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 ???

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