At the heart of Govinda Mera Naam is a dilapidated bungalow with several claimants, but as it turns out, the bedraggled set piece becomes a metaphor for the worn-out writing that the talented ensemble cast seeks to restore by filling it with some moments of mirth and magic. The competent cast tries hard to keep the bloated boat afloat, but their efforts get drowned in the sea of superficial writing. A Dharma production, it reminds us of its inane Drive (2019) to nowhere, despite having a competent driver.
After mounting three endearing romantic comedies, writer-director Shashank Khaitan fumbles in plotting a comic thriller with dark undertones. There’s no doubt that Khaitan has created a bunch of colourful characters, but he struggles to generate humorous situations around a self-seeking lot. Without credible motivations, they remain as just cardboard floating on shallow puddles of the insipid imagination of the creator.
Just like Govinda (Vicky Kaushal), who is struggling to jive to the jarring tunes of life. An emerging choreographer, he is caught between a domineering spouse Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar), and a demanding girlfriend Suku (Kiara Advani). Together with his stroke-survivor mother (Renuka Shahne), Govinda is locked in a court battle with his stepbrother to retain his late action director father’s house.
Govinda Mera Naam
In between, there is a shady businessman (Sayaji Shinde) keen to use the choreographer to launch the music video of his singer-son (Jeeva) who is more addicted to drugs than music. Add a clever cop (Dayanand Shetty), a snooping maid (Tripti Khamkar), and a greedy insurance agent (Viraj Ghelani) to the mix and we have the ingredients to cook up a potent masala. However, it remains a drab exercise.
Keen to hide more than to tell during the long build-up, Khaitan could not establish the contours of the triangle in Govinda’s love life, giving the story a bobbling start. Then he indulges in jokes on disability which don’t land. When a dead body is found lying in the drawing room of the bungalow, we hope that the proceedings will finally spring to life, but it remains comatose.
There is not a single honest moment in the film that makes you surrender to the manufactured chaos on display. The crazy title promises some electric dance moves and music but there is hardly any current in the score. And, the sting in the tail that Khaitan keeps wrapped up comes long after we had given up on the shallow enterprise with a hollow premise. The natural flair and infectious charm of Vicky and Kiara fail to perk up the proceedings, and even the reliable Shinde and Shahane could not add any depth to the flimsy storyline. In the end, the title remains the only whacky thing about this ungainly chaos.
‘Govinda Mera Naam’ is currently streaming on Disney+Hotstar