'Govinda Naam Mera' review: Overtiring watch that gruels your patience
Shashank Khaitan's Govinda Naam Mera arrived on Disney+ Hotstar on Friday. The comedy-thriller stars Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, and Kiara Advani. A consistently soporific film, its "thrills" are needlessly twisted and laughs are few and far between. Despite good performances, it puts your patience to a grueling, crushing test, ending up as a forgettable watch you will find impossible to care for. We review.
An unnecessarily complicated story is at the core
The film follows the journey of the titular Govind Waghmare (Kaushal), a background dancer stuck in the rut of a nondescript existence in Mumbai. He wants to divorce his wife Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar) but the lack of alimony impedes his plans, while his dancer-girlfriend Suku (Advani) dreams of marrying him. Thrown in this chaos is a murder mystery that Govind somehow finds himself in.
'Govinda Naam Mera' may remind you of 'Lootcase'
The opening sequences are a lot similar to Lootcase and even the premise of the two films are somewhat similar, with their protagonists being Mumbai's Everyman—just another face in the crowd, teetering on the edge of invisibility. Both protagonists get engulfed in crimes, too.
Opposite of ideal storytelling: Film 'tells,' doesn't simply 'show'
It says something if, in a film headlined by three mainstream actors, my favorite segment was when (spoiler alert) Ranbir Kapoor showed up, and that encapsulates everything you need to know about the comedy-thriller. On-the-nose storytelling and foreshadowing become icky and to "tell" the viewer everything when one could simply "show," bogs the film down to a point of no return.
The comic elements in the film seldom work
Cringe-inducing moments swim to the surface in one of the first few frames and while the film possibly does this to be "funny," it's a misfire of epic proportions. Constant background score acts as a cue—what if you forget to laugh during hilarious scenes? Alas, they should have evoked laughter, but the jokes fall painfully flat. This makes the movie an invariably weary watch.
Comic-thriller or romance drama? You would never know
The movie's jarring inability to loyally commit to any one genre screams in the viewer's face. Does it want to be a thriller rife with serpentine twists? Does it aspire to thrive on situational and slapstick comedy? Is it centered around a passionate romance? Oh, maybe it's a love triangle? Spend over two hours figuring this out, but you will never know.
Stereotypical characters fall down a slippery slope
An otherwise electric Pednekar has been reduced to a bundle of tropes and stereotypes. The film fails to grasp the possibilities right in front of it, and she has been reduced to a nagging Marathi wife who rules her husband with an iron fist. Coming to the thrills, they are so convoluted and awkwardly placed that they seem like a last-minute addition, an afterthought.
Dayanand Shetty, meta Bollywood reference help the film in parts
Now, the parts that kept me awake. I was particularly glad to see Dayanand Shetty, who, despite playing his same old CID character, doesn't let your attention waver. Some sequences brim with several popular songs from both the contemporary and the era gone by, and they bring a sense of respite and frolic amidst raucous cacophony. Few meta references have been peppered throughout, too.
Kaushal tries his best, alas...
Kaushal tries his best to breathe life into this sleep-inducing affair, but try as he might, he cannot single-handedly tighten a narrative that's all over the place, almost beyond repair. While Advani does justice to her role, Pednekar deserved a lot more screentime. Sayaji Shinde as the quintessential Mumbai don and Renuka Sahane as Waghmare's mother, too, get into the skin of their characters.
Not a fun or escapist watch; can entirely skip
This overcrowded film adjusts five characters in a scene that has space for only two; I had to rewind at least twice to fathom when some of them explained their needlessly bewildering puzzles. One can sniff twists from miles away, and by the time the final curtain drew, my patience had already worn thin. Vicky Kaushal deserved better. Govinda Naam Mera gets 1.5/5 stars.