Govinda. The name needs no introduction. He is still a superstar for the masses. He ruled the era of 90s with his flamboyance, infectious smile, quirky dance moves and the ‘No 1’ franchise. An entire generation has grown up on Govinda’s brand of his witty comedy. Read on the interview to know more about this bright gem of Bollywood.
Q. It is said that you used to sign the films which had Dharmendra’s film’s title without even reading the script. Is this true?
GOVINDA: Any film titled with his film’s names, like Shola Aur Shabnam and Aankhen, were all going hit. I feel the initial process of a film becoming a hit stars from its title itself. I used to say that work in infelicitous year, time or place, and people laughed on me for saying this but later on these people only made channels and have started their own business because of it. I have never said anything wrong, I say whatever is the truth. So, during early stages when I used to pray and worship, people used to laugh at me and say what’s this numerology, and these people started discussing this on their channels. My respond to them was my name itself is according to the numerology so how can I not believe in that? It took many efforts for me to make it Gonvinda from Govind, but it finally happened and I got the number 9 and got lucky with it. Even my house’s number is 9.
Q. You even had a picture of Dharmendra in your place.
GOVINDA: Yes, I had a poster of Dilip Sahab and Dharam ji. They are my favourite heroes and I feel very blessed to work alongside in my initial years of filming. They have showered their love and blessings upon. In today’s time if somebody tells a newcomer to stop working in films, he or she will feel disgusting, Dilip Sahab had asked me to leave 25 films and I was so shocked and I said that now I’ve eaten all that money to which he replied take a loan from somewhere and leave those films, to which I agreed upon.
Q. Did you follow Mithun Da as a dancer?
GOVINDA: I’ve danced to many honourable artists’ songs like Mithun Da, Jitendra ji, Shami uncle, Dilip Sahab and Amitabh ji. I feel that all these honourable people are gems of our country. Hindi film artists are famous all over the world. I feel great that I got to connect with them.
Q. There have been many new dance steps today but no one could replace the iconic Govinda step.
GOVINDA: That’s because once I was dancing with Kamal master ji on a song of a film. Like when we do traditional dance, there are words(bols) attached to it and I like the though and feel of it. So, when he made me dance to the song, it was like he is talking and conveying something even without saying anything, which I loved and that’s exactly how its done.
Q. Once Aamir Khan had said, “When Govinda, Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit when dance together, one cannot decide where to and whom to look at. Nobody knows where to make out a mistake, it gets complex.” so do you take this as a compliment?
GOVINDA: I don’t have have a problem with any compliment no matter from where it is and from whom it comes from. Aamir Khan ji has a very deep though of process while seeing and doing a movie and it comes across. I would like to thank him for giving a comment.
Q. Have you ever danced with Shiamak Davar in any film? When Dil Toh Pagal Hai came out, he had said he wants to work with you because you feel the song rather than just moving you arms and legs.
Govinda: No, never. Its like we talk only when we feel something, so when we feel something and we say it without any words, its truthful.
Q. After 25 years you’re working with Pahlaj ji, how did the meeting went for the first time?
Govinda: Yes, I remember then I saw the cheque and couldn’t sleep for four days. I felt I have become a hero now. Then I started thinking what should I do now so that no problems arise in future. He used to tell me that you’ll become a star one day. It was like I saw a ghost and poverty so I was afraid. I had seen a bad time.
Q. Why exactly was it a bad time?
Govinda: It had been days since last we had eaten vegetables during the emergency, we went through a very hard time. And I feel artists who have seen such poverty, they have a different attitude. Now when kids tell me about their problems I feel like what problems are these? Once my mother told me that Govind now you’re searching for work in your problematic times, one time will come, when you will find problems in your work, you will overthink, leave your work and get afraid. Now you don’t think too much, you do whatever comes into your heart. So, when that happens, don’t loose hope and keep on working hard. This helped me out a lot. When we’re in problematic times, even then my face didn’t had a sad expression on my face.
Q. What was the amount of your first pay cheque?
Govinda: I don’t remember it exactly but it had crossed my eyes up. With my first cheque, I bought saree and a gold chain for my mother. I couldn’t sleep because of the happiness. I feel that those who are too much into money know they can’t do anything without money.
Q. How do you encourage yourself to keep yourself going?
Govinda: This is a very deep question. When we are seeing the outer world and when the outer world sees us, we should always first peep inside us. We shouldn’t fight with others and wish good luck for them and ourselves. This makes us hard and correct.
Q. Comedy and dance has been your trademark, have you tried doing anything else other than this?
Govinda: When I did Hatya film, people said he himself is kid, what will he act in the film? I was 23 year old then and I was playing a role of a father. People objected to this a lot and told me act my age and do sings and dancing. But I didn’t believe in them. Id I would have thought this I wouldn’t have been a part of that film. When I did Marte Dam Tak, people asked me if I had gone mad, not even a superstar can stand out in front of Raaj Kumar ji, how would he act as a don. My only response was please let me do the job that I have got, people are not getting jobs. People assume and presume but that’s their thinking, you have to keeping working hard.
Q. How do you look at the difference that has come across the film industry today?
Govinda: When we were doing films initially, it was a God’s world. It has always remained a God’s world. But right now the situation has arose where the strong people have started behaving like a God. They assume what they feel correct is the platform to perform. Now giving a platform to perform is not a human being’s job. Assuming this is correct for them at a business level but even in business and you don’t intend to get some people who are not yours, is a mad. It never works. Now, we should be thankful to people who have invested so much money in this line, they’re giving huge platform to us but at the same time we should tell them to not assume and presume too much. Right now we are going through that phase where few people have become God and acting like God but this phase will hopefully pass. Initially, the platform was open for everybody, now this is happening in TV. that’s why it is flourishing now. And I have no objection with anybody, because again, I have to work with them.
Q. How has it been working with so many actresses?
Govinda: I am very thankful to all my heroines. I think that luck is brought in by the goddess and hard work is to be done by us. But this doesn’t mean that if we don’t work hard, our luck will shine and this also doesn’t mean that the goddess can’t work hard. It goes hand in hand somehow. I used to tell my heroines that we don’t have any top director or producer, the only thing here is me and you so we have to work hard. So, the song we used to do, we used to give our 100%. Like in Dulhe Raja, the movie is nothing without the song.
Q. Which phase of your career is your favourite?
Govinda: I don’t have any favourite phase. Although when I was 13 years old, my mother taught me great things. So that gives me happiness. I am very thankful to the film industry to giving me such opportunities.
Q. What do you think of the #metoo movement?
Govinda: When I stepped back from politics, I started staying away from controversies. Otherwise people would think that I’m turning towards politics again. I am a harsh and straightforward person. If anybody gets a platform for saying the truth, they start using it.
Q. Who can be Bollywood’s next Govinda?
Govinda: You are asking a simple man this kind of Godly answer. Because even I never thought that I’ll become ‘Govinda’. Many people today are working like ‘Govinda’, they’re working hard and God is giving them the opportunities as well. People who think that they need to fit into another’s shoes, their thinking will change when they face sadness or fright. May God bless them.