There's a prevalent sense of shock and dismay about the length and breadth of Govinda's role in Bhagam Bhag, but the actor's response is significantly cryptic.
"All I'll say is that I went through the film with a horse's rein checking me in every scene... I can't really blame anyone. I went into Bhagam Bhag with eyes open, but blinkers on. I had to make a comeback and I had to do so in a big film. That opening Bhagam Bhag has provided for me.
"Beyond that I wouldn't like to say anything. If my role appears brief, I've no one to blame. But yes, there was a lot more I could've done. Why I didn't do it? I've no answer to that," Govinda told IANS in an interview.
But his close friends differ from him. In fact, the whole industry is abuzz with talk of Govinda's shockingly supportive role in the new Priyadarshan comedy.
"Govinda has ended up looking like Akshay Kumar's sidekick," said a popular director, who has worked a number of times with Govinda and can't get over his shock.
Currently, Govinda is down with an acute attack of exhaustion, all thanks to his new film Chal Chala Chal, which he has been shooting non-stop for the last two months.
"It's the fastest film in my entire career of 20 years. Unfortunately, the non-stop shooting has taken its toll on my health. I was constantly travelling between Mumbai and Pune.
"I've been down with a series of ailments. I've now requested the director to complete the film in Mumbai. Now, I'm just resting for a bit. I can afford to do so, now that my comeback film Bhagam Bhag is a hit."
Recently Govinda celebrated his 42nd birthday.
"To my delight, I got as many as 70 SMSs within hours. My wife Sunita and children hosted a party for me. We invited all my colleagues and production team with whom I've been working in the past few months, including, of course, the whole Bhagam Bhag team."
However, Bhagam Bhag co-star Akshay was conspicuous by his absence.
"I don't know why! I think he wasn't in the country," Govinda said lamely. And added, "I'm just so grateful to Akshay and Salman Khan for doing films with me."
Is Govinda's 17-year-old daughter going to be an actress?
"Both my children - Narmada and Yash - have full freedom to do what they want to do with their lives. I'm there to support them in every way possible way. Right now my daughter is off to London for a year to do a course in jewellery designing."
The father's lonely heart is already wondering.
"I'll go and see her every month in London, my schedules permitting. Of course, I'm going to miss her. But every individual needs to harden himself against setbacks, needs to gather his own courage to withstand the tests of time. I've been trying to do a good job of it.
"The last six years, after my mother passed away, have been especially hard on me. The period of recovery began in 2006. Hopefully, things will get even better for me in 2007."
Govinda, who now has Nikhil Advani's ode to love Salaam-e-Ishq to look forward to, is also trying to change his habits.
"My reputation of an unpunctual actor should now be gone. I was up at 5 am or 6 am for Bhagam Bhag and Salaam-e-Ishq," he said.