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Politics ke side-effects

He makes news and controversies. Back big time in the glamour arena, will he continue his tryst with politics? Govinda gets talking with Sushama Shelly.

entertainment Updated: May 05, 2008, 12:24 IST
Sushama Shelly
Sushama Shelly
Hindustan Times

I catch him on the sets of Ravi Chopra's Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai. And right away, the topic of conversation turns to Raj Thackeray's rally on Saturday. I wonder if the Congress star MP has any stand on Thackeray's remarks against north Indians in Mumbai.

He replies, "There is no personal stand. Look we are the ruling party. The only thing that maters is to provide protection and security to our people.. to our voters.

"Earlier, I had expressed objections without resorting to irresponsible or provocative statements. I did it in a civil, dignified manner without using harsh language. I also explained my approach to my party seniors.

"My mother was from UP and father from Punjab. Whatever I have – name, fame, respect - I have earned it here. Maharashtra ke liye hamara pyar aur mohabbat kisi se kam nahin (our love for Maharashtra is as much as anyone else's). If you ask me, people can see through political stunts. I don't think all this can help to gather votes to win elections."

Allright tell me, now why hasn't ever star-turned-MP ever done anything for the film industry?
What do you expect me to do? What could I have done? I did take up the issue of the high rate of entertainment tax with the government with some success.. they did bring it down even though just mariginally not as much as we wanted.

<b1>In any case, I think an actor becoming an MP is a matter of izzath for the industry it gives the industry weightage. Like when Shatrughan Sinha became a minister, it was a matter of pride to us.. hamare liye gaurav ki baat hai.

And see, even while I'm in politics, last year I gave two super hits – Bhagam Bhaag and Partner – which earned crores. The industry benefits when a film does good business. And that becomes my personal contribution to the industry.

Why have you kept away from attending Parliament sessions?
If I have kept away from parliament, there's a good reason for that. I have taken my seniors' permission by explaining my reason in writing. I have tried my best to live up to the expectations of my voters.

My mother used to travel by crowded trains when I was a struggler. I know exactly how tortuous the experience was for her. So, it was my priority to ease the situation by increasing the number of local trains.

I had 170 new local trains sanctioned for Virar, of which 80 are already on the tracks. And 32 new locals run on Borivli to Virar and Borivli to Churchgate route.

And I've saved eight lakh poor people from becoming homeless. Under ‘Shanghai' plans, these slum-dwellers would have been dislodged.. they have to get an alternative first.

I had made four promises to my constituents. One, new local trains. Two, new water connections. Three, a huge super-specialty hospital on the lines and level of Leelavati Hospital. And four, good educational institutes. I have already fulfilled promises No. 1 and 2.

My efforts are on for No.3. My constituency stretches from Palghar to Goregaon and includes some parts of Jogeshwari. I want to have this hospital in Borivli, so that the furthest patient can reach it in about 40 minutes.

Why are you involved in very unexpected controversies like the fracas with the Sab TV reporter?

(The reporter was assaulted when she was there to interview him at his Juhu office.. the video tape was removed from the video camera) Look, I am still friends with the reporter as well as Sab TV's Makarand Adhikari. I wasn't even in the office at the time. My brother Kirti was there. The reporter had a brush with one of the party workers which led to the skirmish.

And why slap a visitor to a film set?

That man deserved to be thrashed actually He was trying to touch the ‘private parts' of one of the junior artistes on the set.

Your sister's estranged husband has accused you of cheating him to the tune of Rs 26 lakh.
See, Radha Ka Sangam directed by my brother Kirti Kimar took three and a half years to complete. It was a total flop. Sukh also flopped. I don't understand why did my jeejaji kept quiet for 23 long years? Why is he raking up the issue now?

Obviously, there is a planned effort to target me. I was believed to be a soft target but I have proved myself to be so strong that they are now scared of me.

Who are ‘they'?
Ram Naik. He had been a No.3 in their BJP hierarchy – their winning horse all along but I got him routed completely with a large margin at the elections.

<b3>If I don't attend Parliament sessions, that's a part of my ‘go slow' strategy. I was bound to suffer because of the dirty games played against me but I have learnt my lessons.. the real hard way Earlier, . I used to attend conferences organised by corporators and MLAs to solve their problems. But now unless and until,the meetings are result-oriented, I stay away.

Will you contest the elections next year?
I will take the decision only after I am asked to contest by my seniors. Till then, I reserve my comments. Let me put it this way, if I am not asked, I will not utter a single word.

Lastly, tell me about the side-effects of politics.
One is constantly dealing with adversities. This leads to huge stress and tension that can take the innocence away from your face.

For an actor, his body and face matter so much. In fact, these days I'm only asked one question now-a-days, "How have you maintained your body and retained the innocence on your face?"

The answer is .. when my career was in the dumps and I wasn't doing well financially.. I started studying ayurveda and political science. I wasn't into books at all in the past.. but I cultivated an interest in reading.

Knowledge can take away your innocence.. but if it's positive knowledge then it helps you to win against all odds. From my mother, I had learnt pranayam. Now I'm going to learn yogic sookshma pranayam from my guru. Only the positive can defeat the negative.

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