‘I kept waiting for David Dhawanji to cast me,’ says Govinda

It is often said, when films disappoint television tends to welcome stars with unbiased loyalty. For Govinda, who has often been seen on television, the audience is what matters the most irrespective of the medium. He is now delighted to work on popular music reality show, Indian Pro Music League, a show designed in the format of a sports premier league. The show features six teams, representing six of the Indian states or cities. Each team has three captains, who are singers or music composers. Other prominent figures on the show are Shaan, Rituraj Mohanty and Akriti Kakkar.

Govinda, who still retains his quirky charm, was recently in news for his very public spat with director David Dhawan, with whom he has done 17 films in all. The actor had earlier claimed that Dhawan had made every attempt to malign his image and claimed that no other actor, including his son Varun, would have done so many films under one banner. The ice between the two seems to have thawed as of now. In an interaction with the Cinema Journal, the actor opens up about the feud, his show and more. Excerpts from the interview:

Your film, Coolie No 1, was recently remade. Have you watched it?

Yes, it was being remade. But, I could not get the time to watch it in totality — I have seen some rushes and scenes. I also could see the songs playing on some channel.

What is your equation with David Dhawan now? Would you do a film with him?

Of course, I will. Acting is my profession and everyone knows that I am honest with my profession. As an actor, I would definitely like to know the nuances like the script, the character, the role, etc, before taking up a film. If things are satisfactory, I would definitely take up the project. And, Davidji is someone I have known for a long time. We have done 17 films together. In this industry of ours, I meet everyone and have never refused to work with anyone. I would love to work with all my colleagues with whom I have worked before, most of them are now top entertainers of the country. Earlier, I used to think maybe Davidji does not want to work with me. But, maybe that was me overthinking! While he was making his movies, I always thought that he would cast me, but I never heard from him. My doors are always open for every one, I always meet everyone. Nahi toh main Govinda kis kaam ka?

Most of your fans have rejected the remake of Coolie No 1, saying no one can be like you. How does that make you feel?

This is not a film that I am connected to, in any manner. It is a different film. There have been a lot of discussions about the film and I do not want to talk about it anymore. Acceptance, success or failure of a film is a very in-depth subject that is dependent on a lot of factors such as story, making, casting, etc. Also, it must be understood in fragments like — a film might do well in certain parts of the country, it might do well in certain audience demography, everyone does not like everything. It’s such a complex discussion that I did not get involved in even for the films I was a part of. I always did my best and left the rest to the audience. For all the 156 films I did, I never looked back. As an actor I focus only on my performance. Film planning, film-making, film promotion, film release, etc, are not my subjects of expertise.

Are you a fan of remakes?
Honestly speaking, all my hit films such as Shola Aur Shabnam, Aankhen, Haseena Maan Jayegi, etc are remakes of South Indian movies. If remakes are done seriously and with a proper planning, they turn out to be good films. That is what I believe. I am an actor and if another remake comes my way, then I will surely consider it.

Tell us about your association with Bengal Tigers and the Indian Pro Music League.

I was signed on the show to take off the journey of Team Bengal Tigers. I really love the team. Bengal has always fascinated me with its connection to all art forms — be it dance, fine arts, music, etc — the people of Bengal have it in their blood. There is an immense contribution by the state in our freedom struggle and our national anthem is also coined in the state. The show’s format is new and hyper-competitive. Akriti Kakkar and Shaan are the captains of the team and I respect both of them for their work. We collaborate, brainstorm and create ideas for taking our performance up by several notches every time. We have Rituraj Mohanty, who won Raw Star Talent Show a few years back and he is a lovely kid. Also, we have Mismi Bose, a fresh voice who was chosen from a talent hunt.

Your family is also part of the show. How does that help?
Our first television appearance together as a family was on The Kapil Sharma Show and we got a lot of love from the audience. I also realised that the audience would want to see more of my family and know me as a person in totality apart from whatever characters of mine they get to see on screen. When I was offered the show by the Indian Pro Music League producers, I accepted it. With Tina and Sunita around, we get a lot of creative and innovative ideas and the entire atmosphere on the sets becomes light.

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