Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai (2000)
Cast: Govinda, Sonali Bendre, Rinke Khanna
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Music Director: Anand Raaj Anand
Nutshell: Convoluted piece of drivel. Nonsensical and charmless and totally dire
Mahesh Manjrekar has been a busy boy since Vaastav last year. He has made Nidaan, a film on AIDS, Astitva, a film on a woman’s identity, and now this, a film which I find some difficulty in being able to describe what exactly it is.
Ganga (Govinda) lives in a village, surrounded by other similar morons. Nothing much seems to happen except a song here and a song there with Saanwli (Sonali Bendre) being his love interest. Except that he is simply too stupid to even know what love is. Why is that simplicity must be confused with dementia??? One thing leads to another and saanwli’s parents come to ask for Ganga’s hand in marriage. At this point, his parents say that they cannot agree to this because they are not his real parents.
The story then unfolds in flashback. Ganga’s parents (Shakti Kapoor and Himani Shivpuri) are rich people living in the city and unable to comprehend the ill health of their young son. After the doctor gives up on him, a “vaid” says he has the cure for his illness. Ganga, the five year old is to spend 20 to 25 years of his life with “bher bakriyan” and no “khoon wale rishtedaar” must be near him. Sounds like the poor Ganga has fallen prey to the evil witch of sleeping beauty, banished as he is from his domain to faraway lands, away from his kith and kin, to be brought up with goats. Hence, a childless couple is found and Ganga is reared by them. However, the time has now come when his parents want Ganga back to live with them. Ganga goes to the city, where he meets his parents and siblings. It seems that his siblings are not enamoured by his dehati presence in the house. But Ganga is simplicity personified and trundles along oblivious to the fact that he is such an idiot. He meets Tina (Rinke Khanna) and after the cliched “Jahil ganwar” dialogues, the inevitable happens and city slicker Tina falls for demented moron Ganga.
Meanwhile Saanwli pines for him in the village. How will he resolve this dilemma? Will his family accept him and how will he gain their love? What of his roots, his foster parents? All is revealed and I know how anxious everyone must be at this stage to know the answers to all these questions, not that we did not know the answers well beforehand. And the film plods along to a utterly predictable climax.
Mahesh Manjrekar has made a dog’s dinner out of this one. What was he trying to do? Possibly trying to prove that he is a man who can handle many and different genres. This one was supposed to be a comedy but it so very unfunny that it hurts. One wonders how the maker of Astitva could come up with such crass and uninspired fare? It is utterly predictable and does not have an ounce of charm in it. The script is unbelievably poor and this film could almost be a retread of a b grade Jeetendra film of the late 60s or 70s. In fact, I am probably doing Jeetandra a big disservice but am thinking of the likes of Banphool etc And Manjekar shows how off the mark he is by ending the film with a song…as if anyone would bother to even stay for that. Govinda in the title role cannot infuse any charm or spark into his role at all. In fact, the film is curiously lacking the Govinda touch. He is made to act like a complete buffoon and one is expected to consider that as charming and simplistic. In fact it comes across as being stupid and irritating.
Sonali Bendre could well be mistaken for a tree…wonderfully erect in posture and as wooden as they come. She looks lovely but wish those fangs could actually get their teeth into something rather than the tree impressions that she does so well most of the time. Rinke Khanna, making an appearance after interval, is OK. Nothing much to write home about but seems confident.
The music is pretty ordinary but some of the songs are well shot. This is a dud of a film, very dull, very boring and a better title would have been jis desh main gadha rehta hai, the gadha referring to our hero in question and all those asses like me who actually saw the film.