Insecure actors don’t want me to be part of their films: Govinda

The seasoned actor, who makes a return to the big screen with his home production Aa Gaya Hero, now comes across as forlorn figure, one left to fend for himself, in an interview with Cinestaan.

Photo: Shutterbugs images

Mayur Lookhar

Aa Gaya Hero is the name of his film. The hero is back, but the boisterous man in him is missing. Seasoned actor Govinda cut a forlorn figure when he came out to talk about his upcoming film Aa Gaya Hero – which he has produced, written and acted in. He’s shed few pounds, but it doesn’t hide his age (53). And despite his best efforts to mask it, his restrained voice gives away his sullen mood. 

With no backing from a big production house or studio, his film has taken three years to make. So, Govinda literally had been left to fend for himself. Here the actor talks about his struggles as a producer, blames politics for his career going down and explains why financers shied away from him. He went on a different tangent when certain key queries were posed, which perhaps is an indicative of his state of mind.  

Here are excerpts from his media interaction.

As the sole producer, what kind of pressure did you face to bring out this film?

I can't pressurise myself further by talking about it. All that you want as a producer is that your product reaches to the maximum audience. That is how the system works now. So, it's an obligation for the producer. Yes, it's hard work, but one you can't ignore. 

Just looking at the trailer and songs of Aa Gaya Hero, it gives an impression that the Hero No.1 is now trying to bring out the Dabangg in him. Would you agree? 

I don't think so. Dabanng is a Robinhood story. Yeh (Aa Gaya Hero) ek abhinay pradhan kirdaar (an acting oriented role). People will come to watch how Govinda has performed but they will also be intrigued by its subject.

The film has taken three years to make. From what I’ve read, you shot the film first and then you were unhappy with the script, so you reworked the subject and shot it again. What went wrong that Abhinay Chakra turned into Aa Gaya Hero?

Actually, I shot the film thrice. It's not a question of not liking the script. On the contrary, I shot it thrice because I liked the subject so much. While the principal thought was fine, we had to better the film by introducing songs, which weren’t part of the film before. We thought of presenting a different subject. It's our thought, our subject, so why should anyone question it? People created an impression that the film has been lagging for three years. Raees (2017) too took three years to come out. No one questioned them? Similarly, Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani 2, too, took a long time to make. My own film Deewana Mastana (1997) took four years to make. So was the case with Saajan Chale Sasural (1996). 

But that was a different era.

Yeah, but if we've taken three years it's no big deal. The current era cannot match that era. The energy prevalent in the earlier times is missing today. All that most films talk about is big budgets, box-office numbers, and often they are labelled as one-time watch. So, is this really an era? This is not an era but it is a struggle. Very few films today have recall value. What has changed for the better though is the music.  

I remember when Dabanng (2010) was being made, a financer had refused to put in money on Dabangg as he felt it looked a Bhojpuri film. People put you down down. You just take in in your stride and move forward 

But today is the age of collaboration with production houses tying up with big distribution studios. Didn’t you approach them for your film?

Because I came from politics they made my re-entry very tough. I struggled to get finances for my film. Then people who had worked with me were not approachable. They feared losing their financial supply. After all, film finance is in some way or the other connected to political parties. Besides, people felt that I could return to politics again and thus nobody wanted to invest in me or my film.

Are you disappointed that you approached your friends from the film industry but they didn’t help you?

It was a wrong decision to get into politics. My film career was going nowhere and so I quit politics. To be a hero, you need to take one right decision. I took that one right decision by quitting politics. Thereafter I concentrated on regaining my fitness. Yes, it has taken some time but my film is finally releasing on 3 March, 2017.

But when you conceived the film's idea, were you still in politics? 

No, I had quit politics by then. However, technically, I remained in it as I was required to serve five years. This was the period from 2004 to 2009. (Govinda was a Member of Parliament having won the Lok Sabha  elections from Mumbai’s North-West constituency)

From your choice of films to your conduct on and off the sets. A lot of shocking things has been written about you. Where do you think you went wrong in your career?

I worked much more than required. My innocence didn’t allow me to pay much to heed to the subjects that I chose. People then started to make a joke out of my innocence. 'Govinda is childish, he doesn’t think on his feet'. This then led to ridiculous rumours about me like I was too involved into superstitions and rituals. (Once a tabloid report mentioned how the actor used to make dogs taste his food before eating himself) They were all fake stories. My friends started calling me to ask whether I was in a sane condition. 

These things happened before. Thankfully, today in the age of social media, you have a platform to speak your mind and the truth. 

Though they flopped, but you were widely appreciated for your roles in Kill Dill (2014) and Happy Ending (2014). Are you disappointed that despite giving two good performances, no big filmmaker approached you for another film?

Some times what happens is that you do such a good work, that you are tagged as a legend. Being hailed as legend is fine, but that creates insecurities amongst other actors who then fear working with you. They devise ways to refuse to work with me, spread false rumours of Govinda not being punctual and other tales.

Is this industry so insecure that people would go to such lengths to keep you out from a film?

Name one industry where there is no insecurity? This malaise has no cure. An insecure person will always live under fear.  

So, how does one guard oneself or get rid of such insecurities?

Do pranayam (Yoga). Simplest way to get rid of your insecurities.

Was there anyone who stood beside you during your tough times?

Salman Khan.

However, there were reports of a rift in this friendship too. Buzz had it that you were very keen to have a sequel to Partner (2007), but Salman Khan didn’t oblige.

Salman and I are such thick friends that if we can’t shake hands then we’d embrace each other sitting down. We are dangerous people (laughs). Look, he had other commitments. He’s a dear friend. It is not a Vikram-Betaal friendship (classic fantasy drama of a King and ghost who clings on to the king).

There were rumours that you wanted Raveena Tandon to launch your film's trailer but she refused your to pick your calls. Is that true?

Again baseless stories. She’s married with kids. So, one ought to respect her privacy. She couldn’t come because her father was hospitalised. I agreed to do a film if a particular heroine requested me to be in it, [but] it’s not right to expect something in return. I always respected my heroines. Never did I bother them.

On a lighter note, your song Lohe Da Liver (Iron liver) from Aa Gaya Hero is quite electrifying. But doesn’t an iron rust if it comes into contact with alcohol or water? 

(laughs). Yeah that’s true. It is merely a song though. Hope people like my film.