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Released Films MIXED DOUBLES Synopsis
The husband steals into the bedroom, opens the drawer where they keep the scissors and hides it away under the bed. Then he double knots his pajama drawstring.
When his wife arrives, he leaps upon her. 
“You want to?” she asks, surprised. Clearly, this hasn’t happened in a while.
“Of course,” he replies. “Always.”
But they run into a snag. He cannot untie his pajama. She gets up to fetch the scissors. It isn’t where it should be. 
She searches. He waits. The moment is gone. 
He heaves a sigh of triumphant relief.

Sunil and Malati, mid 30s, live in Bombay with their young son. A marriage of choice, it is clear that the early years were very happy. Now they have the usual indicators of a good middle class life: double income, single kid, nice apartment, decent job, some good friends, washing machine, desktop computer, car. But while there is still comfort, after ten years, the spark is gone. 

For years, analysts talked about the seven-year itch in marriage, when boredom and complacency can drive a partner to adultery. Sunil and Malati love each other. Neither would dream of cheating. But it is clear that something needs to be done. Sunil is not happy. He is going to die of boredom. Life has become a chore. He does, or at least tries to, do his part. But even making love to his wife has become a dreary duty, one best avoided. Knowing that this upsets her, he tries all kinds of tricks to ensure that the opportunity does not occur. Malati, hurt, tries to talk to him, to be alluring, to negotiate, but to no avail.

And then it all changes. Sunil is suddenly loving and amorous— he is no longer bored. Malati is pleased until Sunil tells her of his new obsession. She is shocked. His plan is unacceptable. She will bear no part in it. But Sunil cannot do this alone. He cajoles, he pleads, he yells and finally, he tricks her into capitulation.

Mixed Doubles is an important film to come out of India. For too long, movie fare in India has been about escape, attributing larger-than-life powers to their characters to tell stories that are as extraordinary as they are unrealistic. Art house cinema, while not falling into the folly of documenting the impossible, by and large chose instead to focus on the grim or the exotic.

India, however, lives in many centuries. There are millions that are ordinary, whose lives mirror those of billions around the world. They are the worker ants of this world. The ones that will do their job, earn their stripes and depart, leaving not a single footprint, mourned briefly by just the handful of relatives and friends that shared that life. 

Rajat Kapoor, as a filmmaker, has consistently chosen to examine the ordinary. Whether in Raghu Romeo (2003) or with Mixed Doubles, he casts a sympathetic look at the small lives, the small dreams—and how easily they can become destructive and dangerous.

Mixed Doubles questions India’s new middle class dream. Even as the world regards India’s emerging market, as a healthy growth rate produces new consumers, as the middle class adds to the educated, English-speaking labor force that will propel the country into a global economy, the film focuses starkly on just one cog in this spinning wheel. Sunil and Malati. What has quick, easy success done to them? Why is Sunil not happy to be content? 

Sunil wants something extra. He hunts for challenge and finds a promise. He lies, connives and cheats to get that chance.  The dice is thrown. But gambling, as he discovers, is never predictable.