Celebrity Interview: Govinda ...

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By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, Aug 18 (IANS) After a prolonged period of ill luck in films and politics, Govinda is ready to return to the marquee with "Partner", immensely thankful to David Dhawan and Salman Khan for giving him a chance to re-establish himself.

"I'm thankful to Salman and Sohail for signing me at a time when I was down and out. I badly needed that project. My career as a politician didn't really take off. On the other hand, my movie career had stalled. I was stuck. David Dhawan and Salman bailed me out," Govinda told IANS.

Before starting his second innings, Govinda has brought in some positive changes in his personality, the most important being punctuality.

"All these years I've been accused of being unpunctual, and I was. I've made punctuality a part of my career now. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't giving all of myself to my career earlier. But I never considered punctuality a part of my work ethics."

Govinda has three films in his kitty - "Partner", "Salaam-e-Ishq" and "Bhagam Bhaag".

Excerpts:

Q: The bad phase seems to be over in your life?

A: For a change let's talk about the good things that are happening to me -- like Priyadarshan's "Bhagam Bhaag". I am looking forward to working with Priyan. I feel my time has changed. I've been given another opportunity to do work. If both career and family starts moving, it means problem is over.

Q: You are working with Akshay Kumar for the first time in "Bhagam Bhaag".

A: Yes, neither had I worked with Salman Khan before David Dhawan's "Partner". Working with Salman is a fabulous experience. He was the main motivation for my comeback to movies. I'm thankful to Salman and Sohail for signing me at a time when I was down and out.

I badly needed that project. I needed to return to acting. My career as a politician didn't really take off. On the other hand my movie career had stalled. I was stuck. David Dhawan and Salman bailed me out.

Q: David has promised a new Govinda in "Partner".

A: Let's see. We are doing some good work here. For so many years I was jobless. I'm happy to get back to work. The USP of "Bhagam Bhaag" and "Partner" is that they have comic elements but they aren't entirely comedy films. I think this is the correct method of using comedy in films. That's how I'd like my comedy to be from now on. I won't sacrifice seriousness for laughs.

Q: I'm sure you got tired of doing the same comic routine.

A: I can't say I got tired. I chose to do those films. In fact, I was so tired of other things in my life that the comic routine, as you call it, gave me solace although I had done around 115 films.

Q: Nikhil Advani swears by your punctuality.

A: He is the Ramesh Sippy of tomorrow. Nikhil has the same passion at such a young age. I'm surprised by his sensible attitude to cinema. And if he says I'm punctual for "Salaam-e-Ishq", isn't that something?

All these years I've been accused of being unpunctual, and I was. I've made punctuality a part of my career now. I'm focusing completely on my acting career. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't giving all of myself to my career earlier. But I never considered punctuality a part of my work ethics.

Q: Why?

A: I was overworked. I was tired. And I was depressed. My mother's death was the main cause for my restlessness. Tragedies fell on me like bricks. Just dealing with them left me sapped. A man cannot work properly when he's swamped by setbacks.

I don't think anyone has taken so many setbacks. God can't be wrong, so the fault must lie with me. I can't take any more pain and loss. Let's hope that phase has ended.

Q: You've worked with a South African actress in "Salaam-e-Ishq"?

A: Yes, Shanon. Seeing her sincerity and working skills, I was amazed. I get very humbled watching such newcomers. Maybe because of doing so many films, scenes come automatically to me. But the enthusiasm of a newcomer is very contagious.

Q: Do you think politics was a wrong move?

A: I won't say that. It was one way of enhancing my storehouse of experiences. Sometimes, we have to give back to society what we take from it. When one takes a job one usually knows what's in store. This was one job where I went with only my conscience for support.

It was my conscience, which helped me to save myself from the attacks in politics. I'm sure whatever I learnt from politics will help me in my life later.

Q: I feel you got nothing but humiliation out of politics?

A: Yes, criticism and defamation. It has become the ground rules for today's politics. Am I a misfit in politics? Even people who've been in politics for 70 years have gone through crises.

Q: Are you disappointed with politics?

A: At this point in my life I'm above disappointments. I've a lot of hopes from my film career.

Q: Will you be quitting politics?

A: I'll be very frank with you. My wife didn't know until the last moment that I was joining politics. For now I'll remain quiet on my political career.

Q: Have you signed any other films?

A: I have to wait for big banners. My future will be determined by my three forthcoming releases. My last few films couldn't get a decent theatrical release. But my next three films will definitely get released. I've signed one more film with David. But that's it.

David is in a different mood these days. He wants to do a different kind of work. You will get to see a different David in "Partner" and in our film after that.

Q: Does Salman feel threatened by your scene-stealing presence?

A: At the moment my career is so ruined that I'm happy people like David and Salman have agreed to work with me. I'm not trying to create any sympathy for myself. Fact is, I wasn't able to get even one-third of Salman or Akshay's price.

I can neither command their price nor am I as good-looking as them. I can't look like Salman nor fight like Akshay. And that's the truth. I want to go back to the place that I had once occupied where I'd be away from all comparisons.

People say I need only a few scenes to make my presence felt. But this time I don't want to be called a scene-stealer. I want to move forward with the support and love of all my colleagues in the industry.

Q: Why don't you do something about your weight?

A: After I had a bout of typhoid I haven't been able to bring my weight under control. Whenever I try, strange things happen to me. I lose my equilibrium. I must tell you I've lost 10 kg. I've to lose another 10 kg.

What do you think of Govinda's comedy movies? Comment below!