal panache.

It’s also heartening to see at least one beauty queen trying to do something meaningful. After Ek Chalis Ki Last Local and Mithya, Neha Dhupia impresses again. She doesn’t need to work up a sweat to look alluring and manages to hold her own even in the ones where she has to. Watch out for the scene when she thrashes Dalip Tahil or the way she deals with her father (an awkward cameo by Sudhir Mishra).

The rest of the ensemble cast is uniformly good. Vinay Pathak may come across as repetitive but he still makes you laugh. Anu Menon, better known as Lola Kutty from Channel [V], should do more movies. And it’s always good to see the beautiful Iravati Harshe (Shah Rukh’s wife in Hey Ram) light up the screen.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Raat Gayi, Baat Gayi? is no Hangover, door door tak nahin, but Neha Dhupia’s back is, we would think, a far more welcome sight than Farooque Shaikh’s bum (the leitmotif of the other Friday release). So unless you are watching 3 Idiots one more time, you can give this one a try. But just like the title suggests, it will be a case of raat gayi, movie gayi.

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