Producer : Quest Films
Director: Mahesh Manjrekar
Govinda, Sonali Bendre, Rinke Khanna
Anand Raaj Anand

Released on : October 13, 2000

Reviewed by: Anjali Abrol

out of 
Mahesh Manjrekar's past films have all battled with more serious subjects, ranging from the commendable Vaastav to the sensitive Nidaan (a sinker) to his last release, the artsy and different Astitva. His latest attempt puts him in the category for comedy, with Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai being a Govinda flick. Though Manjrekar seems to be able to handle the more delicate subjects with ease, the comedy attempt doesn't exactly cut its category by putting Govinda in the midst of an interestingly silly plot.

Govinda plays Ganga, a village simpleton (I mean, simple and kind to the max, just as the village people are 'supposed' to be, not to mention simply naive and in a desh that is limited to his village) who is content in his simple, happy life with the simple village beauty, Saawni (Sonali), his ladylove. His family is complete with sweet, loving, simple parents. He soon finds out that his parents are actually his foster parents, and his real parents are rich businesspeople (Shakti Kapoor and Himani Shivpuri...can't you see the family resemblance?), you know, the big city slicker who all live in the fast lane. Why was he sent to the village? When he was young, he was battling a dreadful disease that I suppose only the village could cure and remained there (getting cured?) for the past 20 some years (the corrupt unmoralistic city dwellers were the disease?). Well, how does he come upon this profound knowledge? His birth parents decide that after so many years (especially now that those dreadful terrible twos phase....and the pre-adolescent pimple phase... and the teenage spoilt brat phase....and the early twenties phase...? has passed...and he is reaching his mid-life crisis), they want him back into their lives.

Off he goes to the city to another 'desh', one of corruption, lack of moral values, modern women, fast people, and lack of culture exist, to live with his newfound family. His family (siblings) is corrupt as well (imagine Akshay Kumar's family in Dhadkan...). Don't forget the modern girl, Tina (Rinke Khanna), who falls for his simplicity, I suppose. How he adjusts to a new lifestyle while unintentionally having others around him adjust to him and his simple ways, with a comedic twist, of course, makes Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hai.

The comedy could have been there and should have been there but just wasn't all there. Yes, some parts were good, some were funny, and others were silly. Personally, I found it more on the level of Joru Ka Ghulam comedy than Kunwara's, though it wasn't as bad as the former. Ever heard of boring comedy? Yes, it is possible... you are too bored to laugh, but there is laughter potential (a Joru Ka Ghulam experience). Yes, I admit I laughed, I enjoyed parts, and I think some people will indeed like this film more than me while others will cast it off. There was potential, but after dealing with serious subjects like Vaastav and Astitva, Manjrekar couldn't get us to laugh when he wanted us to.

Acting-wise, Govinda did well, as usual. He put forth his best and it shows. He is good, very good, but you can't depend on an actor alone to carry a film. Sonali was mediocre, and Rinke perhaps needs to take a few MORE years off to polish up on her acting skills again, the Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi to JDMGRH gap wasn't enough. Then again, she could be on the Twinkle route and just keep missing until she may, just may get lucky with a hit. Reema Lagoo and Shakti Kapoor did well, and the others were average.

The story should have been developed more, one area being the relationships between the various characters (especially those who were most volatile, such as Ganga vs. family members). It has a good start, leading up to many possibilities... and crashes. The comedy, frame by frame, is good, but as a whole, it lacks because there isn't much life to the film.... it just goes on as if there may not be an end, and if there is, you almost wonder how it even began... and the stuff in the was that progression? The songs did nothing to help the situation, since they were placed in random places to lengthen the film rather than add to the overall thrill of the story. No, it wasn't as bad as some of Govinda's other mistakes (take JKG again, or Maharaja, or even the crass Aunty No. 1), but it wasn't a Bade Miyan Chote Miyan or Kunwara.

And the moral of the story parallels that of Pardes or Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hai....NRIs in Pardes and HADMRH are like JDMGRH's city slickers...corrupt, terrible, uncultured, undisciplined, unmoralistic, horrific people...and the people of India (in Pardes and HADMRH) are like the villagers of JDMGRH... moral, virtuous, simple, pure, sweet, kind and innocent people....there are no if's, ands, or buts.... shame on us NRIs/city dwellers!