Move over, David Dhawan. Enter Mahesh Manjrekar!
When you go to see a film which stars Govinda, you arm yourself with a certain willing suspension of disbelief in your mind set.
A few laughs. A few tears. Some entertainment. That's what you would expect.
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai comes out a topper on all three counts.
Thanks to Mahesh Manjrekar.
No matter that the director has spearheaded thought-provoking films like Astitva or films like Vaastav, (which won for Sanjay Dutt the IIFA Award for Best Actor), or even social awareness films like Nidaan.
The director claimed this film is emotional film -- not a comedy -- and that he was keeping it under wraps. Was a good thing he did. For Govinda just can't help playing the clown.
As Ganga, the village simpleton, he tickles the gallery funny bone well and proper.
Which brings me to the village simpleton bit. Cliche of the century.
That is not the only one. Ganga is innocent. He is truthful to a fault. He has to go to the lyin', cheatin' bad city. People in the big bad world are manipulative, and wear the barest minimum of clothes. Born to one set of parents and brought up by another, Ganga comes to the city and turns everyone's lives upside down. He is loved by some; hated by some.
And the two heroines. One, a sweet, innocent village girl -- Sonali Bendre. The other, a poor little rich girl -- Rinke Khanna.
Sonali Bendre might have the big banners clamouring for her. Not that that has done much for her. Here, she matches Govinda step for dancing step. Not much else.
Rinke Khanna as the rich girl can't be spared much attention since she really doesn't have much of a role. But she does have the chartbursting song, Prem Che picturised on her.
In fact, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this film and a David Dhawan film.
Govinda adds an endearing amount of fun and happiness to his role. Nothing new there. He can make the most inconsequential roles work for him. Manjrekar, for his part, has Govinda do a Dada Kondke take-off, which is rather nostalgic and funny.
Also, since this is a song-and-dance film, with songs popping up every 15 minutes, Govinda is at his fleet-footed best.
Mahesh Manjrekar's comedy bid, though a good attempt, makes you wish he had chosen a more original subject
As for the music, Prem che is the only song worth a mention. Obvious is the fact that Manjrekar had to strive really hard to fit it into the narrative of the film. Also obvious is the resulting strain -- all of a sudden, you have this song popping up, which tends to dilute its effect.
This is Jackie and Ayesha Shroff's second production. Their first being the yet-to-be-released Grahan. And the two have taken no chances with this film. With Govinda in their camp, they have made sure he does what he is best at.
All you can think of, as you leave, is: move over, David Dhawan-Govinda. Enter Mahesh Manjrekar-Govinda!