Govinda Naam Mera (2022): An Outlandish Yet Watered Down Old School Bollywood Entertainer

Govinda Naam mera

At a time when an increasing number of studios globally are resorting to cash in on the 70s and 80s nostalgia, it only made sense for a film like “Govinda Naam Mera” to drop over an OTT platform casually. It was filmmakers like Manmohan Desai and Hrishikesh Mukherjee who defined the era, the latter of which particularly set a specific standard that modern-day Bollywood directors still aspire to meet. But it was the former who consistently made successful movies that introduced a different style of storytelling; by blending culturally rooted family dramas with drugs and high-octane chases, Desai had changed the landscape for Hindi cinema for quite a while.

The protagonist of writer-director Shashank Khaitan’s “Govinda Naam Mera” finds himself dealing with a similar dilemma. Govinda, a kind-hearted man with big aspirations in his eyes, gets into an increasingly convoluted mess from which he can’t escape. Vicky Kaushal plays a small-time choreographer based in Mumbai madly in love with Sukku (Kiara Advani). She, too, aspires to break big but finds herself around mediocre men who dominate the industry. But the biggest prick in Govinda’s life is his constantly-nagging wife, Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar). On top of this, our hero faces legal trouble when his brother claims the age-old ancestral property.

Govinda Naam mera

Shashank’s previous credits include films such as “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania,” “Badrinath Ki Dulhania,” and “Dhadak,” movies that could truly be considered ideal ‘masala’ blockbusters. With “Govinda Naam Mera,” Kaushal steps into a role that asks him to break away from the restraints his characters earlier embodied, bringing both himself as well as the film out of a specific comfort zone. But initially packaged as a love triangle, the film ends up being something far more unoriginal and, well, as convoluted as the mess Govinda finds himself around. The culturally rich backdrop of Bollywood should’ve provided ample interesting ideas to play around with, yet the makers reduce it to nothing but a story prop. It reminded me of the Alia Bhatt starrer, “Darlings,” which so well utilized its rural Mumbai setting that imposed the twisted lives of its characters.

Some of the most prominent female leads in the films include Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, and Renuka Shahane. Shahane is particularly wasted here, with the screenplay rendering her character into a throwaway gag. The film’s biggest issue, however, is how it conflates the pretense of recreating an old-school Bollywood entertainer while watering down the modern-day sensibilities at every step of its turn. It’s supposed to be a regular chor-police whodunit comedy but doesn’t embrace any of the genre’s pulpy aspects. The screenplay reduces the female leads by handing them repetitive leitmotifs that should’ve been dropped way back in the 80s. Even in that case, it doesn’t work because of the movie’s never-ending desire of wanting to come across as an attempt at deconstructing what the perks of having an unrecognized male identity could lead to while also appealing to a broader spectrum of old-school Bollywood lovers. You can watch “Govinda Naam Mera” on Hotstar.

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Govinda Naam Mera Links: IMDb, Wikipedia
Where to watch Govinda Naam Mera
Aryan Vyas

Aryan Vyas is a film critic who shares an equal fascination towards science and philosophy. Alike most cinephiles, he too believes that films carry the potential of acting as windows to peep into different cultures in search for the human condition. He has written for publications such as High on Films, Film Companion and Asian Movie Pulse. Through his write-ups, he looks at the artform through a sociopolitical lens, as he believes art is always better consumed knowing the subtext.