He′s unarguably the Entertainer No. 1 of our industry and has remained so for quite some time now. But Govinda believes he is on the cusp of things bigger and greater, and definitely more challenging at any rate. He has no qualms about admitting that he′d be gunning for a National Award now. Is it because he feels he hasn′t been given due credit for his work? “A lot of people say I am good with comedy, they know I can dance,” he begins. “Whenever I have done a serious role in the past I have been able to carry it off. But I have been bracketed into a certain position, which I have enjoyed in the past but I want to break out of now. And it′s only natural, because when I was doing all those films at one time, the industry itself was in a different place. Things have changed now and the new blood that has come in has brought in new sensibilities with it,” he says logically. “One of the biggest thrills for me today is to work with the new lot of people, be it co-actors, directors or technicians. And when I can surprise them, I feel good,” he smiles.
But why insist on doing serious roles and be offended being called a funny actor? Hasn′t it been said since eternity that it′s difficult to make people laugh? “That′s true,” he agrees. “Par abhi woh bahut kar liya, ab kuch alag karte hai,” he says. “You don′t call actors who do strong serious roles only serious actors, then why label someone as funny actor? Actors are just actors and they are playing their part, and that′s how they are looked at in Hollywood,” he adds. So does Govinda resent the way he is looked at in our industry and feels he has to prove a point? “No, I don′t resent it,” he denies. “Neither there is a point to prove to anyone. Whatever I have to prove is to myself. And I am looking forward to new challenges now. When I came back to movies few years ago, I was in a financial situation and had to get out of it. Now that I have managed to do that I am looking at movies with a fresh perspective and reach new heights as an actor,” he declares.
Govinda′s recent movies
But he can′t deny that his talent has been hugely undermined by a section of people in the industry, sort of a Bollywood lobby, which he is said to be quite wary of. “Well there are some people around who always try to pull you down and I have had my experiences with them,” he says. “I have had to face backlash for things I haven′t done and these people keep spreading rumours about me to give me a bad name. What bothers me is that sometimes these things get very personal and can affect the people around me and that I cannot tolerate,” he asserts. “I will protect my loved ones in every way I can. But I can′t stoop to levels that some people have to malign me,” he says point blank. Is he talking about the buzz around him that he has returned to his wayward ways, disappearing from his film sets, after turning a new leaf when he was in trouble and made his comeback into movies? “I am a changed man now,” he says. “I have made mistakes in the past I agree, but I turned my wrongs into rights when I came back into movies. Nobody can fault me now. So when people say I have problems with Mani Ratnam because I arrive late on the sets of Ravana it upsets me. I have a great equation with Mani Ratnam and have a lot of respect for him, and I do not arrive late on the sets anymore,” he stresses.
Govinda′s daughter Narmada has been ready to set her feet in the industry for quite some time now, but nothing has materialized yet. Why the delay? “Arre she is still very young,” he defends. “And I don′t want her to rush into films just because people think it′s taking long. Everything has to fall into place and it has to be the right time,” says the protective dad. “She herself was never in rush to make a debut, in fact she has only said she wanted to act after she had gone through the grind and done her course. It wasn′t a whim for her and not because she wants to be in the spotlight,” he adds. “She has had enough spotlight on her since she was a child, she knows that this is what she wants to do and I believe she is going to be very good,” he gushes about his daughter.
So he is a proud father now? “I have always been a proud father,” he says. “Not only because my daughter wants to become an actress, but both her and my son has such sensible children. And that is what makes me proud. They have their feet on the ground all the time and they have never given me a reason to worry about them. They are very strong and motivated children. My daughter had a bit of a scare when my family had an accident some years ago. But she has come out of it in a nice positive manner. That′s the thing,” he says excitedly as he pinpoints their best trait. “They have such positive outlook in life and I believe that will take them far. Because in this industry there are negative vibes, people writing things about you that might not be true and can hurt you. But I am sure they will be taking everything in the right spirit.” And would he be their protective father? “I think I can learn a lot of things from them myself,” he laughs. “They are today′s kids and I have indeed learnt a lot from them and I am still learning. And of course I will be there for them whenever they need me,” he concludes.