2021 has just begin and Pagglait is one of the last releases of the first quarter of the year. Still, the moment you begin to play it, there is one movie and one web show which you are instantly reminded of – Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi and The Married Woman (incidentally coming from Ekta Kapoor only, who is also the producer of Pagglait).
In terms of the core setting, it is exactly the same as Seema Pahwa’s directorial which was the first theatrical release of 2021. There is a death in the family (this time it’s that of a young man), his mother is grieving (Sheeba Chaddha), the man (Ashutosh Rana) is aware of his middle class bearings even as he politely does mol-bhaav with a ‘Gadde waala’, there is a plethora of uncles around (Raghubir Yadav, Rajesh Tailang), each of whom wants to now find some sort of superiority in the rishtedaari, there is a separated aunt (Meghna Malik) and then there is a bua and a foofaji (Jamil Khan) who is rather understanding and also quotes Shakespeare. Wait, there is also a kid each from class ninth and tenth respectively who strike a deal to kiss on the cheeks, only to change directions in the course of action!
While the entire middle class household with a UP kind of setting in the Jama Masjid area of Delhi lends a strong déjà vu of Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, there is the wife (Sanya Malhotra) of the man whose demise (and not death) is the topic of discussion, finds solace only with her best friend (Shruti Sharma) while getting into The Married Woman route with Sayani Gupta. (Spoilers ahead) She was the lover of the man who has passed away right from college till corporate days, and the duo bond over how he used to be different with each of the two woman. No, unlike the Ridhi Dogra and Monica Dogra love story, they don’t end up setting their own love story. However, it does end up giving some direction to Sanya about how she wants to progress ahead in life, even if that means faking a pregnancy and even picking only one thing from the household, a laptop (and its charger), while leaving the big bucks behind.
In the process, the entire narrative turns out to be rather uneven as director Umesh Bist (who has earlier made O Teri) keeps the storytelling as more dramatic than humorous. If basis the promo you thought that Pagglait would have a comical aspect to it then beware as most of the scenes that lead to smiles and laughter are the ones which are relegated to the promo. Beyond that the film turns out to be rather flat and just when it seems that things would take turn for the better with the arrival of Sharib Hashmi on the scene (as the life insurance official), everything just ends up flattering to deceive all over again. As for the climax, it seems rather unconvincing, even as it reminds one of the manner in which Dolly Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitare concluded.
Watch it for a lazy outing and the performances of practically the entire cast which lifts even an ordinary scene, but don’t expect much uplifting or humorous moments here.