Wife is the tale of a woman cheated into marriage to a selfish scoundrel who's
married her only for dowry, and the struggle of this woman against him and hostile
in-laws. Surprised? You're right, the posters indeed give you the impression that
this is a comedy. And when you go in, you realize that that isn't a con job -
even the director thought he was making a comedy.
The tale starts like an episode of Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam's Anando Brahma, with several PJs (really poor ones) one after the other, and enacted by characters who have nothing to do with the theme. Kranti (Preeti) is a student staying in a women's hostel, and appears to be the only mature one there. Shankar (Sivaji) is a good-for-nothing unscrupulous guy who dreams just of a visa to the US. And he's set on it that he's going to get it by marrying a girl who can take him there.
He's impressed by the beauty of Kranti, and when he learns that she is the sister of a software tycoon of sorts in the US (though the family shows none of the opulence you'd associate with that), decides that she's going to be his passport. He can't land her through his charm, and so impresses her parents with his earnestness and asks for her hand, and the good daughter marries him in deference to their wishes.
And here starts the nightmare for Kranti. On the first night itself Shankar tells her that he's not going to sleep with her unless she gets here brother to get him a job in the US. Seems pretty silly - firstly, the wife is pretty curvaceous, and secondly, showing your ugly side on night one is hardly the greatest way to get your wife to help you get to the US. But picking loopholes in this film will end up only taking the size of this page into megabytes, so we'll get on.
Kranti overcomes the shock in some moments, and, being the sensible lady that she is, tries to tell him sweetly that that's not a done thing and that they should go to the US through their own efforts, and that she'll do everything she can for it. Shankar is hardly the kind to listen to that kind of reasoning, and he and family start taunting and tormenting Kranti.
Kranti puts up with all this for a year hoping she can reform Shankar, but when one day he distributes morphed photographs to the entire neighbourhood showing her committing adultery, she blows up and leaves, but not before challenging him that she'll make life miserable for him.
She marries a good friend and settles down in the house right opposite to Shankar's, and in a very unconvincing and filmi way, steadily humiliates him until he falls at her feet begging for her to return to his life. And then comes the best part of the film - it ends.
Like we said, there are so many flaws in this, it's pointless even trying. There're comic scenes when you expect drama and wailing, Shankar's character is portrayed quite unrealistically - sometimes he appears vile, and sometimes a comedian - and so's that of his uncle (played by Mallikarjun Rao), and there are scenes (such as Shankar's 'transformation' just before he tries to make a blue film with his wife) when the director actually tries to make a fool of you in a very amateurish way. It's all so unconvincing, you wonder if these guys think the audiences are dumb.
Preeti stands out in this nonsense for doing whatever she can to lend dignity to the character of Kranti. She's a fine actress. This is a wrong film to say anything about Sivaji's histrionic capabilities - the director has messed up his role. There's a parallel comedy track involving Babu Mohan and M S Narayana that's aimed at humans below 10. The music is nothing remarkable.
The only reason we can think of that you'd watch this is to verify the facts in this review.