Like all art forms, films have their own genres: thriller, suspense, romantic, comedy etc. Bollywood has all those and one genre that stands entirely on its own – the Govinda movie. Now how does one define a quintessential Govinda flick? Calling it mindless entertainment would be too simplistic, it is crass yet erudite, educating audiences in the most ludicrous manner about human nature. Take Life Partner, where Govinda understands he can no longer be a hero. Yet he maintains his Govinda-ness in that age-old role of a divorce lawyer and while marriage is a dead end for his friends it is a lucrative enterprise for him. Like the smash hit of the season Kambakkht Ishq, it starts off from the premise that marriage is anathema and Govinda – the saviour and Casanova extraordinaire – is in perpetual conflict with his friends Tusshaar Kapoor and Fardeen Khan (who else would pick a script like this? Even John Abraham left this league eons ago). In the female leads are the annoying Genelia D’Souza and a naik parveen Prachi Desai, with Prachi quite set in her character of the misunderstood parvati, sporting the sullen look of a brave bahu.
Life Partner boasts of a band of merry musketeers: Govinda, Tusshar and Fardeen. Fardeen is cast opposite a highly spoilt Genelia who turns out to be expensive excess luggage as the film proceeds. The two jump into unholy matrimony at the emblem of arranged marriage: Tusshar and Prachi’s mandap. The first half of the film therefore belongs to the director Rumi Jaffrey’s well balanced debate extolling both the virtues of love and arranged marriages via his cinematic lens. The film lulls on with timely jokes from Govinda, who one must give credit for not hogging all the screen space and appearing only where he makes an impact, and the typical shenanigans of boys having fun. Although some scenes and dialogues were quite hilarious and had the cinema’s audience roaring throughout. One in particular is when Fardeen, Genelia and Tusshar take a trip and Fardeen checks into a fabulously luxurious suite which the innocent and pappu Tusshar thinks is for the boys and gets a rude reality check when Genelia, unlike the doses of parampara that his father feeds him in their archaic Gujrati household, willingly jumps into.
The interval is perhaps the most exciting moment in this film leaving audiences speculating what happens next. The latter half then takes on the lessons to learn before getting married, and the differences between a relationship and a marriage, ala Fardeen emphatically telling Genelia, “Stop being my girlfriend and start being my wife”. Many a couple could be seen relating to the subject and enjoying the often painful transitions that they too had to make.
So although the film was blah, the audiences seemed to be in throes of laughter at this family drama cum slap stick cum marriage counsellor farce that proved to be a good respite after a long torturous battle with the spouse. The concluding scenes however are just too sickeningly over done and make the film (if it wasn’t already falling from grace) beyond saving. Nonetheless Govinda’s cheekiness proves to be a good buffer and even though at times it felt like he had lost his touch, he’s still enough of a legend to pull the scattered bits of the script together to render it relatively comical coherent. Ultimately, Life Partner is inanely idiotic yet frivolously fun – Hani Taha Salim (Rating – 2 OUT OF 5)
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2009, Genre – Comedy, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Abbas Burmawalla, Mustan Burmawalla, Director – Rumi Jaffrey, Music Director – Pritam, Sachin-Jigar, Cast – Govinda, Fardeen Khan, Tusshar Kapoor, Genelia D’Souza, Prachi Desai, Anupam Kher, Vikram Gokhale, Darshan Jariwala, Shoma Anand, Rajesh Jais, Sheetal Gori, Master Ali, Vivek Shauq, Jagdeep, Rana Jung Bahadur, Himani Shivpuri