Disguised as a light-hearted comedy, Pyaar Ka Punchnama is such a misogynistic film that you can’t help but wonder if it was made by someone who’s had his heart brutally stamped on by a woman. The plot is centred on three male roommates in Delhi who can’t stop moaning about their dull jobs and boring lives. When each of them falls in love, things begin to look up. But director Luv Ranjan offers female leads that are such scheming, insensitive shrews that the boys quickly realize bachelor life wasn’t so bad after all.
The film starts off promisingly enough, focusing on the ‘bromance’ between the three boys. Liquid (played by Divyendu Sharma) is a job-hating nerd, Chaudhary (played by Rayo Bhakirta) is a brooding guitarist who practically lives in his undies, and Rajat (played by Kartikeya Tiwari) is the funny one. They cuss at each other and rib the geeky one endlessly, but there’s inherent warmth in the relationship that’s reminiscent of Dil Chahta Hai.
Unfortunately it all goes downhill when the women show up. Liquid falls for a manipulative co-worker who exploits his goodness, Chaudhary doesn’t know where he stands with his girlfriend who can’t seem to shake off her ex, and Rajat makes the fatal mistake of moving in with an attention-seeking harridan.
Aside from one surprisingly insightful outburst by Rajat in the film’s second half where he explains why men can never win against the fairer sex, Pyaar Ka Punchnama is neither smart nor particularly funny. It falls into a repetitive rut of petty squabbles between the boys and their partners, and the women are singled out as the villains of the piece. Of course it doesn’t help that the three actresses – Nushrat Bharucha, Sonali Sehgal and Ishitta Sharma – don’t have one acting bone between them; and to top that, they’re so unflatteringly photographed it’s hard to understand what our heroes see in them.
Pyaar Ka Punchnama is positioned as a comic take on real urban relationships, but the jokes are mostly lame, and the conflicts so exaggerated that it doesn’t work on any level. At best, Divyendu Sharma gets a few laughs out of you in the early scenes, but it’s not enough to put yourself through the misery of enduring this interminably long film.
I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for director Luv Ranjan’s Pyaar Ka Punchnama. It’s about as much fun as walking on broken glass.