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"Every obstacle gave me energy": Govinda

Looking at you, I also feel that this isn't just about acting. Your personality itself is happy-go-lucky. People say that Govinda is known for his timing. Was it like this always or did you have to work hard at it?
I achieved everything with hard work. I wasn't always a dancer. I saw a John Travolta film called Saturday Night Fever and started learning to dance. I used to get broken tape recorders and I would play around with them and practice dancing. Then I started learning. Ram Master-ji taught me action without charging me anything. Saroj-ji didn't take a dance fee, and Roshan Taneja didn't charge me any fee for learning acting. I was very committed, so they must have thought that a new enthusiast has come and wants to passionately immerse himself in the art. I also tried to keep that intact. The way property is lost, the same way the environment around you tries to drain your moral fibre. Preserving that is a disciplined act and I kept that in mind.

Another song of your choice?
The song 'Haathon ki chand lakeeron ka, main aashique hoon takdeeron ka' from the film 'Vidhata'. In this song, Dilip Uncle answers 'Taqdeer hai kya main kya jaanoon, main aashique hoon tadbeeron ka'. This song was also filmed on a train and I like it very much.

When you started going around asking for work, who was the person who believed in you?
I think a man has the will to work, and a way of behaving lovingly, which I had in me. Perhaps that's why every one supported me. There were very few people who didn't support me, and I can count them on my fingers.

Tell us their names.
No. They also gave me energy. Every obstacle gave me energy and I am thankful to them. I went through a phase when every one wanted only to help me. Maybe it was because of my uncle Uday Narayan-ji. I used to get five rupees from his place every morning, and I used to set out with that every day. Those days you got tea for 95paise and I used to take roti and butter. My mother said - don't stop having milk and butter, so my face keeps glowing. I never used to eat spicy food. From the offices of Gufi Paintal and Ravi Chopra to Rinku Rakesh Nath's office, I got nothing but support and work. Even if I didn't get work, I got respect and a cup of tea for being the son of senior artists. Even those who said negative things said that there's a fire in me, and that if I returned after six months, I could get work there.

You believe in your mother a lot? I have always heard you mentioning your mother.
I have blind faith in my mother and I am proud of it. I got the impression in my mind that mother is working a lot. That's when the faith began and I decided that I won't let her work any more. I got all my energy from the decision that whatever happens I have to work now, and that's how I became Govinda.

Another song?
'Mile jo kadi-kadi ek zanzeer bane, pyar ka rang bharo zinda tasveer bane... humsafar ban ke chalo tho suhana hai safar, jo akeyla hi chale use na mile dagar' It's a very nice song. I like a lot of Amit-ji's songs but I like this one especially.

I like a lot of your songs. Tell us some songs you like from your own films.
My music directors shouldn't take offence but I needed to do those songs - they weren't my choice. I am the son of a classical singer. If you want to play a song from my films, you could play the song from 'Jaisi karni, vaisi bharni'. It was a song about parents - 'Sabse badi pooja hai mata pita ki...'

A lot of your initial films were with Neelam. Was there a particular reason for that?
The neelam [sapphire] stone also brings some people luck, and it seems Neelam also had the capability to brighten the future. She is a very good actress. I was appreciated a lot with her - she was English and I was desi [local]. Then I worked with Karisma Kapoor - she was also very English, and I was very desi. Now my film Partner is coming and I am working with Katrina Kaif - again she is English and I am desi. I feel my stars match with such people.

So did you become English or did you make them desi?
I changed a little and so did they. A new energy is created when two cultures meet.

Which was your most memorable film with Neelam?
There isn't one memorable film with Neelam - there's a song. I went up to Vaishno Devi by foot with my nephew on sitting on my head. Both my feet had swollen. I did that song in honour of Rakesh Roshan-ji. The filming of that song was postponed by a day due to my swollen feet. The next day the song was filmed in just six hours and the song became a hit. Neelam and I presented that song at many stage shows. The song was 'Mai se meena se no saaki se, dil bahalta hai mera aapke aa jane se...

'Karisma Kapoor and you were also a fantastic pair. How was your experience of working with her?
Some kids become their parents' weapons, especially those who have been through a bad phase. Karisma had also been through such a phase. She did all that her mother told her to. She was her mother's first pupil, and served her mother well. Despite belonging to an affluent family, she struggled a lot. I remember we were doing a song 'Husn hai suhana' - and there was a step where she had to walk on her knees. I told her - Karisma, let's change the step; your knees will get hurt. She cried and said - No, I will do this step otherwise I will be embarrassed. And she did that step. There was a stubborn-ness and an innocence that remained in her. She did every thing her mother told her to. I respect such people who respect their parents.

But from what you say, it seems Karishma herself lost some thing in the process.
No, that's not what I'm saying. Relationships can't be measured with gains and losses. Where there's gain, there is loss too. A good artist should love someone very deeply and purely. I believe that that's where they get their energy from.

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