Since it’s Ganpati season, we decided to speak to the once-screen-God Govinda on everything under the sun.
‘We’re talking careers here so why should they compromise?’
Govinda on Lara Dutta and Katrina Kaif refusing to partner him in Life Partner
Both Lara and Katrina are at the peak of their careers and have the right to decide which films they want to do, depending on the role and remuneration. A two-scene appearance in Life Partner was not going to pay much, and with roles like this, they stand the risk of being dubbed a “side actress”.
When it comes to casting, my producer and director know best. I’m only interested in getting myself cast, not in casting others.
Katrina greets me with a lot of affection. She is my partner’s (Salman Khan) pasand. Why should I demand she do a film with me and hurt her? The other girls too give me a lot of respect but we’re talking careers here so why should they compromise?
‘It stands a better chance of working now’
On plagiarism charges that pushed back the release of Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai
I’m told the Hollywood producer of My Cousin Vinny had given Ravi Chopraji the go-ahead to adapt it as Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai. May be he misinterpreted the understanding or made the mistake of not drawing up a legal agreement. But in this legal ladaye, we’ve crossed the industry’s bad patch.
The IPL and multiplex strike are behind us. Coming after Life Partner and Do Knot Disturb, Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai stands a better chance of working. I don’t know what its fate would have been earlier but I feel good about it now.
I want all my films to work not just because these people stood by me when I was down and out but because a hit will make the team stronger. And give others who are working their way up, a chance.
‘I’ve seen a jyotish sitting next to a PM’
On being superstitious, unpunctual and seeking success in astrology and numerology
Astrology and numerology is a subject of discussion worldwide. It’s helping so many channels do business. In every actor’s home you’ll find a ‘jyotish’ sitting or vice versa. I’ve seen one even next to a Prime Minister. The whole world is superstitious and anybody who claims he’s not is a liar.
Yes, it was my suggestion to Ashtavinak to rename Run Bhola Run as Lucky 2. That’s because I had done Bhagam Bhaag earlier with Akshay (Kumar) when he was at his peak and I was struggling to make a comeback. I didn’t want Run Bhola Run with Tusshar Kapoor to be perceived as Bhagam Bhaag 2.
There have been other rumours about my irrational interference and my unpunctual ways. Even when I come to the sets on time, it’s said that I’m late. Strangely, my producers have no complaints.
And I’m the only actor who has been helped by co-actors to return to films.
A bunch of people are misusing their power by writing anything but at least they’re talking about unpunctuality and not my affairs. I’ll let my work silence them.
‘Salman gave me space to pay off my debts’
On why the Partner sequel is taking so long
Salman and I are in complete sync. That’s rare today when ‘hum ek doosre ko pyaar se hello kehne ko bhi sochte hain’. He’s been a true partner. He not only gave me my comeback film but after Partner’s success the space to sign other films ‘phataphat’ and pull in the money needed to pay off my debts.
I’m financially secure now and have just Shashi Sinha’s film and Jagmohan Mundra’s Naughty @ 40 on the floors. Once they are through, I’m free. David (Dhawan) whose Do Knot Disturb is also coming up, has only to inform me when he wants to start shooting Tom and Jerry and ‘mera farz hai set up pahunch jana’.
‘I want a bungalow and a solid bank balance now’
On his future goals
All the top actors, whether it’s Akshay Kumar, Suneil (Shetty), Salman (Khan), Shah Rukh (Khan), Aamir (Khan), Saif (Ali Khan) or even Abhishek and Aishwarya (Bachchan) through Reliance, are making their own films. I’m at the right age and form to work with everyone and make good money.
At the end of the year, I want a huge bungalow, a solid bank balance, good friends and a healthy lifestyle. It’s been almost 25 years since I entered the industry.
For 14 years I’ve been a successful hero. A rival will first have to put in so many years before he can challenge me. I’ve moved out of the competition and am in an enviable position. Even when I was struggling, I was never short of luxuries and that’s reason to celebrate.
Right now I’m working hard to earn money. Even if you come to me for advice it won’t be for free. ‘Main advice bechta hoon, baant ta nahin!’
‘My success was working against my party’
On the abrupt end to his political career
I went to the Congress when it needed me. And I stepped out because I felt the party would fare better without me. And it did with Sanjay Nirupam retaining the seat for the Congress.
I was a novice in politics yet I managed to defeat a veteran like Ram Naik when I contested in 2004. Naturally my detractors would feel threatened and would retaliate. It wasn’t Govinda they were attacking but my fame.
Success brings not just bouquets but brickbats too. And in this case the brickbats were working against my party. I realised this within two years of stepping into politics. And that was why I slowed down, went into neutral gear. The strategy helped when I decided it was time to move out. You must know ‘lagaam kab kheechni chaheye’ to save your horse. That’s the way you win the race in politics.
Vested interests would have you believe that I was ineffective and inaccessible as a ‘neta’. But I introduced so many new trains. My mother who once couldn’t get a seat in a crowded Virar local, would be proud of me. But when you become part of a larger chain, your decisions have to go through so many channels. I did what I could to the best of my capacity. For me it was a different school of learning. And you don’t blame a school for your destiny.
Will I return to politics? I’ll not answer that question because I don’t want to give people ideas. For the moment, I’m an actor who’s doing well in films. And my family is much more relaxed now that I have quit ‘rajneeti’.