“Love marriage is one where you guys take the plunge into the well. Arranged marriage is one where your families plot to push you into the well. The means don’t matter because it always ends with you falling in the well,” a wise divorce lawyer, who specialises in sleeping with his clients, tells his friends.
Now imagine a film that was scripted purely as an excuse for this character to mouth that piece of dialogue. Rumi Jaffery’s Life Partner is a light-hearted comedy about marital discord and divorce. Surprisingly, it restrains from resorting to heavy-duty melodrama.
Yes, the sight of a chubby cheeked, double chinned Govinda playing a smooth-operating Casanova is something to shudder at but when the score Shaggily goes ‘Mista Lawyer Lawyer/ He’s fantastic/ Boombastic/Getting everybody divorced’ every time he walks in to say something funny, chances are you are already laughing. Even if his dialogues hit a new level of redundancy: “The biggest cause of divorces in the world? Marriage.”
Govinda’s comic timing salvages most of these cornball clichés but the real surprise of this film is the presence of an actual plot — something we normally don’t expect from any film starring Fardeen, Tusshar and Govinda — and one that, to our disbelief, plays out with a great degree of logical progression.
Genelia’s bratty antics and Tusshar’s geeky dialogue delivery help sustain the humour, especially in the first half of the film. The laughs reduce gradually as the plot turns all serious but the director’s comic-bookish approach to storytelling helps to keep things afloat.
But it is this very uni-dimensionality of characters that restricts the scope of the film.
Darshan Jariwala’s old-fashioned dead-serious ‘Gujarati Hitler’ takes the film into soap opera territory and Govinda as the anti-marriage lawyer, suddenly does a U-turn, after an item song with Amrita Rao.
Why was he anti-marriage in the first place?
A very convenient answer follows as he explains: “Kya karen, mere mann aisa hai.” (What to do, I am like that only)
It’s this casual unabashed lack of depth associated with David Dhawan films that simultaneously turns out to be the film’s biggest sore point and that keeps the mood largely fun. The ridiculous climax is a manifestation of the discord between a film that wants to be serious and funny at the same time.
Go with absolutely no expectations and you just may be surprised.
Director: Rumi Jaffery
Cast: Govinda, Fardeen Khan, Tusshar, Genelia, Prachi Desai, AnupamKher, Amrita Rao
Storyline: Boys marry girls. Boys divorce girls. Boys get girls
Bottomline: Hate bad jokes? This film’s a life sentence