Lazy Writing Makes ‘Govinda Naam Mera’ A Forgettable Affair

The movie is a fun one-time watch, and uses one of Bollywood’s all-time favourite comedy plots– the trials and tribulations of a poor chap ‘stuck between’ his wife and his mistress

Director: Shashank Khaitan 

Writers: Shashank Khaitan 

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani  

Rating: Two and half 

Govinda Waghmare (Vicky Kaushal) works as a background dancer in Bollywood who has the ambition to become a choreographer. In this, he has a partner, Sukku (Kiara Advani), who also doubles up as his love interest and dreams of getting married to him. They could have danced away their blues and this could have been another cute love story, if not for Mrs. Waghmare (Bhumi Pednekar). Govinda is married to Gauri and she has him under her thumb. She is aware of her husband’s affair but is categorical that she will oblige him with divorce only if and when he pays her Rs. 2 crores, the amount she claims he had extracted from her parents as dowry.  

But he has a more serious problem. There is an ongoing court case between him and his stepbrother about the ownership of their late father’s bungalow. The case is crucial to Govinda not only for financial and sentimental reasons but losing it will also disprove his mother’s marital status. So, it is also a fight for his mother’s honor.  

Things were already adequately complicated for Govinda when one fine day, he finds himself in the middle of a crime scene. What happens next, apart from the movie finally finding its pace and purpose, is an intriguing and twisted (if at times a tad dubious) tale of deceit.  

After Ayushmann Khurrana, this is Vicky Kaushal’s attempt at an out-and-out masala entertainer. He had already given a glimpse of his massy hero potential in Manmarziyaan and he looks effortless as the titular Govinda. But like all characters in the movie, Govinda is written as a trope character and doesn’t stay with you once the movie is over. Kiara Advani is well cast (although in the Bijli song she reminds one of Katrina in Chikni Chameli while the song itself seems a version of the Current Laga Re number from Cirkus)and gives a strong performance. Bhumi Pednekar as the sexy, hot, and dominating wife is intentionally over-the-top and is a real treat to watch, she gets the Marathi accent spot on. The supporting cast includes Renuka Shahane, an actor who makes a rare appearance in Hindi cinema; Trupti Khamkar, Bollywood’s favorite actor to play the sassy household; along with Sayaji Shinde, Dayanand Shetty, Amey Wagh, and Jeeva,. They all bring their A-game. But again the lazy writing ensures that all the characters remain one-dimensional stereotypes. Viraj Ghelani makes a fine debut as Gauri’s insurance agent boyfriend. It seems star cameos have become the next ‘item number’ in Bollywood and after SRK, Aamir Khan, and Akshay Kumar, this time it is Ranbir Kapoor doing the honors.   

2022 has been a year of comedy-laced thrillers, looking back at B-grade movies with nostalgia-tinted glasses, and A-list star cameos. Govinda Naam Mera checks all the boxes. It also throws a few meta-references into the mix. But this is no Phone Bhoot or Bhediya and the dialogues let the movie down. The attempt at comedy is mostly lame and the dialogues are lazy and mediocre at their best and the build-up takes too long and isn’t engaging enough. It is the screenplay in the second half, replete with unpredictable twists and turns, that makes this movie somewhat fun to watch. But an ode to the madcap Govinda-David Dhawan comedies, the movie forgets to weed out the ’90s misogyny and upgrade it to current times (however, there is a sly dig at women manipulating narratives by playing victims). Also, to pull off the ‘stupid’, one needs to ensure that the audience is invested in the characters and the situations and laughs with them. But Khaitan fails to build that world.  

The cinematography, lighting, and production design are similar to what we have seen in multiple thrillers this year. The editing, especially in the first half, could have been much crisper and that would have helped the experience. With a protagonist who is a background dancer, the least one could have expected were some good dance sequences, but one is again disappointed. Music by Meet Bros, Tanishk Bagchi, B Praak, Sachin–Jigar and Rochak Kohli, also stay inside the ‘strictly mediocre’ bracket.  

Verdict: 

It is one of Bollywood’s all-time favorite comedy plots– the trials and tribulations of a poor chap ‘stuck between’ his wife and his mistress. We have seen it as recently as in 2019’s Kartik Aaryan-starrer, Pati Patni Aur Woh. In fact, both movies have Bhumi Pednekar playing the wife. But this is not your regular sanskari wife. And the movie is not a regular comedy. Both have a twisted and darker side. No doubt the second half, especially the climax, is interesting, but in a year that has seen an influx of thrillers, this falls short of being a riveting addition to the genre.  Without any standout sequences or dialogues or songs or dances or performances, at best, Govinda Naam Mera is a fun one-time watch. This is not a bad film, just a forgettable one. 

You can watch the movie on Disney+Hotstar 

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