Entertainer No 1
Entertainer No 1, Actor Govinda, , Jagga Jasoos, Happy Ending. Reproduced below is our conversation- partly nostalgic and partly philosophical.
Actor Govinda is back with ‘Jagga Jasoos’ and ‘Happy Ending’ and this time around, he gets partly nostalgic and partly philosophical
Everybody agrees that Govinda is among the few complete entertainers of the film fraternity. Everybody also agrees that he is not an easily accessible actor. He is eccentric, emotional and as some would like to put it, mysterious.
He has been out of the headlines for a while. A while ago I bumped in to him outside his office and grabbed the opportunity to relish a cup of tea in his company.
Reproduced below is our conversation- partly nostalgic and partly philosophical.
Do you believe in destiny?
Not a leaf can stir without the Almighty's orders. Talent, success, happiness is all pre-destined, how else do you explain so many gifted people living life anonymously and rich people being unhappy.
Like our films!
People laugh at Hindi films and call them exaggerated, but they're borrowed from life. They laugh and cry because they experience the same emotions but don’t express them. So when they see it on screen, their identification is complete.
You are identified as a complete entertainer but these days you are not to be seen. Why?
(Smiles) Hota hain, chalta hain…There are times you work like a machine and there are times you sleep peacefully.
What is a peaceful sleep for you and do you dream?
Even a few hours of good sleep is enough for me. Dreams depend on state of mind. Earlier when I was nearing a release, I suffered nightmares. Sometimes, my mother appears in my dreams. They say good thoughts and dreams heal all wounds. I wonder how far this is true.
I heard you disapprove of people addressing you by your pet name Chi Chi?
Chi Chi in Punjabi means the little finger. I'm the youngest in my family and therefore was given the name by my parents. When I came to films, the name retained and as I rose in status, it became Chi Chi bhaiya. It is my pet name, but I disapprove of strangers becoming familiar with me. Some known people who are younger than me also have the audacity to call me Chi Chi so it is natural that I take objection.
But you didn’t mind it all these years.
That's true, I liked the warmth it generated but now I feel they are misusing the simple boy at heart, it is no more a compliment to be just a Virar ka chokra like it used to be some decades ago when I came into films. Times have changed, people have changed, cinema has changed and it is important that I change too.
As a teenager, when you did stage shows in Virar, had you ever envisioned that you would one day become a star?
I enjoyed those shows because I liked dancing and I look forward to performing in Virar if there is an invitation even today. Showbiz is a magical place. I always wanted to become an actor. I didn't know I would become successful. It's all the blessings of my elders. Good phases and bad phases in career are a part of your karma and you have to accept it gracefully, I do.
For somebody as talented as you, you should have done even better?
Maybe, stardom also calls for a particular temperament. I have different focus and I have no complaints about this. I have seen many highs and many lows in my long journey as an actor, done some memorable roles with banners when media called me a complete entertainer and films were success at box-office as well. I reduced assignments out of choice, satisfaction is a complicated word. True artistes are never satisfied.
If you had to pick a few of your favourite films, what would they be?
I enjoyed doing ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’. One, because David Dhawan and I share a special chemistry and this was my opportunity of working with bhaiya Amitabh Bachchan. We shared great moments on and off the sets and spoke in the same dialect even when the camera was not on.
You have always been obsessed with No.1 prefix in your film titles?
It's a superstition. Everyone has them. I feel that No.1 title is lucky for me be it ‘Hero No.1’, ‘Coolie No.1’, ‘Aunty No.1’ and ‘Anari No.1’. My family jokes that if I can have it I’d feature in seven films with the same title and release them seven days of the week.
There was a time you loved shooting outdoors now you don’t want to get out of Mumbai?
On outdoors, actors focus better focused particularly when you start a new film. Shooting in Mumbai has advantages but also pressures. Actors are humans and go through different phases and these days, out of choice I don’t like to travel, in fact don’t like to work too much.
Did it bother you when everyone called you unpunctual?
Yes, because everyone said it as an accusation. The truth is everyone comes slightly late, but somehow I became the culprit. I have been through a phase when I was shooting round-the-clock; I would wake up, sit in my car to drive to the studio, that time nobody said he works too hard and needs rest.