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Up close with Govinda

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Monday, August 06, 2007
Ek Mulaqat is a weekly chat show presented by BBC Hindi India Editor, Sanjeev Srivastava. The programme brings lively and informative interviews with some of India's most famous people, including politicians, artists, sports personalities and Bollywood stars.

On BBC Ek Mulaqat, our guest today is someone who has won our hearts for many years with his dancing, acting and comedy. Now he is proving his skills in politics. We have with us Govinda

You know we were waiting for a long time for a chance to met you and rag you.
I'm a bit cautious now that you've said 'ragging', but thank you for honouring me so much.

You've acted in about 100 films. How has this long journey been for you so far?
I consider it a blessing - my parent's blessing, my elder's blessing, my grandparent's blessing, and specially the blessing of that house which gave my whole family a chance to work in this field. If I start thanking, the list will be very long. People have been very kind. I'm still learning and the journey is on.

For a long time, you have been referred to as 'the boy from Virar'.Do you like that or feel that it's enough now?
Some things get attached to you and somehow they are kept alive too. This tag of 'the boy from Virar' was said very fondly. My father used to say that at least thanks to this you will remain a 'boy' even in your old age. I believe that there's a reason behind every thing that is attached to you. You must understand that reason and keep moving on in life.

I think the reason behind this phrase must have been to say how far you have come.
You say that out of the goodness of your heart. Everything has a reason. In what sense a certain thing was said and what comes of it also matters. Talk is just talk. Sometimes it has something to do with actions and sometimes not.

I didn't think my words had such a deep meaning.
So far I've been taking this phrase very casually.

Tell us about the early days of your career - how did you struggle in the industry? Of course, your first film itself was a hit.
Our struggle went of many years. My father used to be a hero in films. Mehboob Khan sahib gave him a break. My mother used to be a classical singer but there was a phase when my family was in trouble. Being from an artist family we were alright in terms of culture and society. When I saw my mother working I thought that I should also work. I started thinking of working at the age of 13 and that's when my struggle began. I started going to producers for work at the age of 14-15. They would say - you're too young, if there's any work for you we'll let you know. I used to go and sit at Rajshree Productions and Shantaram-ji's office. But I finally got work at the age of 21 when I had completed my B.Com. I had come to live with my uncle Uday Narayan Singh-ji. Ravi Chopra-ji gave me my first break. I met him through Gufi Paintal-ji. A person called Avinash took me to Ravi Chopra-ji and I worked for a clock brand called 'Allwyn'. My first cheque was for 4000 or 4500. I bought my mother a saree and some boxes of sweets with the money.

After becoming an MP, I started my work with the local train only. I have a long association with local trains. I was returning on the local train when I met a sadhu. He asked me - is your name Govinda and have you got some work today? I thought he must be a well-connected man; the news has already reached him. But then he said - you are going to your mother. I asked him how he knew all this. He said that my good time was about to begin and that I will meet many gurus in different fields and I should always respect them. Saying this he got off at the next station. I reached home and handed the cheque to my mother.

The first time I sat in a plane, I felt very weird, because we used to live in a village and run after all the vehicles that used to come into the village. And if a plane would fly over our village, we would watch it for a long time and then discuss it at length. Then we started shooting in Kashmir and the whole cycle of work began. My first film that released was Tan Badan, then Love 86 and then Jhoota Ilzaam. Love 86 was the first film I signed. And it's been on since then - Love 86 too happens sometimes, so does Jhoota Ilzaam!

Now it's Love 2007 that's on. Tell us a song of your choice.
The song 'Fikr ko dhooen mein udata chala gaya' from dev Anand-ji's film Hum Dono. This song has a certain carefree attitude, a little romance, a little spiritualism, and the capacity that a man has to fight the battles within one's character. I like the music very much.

The way films used to be classified as art films or Manmohan Desai type films, there was a time when films used to be called Govinda-type films. How do you feel hearing this?
I did many serious type films at a very young age, and so I became sort of tired. Actually, characters used to influence me because I used to immerse myself in my work. I saw an interview of Dilip Uncle's [Dilip Kumar] where a doctor told him to do comedy films so that he would keep in good health. Then I did a film called Intezaar with him. My mother said that if you get a chance to press his feet, you must do so. I met him in his room and chatted with him. In totality I understood that the work you do shows its effects on your personality. I did comedy films and enjoyed my work very much. That work created an image and now I'm in that image. Sometimes I like it and sometimes it causes problems. The artist in me is trapped in this image and struggling. But all said and done, I'm happy with this image. Now every one has entered this genre and is trying their hand at comedy.

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