Govinda, You Are My ‘Hero No.1′

Chi Chi. That’s what doubled as a remark at the sight of Govinda and is also incidentally his nickname. Back in the 1980s and 1990s the hoi polloi loved to berate him while the masses couldn’t have enough of him. The more he gyrated the more they craved him. There wasn’t a box office success like Govinda those days.

I was also among the sycophants who made sure that I was within hearing range when I said how cheap everything about him is. But boy! Don’t I miss him now! All through both the lockdowns, I was starved of comedy in Hindi films, both ‘classy’ and slapstick. Having finished my stock of re-runs of old and new so-called comedies and the Hrishikesh Mukherjee school of movies, I longed to watch one that could give me a temporary blackout from the pall of gloom all around. In other words, a ‘Govinda type of a movie.’ I had finished watching the stock of Govinda starrers that ever was.

Ironically, none of the new crops of movies fell into the frame barring strays like ‘Hera Pheri’ (not a Govinda starrer). It was then that realisation dawned that such movies are no longer being churned out. Why is everyone hell-bent on making meaningful cinema? And why must we have actors whose only path to showcase their craft is by choosing roles that define them as worthy artistes? Who said comedy is an easy craft? Wise men have said that it is easier to make a person cry than to laugh.

What happened to pure entertainment?

This brings me back to Govinda. He of the tight red, purple, green and purple pants fame, he with the shiny jackets, flowery shirts and big heels fame. Give it to the man, he introduced a whole new style of acting and chose to do a genre of films that none of his peers at that time had the guts to do. No one could have pulled off a ‘Coole No 1’ or a ‘Raja Babu’ as well as he did.

Come to think of it, he introduced a new genre called the ‘Govinda style of dancing,’ which is popular to this day. If Mithun Chakraborty is credited with popularising disco in India, Govinda, too, should be praised for the ‘Govinda school of dancing.’ Catch any of the young heroes of today replicating his dress code or dancing steps! Believe me, they don’t come near. And I dare say, they look cheap! Let’s admit it, Govinda may not have been ‘class’ but he was a ‘class of his own’ in his heydeys.

It’s a pity that filmmakers have not brought out the best in Govinda when he is 50 and may look ludicrous doing his trademark dancing. But surely scripts can be written to suit his talent just as they are for other senior actors.

Did you know?

  • Govinda has received 12 Filmfare Award nominations, won two Filmfare Special Awards, and a Filmfare Award for Best Comedian.
  • In June 1999, he was voted the tenth-greatest star of stage or screen in a BBA News Online poll.
  • Govinda is also called ‘Virar Ka Chokra.’

Some of Govinda’s hit films:

  • Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan
  • Pardesi Babu
  • Aunty No 1
  • Anari No 1
  • Coolie No 1
  • Hero No 1
  • Raja Babu


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