November 1, 2002 
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Preety Jhangiani-Govinda
Govinda? Groan! Not again!
The humour in Waah! Tera Kya Kehna makes you cry

Ronjita Kulkarni

In recent times, Indian filmmakers prefer making films with the overseas market in mind. That, they say, is responsible for a large chunk of revenue. Yet, 95 per cent of the films made here barely create a ripple abroad. Even a film like Lagaan, which had made its way to the Oscars, grossed a mere $1 million in the US.

Sanjay Gupta's big-budget Kaante is expected to end the depression in the Hindi film industry. But according to Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj, 'the idea of a Hindi film working to a mainstream American audience is highly unlikely in my mind. It has never happened thus far'.

In the face of that, what chance does the long-delayed, loud 'comic caper' Waah! Tear Kya Kehna have?

Mind you, I am not trying to compare a Hollywood film with a Hindi film (in spite of the fact that Bollywood thrives on the former in terms of remakes and ideas). Or maybe I should not have watched the Tom Hanks starrer Road To Perdition a day before watching this Govinda starrer.

I could not help but marvel at the different styles of filmmaking. While in the former (though a serious film), Sam Mendes made a tragic sequence like the death of a mother and child powerful by silence and a muffled cry, Manoj Aggarwal tried to enhance his comedy by making Govinda yell out all his dialogues. Needless to say, it is to no effect.

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My point is, I don't see Waah! Tera Kya Kehna making any money abroad. If it ever releases there.

Govinda, Preety Jhangiani in Waah! Tera Kya Kehna As for India, let's see. You have seen the film before in Ram Aur Shyam, Kishen Kanhaiya, Seeta Aur Geeta and Chaalbaaz. An accident leaves Raj (Govinda) mentally challenged. His grandfather Krishna Oberoi (Shammi Kapoor, in a rare appearance) dotes on him. This irks his sons and daughters-in-law. They conspire to rob the old man of his immense wealth and property and get rid of Raj since he is the sole heir.

Of course, the film is well adapted to the Govinda style of entertainment and crude humour is duly incorporated. The love angles are summarily fitted in. Preeti Jhangiani plays the sweetheart of the mentally challenged Raj, while Raveena Tandon plays the wife (and mother of wife) of the smart Raj lookalike.

There you have it. Comedy, romance, action, songs in Switzerland: must-have ingredients for a hit film. These are Manoj Aggarwal's check points. No originality as a filmmaker nor attention to performances.

Govinda, as a mentally challenged person (who also has part amnesia) is required to talk like a baby --- pronouncing his r's as l's and demanding ice-creams. Since he is Govinda, he must repeat his well patented performance (Rajaji, Cooli No 1, Hero No 1, Jodi No 1) here as well.

Rarely is comedy in Hindi cinema subtle. Earlier, it was Tuntun flaunting her weight to make people laugh, or Johnny Walker's sometimes retarded stunts, and Keshto Mukherjee's drunken stupor. Then came Johnny Lever who was quite good when he entered the industry. He stayed. And we grimaced.

Similarly, Govinda was hilarious in his Hero No 1 days. Now, we groan.

Raveena, Govinda in Waah! Tera Kya Kehna Raveena tries to complement Govinda as a qawwali singer from Hyderabad and a mother of five. She jars. And just for the record, does Aggarwal think all Hyderbadis are loud, ill-mannered, paan-chewing brutes? For an actress who showed promise in Shool, Daman, Raveena sure seems to have misstepped here.

Kadar Khan's dialogues, mostly funny because of the matter-of-fact way in which he delivers them, has worked in quite a few films. But please, we have had enough of that! I don't want to watch yet another movie with the man and his wry dialogues!

Preeti Jhangiani springs a surprise with a decent performance. Maybe that is because hers is the only character that is not a caricature.

The music jars as well. All of the songs are eminently to be dismissed, including Govinda's I want money (he sings it himself). And I'm not stretching the truth when I say it is one of the worst songs in the film.

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