When David Dhawan, Govinda and Salman Khan came together to make Partner (2007), I knew there would be quite a handful of insensitive jokes.
Unfortunately, they did not disappoint.
David Dhawan’s Partner brought two of his frequent collaborators, Govinda and Salman Khan, together. It’s like if Martin Scorsese brought Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro for a movie, but instead of being an awesome movie, it is just uninspiring and distasteful.
What I’m getting at is, if you haven’t watched Partner, good for you.
Partner is “Inspired” from Hitch (2005)
If you didn’t know already, Partner is not an original movie. Surprise, surprise! It’s “inspired” (or copied) from 2005’s Hitch that starred Will Smith and Kevin James. In fact, the movie feels like a carbon copy of the Hollywood rom-com.
Kevin James’ character is portrayed by Govinda. To be fair, Kevin James, always felt like an “American Govinda” to me. So, kudos there.
However, what grinds my gears is that they saw Will Smith and thought of casting Salman Khan. The character is supposed to be charismatic and charming whereas Salman is… just Salman.
There’s effortless and then there’s Salman. If you know, you know.
David Dhawan’s insensitive gay jokes in Partner
Bhaskar (Govinda) goes to a party with Priya (Katrina Kaif). As they are mingling with the “party people,” Kiran (Suresh Menon) makes an entry. FYI, Kiran is Priya’s unisexually-named best friend.
Since time immemorial, Bollywood has used unisexual names like Kiran to make jokes. More often than not, they were jokes at the cost of the LGBT community. David Dhawan took this idea and ran with it.
Priya, throughout the first half of the film, uses ambiguous pronouns to describe her best friend, Kiran. As Bhaskar is trying to woo Priya, this creates an unnecessary illusion of jealousy in his mind. When Kiran turns out to be the most flamboyant closeted-gay to ever exist, Bhaskar breathes a sigh of relief.
Bollywood’s idea of the LGBT community is that they are a bunch of people who spend their day constantly fumbling between “karunga/karungi”. Interestingly, I’ve summed up almost all the gay characters to ever exist in Bollywood movies.
At the party, Govinda strikes a conversation with Kiran to confirm his “gayness”. When he confirms his suspicions, he asks Kiran what is Priya’s favourite song. Kiran says, “Jab hum jawan honge, jaane kahan honge.” To this, Govinda replies, “That’s nice, do-do gay.” Very subtle.
You watch this cringefest and decide for yourself
After making way too many not-so-subtle homophobic jokes, Govinda asks Kiran if he likes cricket. Kiran says, “Cricket! I love cricket. 11 mard ek ball ke peeche. Aur aaj kal toh ball-tampering bhi hota hain, you know.” They just had to squeeze one last “gay people are always horny” joke in, didn’t they?
I’ll admit, Govinda played an important part in shaping my generation’s sense of humour. He was the coolest, funniest person to ever exist. He was till we all discovered Chandler Bing and collectively put the “funny guy” stamp on him.
It’s unfortunate that Govinda’s movies haven’t aged well, AT ALL. Partner was supposed to be his comeback film. Today, he is almost non-existent in the film industry and vanished from our consciousness.
Maybe, there is a reason that Govinda hasn’t managed to make his way into our hearts again. But, I can’t place my finger on it.