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Monday, May 12, 2008

Gautam Govinda (1979)

This Subhash Ghai movie has Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Moushumi Chatterji, Aruna Irani, Vijay Arora, Nirupa Roy, Prem Nath, Madan Puri, Om Shiv Puri, Abhi Bhattacharya, and should come with the statutory warning that it is too spicy (with filmy masala) to handle! Its a 70's masala movie with angry young men, nasty villains, charging bulls, stampeding cows, and of course lost-and-found brothers.
Gautam (Shashi Kapoor) is an angry young police officer who hates criminals. After successfully putting smuggler Bagga Seth (Madan Puri) in prison, he is posted to a lawless village. Before leaving, he seeks the blessings of his father. Wait a minute... His father is a catholic priest! In masala-land that can mean just one thing - Gautam is an orphan. A blown up picture of his kiddie-self with parents and a flashback tells us that he was separated from his mother while his father was being killed. Yup, you guessed it - Nirupa Roy has misplaced her nth son (why did she never lose a daughter?).

Upright Gautam arrives in Dharampur, a village that has more than the usual complement of goons and is ruled over by the nasty Raja Dharamdutt (Prem Nath). He strikes up a friendship with the village postman Gopala (Vijay Arora) and proceeds to set the village to rights. The first obstacle he encounters is Govinda (Shatrughan Sinha) the village's Goon No.1. The two face off in the village and Govinda is locked up in jail. His distraught mother Ganga (Nirupa Roy) comes into the police station and walks away with her son in front of a shell-shocked Gautam. No no, dont blame Gautam for inaction - the poor guy has just seen MAA!
Any normal man would run howling to Maa asking to be petted, but for Gautam duty comes first. He cannot clean up the village if the bad guys find out that his Maa and Bhai (brother) would make excellent hostages. This man can sure think on his feet! So, Gautam does not go to his new-found family but, continues to fight the goons and conciliate his brother.
Gautam's machismo, his fighting skills and hot good looks win the admiration of the feisty Sandhya (Moushumi Chatterji). She decides that the way to his heart is to play the damsel-in-distress. When that ploy is unsuccessful, she tries her hand at flirting and then at playing the ministering angel. Gautam watches her attempts to captivate him with tongue-in-cheek (literally!) amusement and eventually capitulates.
Govinda's love interest is Gulabo (Aruna Irani), the village moneylender's niece. She pursues him with single-minded zeal while he plays hard-to-get. Aside from fending off Gulabo's advances, Govinda has also been working hard as a goon-for-hire to pay off his mother's loans.
The evil Raja hires Govinda to rid the village of the troublesome policeman. When direct combat fails, Govinda engineers a cow stampede to kill Gautam. Gautam however, proves indestructible. Govinda's pride in his work as a successful goon is severely eroded. In the end he decides that if he cant beat Gautam, he will join him. The two brothers join forces to rid the village of all undesirables and the evil Raja gets his comeuppance. That sounds like "The End". How can this be? The movie is only three quarters done!
The villain, like Lord Voldemort, is only defeated not destroyed. He employs low cunning to create a misunderstanding between Gautam and Govinda. What happens after that? Lots more action, drama and loud dialogues in the true masala-blockbuster style!
The movie is a zany remix of Mother India and Deewaar with the 70's trademark lost-and-found-brothers thrown in for good measure. The spunky mother uncowed by the oppression of the village landlord and moneylender, and her hell-raising younger son are reminiscent of Mother India while the brothers-on-opposite-sides-of-law part reminds one of Deewaar. Gautam Govinda however, is an over-the-top masala romp that never fails to entertain. There are lots of holes in the story but with so much happening on-screen all the time - who cares?
Performance-wise all the actors are satisfyingly over-the-top. Shatrughan Sinha plays the loud Govinda in his inimitable style with a Bihari (?!) accent. Moushumi and Aruna Irani as the spirited village beauties are fun to watch. They get to do some fighting and all the wooing, but otherwise dont have much to do in the movie. Nirupa Roy reprises her Deewar, Suhaag, etc., persona and plays the mother with visible ease. Vijay Arora as the sincere postman is quite good. Prem Nath, Madan Puri and the other assorted goons are fine as larger-than-life villains. For all its multi-star cast, this one is Shashi Kapoor's film and he is very good as the angry young man. He fights, he roars, he cries over his lost mother, despairs over his wayward brother and kicks-ass, 70's style!
The music by Lakshmikanth Pyarelal is fine with a couple of good songs - Darogaji chori ho gayi, Ek ritu aaye ek ritu jaye and Tora bitwa jawaan hui gawaa. There is also an item number by Reena Roy with a totally forgettable song.
For all you masala connoisseurs - this is one movie that should make it to your 'to-watch list'!


  1. This seems like EXACTLY what the PPCC needs.

    After not one but three really horrible (like REALLY horrible) Shashi roles, our love of Shashi has been shaken and we were wondering why we even started liking the idiot. We are DESPERATE for a forgotten masala classic with Shashi (and Shatrughan!) that doesn't suck.

    OMG what's he doing with those feet?!

    Lovin' the screencap of bruised Shatrughan and Shashi. That's hot, right there.

  2. adding it to the list :-)

  3. Yes PPCC, thought this one would be right up your alley! Shashi looks really good throughout the movie. Shatrughan Sinha is a bit on the heavy side but the two of them make a great pair!

    Memsaab, I'm sure you'll enjoy the movie as much as I did and I usually prefer 60's masala. :-)

  4. That is such a good point! Why DIDNT Nirupa ever lose a daughter? and what puts it over the top for me me is her toting a gun- priceless!

  5. Shweta I have thought long and hard and havent come up with a reasonable explanation. Considering that her lost sons were usually Shashi and/or Amitabh, you'd think she would take care not to loose them! For all her regrettable tendency to misplace her kids (should do a post on that one day), she was certainly feisty and spirited in this movie and fun to watch.

  6. I read some where she was the MAA of 68 heros ; but none of her betas attended her funeral!!!

  7. Oh! IS Nirupa Roy dead?! I did not realise that. :(

  8. Most hilarious review I've ever read! Mazaa ayy gaya! You should write for

  9. Thank you so much, Bamboosong! And I'd love to write for Upperstall, if I knew how to get in.

  10. Please how can I download this movie. Need a link badly. Please send link to