The Cult Called Govinda
Comedy and dancing is what he is known for. In the right sense of the word actor, Govinda has portrayed myriad shades of human emotions on the big screen. We take a quick look at the movies that make this Virar ka chokra a complete entertainer who has done action, comedy, drama and dance!
The young and lean Virar ka chokra who turned into an abhineta, then became a neta and, is now, back to being an abhineta, is known for tandav-cum-tango moves, yellow and orange coloured pants and cracking gags at the blink of an eye. But it was all forgotten when I first watched the trailer of Kill Dill and Happy Ending. It was the rugged and beefy 50-year-old Govinda’s menacing eyes and sinister laughter and his caricatural representation of a movie star that grabbed my attention and captivated me. Both characters Govinda portrays in these recently released films bring to fore the extremities he is capable of delivering onscreen. A feather not all his contemporaries (Khans and Kumar, who sail in the same age boat as Chi Chi) can put in their crowning caps.
Back in the mid-1980s single screen-goers were the core target audience for filmmakers. So, in 1986, when Govinda stepped into the disco dancing boots that once belonged to yesteryear’s mass star Mithun Chakraborty, the audience was thrilled to discover a new hero. Chi Chi could dance like the Bong Babu and MJ (Michael Jackson) and do dramebaazi, comedygiri and maar-dhaad for three hours non-stop. At the end of a day, for the blue collar workers, all that mattered was to watch a hero who looked like them and did a lot more than they could dream of.
And every time Chi Chi was losing sheen, he accidentally reinvented himself (definitely not meticulously planned like today’s marketing savvy actors) in a newer avatar. He may not necessarily be fitter in shape, but is fitter in form for sure. Once again it seems that time to sing ‘Go Go Govinda’ has come…
Here are a few films that changed luck for the superstar entertainer
This was a typical poor boy-meets-rich girl, family opposes and drama follows prem kahani. But the love story became a hit because of two of the best dancers of that time, lean Govinda, a self-trained break-dancer, and cute Neelam, a trained ballet dancer. Chi Chi grooving MJ style to the tunes of I am street dancer (desi version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller) and his sizzling, Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey (onscreen couple of Dirty Dancing) kinda chemistry with Neelam made the newcomers a rage among the movie-makers and mass audience. No wonder the dancing duo was paired in ten films, most of which were box-office hits.
For almost two years after his debut, Govinda wooed his fans with smooth pelvic-thrusting dances. And before they would get bored of his boogieing on the dance floor, he turned strong with silent type gazes and serious dialogues. Hatya, a mystery revolving around a young, homeless, deaf and mute kid, won Chi Chi accolades of a different kind. Soon he was balancing dancing and dialogubaazi in melodramatic films likes Mit Jayenge Mitane Wale, Marte Dam Tak, Paap Ko Jalaa Kar Raakh Kar Doonga, Dost Garibon Ka, Saach Ki Taaqat, Swarg, etc.
Shola Aur Shabnam
By the early 90s the triumvirate Khans (Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh) had entered the Hindi film industry. Their chikna looks, urban demeanour and romantic personas were fast finding fans among the younger audience and threatening Govinda’s cushy position. And, perhaps, work stress and double shifts were making Chi Chi chubby. But it was maybe god’s way to ensure the Virar ka chokra turned a new leaf. Govinda’s action-packed film, Shola Aur Shabnam, saw him play an angry young lover and surprise the new lovers (Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh). What helped was that now he looked physically able to knock down a few faces and punch some paunches. He delivered another appreciable action-packed performance in Zulm Ki Hukamat.
Govinda doing comedy wasn’t new. But when one gets two Govindas (he played a double role) at the price of a single ticket, how can the audience not roll on the floor with laughter. Aankhen, copy of Do Phool, became an overnight success and resurrected Govinda’s career. While the Khans chose to woo women onscreen, Chi Chi used his comic sense to win back his lost fans. It worked and how! Govinda went on a spree signing comedy films, and from a dancing ace turned into comedy king of Bollywood. Some of his comedies were Raja Babu, Coolie No. 1, Saajan Chale Sasural, Hero No 1, Deewana Mastana etc.
Bhagam Bhag / Partner
High on the success of comedy, Govinda chose to get serious. He deviated to politics. Sadly that stint didn’t go well. His fans were hardly impressed with the abhineta’s netagiri. That meant it was time to return to filmdom. In 2006 Chi Chi, no more a commercially successful star, signed two projects Bhagam Bhag and Partner. Because of the trade analysis he had to have consort in the comedies. Both movies did good business and re-instated the fans’ faith in Govinda’s fine comic timing. But by now the Kumars and Khans had infiltrated the block reserved for comedy kings.
Kill Dill/Happy Ending/Jagga Jasoos
Recently Chi Chi had a series of films which mark the return of the overall entertainer. While Kill Dill and Happy Ending didn’t live upto people’s expectations, Govinda as a villain in the former and an aspiring film star in the later certainly shows that he’s got his mojo back. In 2015 he will be seen as new-gen’s rising superstar, Ranbir Kapoor’s step-father, in Jagga Jasoos. Once again we can’t help but notice turning papa onscreen is another feather that his superstar contemporaries won’t dare to put in their crowning caps.
– Rachana Parekh
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