Govinda sits in a large, sparsely furnished room, facing two standees with images from his upcoming home production and solo starrer, Abhinay Chakra. A dripping air-conditioner has been switched off and a noisy fan cannot be switched on. “I have heard a noisy fan is inauspicious,” says Govinda, twirling his blue bracelet and beaming that famous grin as he awaits his first question.
In his heyday of superstardom, Govinda was infamous for his tardiness. So imagine my surprise when our interview began five minutes after the scheduled time. The five minutes I had to wait were simply because Govinda was just finishing his prayers and bidding farewell to his priest.
This time around
Today, the 50-year-old has re-invented himself. He is slimmer, fitter and calmer. And he is excited about the unexpected response to the trailer of Kill Dil, slated to release on November 14. “People are praising it as if it is already a hit,” he says. “They have not seen me in such a role. I myself am shocked that I could do it.”
Change of plot
The actor’s return, whether based on financial need, or a need to survive in the industry, comes with the realisation that in order to drive films on his own, he needs to rebuild his brand. Also releasing later this month, is Happy Ending (where he is a shining part of the star-studded cast including Saif Ali Khan and Kalki Koechlin).
“I am not competing with [them], but complementing youngsters like Saif Ali Khan,” he says. Actually Khan is not much younger than Govinda, but it’s the sentiment that matters.
Another reason he may have been able to make the switch to a more disciplined lifestyle, is because of the influence of his now-deceased mother. “While mummy was alive, I didn’t do anything without her permission. I was 34 when I first told her I wanted to drink beer. When she heard that, she gave me a long sermon,” he says, flashing a disarming smile.
Govinda has two releases this year, and two more next year, a far cry from the many he used to have at his peak. But the actor has a simple explanation for where he stands in his career now: “Dil laga ke kaam karta hoon, lekin kaam se kabhi dil nahin lagata.” Maybe it’s not a coincidence that his next film is called Kill Dil.
Govinda’s greatest hits
From HT Brunch, November 9
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