A wife-swapping comedy may sound like an unlikely (though not unique) offering from India, but helmer-thesp Rajat Kapoor means to inject more social commentary into “Mixed Doubles” than the idea suggests. First half is enjoyably upbeat and thoroughly modern in repping a middle-class Bombay couple having bedroom problems, but the second part goes for cliches combined with uneasy humor that mixes messages and fails to get, um, a rise. Breezy dialogue received good local reviews, though crossover potential is nil.
A nice apartment, good jobs, a bright kid: Sunil (Ranvir Shorey) and Malti (Konkona Sen Sharma) have it all, but sex has become routine and Malti can’t interest her hubby anymore. A friend’s boasting about his swinging marriage sets Sunil off in search of local networks of wife-swappers, but Malti refuses the idea until Sunil fakes illness, and she agrees to meet businessman Vinod (helmer Kapoor) and kittenish wife Kalpana (Koel Purie). Pic’s strength is the easy rapport between the two leads, whose warmth and playfulness transcend Bollywood formulae, unlike the chorus of Sunil’s hypocritical colleagues. Woody Allen’s influence begins, but doesn’t end, with the use of jazzy contempo music.