Govind Arun Ahuja, now known as Govinda, was born on 21 December 1963, in Punjab. His father, Arun Kumar Ahuja, an actor, was a Punjabi settled in Maharashtra. His mother, Nirmala Devi, was a classical vocalist and actress who hailed from Banaras. They first met during the making of the film Savera, in which they were cast opposite each other. They married in 1941. The only film Ahuja ever produced was a flop. Unable to bear the loss, his health deteriorated. The family, living in a bungalow on Mumbai's upmarket Carter Road, was forced to move to Virar, which was a far- flung semi-rural Mumbai suburb, where Govinda was born. The youngest of six children, he grew up watching innumerable movies. Since his father was unable to work, his mother brought them up through hard times. Govinda studied at Annasaheb Vartak College in Vasai, Maharashtra. He graduated in commerce, but couldn’t find a job. He couldn’t be appointed a steward at the Taj Mahal hotel because his English was weak. His father suggested films. Around this time, Govinda saw the film Saturday Night Fever and dance became his obsession. He practised for hours and circulated a promo of himself on a VHS cassette. Soon a fertiliser commercial came his way, followed by an Allwyn ad.
Govinda got his very first leading role in Tan Badan which was to be directed by his uncle Anand. His first release was Ilzaam (1986), starring opposite Neelam, which was a box office success.
In the late 1980s, Govinda featured mostly in romantic and family drama films. He was often paired opposite actress Neelam. They appeared together in hit films such as Love 86 (1986), Khudgarz (1987) and his brother Kirti Kumar's Hatya (1988). He had success with family drama films such as Dariya Dil (1988), Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988) and Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1988). He also did a few action films such as Marte Dam Tak (1987) and Jung Baaz (1989), which did quite well. Govinda worked with David Dhawan for the first time in the 1989 action flick Taaqatwar. The same year, he also had releases like the multi-starrer Gharana, Do Qaidi, Farz Ki Jung and Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni. Most of Govinda’s films were pure entertainers, which were quite successful. He started getting many offers and became one of Bollywood’s most popular stars.
The multi-starrer flick Maha-Sangram (1990) was a flop, while Swarg (1990) and Izzatdaar (1990) gained mediocre success. Hum (1991) was a commercial as well as a critical success. Govinda made a good pair with Juhi Chawla in Karz Chukana Hai (1991) whose music was quite popular. Govinda acted in Shola Aur Shabnam (1992), starring opposite Divya Bharati, which was quite a big success. He also starred alongside Dharmendra in Zulm Ki Hukumat (1992) which was a big disappointment. It earned much below average. David Dhawan cast Govinda in his comedy flick Aankhen (1993), which became a huge blockbuster. Aadmi Khilona Hai (1993) and Muqabla (1993) did average business. Govinda acted opposite Karisma Kapoor in many flicks. Among these, Khuddar (1994) and Dulaara (1994) were average earners, while Raja Babu (1994) was a big hit. Coolie No.1 (1995) and Saajan Chale Sasural (1996) were huge hits as well. Aag (1994), Andolan (1995), Kismat (1995) and Haathkadi (1995) were average to below-average earners. Naseeb (1997), Banarasi Babu (1997), Do Ankhen Barah Hath (1997) and Gambler (1997) couldn’t make it big either. Hero No.1 (1997), Deewana Mastana (1997) and Dulhe Raja (1998) were successful comedies. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), starring Govinda and Amitabh Bachchan, was the second highest grosser of that year. Aunty No.1 (1998), Maharaja (1998), Achanak (1998) and Pardesi Babu (1998) had flopped. Anari No.1 (1999) and Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999) were successful, while Rajaji (1999), Hum Tumpe Marte Hain (1999), Hadh Kar Di Aapne (2000) and Beti No.1 (2000) had failed to do well. Joru Ka Ghulam (2000), Kunwara (2000) and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain (2000) couldn’t create a big impact either. Govinda played the role of a villain for the first time in his career in Shikari (2000). Although the movie wasn’t commercially successful, Govinda's performance was critically acclaimed. Jodi No.1 (2001) was quite successful, while his other films like Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya (2001), Albela (2001), Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001) and Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (2001) gathered poor collections. Govinda’s next few releases like Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai (2002), Akhiyon Se Goli Maare (2002), Waah! Tera Kya Kehna (2002) and Ek Aur Ek Gyarah (2003) had all failed to do well. Govinda’s acting career was further affected when he contested and won the seat for Member of Parliament from Mumbai North in the 2004 parliamentary elections. He had no new film releases in 2004 and 2005, except for his delayed films such as Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen (2005) and his own production Ssukh (2005) which were box-office disasters. Govinda made a comeback in Bollywood in late 2006 with the comedy flick Bhagam Bhag, alongside Akshay Kumar, which was a huge success despite being penned down by critics. This was followed by Nikhil Advani’s Salaam-E-Ishq: A Tribute To Love (2007) which was a huge disappointment, though Govinda’s performance was praised. Govinda’s latest 2007 release was David Dhawan’s romantic comedy Partner, which co-starred Salman Khan. The film grossed Rs.300 Million in India on its opening week, the second highest domestic opening week gross for an Indian film.
In 2008, Ganesh Acharya’s Money Hai To Honey Hai (2008) flopped very badly. Govinda is currently owrking on Ravi Chopra’s Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai (2008) and Naughty@ 40.
In 1997, Govinda won a Special Filmfare Award for Saajan Chale Sasural (1996). In 1998, he won the Lux Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Dulhe Raja (1998). He also won the Special Videocon Screen award from Jury for overall performance in 1998. In 1999, he won the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998). In 2000, Govinda won the Zee Cine Best Comedian Award for Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999). He also won the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian for Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999) in 2000. In 2002, he won the IIFA Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role for Jodi No.1 (2001). In 2007, he won the Most Stylish Comeback Award at the MTV Lycra Style Awards. In 2007, he won the Excellent Comic Actor Award at the Star Gold Comedy Honors.
Govinda initially wanted to marry actress Neelam with whom he acted in several films, but eventually gave up and married according to his mother's choice. He married Sunita Govind Ahuja on 11 March 1987, and has two children with her, Narmada and Yashvardhan. Narmada is preparing herself for her acting debut in Bollywood. Govinda's brother Kirti Kumar is an actor, producer and director. His sister Kaamini Khanna is a writer, music director, singer, anchor and founder of Beauty with Astrology. Govinda has five nephews and two nieces in the entertainment industry: actors Vinay Anand, Akshay Anand, Krushna Abhishek, Aryan, Arjun Singh, Ragini Khanna, Aarti Singh and director Janmendra Kumar Ahuja. Govinda's brother-in-law Devendra Sharma has also acted in a few Hindi Films. Govinda is fondly called Chi Chi or sometimes even Virar Ka Chokra. Govinda was voted No.10 in a BBC News Online Survey to find out the Top 10 Greatest Stars of Stage and Screen of the last 1000 years. He sang for himself in some of his movies like, ‘Meri pant bhi sexy…’ from Dulaara and ‘Gori gori…’ from Shola Aur Shabnam. He formed a successful collaboration with David Dhawan and went onto act in 17 movies directed by him most of which were comedy films. Goninda had a narrow escape from death on January 5, 1994. While travelling to a studio for the shooting of Khuddar (1994), the actor's car hit another car, resulting in him sustaining injuries to his head. Though bleeding profusely, Go