Monday, April 25, 2011

Govinda- The Memories

"Filmon ke Saare Hero....Mere aage hain Zero" - Thus sang Krishna in the Movie - "Swarg".

Acting is happy agony. – Jean Paul Sartre

At the outset, Govinda’s name in the industry has become synonymous with Comedy Movies, in the same manner as you would identify Shahrukh with Romance or Sunny Deol with Action. Comedy they say is a hard talent to master. But in hindsight, I feel, seldom has it been appreciated in the upper echelons (spare a few Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies, which were lonnnnnnnnnnng ago), as much as other basic genres of movie bases. We saw Raj Kapoor start the Funny Hero genre and soon it was an important item in the Bollywood hero’s portfolio. While we have seen world class performers across the globe, such as Robin Williams or Roberto Benegini, who despite being funny men mostly in their careers, still went on to win high honours in Acting, such an instance is yet to be seen in our industry.

Which brings Govinda into the discussion back again. Arguably a complete actor, in the late 80s and 90s, and specially blessed with great dancing skills and a flair for comedy, Govinda ruled the commom masses’ hearts for years. Often in the early 90s’ we’d see Govinda being a part of a big movie, supporting bigger stars and yet holding his fort very well, case in point could be “HUM” (1991) or “SWARG” (1990). As time progressed, we saw him belt out entertainers like “Shola aur Shabnam”(brilliantly paired opposite the Late Divya Bharati), “Aankhen”, “Khuddar” etc.

However slowly but surely the association with David Dhawan and the success of comedy movies such as “Raja Babu” saw the audience accept Govinda only as a “Comedy Hero”. The same duo of Dhawan-Govinda, who had also tasted success with masala flicks like “Aankhen” or “Shola aur Shabnam”, thereby constantly began producing Comedy Movies one after another. This, though proved beneficial for Govinda in the shorter scheme of things, completely ruined his acceptability as a serious actor, before the viewers.

Govinda throughout his career has been a very complementing actor. He’s been a great leading man to Karishma Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee etc. He’s matched Amitabh Bachchan in mad cap comedy in “Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan”. He’s produced hilarious moments combining with Satish Kaushik as well as Johnny Lever. He’s played the softie to match the aggression of Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan. As far as career choices are concerned, I would see him as someone who didn’t take risks and remained comfortable in his genre. Although his stellar performance in “Shikaari” did earn him a Filmfare nomination, we never saw Govinda really crossing the edge. But then, maybe no one never really gave him a chance !! For me his best performances would be in “Hatya” and “Khuddar”, where he played really serious characters with absolute conviction.

After a brief stint into politics, Govinda has come back to movies once again, starting off again at buffoonery with “Partner” and then a much talked about supporting role in “Ravan” which turned out be irritatingly short besides a few other forgettable movies. I would love to see him do what he hasn’t in so many years in the industry – “Surprise the audience” !! Rarely would we again see an actor with such a fantastic timing for humour, most gracious dancer who could dance through his facial expressions and a lovable character on screen. But, will there be another shade to remember ???

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cricket - What else ???

I haven't really been populating my blog with words over the last two months. While the reason could be attributed to a lot of factors, in reality, the frenzy of the ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011 took over India and me all alike.

In India, my motherland, Cricket is almost synonym for life, or atleast it was, when we were growing up. It is still the most followed sport in the country, although attention now has also come towards other sports, where the atheletes and sportsmen have brought in glory to the nation. How much soever we may try and bask in the glory of our singular achievements in olympics, commonwealth games etc.. fact remains that there's just one sport -  CRICKET, that holds the heartstrings of an entire nation or atleast a vast majority of it.

When I grew up in the late 80's and 90's, cricket was an even more revered sport and much discussed and much respected, in the hallowed circles of the elite and hoi polloi all alike. I was privy to a lot of after match analyses in the neighbourhood, an even more sizeable number of pre match discussions on team selection and some of my fondest memories in life will remain the gleaming faces of the family and known ones, whenever the Indian team bailed out of nail biting victories. The Dhaka Independence Cup final, The Sharjah win against Australia...all come floating into the mind as if it were yesterday.

Until recently, where our Cricket team has become near invincible and very technical, in the able hands of MS Dhoni, the cricket teams of yesteryears that i witnessed, was always flawed at one end or the other. The non-spinning Raju deliveries, the super slow motion fast deliveries from Venky, the Kumble dive-in-to-the-swimming-pool fielding, the merry go round of the bevy of wicket keepers post Nayan Mongia, the struck in the crease openers like Ramesh and Somsundar.....all of them, all of that made Indian cricket look much vulnerable and much Human unlike today. Hence, maybe the victories despite the handicaps gave even greater joy !!  

There have been big achievements, but the only thing that's eluded the Indian teams so far has been the biggest jackpot of it all - THE WORLD CUP !! Since the time i started following the sport, i have seen my country coming agonisingly close and yet exiting the tournaments at various levels unable to win the big glory. Sometimes made me wonder, if all this madness would end up in nothing. If i ever would be able to recount the memories of India winning the world cup as an old man, before my grand children, the same way as my dad and grand dad do, the latter more enthusiastic to explain the situation and the exact Radio commentary during those times of Glory. So vivid are their memories, that i could almost visualise Viv Richards getting caught by Kapil Dev and the splendid swing of Amarnath, until later getting to see the videos on sports channels.

Guess what, India plays Sri Lanka in the Finals of the World Cup 2011 today.  Here's a silent but strong prayer for my team. I hope we win it. Yes, there's a lot of emotion involved !!!

C'mon India !!! Win it for me, win it for us, win it for everyone. It's been long overdue.....