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Over the last three decades, he has wowed cinegoers with his brand of films, which is synonymous with comedy and foottapping songs. Though his career had hit a rough patch a few times, Govinda bounced back on the strength of his talent. While he was missed on the big screen when he went to explore politics, he soon returned to where he belonged -in front of the cam era. His self-deprecating humour is evident when he jests that there are four things one shouldn’t expect from a Govinda film -story, sensibility, casting and clothes. On the eve of his 54th birthday (December 21), the masses’ Hero No 1 is excited about his new innings. Excerpts…
You are growing a year older…

Don’t put such thoughts in my mind. Actors can’t afford to think about ageing. This is the time for the release of my film, Aa Gaya Hero.

That calls for a double celebration…

I’m releasing my film and can’t take on extra expenses. It’s nice to hear the word `Birthday Boy’. When you see my film, you will start believing that age is just a number. Once, my mother blessed me saying, `You will take care of my children till they turn 49.’ When I told her, `Tab tak meri umar ho jayegi’, she said, `You will neither feel old or behave like one’. After my film is out, I’d love to hear the same from my fans. Zamana aisa chal raha hai, apna dindora khud peetna padta hai.

You’ve completed three decades in the industry. How do you look back at your journey?

It was not easy for me to enter films and despite so much groupism deliver hits after hits. When I ventured into politics, I had a hard time there. Making my own films and releasing them is also difficult.There has been no group or support from the beginning. It’s always been my mother’s blessings, love of the fans and the public that has helped me.

Do you think you got your due?

Not at all. Neither did I get it nor did I work on it. My approach has always been to work so that I can support my family . I never planned my movies. I never selected subjects to win the National Award. I did films that made the masses happy . Sometimes, you have to sacrifice your talent to please the public.When I signed films with big directors, they didn’t fare well, but whenever I did projects with zero expectations, they did great business.Somehow, planning my films never suited me. When I decided to make a comeback, I had to cash in on my brand of cinema; I didn’t want to disappoint the public. People liked my performances in Kill Dill and Happy Ending, but I was hardly there in them. Sometimes, your effort doesn’t reach the audience.I’ve ensured that my upcoming film will satisfy people who come to see a Govinda film.

What made you choose the film?

The best thing about a subject like this is, there are no expectations to be a typical hero. My character attempts to tell the youth that there is a hero in everyone. Zindagi mein mushkilen aati hai, but if you take the right decision, you are a hero.

Life is all about taking the right decisions and acting correctly; don’t get trapped in any situation.

You’ve played a cop earlier, too. What sets this role apart?

All the films I have played a cop in -Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Khuddar , Muqabla and Gambler have been hits. When people were skeptical about the stories I was choosing, I reiterated that this is the right time to make movies like those in the South. If you have noticed, all blockbusters, be it Singham, Dabangg or Rowdy Rathore, have the flavour of South films. My film is also a pucca masala entertainer for everyone, from children to elders.

Any regrets about the choices you have made?

I have no regrets about my career in films, but I regret joining politics. I didn’t get a film for 10 years. I planned to leave politics while I was still a part of it, but I completed my term and never looked back.

Does any actor from the current crop remind you of yourself?

I get scared when I get to see threefour Govindas in the industry.Every time a film does well, people say it’s a Govinda kind of film, only he is not acting in it.

Coming from a humble background with no filmi connections, you became a name to reckon with. What do you attribute your success to?

I am a struggler when I am working, but I believe that big strugglers turn out to be bigger stars. That’s the secret.

What’s next after Aa Gaya Hero?

Next is Raju Mind-Blowing. It’s about a chaiwala who becomes the greatest personality in the world.

Is your story inspired by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

I’ve never thought like that. I start ed working on the script long ago, when I had no idea what the future held. It’s just that sometimes, your intuition works.

Has your son Yashvardhan shown any inclination towards acting?

He has completed a six-month course in London, but he’s taking his own time to work on himself. He has an extremely pleasing personal ity that draws people to him.

Are you nervous about your upcom ing film?

All I want to say is that I have always been a fighter. Once again, it’s a fight between my past and myself, and I hope that I win again.

I just need the blessings and best wishes of my fans and audiences.

– Hiren Kotwani