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Govinda There Is Something Suspicious In His Mind

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Ali Peter John

 If only Govinda had shown respect for time he would have been a very different man and star. I have known Govind Arun Ahuja (his real name) ever since the first time he came to Mumbai from a faraway suburb called Virar. He travelled without a ticket most of the time and sometimes even on the roofs of trains, but he reached the right places, places which could make a difference to his life. He kept coming to Mumbai and visited almost every office and whatever he did he always reached late and lost out on several opportunities, but he could never keep up with time, something he has not been able to do till now.

I remember the first day of his first film, “Tan Badan” which was directed by his own uncle, Uday Narayan Singh (“Anand Mama”). He had Khushboo as his heroine and he was late even for the muhurat of the film at Mohan Studios (now defunct). His uncle kept on trying to tell him how important it was to be in time and even kept giving him the example of Amitabh Bachchan who always reached much before the time he was supposed to reach, but nothing that his uncle said made any difference to him. He was always late till the last day of the shooting and his uncle said in disgust, “If this boy continues to disrespect time like this, he will never be able to make it big.”

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Govinda signed any number of films after “Tan Badan” even though the films did not do very well. He should have been thankful, but he never was and there has never been any time when he has been in time for a shooting or any occasion or function. There are some classic examples which prove how he valued time. Mukul Anand (who made “Agneepath” whose new avtaar was released recently) was shooting for a very big film called “Hum”. The venue was a popular bungalow used for shootings, Ruia Park. It was a nine o clock shift and all the other artists, Amitabh, Rajnikant, Danny, Kimi Katkar and the producer and actor Romesh Sharman himself all reached at nine sharp, but there was no sign of Govinda who lived in a building called “Jal Tarang” which was just five minutes away from Ruia Park. Amitabh kept sitting in a chair, talking to me and then reading a book, all the others kept waiting but there was no sign of Govinda. Romesh Sharma and Mukul called his house several times but they always got the same answer, “Sahaab pooja mein baithe hain”. He finally reached Ruia Park when it was just fifteen minutes to go before lunch break and the entire unit just walked away. Govinda then said he would then go home to have his lunch and the next time he returned was only after two hours. The unit was exasperated and Mukul could understand their moods and called pack up for the day. Govinda did not even have the courtesy to apologize to anyone including Amitabh who had spent the entire day sitting in a chair. Mukul asked him to report in time the next morning, but there was no change in the time which was the time according to which Govinda worked. The end result was that Romesh, Amitabh and Danny took a vow that they would never work with him again.

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Another classic example. He was supposed to shoot for a film called “Pardesi Babu” which was being produced by Kulbhushan Gupta who had played a very vital role in grooming him up into a star. There was a time when Govinda just came to Mumbai to sit at his feet and asked him to get him some work and later to get him all the publicity. Kulbhushan was very sure that Govinda would not play the same games he played with other filmmakers, but he was expecting too much from his discovery. He took all the precaution. He arranged for the shooting of the popular song, “It happens only in India” in the basement of a five- star hotel and booked the best suite of the hotel for Govinda on the eighth floor. The entire unit of more than three hundred dancers and junior artists kept waiting the whole day and Govinda had the gumption to come down only at six in the evening and Kulbhushan who was almost about to burst out gave him a firing of a life time but it did not make any difference to him. He went back to his suite and called Kulbhushan and said, “Aap ko aise nahi karna chahiye tha. Meri bhi koi haisiyat hain. Agar aapko mujhe jhaadna bhi hota toh uppar aake jhaad sakte the.” Kulbhushan kept quiet, but that was a moment when he took a decision never to work with his discovery again.

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There was this producer from the South who was making a film with him and Govinda started playing his own games with time but this producer was a very strong man when it came to discipline. He went up to Govinda and gave him a warning in his own language and Govinda was still late and the producer scrapped the film and even told all his friends in the South not to work with this actor who did not care for time.

There has been no film whether it was shot in Mumbai, Hyderabad or anywhere in the world where Govinda turned up in time. He was known as “Late Latif” and his disrespect for time ruined several producers, but he did not change, he carried this habit with him even when he joined politics. He attended large meetings after the audience had lost all interest. There was not a single meeting in which he arrived less than two or three hours late. He won the election, but could not find time to visit his constituency which included his own birth place, Virar. He never found time to visit people and know their needs. This was getting the better of all those who had some respect for him and soon a time came when his films started flopping one after another. He produced and directed a film called “Sukh” but even for his own film he could not make an exception and report for the shooting in time. That film marked the beginning of the down fall of Govinda. He had no work for almost a year. He was not given the ticket to fight the elections again. He came back in a film called “Judwaa” which he got on the recognition of Salman Khan, but the moment he tasted success, he was the same old Govinda. He has hardly a few small films on hand now and has started making the rounds of filmmakers’ offices like a struggler all over again, the only difference is that he now struggles in a Mercedes

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Ø He is a very strong believer in all kinds of superstitions. He can do anything which is guided by some believe put into his mind by a group of astrologers who are like his regular staff

Ø He is a very scared man for reasons best known to him. He can believe that any poor man in the crowd watching him shooting as a fan could kill him because he was sent there by his “enemies” to eliminate him

Ø He prays for three hours every morning in a temple built inside his house even as all his filmmakers wait outside to have a darshan of him

Ø He bought a bungalow because the society of the building he was living in objected to his having a buffalo living in the same apartment with him. The actor believed that the buffalo not only gave him milk but was also sent by God to protect him

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Ø He also believed that his mother, Nirmala Devi had become a saint and he even performed Poojas before framed photographs of his mother. He also sang the songs she used to sing as a classical singer and sometimes spoke to her photographs for hours

Ø His belief in the right time has even harmed the chances of his daughter, Narmada who was aiming to be an actress. He consulted various astrologers and all of them gave him times which confused him and he kept postponing launching his daughter and now it seems that the best time for his daughter is over

Ø He did not even care for filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Mani Ratnam when it came to his ways of dealing with time. Hrishida shot a film called “Laathi” with Dharmendra and Govinda, but when he saw how Govinda behaved he preferred to walk out of the film he was making

Ø He kept some of the important leaders of the Congress Party waiting for hours in his waiting room and told all of them that he was very close to Madam Sonia Gandhi and no politician could harm him

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Ø He had his own ways of understanding different languages (he could speak many languages), but when it came to English he read all kinds of meanings in what was written about him. I once wrote about him and made a passing remark at how he harasses some producers with his problem with time and before I could reach home and read what I had written myself he sent his messenger to me telling me to be prepared to face the anger of Bal Thackeray. But, thankfully, I had a friend called Mohan Wagh who was Thackeray’s dear friend and who was the father’s in law of Raj Thackeray till he died last year. He spoke to Thackeray about me before Govinda could reach him because he was late again and Bal Thackeray just laughed and told Wagh that he would not do anything against me because he too knew how Govinda played with time when he was close to the Shiv Sena for some time….

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°He was a very suspicious young man even when he was a boy who was not sure what his future and suspected any of his friends, male or female when they praised him for his looks and his dancing. He was known as the“Virar ka star”long before he could even think of making a career in films and did not even know where Juhu was.

°He was a devotee of his mother, Nirmala Devi who he treated like a goddess and touched her feet before going out and after coming in. He even placed a photograph of her among all the gods and goddesses in his house.

°He was sure that the number 9 would be very lucky for him, but there is no proof of the number doing any good to him.

°He travelled without a ticket from Virar to Andheri and then walked all the way to Juhu where he found a well-wisher, a PRO and a potential producer all in one in Mr kulbhushan Gupta who helped him by introducing him to a leading producer, Pranlal Mehta who gave him his first big break in“Love 86″in which Mehta also introduced Ruhaan Kapoor, the son of the veteran singer, Mahendra Kapoor, Farha, the beautiful elder sister of Tabu and Neelam Kothari who was the daughter of a rich diamond merchant. Chi Chi bhaiya’s suspicious nature was also obvious while he was doing this film and he had formed his own judgement about who was lucky for him and who was a panvati (unlucky for him).

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°His sense of suspicion kept growing more and more acute as he kept growing successful. He made it very obvious that he didn’t like working with men and women belonging to a minority class, the reference was obvious.

°A time came when he could find anyone in the crowd suspicious and would tell his producers and bodyguards to throw those unknown people out of his sight because he said he couldn’t work if he saw them. He had grown so paranoid that he was sure that there were some people who were hired by his ‘enemies’ to kill him.

°He was highly allergic to the colour saffron (bhagwa) and once he had confirmed to attend one of my functions, but when he saw me dressed in a bhagwa kurta, he looked at me as if I was about to kill him and what he said has still not stopped surprising me. He said, “mujhe aapse yeh umeed nahi thi. Aap bhi unke saath mil gaye hai”. He called his manager and asked him to cancel the function he was to come with me to.

°He had a very strong weakness for milk and he had a particular bhaiya, who supplied milk to the whole family at his Jal Darshan Apartment in Juhu. He didn’t like the way the bhaiya had worn his ‘tika’ on his forehead and asked him to stop supplying milk to the family. The bhaiya sat on a dharna outside the apartment because he could not afford to lose a customer whose monthly bill came to a lakh of rupees.

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°To teach the bhaiya a lesson, the very defiant Chi Chi bhaiya brought a buffalo to his apartment to get his quota of milk. The Society objected, but he said it was the will of God to see that he looked after the buffalo and the buffalo looked after him and his family. He had to finally shift to his bungalow only because of the comfort of the buffalo.

°His suspicion reached a new high when he stood for elections to the Lok Sabha from Mumbai North and was pitted against a giant of a politician, Ram Naik. He was not sure of winning at all, till he woke up one morning and told his followers that a “Devi” had visited him in his dream and assured him that he would win come what may. And he won and finished the political career of Ram Naik. But in the next elections he lost his deposit against Gopal Shetty who was once not even sure about winning an election as a corporator and was pitted against Shashi Prabhoo, the secretary of Chi Chi bhaiya and had made Prabhoo lose his deposits. Chi Chi bhaiya vowed never to get into politics again.

°For the last nine years he has only been living in suspicion of everyone as he says there is a group in the industry which is working very hard to destroy his career.

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Govinda, Govinda Biography, Govinda love Story

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